Pickleball was invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, a short ferry ride from Seattle, WA. Three dads – Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum -whose kids were bored with their usual summertime activities are credited for creating game. Pickleball has evolved from original hand made equipment and simple rules into a popular sport throughout the US and Canada.
A pickleball court is the same size as a doubles badminton court and measures 20×44 feet. In pickleball, the same court is used for both singles and doubles play. The net height is 36 inches at the sidelines and 34 inches in the middle. The court is striped similar to a tennis court with right and left service courts and a 7-foot non-volley zone in front of the net (referred to as the “kitchen”). Courts can be constructed specifically for pickleball or they can be converted using existing tennis or badminton courts.
When playing pickleball, each player will need a pickleball paddle, which is smaller than a tennis racquet but larger than a ping - pong paddle. Originally, paddles were made only from wood, however today’s paddles have evolved dramatically and are primarily made of lightweight composite materials, including aluminum and graphite. Players will need a pickleball. The ball itself is unique, with 40 holes through it like a wiffleball and there are different ball models intended for indoor and outdoor play. The ball travels at 1/3 the speed of a tennis ball and is usually white, orange or yellow in color. New bright color balls are also gaining in popularity. Paddles and pickleballs are available in the Lakes Tennis shop.
Players wear just about anything comfortable… athletic shorts, sweatpants, polo shirts, t-shirts, etc. Tennis-style dresses and skirts for females are also common. Comfortable tennis shoes are also important. As for accessories, players may wear hats, visors, safety glasses, sweatbands and light jackets or sweatshirts for cold, outdoor play. Logo apparel items are always available in the Lakes Racquet Pro Shop.
Simplified Pickleball Rules
A complete set of rules may be obtained from the United States of America Pickleball Association on their web site (www.usapa.org
). However, if you are just learning, you will find the following condensed rules much easier to follow.
If there is a conflict between this summary and the official rules, the official rules prevail.
Serving in Doubles
The serve must be hit underhand and each team must play their first shot off the bounce. After the ball has bounced once on each side, then both teams can either volley the ball in the air or play it off the bounce. This is called the “double bounce rule” because the ball must hit twice (once on each side) before it can be volleyed. This eliminates the serve and volley advantage and prolongs the rallies. To volley a ball means to hit it in the air without first letting it bounce.
Both players on the serving team are allowed to serve, and a team shall score points only when serving. A game is played to eleven points and a team must win by two points. Rallies are lost by failing to return the ball in bounds to the opponent’s court before the second bounce, or by stepping into the non-volley zone and volleying the ball. The hand is considered an extension of the paddle. The player loses the rally if the ball hits any other part of his body or clothing. In doubles, if the serve strikes the receiver’s partner, it is a point for the serving team, providing it is not a let serve or a fault serve. This rule also includes balls that appear to be hit out of bounds: during play, if you catch the ball or try to stop it from heading out of bounds, you lose the rally.
The server must keep both feet behind the baseline during the serve with at least one foot on the court surface at the time the ball is struck. The serve is made underhand. The paddle must contact the ball below the waist. The serve is made diagonally cross court and must clear the non-volley zone. The non-volley line is a short line for the serve (the serve is a fault if it hits the line). All other lines are good at all times. Only one serve attempt is allowed, except in the event of a let (the ball touches the net on the serve, and lands on the proper service court). Let serves are replayed. At the start of each new game, only one player on the first serving team is permitted to serve and fault before giving up the ball to the opponents. Thereafter both members of each team will serve and fault before the ball is turned over to the opposing team. When the receiving team wins the serve, the player in the right hand court will always serve first.
When the serving team wins a point, the server moves to the other side of the serving team’s court. Note that if the serve rotation is done properly, the serving team’s score will always be even when the player that started the game on the right side is on the right side and odd when that player is on the left side.
Serving in Singles
In singles, the server will serve from the right when he has an even number of points (0, 2, 6, 10). The server should serve from the left when he has an odd number of points (1, 3, 7, 9). The receiver should adjust their position according to where the server stands.
The non-volley zone is the 7-foot zone on both sides of the net. No volleying is permitted within the non-volley zone. This rule prevents players from executing smashes from a position within the zone. When volleying the ball, the player may not step on or over the line. It is a fault if the player’s momentum causes the player or anything the player is wearing or carrying to touch the non-volley zone. It is a fault even if the ball is declared dead before the player touches the zone. A player may not be in the non-volley zone at any other time. The non-volley zone is sometimes referred to as the kitchen.
Double Bounce Rule:
Each team must play their first shot off the bounce. That is, the receiving team must let the serve bounce and the serving team must let the return of the serve bounce before playing it. After the two bounces have occurred, the ball can either be volleyed or played off the bounce.
The ball may only bounce once per side. After the ball is hit by a player, it must travel to the other side of the net.
If the ball hits one of the sidelines or the baseline, it is a playable ball. When a player or team fails to win the rally they are said to have made a fault. Some, but not all of the things that cause a fault are listed below: