The game pickleball started in the 1960s, and it’s becoming more popular. Despite the pandemic, the sport didn’t lose its appeal to people. Pickleball is similar to tennis, badminton, and table tennis, but many features distinguish it from them. It has unique differences that are unique from other paddle sports. Want to learn how to play pickleball?

If you want to know the pickleball basics, this article will provide you the necessary details to begin. 

Understanding the basics of this sport will help you upgrade your skills to a more professional level. 

There are five things you need to remember when you play pickleball. They include the kitchen, the winning scores, the lines, and the unique double bounce rule. 

If you’re confused about these, then continue reading. Let’s go!

How To Play Pickleball?

Player Wins With 11, 15, or 21 Points

Let’s learn how to play pickleball. A team or player needs to score at least 11 points to win in a regular pickleball game. But remember that you need to have a 2 points advantage to acknowledge the win. 

For example, your team’s score is 11, and the opponent is 10. You still haven’t won the match, and you still have to continue the game until you reach 12 points, which has a 2-point difference with 10. 

However, in some pickleball games, the scores can go up to 15 or 21, shared in tournaments. The 2-point difference still applies to this score. 

Most of the time, singles games use 11 or 15, while doubles games use 15 or 21 for the total points. 

During an 11-point match, the two teams switch sides when the first team scores 6 points. Meanwhile, in a 15-point or 21-point game, the switch happens during the 8-point mark. 

It would be best to note that the only way to earn points in pickleball is during service. So if you’re in the serving team, it’s the only shot you have to score points.

Related Reading: Rules for singles pickleball – Check Them out Here

Observe Proper Serving Rules

Pickleball has quite a simple and straightforward set of serving rules. In this section, we’ll tackle some essential details to note when starting a pickleball game. 

There are various methods that players use to determine who will take the first serve. Some do a rally or draw lots, while some do a flip coin. 

Regardless of which team is the first server, it doesn’t have many advantages on their part. The game is still fair for both teams. 

The correct position to serve is to keep the ball below the waistline and in an underhand place. One foot should be behind the baseline, so the distance during the service is proper. 

Remember this vital information because it is the first thing you need to do as a server to start the game.

Now that you have the correct posture direct the ball diagonally to the opposite side of the court. You need to hit the ball towards that person. 

You still can’t hit the ball straight across in a singles game because it is a fault and the opponent serves next. You switch right to the left depending on your score, whereas the right side for even and the left side is odd. 

While in the doubles game, if you commit a fault during your service, your teammate does the next service. So when the first server commits a fault, the teammate takes the second server position. 

If the second server has a fault, the service goes to the opposing team. —

The serving rules are easy to understand and perform as long as you serve within the bounds of the court. Familiarize yourself with the proper position then you won’t quickly lose points.

Don’t Enter The No-Volley Zone.

The No-Volley Zone or NVZ is an area 7 feet away from the net. Mainly, it is a lined zone that both sides of the court have for each team.

Another term used to refer to the No-Volley Zone is the kitchen line. It is easy to distinguish which is the NVZ because it has highlighted parts known as kitchen lines. 

So when people tell you not to enter the kitchen during a pickleball match, it means you shouldn’t enter the NVZ unless the ball bounced within this zone. 

If the ball lands in the kitchen, the server immediately loses its turn to serve. So you have to make your service long and beyond the kitchen to make it count.

After serving the ball, you can now drop the ball in the kitchen, which is a signature shot. 

During a service, you need to hit the ball past the NVZ and target the baseline. A deep serve can help you achieve a perfect serve. 

You can land the ball at the baseline and take advantage of being in the kitchen line to win. 

To do that, hit the ball a little beyond the kitchen. The opponent may accidentally lunge towards the kitchen to hit the ball. 

If the service is a little too long, it may land outside the lines. Just practice multiple times to perfect the service that is strategic enough to lure opponents in the NVZ.

Therefore, the only time you can legally enter the NVZ is when a ball lands in that area after service. 

Keep The Ball Within The Court Lines

Pickleball is the same with almost every paddle sport out there. It specifically includes the part where you cannot let the ball land outside of the lines. 

In a pickleball court, the lines on both sides of the court highlight the area you can and cannot hit and land the ball. 

Once you mistakenly hit the ball outside of the court lines, you lose your serving chance. This error can already put you at a disadvantage because of the points you’ll possibly give away. 

But don’t worry because one thing that makes pickleball unique is that you’re not unlucky to miss a serve. 

The sport needs the ball to bounce during service and return, so being a server is not all perks. So even if the ball lands outside, you have more advantage in hitting back the ball. 

You cannot also hit under the net or right into the net because they are all faults. 

When you receive a fault call, the ball goes to the opponent, and it is their turn to serve. Remember that you only get to score during service. 

If you gain a point through the return of the serving team, you have a chance to score during your service turn.

Be careful when it comes to the rules so you’ll get fewer faults. You have a higher chance to earn points when you have few fault calls because you have more opportunities to serve. 

Fewer mistakes guarantee more chances to win. Just let the opponents commit minor errors, and you’ll effortlessly win. 

The key in winning pickleball is not to have any errors during your play.

Double Bounce Rule

Double Bounce Rule

Last but not least, essential is the double bounce rule. Even though it is a unique feature of pickleball, many players still forget this rule, mainly when they serve. 

The double bounce rule requires each team to let the ball bounce once from each side when serving or returning. You won’t want to let the ball bounce twice from your side.

Whether you’re serving or returning the ball, make sure it bounces once from your courtside. When it bounces twice within your side, then you lose your serving chance. 

With that, both teams need to let the ball bounce once on each side regardless if they are serving or hitting back the ball. 

If a service ball is heading towards you, check if it bounces once before you return it. 

Also, when a player hits back a service ball, the player who’ll receive it must let it bounce. For example, if you serve the ball and the opponent returns it to you, you need to let it bounce before playing. 

After making the double bounce rule, both sides may start hitting the ball while in the air. They can also still let it bounce if they want.

Note that the double bounce rule applies to the singles and doubles game. 

How To Play Pickleball? The Summary

To have a quick rundown of the things I talked about above, let me summarize the points from the post. 

You can win a pickleball game when you score 11 points or 15 points for a classic match while 15 points or 21 points for tournaments. 

Additionally, you need to be leading by two points for the game to end and for you to win. 

The game requires an underhand serve and must not land in the no-volley zone and beyond the bounds. You can only enter NVZ when the ball lands within that area. 

Lastly, it would help if you let the ball bounce once on each side per team, making it the double bounce rule. 

Conclusion: How To Play Pickleball?

Once you learn how to play it, the more you can appreciate how fun it is. Just remember the essential rules which are unique in this game so you can quickly learn. 

I hope this article provided you a better understanding of pickleball better from its in and out. Don’t get left behind and start playing it!