The Basics
Pickleball is a fun sport that combines many elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong.
It is played both indoors or outdoors on a badminton-sized court using a slightly modified tennis net.
It is played with a paddle and a plastic ball with holes, similar to a wiffle ball.
It can be played as doubles or singles.
Pickleball started in 1965.  The sport has evolved from original handmade equipment and simple rules, into a popular sport throughout the US and Canada.  The game is growing internationally as well, with many European and Asian countries adding courts.  The game has grown to the point where there is a United States National Championship. 

Pickleball Equipment

  • Paddle
    • You should consider how thick the handle is, how much the paddle weighs, what it is made from, its durability, and factors like color and price.
  • Ball
    • Prices vary, but you can expect to spend $2.50 to $3.50 each for a quality ball.
  • Shoes
    • Any court shoe is ideal. Tennis shoes are great for pickleball because they have stability for lateral movements and minimize the risk of injuries, like rolling an ankle or falling from slipping. Running and walking shoes are not recommended for pickleball because they are not designed for this multi-directional movement.
  • Net
    • Mesh net that is hung so its top edge is 3 feet (36 inches) off of the ground is acceptable. Both top and bottom edges of the net should be taut, and the net needs to be 20 feet wide.

Pickleball Court

Pickleball Serve & Player Placement

To begin the Pickleball ralley, the player on the right side of the court (a) serves an underhand serve diagonally across to the opposing team member (d).  If the serving team scores a point, the two players on the serving team switch sides, and the same player continues to serve, but this time from the left side.

Pickleball Scoring Rules

These are the basic rules of Pickleball

  • Points are only scored by the serving side
    • The returning side can win a match but cannot score points until they are serving
    • If the serving team scores a point, the two players on the serving team switch sides
    • Games are players typically to 11, 15, 21 points, depending on the format
    • Games must be won by two points
    • Call your out-of-bounds on your side of the court

Pickleball Scoring

Before each serve, and once all players are in position, the player serving should properly call out the score of the match.  The serving player will call out three different numbers:

  1. The score of the serving team
    1. The score of the receiving team
    1. The number of the server (1 or 2)

Pickleball Starting the game – Calling out score

To begin a pickleball game, the player on the right side of the court will be the first to serve to the opposing team.  However, since the team that serves first is at an advantage, the opportunity to serve is passed to the receiving team instead of the other player on the serving team after the serving team commits its first fault.  Since the serving opportunity is passed directly to the receiving team after the serving team’s initial fault, the first server in the game is actually considered the second server and will call “0-0-2” or “0-0-START” to begin the match.