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How to Play Pickleball

Updated: Apr 21

Learn Pickleball

Dive into the world of pickleball with confidence! Whether you're new to the game or a seasoned player, understanding the rules is key. In this blog entry, we'll cover everything from how to serve to scoring, empowering you to step onto the court and play with finesse. Let's master pickleball's rules together!

USA Pickleball Rulebook

USA Pickleball, or USAP, is the national governing body for the sport of pickleball in the United States. It was the world's first national pickleball organization established when it was formed in 1984 as the United States Amateur Pickleball Association. It reorganized as the USA Pickleball Association in 2005.

The link to the 2024 USA Pickleball Official Rulebook:

The Basic Rules

  • Service starts in the right court and serves to the court, diagonally opposite. The ball must travel past the non-volley zone line.

  • Receiver must allow the ball to bounce once before returning it. The ball may be returned anywhere within the opposite court.

  • On the first return of service, the server (or partner) must allow the ball to bounce before returning.

  • After that, the ball may be volleyed(hit before bouncing), as long as the player is not standing in the non-volley zone (also known as the kitchen).

  • Players/Teams may only score points when serving.

  • The ball can bounce only once per side (or it is a fault)


  • Hitting the ball out of bounds or into the net

  • Volleying (hitting before bounce) while standing in the non volley zone (kitchen)

  • Serving incorrectly

  • Being touched or hit by the ball

  • Stepping on the service line or the non-volley zone line while hitting the ball

Keeping Score / Play (doubles)

  • The first team to serve is the team standing in the most prominent court to the north / west.

  • Before serving, the serving player must announce the score audibly in the format of; Serving Team score, Receiving Team Score, which server # for Serving Team

  • Server 1 (Team A) is identified as standing in the right court.

  • All serves are delivered to the diagonally opposite court

  • If Team B does not return the ball (or has a fault), Team A wins a point and the players of Team A switch courts. The server who just won that point then serves again. This repeats until that server's team is unsuccessful.

  • If Team B does return the ball and Team A faults, no point is earned and Team A, Server 2 will start their service

  • When the service for both players on Team A has been defeated, this is a side out and service is handed to Team B

  • The player in the right court on Team B will then serve first as Server 1 for this team.

  • The first service of every new game is an exception. Once the first server of the game does not win the point, this is a side out. This is only for the first server in the game.

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