Pickleball is a relatively unknown sport, even fifty years after it was created. It was thought up by a trio of dads that wanted to curb their children’s summer boredom. Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum had a great idea, so it is time to share it with the world!
Okay, So What Is Pickleball?
Pickleball is a paddle game that incorporates elements from badminton, tennis, and ping-pong. It is played on a badminton-sized court with a modified tennis net. It is played by hitting a plastic ball with holes with a paddle. Like tennis, it can be played one-on-one in a singles match or two-on-two in a doubles match. Because of its manageable size and easily understood directions, everyone from your tallest to your smallest can play.
What Terminology Is Important To Know?
The following terms are non-exhaustive meaning that more experienced players may use additional terminology. These terms are must-know terms for any player of any age.
- Bounce:When the ball hits the ground before the player hits it. Both players must bounce the ball at least once after the first serve.
- Cross-Court: How the ball must be hit- diagonally across the court.
- Dead Ball:A ball is considered dead after every fault.
- Double Bounce:The ball must be bounced by both sides after the first serve to avoid fault.
- Fault: Any violation that stops the game. See the list of possible faults below.
- Non-Volley Zone:The Non-Volley zone is the area directly behind/in front of the net. The Non-Volley zone extends 7 feet away from the net. No volleys can be hit in the Non-Volley zone.
- Rally:The act of hitting the ball back and forth. A rally occurs between the serve and the fault.
- Volley: The act of hitting the ball before it is given the chance to bounce off of the ground. A player cannot volley on the first hit after the first serve.
Rules And Regulations Necessary To Play Pickleball
Learning the rules and regulations necessary to play pickleball will be easy. So easy that you’re going to wonder why you’ve never heard of it or never played it before! Let’s get started.
The first serve must be made from the right-hand side of the court. The side that begins is traditionally determined with a coin toss. The winner of the coin toss generally begins, but may choose to allow the other side to begin. When serving, the ball should be served below the waist with an under-handed swing, and must clear the net for the serve to count. When serving, the server must keep both feet behind the serving line.
Only the serving side can be awarded points. This may sound confusing, but it is not. The ball will be hit back and forth until one side fails to return the ball, hits the ball out of bounds, or fails on a technical restriction. If the opponent fails, the serving side gets a point.
If the serving side is the side that faults, then the next serve is given to the non-faulting side.
Again, points can only be awarded to the serving side. To win the game of pickleball, one side has to have 11 points with a 2 point advantage over the other side. If one side has 11 points but only a 1 point lead, then the game continues until one side has a two point lead. There are no ties in the game of pickleball. If both sides tie with 11 points, then the game continues until one side has a 2 point lead over the other side.
Tournaments are the exception to the 11 point rule. Many tournaments require one side to have 15 or 21 points with a 2 point advantage over the opposing side.
Serve On Points Rule
The side of the serve depends on the number of points a team has. The very first serve is served on the right-hand side. Every even number of points will mean that the ball is served on the right side. If a team has 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 then the ball is served on the right-hand side of the court. The opposite is also true. If the team has an odd number of points the ball is served on the left-hand side. 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, or 11 points means that the serve takes place on the left-hand side of the court.
The Bounce And Volley
The first serve must be played off the bounce. This means that the ball must bounce once before it can be hit. The ball must be bounced once by each side before it can be volleyed. Every hit after the first serve may be played off of the bounce or the volley.
To hit a ball on the volley means to hit the ball before it has bounced. The first serve cannot be hit on the volley, but may be hit on the volley at any point after. Volleys must be hit behind the non-volley zone or the hit is considered to be a fault.
Faults can be determined in the following ways:
- Volleying the ball in the non-volley zone.
- Hitting a ball out of bounds.
- The ball touches any part of the non-volley zone on a serve. This includes the line.
- The ball is volleyed on the first serve.
- The ball does not clear the net.
Now that you know what pickleball is, how to play, and what words you need to know, you are ready to get out and play your first game of pickleball. You are sure to love how easily it plays out between you and your friends, coworkers, and loved ones. Pickleball is definitely a game you’re going to want to play for many years to come.