How to Play Pickleball? – Rules & Scoring 2024

Are you a sports person? Or do you enjoy playing badminton, ping pong, or tennis on the weekends? If yes, then pickleball is definitely a sport you will enjoy the most. It is a combination of tennis, badminton, and ping pong altogether and can be played both indoors and outdoors as well. Typically, the two teams compete with each other like they do in any other game.

A single player can play from either of the teams or two at the most. The total number of players on the court must not exceed more than four. A net and a paddle with some balls with tiny holes are used for playing. The court size is almost equal to one-third of the tennis court and can be made indoors or outdoors.

This game originated in Seattle around the 1960s when a state representative and some friends could not find shuttlecock, so they started playing with ping pong balls. Pickleball is very famous among the people in their 50s and 60s who play this to exercise and have fun, both simultaneously. It has now become a worldwide sport and is played in many parts around the globe.

The Rules of Pickleball

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It is a game derived from three challenging sports. It is best for people who lack hand and eye coordination and cannot play ping pong. People who cannot play intense games with heavy rackets can also play this, and it is easier to learn. Two rackets of any color with the same color ball are used to play this game.

One or two players can stand on each side of the court with a net in between. A non-volley zone is present on each side which prevents the players from getting hurt during the game. The non-volley side is often called the “kitchen.” The players continue to bounce the ball until the fault is found.


The Pickleball court is almost one-third of the typical tennis court in size. It is rectangular in shape and has four sides. The horizontal sides are called the “side-line” while the vertical sides are called the “base.” The length of the sideline is 44 feet, including the 7 feet non-volley zone areas. The base area is 20 feet in length.

The court is divided into two halves by a net. The rectangular court, including the base and sideline, are highlighted by orange lines. The center is divided by the blue line separating the kitchen by a white line on both sides. The center lines help the players to stay in their area when played in doubles.

Equipment Required

Being a simple game, pickleball does not require quite a lot of equipment. Apart from a playing court that has an installed net all you need is a pickleball paddle and a pickleball.

1. Pickleball paddle

A pickleball paddle is very much similar to the racquet that is used in tennis but smaller in size. However it’s not too small and actually bigger than the table tennis racquet, so the size is somewhat between the two ranging in between eight to fifteen inches in length.

The early days of pickleball required the paddles to be made from wood. The wooden paddles are stronger and help play amazing powerful shots, however, they may feel heavier slowing down the pace of the game. This is why the new generation of pickleball uses upgraded paddles, now using graphite and aluminum for construction. These are lighter and help add agility to the game.

2. PickleBall

Pickleballs are very much similar to wiffle balls in their design but they come in a size that is more like baseballs. The balls consist of holes throughout, with the outdoor pickleball having holes that are slightly smaller than those used for the indoor game. The common material used for their construction is plastic whereas the color of these balls is generally white and sometimes yellow as well.


A series of three matches are played. The team that wins the two matches out of the three is considered the winner. The scoring methods are a bit different when played in singles. The positions are also different for each player. All four players cannot stand in the same position on their respective sides. They have separate positions depending upon what side is the receiver and what side is serving.


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The player standing on the right side of the court always begins with the game. He is not allowed in the non-volley zone while doing the service. The ball should not bounce on the ground or touch the net and hit in the air. The service remains with the serving side until a fault is made. Once the ball hits the net or bounces in the court, the other team gives the service.


The match can go up to 11 points, but you win by 2. The game points can increase to 15 and 21 in tournaments as well. The serving side only gains the point. So to win, it is necessary to do the service and score some points against the opposite team. In a double-player game, one member from the serving team can serve until a fault occurs.


The following rules should be observed while playing a pickleball match:

  • The paddle should hit the ball when the hand is under the waist area.
  • The serving player must be inside the side and baselines while hitting the ball.
  • The service remains with the first team until a fault is made, then shifts it to the other team.
  • Even after volleying, a person by mistake steps into the non-volley area; it is considered a fault.
  • If a ball bounces at any point other than the kitchen, it is considered “in.”
  • When the serving team commits a fault, it results in service change.
  • When the receiving team commits a fault, it gives a point to the other team.
  • While serving, the player should step away from the non-volley zone. Even if he steps on the white line of the kitchen, it is considered as a fault.

Tips for the New Players

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If you are developing interest and want to play pickleball regularly, the following tips should be kept in mind:

  • While serving, try not to stand on the sidelines.
  • Watch the hand movements of the serving player.
  • For a spontaneous reaction, the paddle should be kept near the chest area.
  • Try to hit the open areas where the other player is not standing.
  • Practice the shots you think are difficult before the match.


What do you wear to play pickleball?

No specific costume is recommended to wear while playing pickleball. Comfortable sportswear can be worn before playing the game.

How long does it take to play a pickleball game?

It hardly takes fifty minutes to an hour to play an eleven-point pickleball game. However, a tournament with more teams can take long hours to finish.

How to hit the pickleball harder?

The pickleball should be hit softly. The harder you hit the ball, you will have less or no control. It can be a disadvantage and give a point to the opposite team.

Is pickleball easier than tennis?

Pickleball is easier than tennis, but it has its own rules and requires practice. This sport has some technical angles which need to be covered before playing it.


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Pickleball is a good sport invented with a combination of three famous games. People who do not like exercising can play pickleball as it is a full aerobic exercise. It is not as tough as tennis, and you need not to worry about holding the heavy rackets. However, some practice is required to learn the rules and deliver some perfect shots.

It is a sport which can be played indoors and outdoors as well. Pickleball is best for free people after their retirement or who want to spend a weekend playing a fun sport. They can even socialize or have small talk with each other regarding the game. Hence, invented out of the leftover equipment, Pickleball became famous worldwide in no time.

Darinka Aleksic has been writing for Tennis Tips since its launch and has been an integral part of our team. Her role is to cover topics regarding everything tennis-related around the globe. From expert equipment reviews to exercise tips and tricks, she covers all the fields with a lot of attention to detail.

Her goal is to deliver top-notch tennis content and keep you up to date with everything in the modern tennis era while also reminding you about the game’s roots and history. Sports have always been a fundamental part of her life ever since she started playing tennis at the age of seven.

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