Every Player Needs to Know

There’s a lot of new pickleball players today as well as the rules for the game aren’t always simple to grasp or apply.

In this article we’ll discuss the essential guidelines for pickleball that we need to be aware of.

If you’re a new player, or you’ve played for a while then this article is perfect ideal for those of you who are.

This post isn’t an exhaustive listing of pickleball regulations. We’re not covering each rule in detail here.

If you’d like to study the official rules for pickleball completely and in its entirety, it’s available on this page. There is the option to download the rules book to your PC or even put it on your mobile phone to make it easier. It is possible to purchase the physical version of the rules book for $9.50.

Click here to download the Official USAPA Rulebook [PDF].

Let’s get started, and let’s go over the guidelines.

1. The score of pickleball is recorded by observing three numbers.

Prior to every serving every serve, the server is required to announce the three numbers, in order. The announcement must be loud enough to allow all the court members to be heard.

  1. The first digit is the score for the server team.
  2. The other number represents the score of the team that is receiving it.
  3. The number 3 is the server order (this is used only in doubles, and it will typically be either a 1, or 2, where a 1 is the first server and a 2, another server).

In this case, for example, the server team is able to score 7 points, while the opposition team has three points and the third person is on the serving team has 3 points (i.e the initial server been able to lose a rally to their serve) and they make the following announcement before hitting the serve:


2. In the beginning of game, the initial server is seated serving as the second server.

They will announce it by saying”0-0-2,” or they may announce”0-0-start.

The reason why they are an extra server is that the team has advantages due to the fact that they are the first team to earn points.

To limit the advantage of this to limit this advantage, the team serving first can only be served by one person instead of two.

When the team that started serving is done serving after the loss of a rally, it will be a side-out. Then, the two teams will begin serving with one (they will announce that they have the latest scores, before a 1.) and then each player is given the opportunity to serve.

3. When a team starts serving it’s first serve always be served by the player who is on the left part of court.

In doubles tennis, if the team starts the first serving round it is the player located on the left of the court first serves.

If, for instance, your team’s about to serve after that other team is been served in a side-out situation, any player from the team is standing on the court’s right side serves first.

4. Points can only be scored if the server team is able to win an event.

If the group that is serving is successful in completing a rally it will then add one point to their total.

If the winning team is successful in an ensuing rallies, the score stays unchanged, however anyone who was serving the ball loses the privilege of serving.

When playing doubles, if one team loses rallies for every serve the game is deemed to be as a “side out” and the second team is now serving with the chance to gain points during the following rally.

5. Serves must be served using the server’s arm with an upward angle

Every point of pickleball starts by serving. While serving, you can’t play the ball if your arm is with a downward movement. The ball must move upwards.

Additionally, the paddle should reach out to the ball at a lower level than waist or nail. It is possible to swing as far as you like and let your paddle travel to the highest level you like but you must hit the ground and bounce prior to your swing has reached the waistline.

The paddle’s head should be placed beneath the upper part of the wrist, when contact occurs.

6. The double bounce rule when playing pickleball.

Many people have trouble to follow the double bounce rule at the beginning of their career in pickleball.

Simplely in simple terms, the double bounce law refers to the fact that the serve as well as the return hit of the team’s receiving player must bounce prior to being hit.

If you’re a member of the team receiving a serving from an opposing team, allow the ball being served bounce off before you strike the ball. You shouldn’t be volleying it into the air.

If you’re on the serving side it is your responsibility to let the first ball at be returned to you (the back of the served) bounce to allow you to hit the ball. You cannot volley it from the air.

When the ball is bounced in both directions on the court, it’s the fair game to strike from the air without need for a bounce.

7. It is impossible to volley a ball in the air while sitting at the counter (Non-Volley Zone)

A volley happens when you strike an object from the air, that hasn’t been bounced.

It is essential to allow the ball to bounce initially when you intend to strike it from a position that is near the NVZ/kitchen (the line is included).

If it’s not, it’s an error and your point will be forfeited another team at the time you strike it.

It’s crucial to know that you’re allowed to enter the kitchen/non-volley zone prior to when the ball bounces. Many people believe that you must wait until the ball has bounce before being allowed to enter the kitchen.

Be sure to ensure that it bounces first when you’re hitting from inside the kitchen.

8. There are a variety of mistakes that could lead to an infraction (i.e losing the rally)

Many people ask whether there is a flaw in pickleball?

If a team fails to win a game in pickleball that is because from a problem that has occurred.

Below are the scenarios which can cause a fault:

  • The ball gets thrown outside the bounds of the field.
  • The ball bounces two times before it gets hit by the person who received it.
  • The ball that is in play strikes the player on any part of their body, including below the player’s wrist (if the ball strikes the player’s paddle just above their wrist, and bounces off the net, then no error has been committed and the ball remains in play)
  • The player’s body, clothes or paddle are in contact with the net or net posts when the ball is in the game.
  • Infractions to serve occur (i.e wrong serving form) when the serve falls on the net, it lands in the kitchen, and the serve then falls outside the court that is receiving it, etc.
  • A ball gets volleyed when it is at an inappropriate time (i.e when the player has contact with the kitchen/NVZ, or prior to it bounces twice in accordance with Double bounce rules
  • The ball is in contact with an object of permanence prior to bounce across the court (i.e the roof, a ball hoop for basketball, branches of a tree, etc.)

9. It’s not a good idea to try and catch an object which doesn’t have bounce, even if heading away from the boundaries of play.

If someone does hit the ball but it’s clear that it is heading away from the goal line and is subsequently tipped by a team that is not the one who hit it this is considered to be worth a point to the person who struck the ball.

Many people who play recreationally disregard this rule for ease of use for the sake of convenience, but it is important to keep in mind that a ball always alive and playing up to the point it touches the ground, regardless of which.

It’s a good idea to discuss with your recreation group on how they deal with this policy. Most groups will allow one another to capture a ball even if it’s clearly headed towards the ground and by catching it, you can save the player from running in search of the ball.

Be careful if you regularly do this because it could be a dangerous way to conduct yourself especially in challenging matches. You could get a ticket in the event that you hit the ball.

10. Line calls are initiated by the player at the receiving end of the court

In Pickleball, the team receiving will always be the one who decides on whether the ball was landed into or out.

The opposing team doesn’t control the decisions, neither any observers in the stands.

If the side on the court, who are attempting to is trying to hill the ball insists on either way it is a rule of law that they don’t be the ultimate decision maker.

In rec-play, you’ll often find a leniency to the rule. It’s best to reach an agreement prior to the game or even after a disagreement on how to decide who will make the calls.

If a player refuses to budge and calls out to or out of balls on the other side of the court you may inform them that as according to the rules, it’s your decision to call them out decisions, not the other side’s.