What is Pickleball? How it’s played | Rules & Scoring

Seen people with weird rackets playing a weird sport in your town, having an even weirder name “Pickleball”? We can understand your sentiments and if you’re wondering pickleball is a copy of tennis…you’ve got this wrong. Pickleball, in truth, is a mix of badminton, tennis, and ping pong, but that’s only the outlook. It’s completely different if you compare it with other sports individually.

Pickleball is a racket sport that has graphite or composite paddles with whiffle balls, a badminton-sized court, and a tennis-like net that’s small in height. It has a 7-foot Non-Volley Zone which is restricted for players. And ironically, it’s the fastest-growing sport in the USA and everyone has started playing it. It has become so popular that you may feel like an alien if you don’t know about it. 

Worry not! We’ve got your back. We’ll cover you with this latest sporty trend called pickleball, its rules, scoring, and how to play it to help you adjust to society.

What exactly is pickleball?

Pickleball is a racket sport that is played in either singles or doubles. It’s a unique blend of tennis, ping pong, and badminton that results in a fun and easier new game that everyone can play despite their age and gender. Pickleball can be played on any hard surface but it’s usually played on tennis courts, which lit a fire among the tennis players’ community because their play area is being taken by a completely new sport. 

Pickleball has a 7-foot no-volley zone which is called the kitchen. And you were thinking pickleball was the only weird name? Stay calm, weirdness is just the essence of this game – which also makes it unique and exciting, however. Players can’t enter the kitchen when they’re volleying, because it’s a fault. Other weird names include Opa, Falafel, dink, 

Why pickleball is so popular?

Pickleball is a combination of several racket sports which makes it a wholesome sport. It’s easy and fun to play. Players of all ages can effortlessly learn and become pros in it. Compared to other sports, it’s also easier on the body and has health benefits as well. Above all, it’s a social sport that brings people together and that’s why it’s so famous. In fact, the USAPA called it a “highly contagious” sport. 

Another reason for its popularity is its clash between tennis players. Pickleball is addictive, and the people, in the craze of the game, have turned tennis courts into pickleball, which is technically wrong. The tennis player, in return, has started campaigns that affect the reputation of the game. However, it’s so far, has been in the favor of the game, as it made it more and more popular. Besides, the authorities have started building pickleball courts, so the issue is on its way to being resolved. 

How to play pickleball?

Pickleball is played with graphite and composite paddles with a plastic ball having holes. The players hit a perforated plastic ball, called a whiffle ball, with their paddles, over the plane of the net that’s 34” in height. The serving team serves the ball diagonally to the opponent who’ll let the ball bounce first and then send it back in the same manner. The server, like the returner, will again, allow the ball to bounce to fulfill the double bounce rule, and then begin the play with dinks, volleys, or groundstrokes. 

The ball stays in play until one of the teams commits a fault. And here’s the interesting thing, only the serving team can score. Speaking of scoring and rules, let’s begin the next section which is… 

Pickleball rules and scoring:

Pickleball doesn’t have a tougher set of rules. There are just a few easy-to-remember rules which every player must follow. If you don’t follow rules, you’ll have committed a fault and will be charged with a penalty.  The following rules summary helps you get along with the game.  

rules of pickleball
rules of pickleball
Scoring in pickleball
Scoring in pickleball
  • The ball must bounce twice before the volley can begin.
  • Serve must be made underhand and below the waist. 
  • You can’t volley in the non-volley zone. 
  • The ball shouldn’t go out of bounds. 
  • After the point is scored, the serving team will switch sides, i.e., move left to right or left to right. 
  • Pickleball is played to 11,15, or 22 points, and the winner is decided by 2 points. 

Only the serving team can make the score until they commit a fault. Then, the returning team will make the score with the same rule. Scoring in pickleball is quite tough and it has a few complex rules for it as well. You must be the first person to secure a winning point. Plus, in all the formats, the game is won by 2 points. 

Where to play pickleball?

Pickleball is played on a hard-surface court that’s 20 x 44 feet in dimensions. For singles, the court is divided into two compartments that are 20 x 22 in which 7 feet area from the net is the kitchen. For doubles, the area is 10 x 22 into 4 parts. These dimensions are used to make up a pickleball court where you can play. There are public and private pickleball courts. The court on which the tournaments and leagues are played is called “Pickleballdome”. 

For playing, tap on google and key ”pickleball courts around me” and you’ll get so many places where you can play pickleball. You can even make a pickleball court in your backyard using the dimensions and set up a portable net system.


Speaking of the pickleball war with tennis, many people argue that pickleball is rather a paddle sport than a racket sport because it’s played with paddles, instead of rackets. Well, the argument is legit. However, it’s still called and accepted as the racket sport.

Pickleball was invented in 1965 on Bainbridge island when three families when out on a picnic and felt extremely bored. Three dads – Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum came up with the idea to turn a badminton court with a spare net. They had ping pong paddles and plastic balls, so they combined all of that and created this sport.

When pickleball was invented in 1965, the wife of one of the founders named the game pickleball because the combination of several sports reminded her of the pickle boat in which the crew chooses oarsmen from the leftovers of other boats. Another theory is, “pickles” was the name of their dog, that’s they named the game pickleball.

Now, what do you think about pickleball?

Well, it was a brief discussion of what is pickleball, how to play it, and what are the rules and background of the game. This mashup sport has been on the rise for the last few years and it continues to grow. In spite of that, we hope that we were successful in teaching you some of the ins and outs of the game. We’d agree that it sounds weird, but believe us, it’s one of the most fun, thrilling, and addictive sports one could ever come across. So, get your hands on a solid-faced paddle and perforated balls and start playing it today!

Robby Anderson

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