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Pickleball Game Rules


Official rules for Pickleball can be found on the USA Pickleball Association web page http://www.usapa.org/officialrules/.
The official rules revised as of 01/01/2014 are available here in Adobe Accrobat pdf file. You can store this document to your pc by right clicking on this link and chosing "save as" to find a convenient local directory.

The rules as listed below are general in nature and though correct, they do not detail each and every aspect of the official rules of the game.


General rules of the game of Pickleball

The Game

Pickleball is a simple paddle game, played with a special perforated, plastic, slow moving ball over a tennis type net, on a Badminton sized court. The ball is served underhanded, swinging the paddle below the waist, without bouncing it from the court. The ball is served to the opponent’s service zone. Points are scored by the serving side only and occur when the opponent faults (see fault list, page 2). The server continues to serve, alternating service courts, until server faults. A game is won by the first team which scores 11 (eleven) points, but must continue until one team achieves a two (2) point margin.

Service Sequence Rules

  • Serve always starts in the right hand court and alternates from right hand side of court to left hand side ofthe court as long as the server holds the serve.
  • The server must serve crosscourt.(To the court diagonally opposite)
  • The team -serving the initial serve of the game called the Start is allowed only one fault before passing the serve to the opposite team. After that, each team member must serve and fault before passing service to the opposing team.
  • Serving team members will rotate positions after scoring! each point. The team member serving the second serve, after the first server's team faults, must serve from whatever side the second server is playing from. Service will then continue to alternate from side to side, as long as the server holds serve.
  • The receiving team does not alternate positions.
  • The team's points will always be even numbers when the game's starting server is positioned on the right hand side of the court. Points will always be odd when the game's starting server is positioned on the left hand side of the court.
  • Players may toss a coin or rally the ball until a fault is made to determine the opening server. The winner of the toss/ rally has the option of serving or not serving first.

Serving Rules

Serve Motion
  • The serve must be made with an underhand stroke so that contact with the ball is made below waist level.  (Underhand Defined) The arm must be moving in an upward arc and the paddle head shall be below the wrist when it strikes the ball.
Serve Position
  • The server must keep both feet behind the baseline during the serve with at least one foot on the court surface or ground at he time the ball is struck.  The serve must be made while the server’s feet are with in the confines of the serving court.  These confines lie behind the serving court baseline and on or between the imaginary lines extended from the court centerline and each sideline.
  • The serve must be made without bouncing the ball off the serving court and hitting it.
 Service Bounce Rule
  • The Serve  The ball must be struck before it hits the court surface.  The ball must land in the opponent’s crosscourt (diagonally opposite court) service court.
  • Placement  The serve must clear the net and the non-volley line and land in the opponent’s service court. The serve may land on any service court line except the non-volley zone line. 
  • Following the serving of the ball, the receiver must let the ball bounce before returning the serve. Then, the serving team must also let the returned serve bounce- before playing it. After the two bounces have occurred, the ball may be volleyed or played off a bounce until a fault is made. 
  • Only the player served to may receive the serve, but should the ball touch, or be struck by his/her partner, the serving side scores a point.
  • A serve striking the net and landing within the service court is called a "let" and another serve is justified and there is no limit to the number of times this can occur. 
  • Service foot fault  During the serve, when the ball is struck, the server’s feet shall not: touch the area outside the imaginary extension of the sideline. 
You and your partner must discipline yourselves to look down at your feet throughout rallies played near the NVZ and call a fault on yourselves. Although your opponents opinion is always considered, there is no precedent in Pickleball that allows an opponent to call faults on the other side of the net. Therefore, all NVZ faults can only be called by the offending player or their partner.

Non-Volley Zone Rules

  • A fault will be declared if a player or player's clothing or paddle, touches the court on or over the non­ volley line while volleying the ball.
  • A fault will be declared if, in the act of volleying the ball a player’s momentum causes the player, his clothing, or paddle, to touch the court, on or over the non-volley line.
  • Should you volley a ball that hits your opponent or passes them on their court and your momentum causes you to step on or into the non-volley zone, it is a fault
  • Players may enter the non-volley zone or step on the non-volley line at any time as long as they are not or have not hit the ball on the volley.
NOTE: It is not a fault if the player steps on or over the line into the non-volley zone when hitting a ball that has bounced.

Scoring


Other Rules

Singles Play

All rules for doubles play apply to singles play with the following exception