The five rules of pickleball are that there can only be one bounce, the ball must stay inbounds, all serves are at the baseline, no serves can land in the no-volley-zone, and matches must win by two at 11 and 15. Outside of these five primary rules, there are other things that players need to remember when playing the game.
So, what are the five rules in pickleball with a complete explanation of what they mean? What other rules to remember outside the core five rules in pickleball? What are some things you can’t do during a game?
Here is the complete breakdown of the five rules of pickleball.
Rule 1: The Ball Must Stay Inbounds
If you hit the pickleball out of bounds, two things can happen. First, you give a point to the other team. Second, if you did this on your serve sequence, you lose the chance to serve again and give the ball to the other team.
Players must make contact with the ball with their pickleball paddle below the waistline to serve effectively in pickleball. The ball must land in bounds within the boundaries of the opposite diagonal court. The non-volley zone is the 3.5-foot-wide area of the court closest to the net and each sideline.
Rule 2: There Can Only Be One Bounce
Pickleball is a sport similar to badminton but with a few differences. It is played on a badminton-size court, and the ball is served diagonally. Players must let the ball bounce once before volleying, and each side has a seven-foot “no-volley” zone. You can play the game with singles or doubles.
The pickleball serve and return of the serve must bounce, as well. This two-time bounce is known as the “two-bounce rule” and can be applied to either side. Once the ball has bounced, it can be volleyed or played off bounces. However, players can’t spike the ball while standing in the kitchen.
If you were to play without the two-bounce rule, the game would be incredibly frustrating. You would often have to sprint to one side of the court from the other to get to the ball. The second bounce would be harder to return, slowing down the type of play if players were waiting to return the ball via a double bounce.
Rule 3: All Serves are at the Baseline
When serving, start your serving sequence a foot behind the baseline on the court. The second rule is to be loud when serving. As the server, you need to be the one that calls out the score, so both sides know what it is. If there is any confusion with the score, you can pause the game before the ref to consult the score.
After having your foot behind the baseline and calling out the score, you are ready to serve underhand. Underhand serving is the only way to serve during a pickleball game, and it must occur below your navel and waist.
Once you follow these rules, players can attempt different types of spins when serving. Players can put extra topspin or backspin on the ball as they serve. Players can also change the speed of their serve shot, which works well in throwing off their opponent.
Rule 4: No Serves Can Land in the No-Volley Zone (NVZ)
In pickleball, the non-volley zone (NVZ) is the sideline where an opponent can hit a ball while serving. If a player hits the ball into the NVZ, it is an error, and the opponent scores a point.
To avoid this, beginners should remain outside the non-volley zone line and only enter the zone to catch a drop serve. The server has to clear the NVZ to be returned. If a serve is returned into the NVZ, it will result in a fault, and the opponent will score the point.
The No-Volley Zone (NVZ) is a rectangle-lined box on the court surface defined by two lines, often referred to as the kitchen line. The sidelines and NVZ line divide the non-volley zone from the rest of the pickleball court. No volley is allowed inside the non-volley area, as it prevents players from landing their volleys.
Rule 5: Matches Must Win by Two at 11 or 15
In Pickleball, matches must be won by two out of three points to advance. The rules vary, but the goal is usually the same: to win a game by two points.
However, some contests use a double-elimination format, so you can play in the consolidation drawer if you lose your first game. Rally scoring is a variation of the traditional scoring system, which allows either side to score points if your opponent commits a fault.
What are Some Other Rules to Remember During a Game?
Additionally, the serving rules state that the team must make the game’s first serve on the court’s right side. A team may switch from its first server to a second server teammate from game to game, but the referee must check that to ensure a legal serve.
Pickleball is played to 11 points, with a switch in sides after the first team’s score reaches six points. You can also play games of 15 and 21 points. Scoring is also reasonably straightforward, with every point being worth one point.
What Can you Not Do in Pickleball?
There are no earbuds or personal audio equipment during a pickleball match. This rule means you cannot listen to music, talk, or use other technology that may distract the other player when playing.
Another thing you can’t do during a pickleball game is interfere with the net, net posts, or the opposing team’s side of the pickleball court. That means you can’t jump over the net to spike the ball or crash into the net on a play.
Finally, you can only stop the game flow after a point occurs. For example, if you decide to catch a ball in the air that you think will be out, you commit a fault, and the other team receives a point. Of course, with this rule, it is up to you and your opponent if you want to award this rule if it is a casual game.
Conclusion: What are the 5 Rules of Pickleball?
In conclusion, before playing pickleball, it’s essential to understand the five rules of the game. These rules include that the ball must stay in bounds, only one serve is allowed per serve, and all serves must land inside the baseline. You should also know that you cannot serve in the No-Volley Zone NVZ and must win matches by two at 11 or 15.
Keeping these five rules in mind, you should always be able to play a better game.