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How Do You Play Pickleball?

How Do You Play Pickleball?

One reason for the rise in popularity of pickleball is the simplicity of the rules. In this post we review how to play pickleball and all of the pickleball rules you need to know to get started.

WHAT IS PICKLEBALL?

Pickleball is a stimulating paddle sport that combines elements of tennis, ping pong, and badminton. It can be played with either two or four participants (singles or doubles) on indoor or outdoor courts. The courts are smaller than that of tennis and are typically made from concrete or asphalt. 

The goal of pickleball is simple: players must hit the ball over the net to their opponents while keeping it within the designated boundaries of the court, without breaking any other pickleball rules. Because it is easy-to-learn, fast-paced in nature, and a great social activity to play with family and friends, pickleball has become a sensation: it was recently designated the fastest growing sport in America. 

GAME RULES

The game begins with a diagonal serve, originating from the right-hand service side behind the baseline. The serve is executed underhand and contact should be made below the waist, striking the ball either in the air or after a bounce. If the ball is bounced it must be dropped, not tossed up.

The ball must bounce in the receiving box before it can be returned. When serving, players must ensure the ball clears the net, although, unlike tennis, the ball is allowed to touch it on the way over. It is crucial, however, for the serve to avoid landing in the non-volley zone (Kitchen) on the opponent's side. Any serve that touches the lines of the receiving box (except the non-volley line) is considered fair. Once the ball is returned, it must bounce once more on the serving side before players can volley or return the ball off the bounce.

The servers alternate sides until they commit a serve fault or lose the point, which prompts the service to pass to their partner. When both partners experience a fault or lose a point, the service is then transferred to the opposing team. Notably, during the first service of the game, if a point is lost, the serve goes directly to the opposing team without giving the partner an opportunity to serve.

Throughout gameplay, volleying the ball from inside the Kitchen is strictly prohibited. Points are only scored when the opponent commits a fault, i.e., only the serving team can score points. To win the game, a team must reach a total of 11 points while maintaining a lead of at least two points over the opposing team.

Much of pickleball’s popularity can be attributed to the simplicity of the game. Once you know the basics, all you need is some basic pickleball equipment and a court. Luckily, for pickleball, you don’t need to break the bank! All you’ll need is three things: a paddle, balls, and court shoes. 

EQUIPMENT

The total dimensions of the paddle, including the length, width, edge guard, and end cap, must not exceed 24 inches, and the length of the paddle face should not surpass 17 inches. There is no restriction on paddle thickness. Paddles can be made from either composite, wood, or graphite. There is no restriction on weight, though most commercially available paddles weigh between 7.5 and 8.5 ounces. Most recreational players opt for a composite paddle because its lightweight nature enhances ball control, though a heavier paddle made from graphite will allow for more power. Paddle grips range from 4-4.5 inches in diameter. A smaller grip will give you more control and stronger serves and make it easier to put spin on the ball. Larger grips will provide more stability, and are gentler on the arm.With that said, the only requirements for paddle weights and grips sizes are that they’re comfortable for you. For beginners and intermediate players, Play-PKL offers an excellent paddle weighing in at 8 ounces, catering to their skill level and needs.

Pickleballs are primarily categorized based on whether they are intended for indoor or outdoor play. All pickleballs are constructed using plastic material, weigh .89 to .935 ounces, and are between 2.87 and 2.97 inches in diameter. The main difference between balls designated for indoor vs. outdoor play is that indoor balls have fewer (26), slightly larger holes than outdoor pickleballs. They are designed to be softer, lighter, and have a slightly lower level of bounce. 

On the other hand, outdoor pickleballs have more, smaller holes (usually 40). These balls are slightly harder, heavier, and have a livelier bounce. It is inevitable that outdoor pickleballs may start to crack as they wear out. If you anticipate playing in windy conditions, selecting a heavier outdoor ball is recommended. 

 

Pickleball Tee Warrior Tee by Play-PKL

 

GETTING STARTED

To get started with pickleball, there are several steps you can take. Pickleball is a social sport and a great way to build community so consider joining local clubs and clinics that cater to pickleball players of all levels. You can find ones near you on Facebook or specialized apps for community activities (such as MeetUp and Team Reach), or contact your local recreation department or community center for local pickleball information. You can also use online directories such as Places2play.org to find a local court yourself. Grab a friend or three and head on over.

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