Introduction to Picketball

Explaining the Basic Rules, Equipment, and Terminology of Pickleball

7/19/20233 min read

Pickleball, a fast-paced and exhilarating sport, has been rapidly gaining popularity around the world. Combining elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis, it offers players of all ages and skill levels a fantastic way to stay active and socialize. In this article, we'll delve into the fundamental aspects of pickleball, including the rules, equipment, and terminology, to help beginners and enthusiasts alike better understand and enjoy this exciting game.

The Rules of Pickleball

Pickleball is typically played on a rectangular court, measuring 20 feet wide and 44 feet long for doubles matches, and 20 feet wide and 22 feet long for singles matches. The game follows a few basic rules:

Starting the Game: A coin toss or another fair method is used to determine the side that serves first. The serving team gets two chances (first and second serve) to initiate play.

Serving: The ball must be served diagonally crosscourt and land in the opponent's service court. The server must keep one foot behind the backline and below the imaginary extension of the sideline.

Return of Serve: The receiving team must allow the ball to bounce once before returning it. After that, both teams can choose to hit the ball before it bounces or after one bounce, as long as it is within the boundaries of the court.

Double Bounce Rule: In the initial exchange, each team must allow the ball to bounce once on each side before hitting it in the air. After this, the ball can be volleyed (hit before it bounces) or played off the bounce.

Non-Volley Zone (NVZ): Commonly referred to as the "kitchen," this 7-foot area on either side of the net prohibits players from volleying the ball while standing inside it.

Scoring: Pickleball is usually played to 11 points, and you can only score points when serving. If the game reaches 10-10, a two-point lead is required for victory.

Essential Equipment for Pickleball

Pickleball requires minimal equipment, making it easy to get started. Here are the essentials:

Pickleball Paddle: The paddle is the most crucial piece of equipment in pickleball. Paddles vary in material, weight, and grip size, so players can choose the one that best suits their style. Lightweight paddles offer greater maneuverability, while heavier ones provide additional power.

Pickleball: Pickleballs resemble wiffle balls, featuring small holes to reduce their speed and increase stability. They come in various colors, with each color indicating a specific level of play (e.g., yellow for tournament play, green for indoor use).

Court Shoes: As pickleball involves quick movements and lateral shuffling, it's essential to wear court-specific shoes with non-marking soles for better traction and support.

Comfortable Apparel: Players should wear comfortable and breathable clothing suitable for physical activity.


Understanding the terminology used in pickleball enhances the game experience. Here are some key terms every player should know:

Dink: A soft shot that drops just over the net, typically used when players are near the NVZ.

Ernie: A shot taken by a player near the sideline, hitting the ball before it bounces, usually to catch the opponents off guard.

Kitchen: Another term for the non-volley zone, where players cannot hit volleys.

Lob: A high-arching shot aimed to clear opponents at the NVZ and land deep in the court.

Poach: When a player moves to intercept a ball intended for their partner, usually executed when the partner is in a better position to return the shot.

Rally: A continuous exchange of shots between two teams.

Side-Out: When the serving team fails to score, the receiving team gains the opportunity to serve.

Third Shot Drop: A soft shot played by the serving team's non-volley line after the return, aimed at setting up the point and moving the serving team closer to the NVZ.


Pickleball, with its unique blend of athleticism and strategy, offers an enjoyable and inclusive experience for players of all ages and skill levels. By understanding the basic rules, equipment, and terminology, beginners and enthusiasts can confidently step onto the court and fully immerse themselves in this exciting sport. Whether playing for fun or competing in tournaments, pickleball's appeal lies in its accessibility and the camaraderie it fosters among players. So grab a paddle, hit the court, and let the thrilling world of pickleball unfold before you.

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