Overview of the Rules of Pickleball

Not sure how to play? Here is a brief overview of the most important pickleball rules to know.


Pickleball can be played as a doubles team event, or as singles. Both utilize the same size court size and follow the same set of rules of rules.

Games are typically played to 11 points, and a player or team must win by 2. Tournament games are sometimes played to 15 or even 21.

Doubles Serving & Scoring

  • Side-out scoring: Only the team which is serving side may score a point. The return team can only side out on defense to get the serve back on their end.
  • The first serve is made from the right/even court.
  • Once a point is scored, the server changes sides and starts the subsequent serve from the left/odd court.
  • The server continues to switch back and forth until a point is won by the return team.
  • When the first server loses the serve, their partner (2nd server) has a chance to serve.
  • The second server serves until his team loses a point. One this occurs, the serve switches to the opposite team.
  • When the serving team’s score is even, the first server in the game for that team will be in the right/even court when serving or receiving. When it is an odd score, that player will be in the left/odd court.

Singles Serving & Scoring

Pickleball Singles Rules

  • A side-out is called each time the serving side loses a point on their serve.
  • If the score of the player is zero or even, they must serve from the right/even court. If it is an odd numbered score, they must serve from the left/odd court.
  • All other rules are the same as doubles rules.


The Two-Bounce Rule

  • When the ball is served, both the serving and receiving teams must allow it to bounce one time before returning it, equaling a total of two bounces.
  • After the ball has bounced once in each team’s court, both teams may either volley the ball (hit the ball before it bounces) or play it off of a bounce.
  • The two-bounce rule eliminates any serve and volley advantage and instead extends rallies.

The Non-Volley Zone (the kitchen)

  • No player may volley a ball while standing in the non-volley zone, or while touching any of the lines around the non-volley zone.
  • If a player makes contact with a ball while in the non-volley zone, a fault will be called.
  • A player may enter the non-volley zone to play a ball that has bounced and may stay there to play other balls that bounce.
  • Before playing a volley out of the air, the player must reposition both feet outside the non-volley zone

Nothing is Unreachable, 

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