WHAT IS PICKLEBALL?
A paddle sport created for all ages and skill levels. The rules are simple and the game is easy for beginners to learn, but can develop into a quick, fast-paced, competitive game for experienced players.
A sport that combines many elements of tennis, badminton and table tennis. Played both indoors or outdoors on a badminton-sized court and a slightly modified tennis net. Played with a paddle and a plastic ball with holes called a wiffleball. Pickleball can be played as doubles or singles.
The ball is served with an underarm stroke so that contact with the ball is made below waist level in an upward arc from behind the baseline, diagonally to the opponent’s service zone.
Points are scored by the serving side only and occur when the opponent faults (fails to return the ball, hits ball out of bounds, steps into the non-volley zone [the first seven feet from the net, also known as the ‘kitchen’] in the act of volleying the ball, etc.). A player may enter the non-volley zone to play a ball that bounces and may stay there to play balls that bounce. The player must exit the non-volley zone before playing a volley. The first side scoring 11 points and leading by at least two points wins. Tournament games may be played to 11, 15 or 21 points with players rotating sides at 6, 8 or 11 points respectively.
The return of service must be allowed to bounce by the server (the server and partner in doubles play); i.e. cannot be volleyed. Consequently, the server or server and partner usually stay at the baseline until the first return has been hit back and bounced once.
In doubles play, at the start of the game, the serving side gets only one fault before their side is out, and the opponents begin their serve. After this, each side gets 2 faults (one with each team member serving) before their serve is finished.
In singles play, each side gets only one fault before a side out and the opponent then serves. The server’s score will always be even (0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10…) when serving from the right side, and odd (1, 3, 5, 7, 9…) when serving from the left side (singles play only).
Baseline – The line at the back of the Pickleball court (22 feet from the net).
Centre line – The line bisecting the service courts that extends from the non-volley line to the baseline.
Crosscourt – The opponent’s court diagonally opposite a player’s.
Dink – A dink is a soft shot, made with the paddle face open, and hit so that it just clears the net and drops into the no-volley zone.
Fault – An infringement of the rules that ends the rally.
Foot fault – Stepping on or into the no-volley zone while volleying a ball, or, while serving, failure to keep both feet behind the baseline with at least one foot in contact with the ground or floor when the paddle contacts the ball.
Half-volley – A type of hit where the player hits the ball immediately after it has bounced in an almost scoop-like fashion.
Kitchen – The non-volley zone which is 7′ from the net on both sides is commonly referred to as “the kitchen.” Players may not enter the kitchen to return a ball unless the ball first bounces.
Let serve – A serve that touches the top of the net and lands in the proper service court (it is replayed without penalty).
Lob – Hitting the ball in a high arc to the back of the opponent’s court. Ideally designed to clear an opponent who has advanced toward the net.
No-volley zone – A seven-foot area adjacent to the net within which you may not volley the ball. The non-volley zone includes all lines around it. Also called the “kitchen”.
Poach – In doubles, to cross over into your partner’s area to make a play on the ball.
Rally – Hitting the ball back and forth between opposite teams.
Serve (service) – An underhand lob or drive stroke used to put a ball into play at the beginning of a point.
Server number – When playing doubles, either “1” or “2,” depending on whether you are the first or second server for your side. This number is appended to the score when it is called, as in “the score is now 4 – 2, second server”.
Sideline – The line at the side of the court denoting in- and out-of-bounds.
Side-Out – occurs when the serve moves to your opponent’s side.
Volley – To hit the ball before it touches the ground and bounces.