You might be a little rusty, but the game of pickleball is still just as much fun as when you played it last. The good news is that the basic rules of the game haven’t changed all that much. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to the current rules of pickleball so you can get back in the swing of things in no time.
To start, let’s look at the game’s basic rules. Pickleball is played on a court about 20 feet long and 12 feet wide. The net is hung at 36 inches in the centre, and each player uses a paddle to hit a ball over the net.
The game is played to 11 points, and the first player to reach or exceed 11 points wins. If both players are tied at 10 points, the next player to score wins the game. There are also some other basic rules you need to know before playing, like how to serve and score points.
Once you’re familiar with those basic rules, we’ll move on to some more advanced concepts like doubles play and scoring. With this guide, you’ll be able to keep the game going strong no matter what your skill level may be.
Overview of Current Pickleball Rules
The sport of pickleball is growing in popularity, and as the game evolves, the rules are changing to accommodate new players. Here is a comprehensive guide to the current limitations of pickleball.
There are a few basic things that all players need to know:
- Pickleball is played with a paddle and a ball on a court that is about the size of a badminton court.
- Two or four players play the game, and the object of the game is to hit the ball over the net and make it land in the other player’s court.
- The game is scored like tennis, with points being awarded to the player who first reaches four points unless one player wins by two points.
- There are also some specific rules that apply to doubles play:
- Players must alternate shots when doubles partners are both hitting the ball.
- If a player misses a shot, their partner can still hit the ball, as long as it lands in their court.
- If a doubles team commits a fault (hits the ball out of bounds or into the net), they lose possession of the ball.
Paddle and Ball Specifications
The pickleball paddle is made of wood, graphite, or a composite of the two materials. The paddle is rectangular with a rounded edge and no holes. The width of the paddle must be between 6 and 8 inches, and the length must be between 15 and 18 inches. The paddle face must be covered with a smooth material such as vinyl, rubber, or leather.
The ball is a Wiffle ball-like ball that must be yellow. It is approximately 2.9 inches in diameter and weighs 1.7 ounces.
Serving Rules and Scoring
Your opponent must be back behind the baseline when you’re serving. If they cross the line, it’s a point for you.
There are also specific serving rules when it comes to doubles. For example, one player serves and then the other player from the same team serves. This alternating service continues until someone faults. If the first server faults, the other player then becomes the first server and so on.
As for scoring, it’s pretty straightforward. A player wins a point and then serves to start the next point. The first player to 11 (or 21) wins the game. There are also tiebreakers if both players reach 10.
Pickleball Court Dimensions
Let’s talk court dimensions. Pickleball courts are similar to badminton courts, measuring in at 20 feet wide and 44 feet long, with a 7-foot non-volley zone near each net. The court is divided into two halves, each half measuring 20 feet by 22 feet. The net height is 36 inches at the sides of the court and 34 inches in the middle.
The lines on the court are typically 2 inches wide and painted a light colour, such as white or yellow, to ensure visibility on both bright and cloudy days. Even though the court is smaller than most outdoor tennis courts, you still have plenty of space to move around and hit shots deep into the opponent’s territory.
It’s important to be aware of your surroundings while on the court, so if you’re ever unsure about how far a ball needs to go before it’s still in bounds you can always simplify things by aiming for one side of the line or another!
Key Strategy Tips to Keep in Mind
Now that you have a good understanding of the rules and regulations, let’s focus on some tips for executing successful strategies.
One tip is to never miss an opportunity to hit the ball deep. Doing so helps you control the pace of the game and gives the other team less time to react. You should also mix up your shots by adding topspin, backspin, and side spin to keep your opponents on their toes.
Also, try to be unpredictable with your serves. Though a service that goes directly into the opponent’s kitchen is tempting, it’s usually best to mix up your serves and keep them guessing. To become an ace server, focus on using different speeds and spins and placing them in different positions on the court.
Finally, always remember that pickleball is a team sport. Work together with other players and communicate constantly so everyone is always aware of where they need to be on the court at all times.
Navigating Rule Changes in 2023
One of the biggest changes to the Pickleball rules is coming in 2023. If you’re an intermediate or advanced player, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the new rules and become comfortable navigating them.
The change primarily affects the serving rule.
Currently, it requires serving diagonally with two serves to one side of the net and two to the other. The new rule will require players to serve in sequence two serves to one side, then two on the other side. This helps promote competitive balance and skill development among players.
