- September 21, 2021

Pickleball Rules Explained: Everything You Need to Know Before You Hit The Court


Playing sports is not only a good way to have fun and stay in shape, but it can also be fantastic for your mental health. While there are several great sports out there, one that is rapidly growing in popularity is pickleball. In fact, it is actually the fastest growing sport in the USA.

If you want to learn how to play pickleball and become a little more familiar with the rules, you have come to the right place. We’ll explain what the game is, how it’s played, and the rules associated with the game.

What is pickleball and how is it played?

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that combines aspects of a variety of different sports including badminton, tennis, and table tennis. Believe it or not, the sport was actually created by accident by former congressman Joel Pritchard and his friends. They wanted to play badminton, but couldn’t find a birdie to play with, so ended up using a plastic ball instead. Since this occurred, in the mid-1960s, the sport has continued to grow.

It is an extremely simple game that doesn’t need a lot of equipment, and beginners and experts alike can enjoy playing it. Also, the rules and basic gameplay mechanics are easy to understand and don’t require a lot of time to pick up and become familiar with.

Played on a badminton court (either indoor or outdoor), with the net slightly lowered, players use solid paddles that are similar to table tennis but larger. A ball with holes in it, quite similar to a wiffle ball, is hit back and forth between the teams. Players can compete in either a singles or doubles format.

Here are some important rules to know!

Now that you know what the sport is and how it’s played, it’s a good idea to get a little more familiar with the rules. First, let’s go over a few of the general rules to know.

The game always begins with a serve. Each side of the net has a square near the back that is the service area, wherein a player will stand behind and serve. Up against the net on either side of the court is the no-volley zone. When a player serves, the ball needs to not only go over the net, but also over this no-volley zone.

The double bounce rule is important to note. The ball needs to bounce on both sides of the court before it can be volleyed back and forth. Once this happens, the game can begin and the teams will begin volleying to try and score points, by hitting the ball within the field of play.

Scoring in pickleball is to 11, and a team must win by two. Also, there are a variety of different faults to be aware of such as volleying a serve before it bounces and volleying from the non-volley zone. These will cost a team a serve and the ball will go to their opponents.

And there you have it! You are now ready to pay. And since the popularity of pickleball shows no signs of slowing down, now is the time to get involved in this exciting new sport!

Photo credit: Maggie Pace

Looking for a place to play pickleball in Austin? Here are a few of our favorite spots!

Bouldin Acres
2027 S Lamar Boulevard

  • Monday: Free play all day! (except for holidays)
  • Tuesday through Thursday: Free until 3 p.m. $10 from 3 to 6 p.m. $20 at 6 p.m. until close
  • Friday through Sunday: $20 all day

Prices are based on 30 minute time slots

Austin Tennis & Pickleball Center
7800 Johnny Morris Road

  • Eight outdoor courts
  • $2/person to play for Great Austin Pickleball members
  • Open play on Fridays from 6 to 9 p.m. – Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Gus Garcia Recreation Center
1201 East Rundberg Lane

  • One indoor pickleball court
  • Open play on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Dittmar Recreation Center
1009 W. Dittmar Road

  • Four indoor pickleball courts
  • Free open play from 12 to 3 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday

South Austin Rec Center
1100 Cumberland Road

  • Outdoor Pickleball Courts
  • Four courts striped off in their gym for indoor play (currently closed – Please check the closure page for update)
  • Two outdoor, lighted courts shared with basketball, net not provided, first come, first serve.  
  • Open play pickleball for all levels is offered on Mondays from 6 to 9 p.m.
  • Call for availability 512-444-6601

And coming soon, the Austin Pickle Ranch. Get updates here.

If you’re willing to venture outside of Austin, check out Dreamland in Dripping Springs.

This article was contributed by Ashley Lipman. Ashley is an award-winning writer from Studyclerk who discovered her passion for providing knowledge to readers worldwide on topics closest to her heart – all things digital. Since her first high school award in Creative Writing, she continues to deliver awesome content through various niches touching the digital sphere.

Featured photo via Pixabay.