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Basic Pickleball Rules -Singles & Doubles

While acquiring proficiency in the game, it becomes crucial to understand the precise method of scoring in pickleball. This guide will take you through the scoring procedures for both doubles and singles, along with guidance on announcing the score. Explore the rules and scoring system of pickleball in the following sections.

 

PICKLEBALL CAN BE PLAYED AS EITHER SINGLES OR DOUBLES

Both utilize the same size court size and follow the same set of rules of rules. Games are typically played to 11 points, and a player or team must win by 2. Tournament games are sometimes played to 15 or even 21.

 

Pickleball Rules Doubles - Serving & Scoring
  • Side-out scoring: Only the team which is serving side may score a point. The return team can only side out on defense to get the serve back on their end.
  • The first serve is made from the right/even court.
  • Once a point is scored, the server changes sides and starts the subsequent serve from the left/odd court.
  • The server continues to switch back and forth until a point is won by the return team.
  • When the first server loses the serve, their partner (2nd server) has a chance to serve.
  • The second server serves until his team loses a point. One this occurs, the serve switches to the opposite team.
  • When the serving team’s score is even, the first server in the game for that team will be in the right/even court when serving or receiving. When it is an odd score, that player will be in the left/odd court.

 

Pickleball Rules - Singles Serving & Scoring
  • A side-out is called each time the serving side loses a point on their serve.
  • If the score of the player is zero or even, they must serve from the right/even court. If it is an odd numbered score, they must serve from the left/odd court.
  • All other rules are the same as doubles rules.

 

The Two-Bounce Rule
  • When the ball is served, both the serving and receiving teams must allow it to bounce one time before returning it, equaling a total of two bounces.
  • After the ball has bounced once in each team’s court, both teams may either volley the ball (hit the ball before it bounces) or play it off of a bounce.
  • The two-bounce rule eliminates any serve and volley advantage and instead extends rallies.

 

The Non-Volley Zone (the kitchen) 
  • The non-volley zone is the court area within 7 feet on both sides of the net.
  • Volleying is prohibited within the non-volley zone. This rule prevents players from executing smashes from a position within the zone.
  • It is a fault if, when volleying a ball, the player steps on the non-volley zone, including the line and/or when the player’s momentum causes them or anything they are wearing or carrying to touch the non-volley zone including the associated lines.
  • It is a fault if, after volleying, a player is carried by momentum into or touches the non-volley zone, even if the volleyed ball is declared dead before this happens.
  • A player may legally be in the non-volley zone any time other than when volleying a ball.
  • The non-volley zone is commonly referred to as “the kitchen.”

 

Line Calls
  • A ball contacting any part of any line, except the non-volley zone line on a serve, is considered “in.”
  • A serve contacting the non-volley zone line is short and a fault.

 

Faults
  • A fault is any action that stops play because of a rule violation.
  • A fault by the receiving team results in a point for the serving team.
  • A fault by the serving team results in the server’s loss of serve or side out.

 

For more information about how to keep score in pickleball and the rules of pickleball, visit https://usapickleball.org/.

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