Nov. 06, 2023

Breaking Down the Rules of Major League Pickleball

Pickleball is a relatively easy game to learn, and its rules are designed to keep the game fun and fast-paced. Here’s a basic overview of the rules:


The objective of pickleball is to score points by hitting the ball over the net and into the opponent’s court in a way that it cannot be returned.

Court and Equipment:

  • Pickleball is played on a court with the same dimensions as a badminton court (20 feet wide and 44 feet long) with a net set at 36 inches at the sidelines and 34 inches at the center.
  • The game is played with a plastic ball similar to a wiffle ball and a paddle, usually made of wood, composite materials, or aluminum.


  • Pickleball can be played in singles (1 vs. 1) or doubles (2 vs. 2).
  • The serve must be made underhand and from behind the baseline, aiming diagonally into the opponent’s service court.
  • The receiving team must let the ball bounce once before returning it.
  • After the ball has bounced once on each side, both teams can either volley the ball (hit it in the air without letting it bounce) or play it after one bounce.
  • The non-volley zone, also known as the “kitchen,” is the area within 7 feet on both sides of the net. Players cannot volley the ball while standing inside this zone unless the ball has bounced in the kitchen first.


  • Points are only scored by the serving team.
  • The serving team continues to serve until they commit a fault (serve into the net or out of bounds) or lose a rally.
  • Games are typically played to 11 points, and a team must win by at least 2 points.
  • A match is usually best out of three games.


  • Common faults include not clearing the net, serving out of bounds, stepping into the non-volley zone and volleying the ball, and hitting the ball out of bounds.
  • The serving side will lose the serve if they commit a fault.

Service Rotation:

  • In doubles play, both players on the serving team have the opportunity to serve and score points until they commit a fault. After that, the serve goes to the opposing team, and their players take turns serving.

These are the basic rules of pickleball. It’s a dynamic and engaging sport that allows for strategic play while still being accessible to beginners. Specific variations and additional details might apply in different situations, so it’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the official rules if you’re planning to play in a competitive setting.