Although pickleball was created more than 50 years ago, it has just recently begun to gain popularity. The sport was first created as a combination of badminton, tennis, and ping pong.
The origin of the name is still debated, but no matter the reason it’s still a fun sport to play! Here we’ll take you through some of the basics to get you pickling like a pro.
The official size of a pickleball court is the same as a badminton court measuring in at 20’ x 44’. In the center of the court is a 36 inch tall net that runs the width of the court separating the opponents. On either side of the net is a 7 foot long zone known as “the kitchen”.
Players cannot enter this zone unless the ball falls inside. From the end of this zone to the back of the court is where the majority of the game is played. This section is divided lengthwise for serving (see serving); however, after the serve players can move freely in this area.
As pickleball has grown in popularity, courts have begun popping up around the U.S. There are a lot of websites and groups you can join to help find courts near you.
Serving in pickleball is done underhand diagonally across the court. The player must serve with both feet behind the back line on the right side of the service court, and they must hit the ball over the net into the diagonal service court.
The ball cannot bounce before it reaches the opposite side, and it must land between the kitchen and the boundary lines or it is considered a fault. After each player on one team has faulted, the ball is turned over to the opposing team.
After the ball has been served, it must bounce once after the serve and then again after it has been hit by the opposing team. After this criteria has been met, there are a variety of methods used to gain an advantage over your opponent. You may hit the ball however you choose, but it must cross the net and stay within the boundaries.
After the serve and return, volleying is permitted (hitting the ball before it has bounced) as long as the players do not cross into the kitchen. A fault occurs when the ball bounces twice on your side, or the ball is hit out of bounds. Mishandling of the ball can also result in a fault (hitting the ball multiple times, etc.)
Scoring in pickleball can only be done by the team that is serving. The server will continue to serve until a fault is made by their team. After each player on one team has faulted out, the other team will begin serving and they can then score. A game is played to 11 points; however, you must win by at least two points so it can be extended.
Now that you know the basics of pickleball, you’re ready to get out there and start playing! There are a lot of techniques that take a little while to master, but with some practice and determination you’ll be winning matches in no time!