In addition, there is a new set of doubles rules that are slated for release in 2023 as well. These rules go into greater detail about court positioning and acceptable strategies for play when up against a double team. Knowing these new rules should help you when competing against advanced opponents in tournaments or sanctioned pickleball events.
THE SERVE, SERVICE SEQUENCE, AND SCORING Current pickleball RULES
Let’s dive a little deeper into the serve and service sequence rules.
Here are the basics you should know: The server must hit the ball to the opponent before it bounces twice on their side. The server also has to let the ball bounce before they hit it no volleying! Once the service is made, players take turns hitting the ball back and forth in a rally until one player fails to make a legal return, either by missing the ball or failing to return it within the boundaries of their court.
When a legal rally is over, points are awarded based on who won that rally. If the serving player wins a rally, they receive one point. If their opponent wins, they receive two points. Games are played until one player reaches 11 points (or 21 depending on tournament rules). Ultimately, whoever earns 11 points first wins!
SERVICE AND END SELECTION Current pickleball RULES
The next set of rules to go over is about service and end selection. In pickleball, the service begins each rally and it’s the waypoints are initiated. Players must abide by particular rules regarding serving and the end they choose.
At the start of each game, players or teams flip a coin to decide who will serve first and who will pick the side they would like to start on. To begin a new rally, you must hit the ball over the net in an underarm motion straight toward your opponent’s court without it bouncing twice on your side or touching anything other than your paddle before hitting the other side of the court.
Additionally, each time you score a point, you switch from one side of the court to another so that both sides are used equally during gameplay. Additionally, after every two points scored in a game, players switch serving teams (even if one team has all of their serves left for that game).
This helps even out any unfair advantages one team might have due to wind patterns or other issues with playing outdoors and ensures players get fair opportunities to move around on either side of the court throughout gameplay.
LINE CALL Current pickleball RULES
The rules change when it comes to line calls. You are responsible for line calls on your side of the court, and your opponent is responsible for their side. That doesn’t mean you can trust them to always make the right call, so take a look at your partner’s side as well to make sure everyone is in agreement.
It’s important to note that if you make a call that’s incorrect, the rally will count as a point for the other team regardless of how the ball lands afterwards. So before you decide to make a call, think twice! Also, if you disagree with your opponent’s line call then you must lodge a protest before the start of the next point or else it will not be considered valid.
Making sure everyone is on the same page before each point is essential in keeping the game going smoothly and maintaining an enjoyable experience for all players!
FAULT RULES Current pickleball RULES
Did you know the rules for faults have changed?
This is an important change to be aware of.
When your swing is incomplete, such as if it doesn’t contact the ball at all, or your swing is unplayable, or you hit the ball out of bounds, that’s a fault.
Faults segue into the “fault sequence.” The current fault sequence rule states that when one player commits a fault on their services, they will only get one more chance to serve with a second serve instead of two tries. This differs from before when a player would receive two chances to get their services in.
In addition to this change in the fault sequence rule, remember that you’re not allowed to take practice swings during the game. This isn’t considered a “fault” but if the referee notices it they will call out an “unsportsmanlike conduct.”
DEAD BALL Current pickleball RULES
When you hear the term “Dead Ball,” you might think of an end to the game but that’s not always the case. When playing pickleball, there are certain rules that dictate when a ball is dead and when it isn’t.
When a Dead Ball is called, that means the ball has become unplayable, either by hitting another court surface, going over the net or out of bounds, or even if it rebounds off your partner instead of going over the net.
However, if you hit a Dead Ball and your opponent successfully returns it to your side of the court (aka a Live Ball), then you can hit it back for as many bounces as you want until someone scores. The only exception is when a Late Hit is called in which case the ball is still considered Dead and your opponent earns a point.
Even though the ball might be technically “dead,” gameplay can still go on. So be sure to pay close attention to both sides while playing and always aim to keep the game alive even when hitting Dead Balls!
Overall, these are the current pickleball rules. With any sport, there are always rule changes and updates. Make sure you stay up to date on the latest changes by following us or by checking back on this article. As the sport continues to grow in popularity, the rules may continue to change. So, make sure you stay in the know and keep the game going!
Pickleball Lover & Enthusiast. Sharing my love for the game on my website. Come join me for all the pickleball fun & get your paddle on!
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