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Here’s How to Play Pickleball So You’re Prepared for Some Friendly Competition

how to play pickleball

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With summer starting oh-so soon, it’s the perfect time of year to pick up a new outdoor game. And we’ve got just the one for you: pickleball! In recent years, pickleball has become one of the fastest-growing sports in America and around the world—and for good reason. This fun and easy game combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong for a unique activity all its own. It’s appealing and accessible for people of all ages and skill levels, from young children to older adults, who appreciate its low-impact nature. Plus, the sport’s adaptable rules and court sizes make it easy to pick up a paddle and start playing anytime, anywhere. 

Whether you’re a seasoned player or a newcomer to the game, pickleball promises hours of fun and excitement. Want to know more about how to play pickleball? We’ve got answers to all of your pickleball FAQs right here, so grab a paddle and let the games begin!

What Is Pickleball?

Pickleball is the ultimate combination of your favorite racket sports, all rolled into one dynamic and super fun game! Picture this: You’ll get all the speed and excitement of tennis, the sneaky net shots of badminton, and the strategic gameplay of ping pong. (Drew and Jonathan are pro ping pong players, by the way!) It all comes together on a court that’s slightly smaller than a traditional tennis court, where players take turns hitting a perforated plastic ball over a net using paddles. The game can be played in singles or doubles format and is suitable for players of all ages and skill levels.

The origins of pickleball date back to the mid-1960s when it was invented by Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum in Washington state. The story goes that the sport got its name from Pritchard’s dog, Pickles, who would chase after the balls during the game.

What Are Pickleball Court Dimensions?

The dimensions of a pickleball court are typically 20 feet wide by 44 feet long for doubles play and 20 feet wide by 22 feet long for singles play. These dimensions give players enough space to move around the court safely and engage in fast-paced rallies, while still allowing for strategic placement of shots. The pickleball court is divided into specific zones, including the volley zone, non-volley zone (or “kitchen”), and service areas.

What Are the Pickleball Rules?

Like any good game, pickleball has its rules. It starts with a serve diagonally, and players must let the ball bounce once before volleying. Here’s a quick rundown of how to play pickleball and its basic rules:

  1. Serve: The serve must be made underhand and diagonally across the net to the opponent. 
  2. Double Bounce Rule: After the serve, both the serving and receiving teams must let the ball bounce once on each side before hitting it.
  3. Non-Volley Zone Rule: Players are not allowed to volley (hit the ball before it bounces) while standing within the non-volley zone.
  4. Faults: A fault occurs when a player violates a rule, such as stepping on or over the baseline during the serve, hitting the ball out of bounds, or volleying in the non-volley zone. Faults result in a point for the opposing team.
  5. Scoring: Pickleball games are typically played to 11 points, and a team must win by at least two points. Points can only be scored by the serving team. If the serving team commits a fault, the serve rotates to the opposing team, and they gain the opportunity to score points.
  6. Serve Rotation: In doubles play, both members of the serving team get the chance to serve before the serve rotates to the opposing team. If the serving team wins the rally, they score a point and continue serving. If the receiving team wins the rally, they gain the opportunity to serve.

What Are Some of the Best Pickleball Paddles and Gear?

Choosing the right paddle and gear is crucial for pickleball success. Look for paddles with a comfortable grip and lightweight design, allowing for swift movements. It’s also a good idea to invest in high quality balls and appropriate footwear for better traction on the court (and added safety).

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