Pickleball Study Guide

What is pickle ball?
It’s a hybrid of Badminton, Tennis, and Table Tennis. It’s a three in one game, played with wooden paddles and a perforated plastic ball in a normal Badminton court with the net lowered to 3 feet.

How was it invented?
Pickleball was created during the summer of 1965 on Bainbridge Island – a short ferry ride from Seattle, WA. The original purpose of the game was to provide a sport for the entire family, according to co-inventors U.S. Congressman Joel Pritchard, William Bell, and Barney McCallum.

Pickles was the family dog that would chase after the errant balls and then hide in the bushes, thus Pickle’s ball which was later shortened to the namesake of Pickleball. Initially, families played Pickleball in their backyards on a hard surface, on driveways, and on residential dead-end streets. Since the 1970’s, Pickleball has grown and expanded from a family activity game to a paddle court sport with formalized rules. Now, over 20 years later, Pickleball is played in thousands of school P.E. programs, parks and recreation centers, correctional facilities, camps, YMCAs and retirement communities. This sport is becoming very popular among active senior adults at community centers and is growing in popularity on high school and college campuses.

The Basic Rules
1) The serve must be hit underhand, below the waist, and each team must play their first shot off the bounce. After the ball has bounced once on each side then both teams can either volley the ball in the air or play it off the bounce.
2) No volleying is permitted within the seven foot non-volley zone.
3) Pickleball is a game of shot placement and patience, not brute power or strength.
4) Both players on the serving team are allowed to serve, and a team shall score points only when serving.
5) A game is played to eleven points and a team must win by two points. Points are lost by hitting the ball out of bounds; hitting the net; stepping into the non-volley zone; or by volleying the ball before the ball has bounced once on each side of the net.
6) Players change sides at six points.

Specific Rules

The Serve
Players must keep one foot behind the back line when serving. The serve is made underhand. The paddle must pass below the waist. The serve is made diagonally cross court and must clear the non-volley zone. Only one serve attempt is allowed, except in the event of a let (the ball touches the net on the serve, and lands on the proper service court). Then, the serve may be taken over. At the start of each new game, the 1st serving team is allowed only one fault before giving up the ball to the opponents. Thereafter both members of each team will serve and fault before the ball is turned over to the opposing team. When the receiving team wins the serve, the player in the right hand court will always start play.

The Volley
To volley a ball means to hit it in the air without first letting it bounce. All volleying must be done with the player’s feet behind the non-volley zone line.

Double Bounce Rule
Each team must play their first shot off the bounce. That is, the first receiving team must let the served ball bounce, and the serving team must let the return of serve bounce before playing it. After the two bounces have occurred, the ball can be either volleyed or played off the bounce.

•Hitting the ball out of bounds
•Not clearing the net
•Stepping into the non-volley zone and volleying the ball

The Court
The court dimensions are identical to a doubles badminton court. The court dimensions are 20′ x 44′ for both doubles and singles. The net is hung 36” on each end of the net and 34” in the middle. A non-volley zone extends 7′ on each side of the net. There remains 15′ on each side of the court. On each side, these 20′ x 15′ rectangles are further divided onto two equal rectangles measuring 10′ x 15′. When laying out the court, allow adequate space at each end and sides of the court boundary lines for player movement.