Here are some pickleball basics. Presented like this, the list of rules can seem daunting. Players recommend just getting out there and playing with someone who already knows the rules. From there, it will all come together quickly.

The serve:

• The server’s arm must be moving in an upward arc when the ball is struck.

• Paddle contact with the ball must not be made above the waist level.

• The head of the paddle must not be above the highest part of the wrist at contact.

• A “drop serve” is also permitted, in which case none of the elements above apply.


• At the time the ball is struck, the server’s feet may not touch the court or outside the imaginary extension of the sideline or centerline, and at least one foot must be behind the baseline on the playing surface or the ground behind the baseline.

• The serve is made diagonally crosscourt and must land within the confines of the opposite diagonal court.

• Only one serve attempt is allowed per server.

Serving sequence:

• Both players on the serving doubles team have the opportunity to serve and score points until they commit a fault *(except for the first service sequence of each new game).

• The first serve of each side-out is made from the right/even court.


• If a point is scored, the server switches sides and the server initiates the next serve from the left/odd court.

• As subsequent points are scored, the server continues switching back and forth until a fault is committed, and the first server loses the serve.

• When the first server loses the serve the partner then serves from their correct side of the court (except for the first service sequence of the game*)

• The second server continues serving until his team commits a fault and loses the serve to the opposing team.

• Once the service goes to the opposition (at side out), the first serve is from the right/even court and both players on that team have the opportunity to serve and score points until their team commits two faults.

• In singles the server serves from the right/even court when his or her score is even and from the left/odd when the score is odd.


*At the beginning of each new game only one partner on the serving team has the opportunity to serve before faulting, after which the service passes to the receiving team.


• Points are scored only by the serving team.

• Games are normally played to 11 points, win by 2.

• Tournament games may be to 15 or 21, win by 2.

• When the serving team’s score is even (0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10) the player who was the first server in the game for that team will be in the right/even court when serving or receiving; when odd (1, 3, 5, 7, 9) that player will be in the left/odd court when serving or receiving.


Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: