How to Play Pickleball for beginners? | A Comprehensive Guide 2024

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How to Play Pickleball?

To play pickleball, you need a court, a net, paddles, and a plastic ball. The game is played with two or four players. The objective is to hit the ball over the net and into the opponent’s court without them returning it. The game starts with an underhand serve that must land in the opposing court, and after that, the ball must bounce once on each side before players can volley or hit the ball before it bounces.

The non-volley zone, also known as “the kitchen,” is a restricted area where players are not allowed to volley. A point is awarded when the opposing team commits a fault, such as hitting the ball out of bounds or failing to return the ball properly. The game is typically played to 11 points, and the winner must win by two points.

Equipments required to play pickleball

Before we get into the pickleball rules and techniques to play the game, let’s first talk about the court and equipment needed to play pickleball.

Pickleball Court

pickleball court

Pickleball Equipments

To play pickleball, you’ll need a few key pieces of equipment. These include:

  • Pickleball paddle: This is a paddle-shaped racket used to hit the ball.
  • A pickleball: This is a lightweight plastic ball with holes in it.
  • Pickleball Shoes: A good quality pickleball shoes provide good traction on the court.
pickleball equipments

Pickleball Rules to play pickleball for beginners

Now that you know the court and equipment needed to play pickleball, let’s go over the rules of the game.

Serving rule in pickleball

When serving in pickleball, you need to follow some rules. The server’s arm should move up when hitting the ball. Also, you cannot hit the ball above your waist level and your paddle’s head should not be above your wrist. However, if you are doing a ‘drop serve,’ then these rules don’t apply.

You cannot touch the court or go outside the sideline or centerline with your feet when hitting the ball, and at least one of your feet must be behind the baseline. Your serve should land within the opposite diagonal court. Remember, you can only make one serve attempt per turn.

Serving rule in pickleball

Serving sequence in pickleball

In pickleball, both players on the serving doubles team can serve and score points until they make a mistake, except for the first service sequence of each new game.

The first serve of each side-out starts from the right/even court. If a point is scored, the server switches sides and serves from the left/odd court. The server keeps switching sides until they commit a fault, and the first server loses the serve.

After the first server loses the serve, their partner serves from their correct side of the court (except for the first service sequence of the game). The second server serves until their team makes a fault and loses the serve to the opposing team.

When the service goes to the opposing team, the first serve is from the right/even court, and both players on the team can serve and score points until their team commits two faults.

In singles, the server serves from the right/even court when their score is even and from the left/odd court when their score is odd. At the beginning of each new game, only one partner on the serving team can serve before making a mistake, after which the service goes to the receiving team.

Scoring in pickleball

In pickleball, only the serving team can score points. Games are typically played to 11 points, and the winning team must win by 2 points. In tournament games, the score may be up to 15 or 21 points, with the winning team having to win by 2 points.

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

Volley rule in pickleball

Volleying is hitting the ball in the air without letting it bounce first. In pickleball, you are not allowed to volley the ball if you are standing in the non-volley zone, which is a 7-foot area on either side of the net.

Pickleball line calls rules

If the ball touches any part of a line during play, except for the non-volley zone line during a serve, it is considered a good shot. However, if the serve hits the non-volley zone line, it is short and considered a fault.

Non Volley Zone Pickleball

The non-volley zone, also known as “the kitchen,” is the area within 7 feet on both sides of the net. Players are not allowed to hit the ball while standing inside this area to prevent them from smashing the ball from a close position. If a player steps on or touches the non-volley zone while hitting the ball, it is a fault. It is also a fault if a player’s momentum causes them to touch the non-volley zone after hitting the ball. However, players can be in the non-volley zone at other times besides hitting the ball.

Double Bounce Rule Pickleball

Once the ball is served, the receiving team must allow it to bounce before hitting it back. Then, the serving team must also let it bounce before returning it. This means there are two bounces before a player hits the ball. After the ball has bounced once on each team’s court, both teams can choose to hit it before it bounces (volley) or wait for it to bounce (groundstroke). This two-bounce rule helps to prevent an advantage for players who serve and volley and makes the game more exciting with longer rallies.

Double Bounce Rule Pickleball


In pickleball, a fault is when someone breaks the rules and play has to stop. If the receiving team makes a fault, the serving team gets a point. If the serving team makes a fault, they lose their turn to serve or “side out.” Here are some examples of faults:

  • The serve doesn’t land in the correct area of the other team’s court.
  • Someone hits the ball into the net instead of over it.
  • The ball is hit before it bounces on both sides.
  • The ball goes out of bounds.
  • Someone hits the ball while they’re standing in the non-volley zone (also called “the kitchen”).
  • The ball bounces twice before the other team hits it.
  • Someone touches the net or the poles holding up the net while the ball is in play.
  • There’s a violation of the rules for serving.
  • The ball hits a player or anything they’re wearing or holding while it’s in play.
  • The ball hits something permanent, like a fence or a tree, before it bounces on the court.

Determining Serving Team in Pickleball

Tips on how to play pickleball for Beginners

If you’re new to the game, here are some tips to help you get started:

Learn the Basics

The best way to learn how to play pickleball is to start with the basics. Get familiar with the court, equipment, and rules of the game. Practice your serve, and work on hitting the ball back and forth with a partner.

Focus on Control

Pickleball is a game of control, not power. Focus on hitting the ball softly and accurately, rather than trying to hit it as hard as possible. This will help you keep the ball in play and avoid hitting it out of bounds.

Work on Footwork

Footwork is an important aspect of pickleball. You need to be able to move quickly and efficiently around the court in order to get into position to hit the ball. Practice your footwork by doing drills that focus on agility, speed, and balance.

pickleball footwork

Play with Experienced Players

Playing with experienced players can be a great way to improve your game. You can learn from their techniques and strategies, and get feedback on your own performance. Don’t be afraid to ask for tips and advice – most players are happy to help out beginners.

Stay Positive

Pickleball is meant to be fun, so don’t get too caught up in winning or losing. Stay positive and enjoy the game, even if you make mistakes or lose a point. Remember that everyone starts somewhere, and the more you practice, the better you will get.

Take Care of Your Equipment

Your paddle and ball are your most important pieces of equipment, so make sure to take good care of them. Store your paddle in a protective case, and keep your ball clean and dry. If your paddle or ball gets damaged, replace it as soon as possible.

FAQs: How to play Pickleball?

Here are some common questions about how to play pickleball:

1. Is pickleball a good sport for seniors?

Yes, pickleball is a great sport for seniors. It is low impact and easy to learn, and can be played indoors or outdoors.

2. Can you play pickleball indoors?

Yes, pickleball can be played indoors or outdoors. Many gyms and community centers have indoor pickleball courts.

3. Do you have to be in good shape to play pickleball?

No, you don’t have to be in great shape to play pickleball. It is a low-impact sport that can be played at any skill level.

4. What is the difference between pickleball and tennis?

Pickleball is similar to tennis, but with a few key differences. Pickleball is played on a smaller court, with a lower net, and uses a different type of ball and racket.

5. Can you play pickleball with more than 4 people?

Yes, there are variations of pickleball that can be played with more than 4 people, such as round-robin or King/Queen of the court.

6. How can I find a place to play pickleball?

Check with your local community center or gym to see if they have pickleball courts. You can also search online for local pickleball clubs or groups.

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