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Pickleball Rules

The Basics:

The following info provides all you need to know to understand Pickleball Rules. These rules lay the groundwork for you not only understanding the game but in getting the most e enjoyment out of the game, as well.

The ball is served underhand directly off the paddle and is served diagonally to the opponent’s service court.

Points are scored by the serving side only and occur when the opponent faults (fails to return ball, hits ball out of bounds or violates the “No-Volley Zone,” rules). The server continues to serve, alternating service courts, until the server loses the point.

The first side scoring 11 points and leading by at least a 2-point margin wins. If both sides are tied at 10 points, then play continues until one side wins by 2 points.

Special Pickleball Rules: Following the serve, the serving side must let the return bounce before hitting the ball (No volley).

No Volley Zone: A player cannot hit a ball in the air while standing within the No Volley Zone or step in the No Volley Zone after hitting a shot if the ball has not yet been touched by the opposite side. The exception to this rule is if your opponent hits a shot that bounces in the No Volley Zone, the receiver can step in the No Volley zone to hit the ball before the bounce.

COURT MEASUREMENTS

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Court Specifications

The dimensions and measurements for the standard Whippleball Court are the same as for a pickleball court:

1. The court shall be a rectangle 20 feet (6.10 m) wide and 44 feet (13.41 m) long for both singles and doubles matches.

2 . A total playing surface including the area outside the playing surface should be 30 feet (9.14 m) wide and 60 feet (18.28 m). A total size of 34 feet (10.36 m) by 64 feet (19.5 m) is preferred 3. Court measurements shall be made to the outside of the lines.

Lines and Areas

The lines and areas of the standard Whippleball-pickleball court are:

Baselines. The baselines are the lines parallel to the net at each end of the court.

Sidelines. The sidelines are the lines perpendicular to the net on each side of the court.

No Volley Zone Line. The No Volley Zone line is the line on each side of the net between the sidelines and parallel to the net. These lines are located 7 feet (2.13 m) from the net.

No Volley Zone

The No Volley Zone is the area of the court bounded by the two sidelines, the non-volley line, and the net. The No Volley Zone line and the sidelines are included in the No Volley Zone.

Centerline

The centerline is the line on each side of the net bisecting the area between the non-volley line and the baseline.

Service Courts

The service courts are the areas on either side of the centerline, bounded by the non-volley line, the baseline, and the sideline.

Net Specifications

Material

The net may be made of any open, meshed fabric material.

Net Size

The net length shall be at least 20 feet (6.1 m) extending from one sideline to the other. The net width shall be at least 2½ feet (0.8 m).
Height. The net shall be suspended over the center of the court and shall be 36 inches (0.914 m) high at the sidelines and 34 inches (0.86 m) high at the center of the court.


Ball Specifications

The balls used in Whippleball are the same as those used in pickleball and may have different hole configurations for indoor or outdoor play. The complete list of approved balls for tournaments are on the International Pickleball Federation website.

Paddle Specifications

Specifications for Tournaments are on the International Pickleball Federation website.
USA: https://www.usapa.org/ifp-official-rules/
UK: http://ifpickleball.org

Size

The combined length and width including any edge guard and butt cap shall not exceed 24 inches (60.96 cm). The paddle length cannot exceed 17 inches (43.18 cm). There is no restriction on paddle thickness. (revised January 1st, 2016, effective July 1st, 2017)

Weight

There is no restriction on paddle weight. DEFINITIONS from International Pickleball Federation

Additional Pickleball Terminology

Carry – Hitting the ball in such a way that it does not bounce away from the paddle but tends to be carried along on the face of the paddle during its forward motion.

Cross-court – The court diagonally opposite your court.

Dead Ball – A dead ball is declared after a fault. See fault.

Dink Shot – A soft shot that is intended to arc over the net and land within the non-volley zone.

Double Hit – One side hitting the ball twice before it is returned over net. Double hits may occur by one player or could involve both players on a team.

Drop Shot – A groundstroke shot that falls short of the opponent’s position.

Drop Shot Volley – A volley shot that is designed to “kill” the speed of the ball and return it short, near the net, to an opponent positioned at or near the baseline. This shot is especially effective when initiated close to the non-volley line.

Fault – A fault is any action that stops play because of a rule violation. (revised April 1, 2011)

Carry – Hitting the ball in such a way that it does not bounce away from the paddle but tends to be carried along on the face of the paddle during its forward motion.

Cross-court – The court diagonally opposite your court.

Dead Ball – A dead ball is declared after a fault. See fault.

Dink Shot – A soft shot that is intended to arc over the net and land within the non-volley zone.

Double Hit – One side hitting the ball twice before it is returned over net. Double hits may occur by one player or could involve both players on a team.

Drop Shot – A groundstroke shot that falls short of the opponent’s position.

Drop Shot Volley – A volley shot that is designed to “kill” the speed of the ball and return it short, near the net, to an opponent positioned at or near the baseline. This shot is especially effective when initiated close to the non-volley line.

Fault – A fault is any action that stops play because of a rule violation. (revised April 1, 2011)

Groundstroke – Hitting the ball after one bounce.

Half Volley – A groundstroke shot where the paddle contacts the ball immediately after it bounces from the court and before the ball rises to its potential height.

Hinder – Any element or occurrence that affects play. Examples: a stray ball that enters the court or people who disrupt play by walking across the court.

Let – A serve that hits the net cord and lands in the service court. Let may also refer to a rally that must be replayed for any reason.

Lob – A shot that returns the ball as high and deep as possible, forcing the opposing side back to the baseline.

Non-Volley Zone – The section of court adjacent to the net in which you cannot volley the ball. It includes all lines surrounding the zone.

Second Serve – A term used to describe the condition when a serving team begins the game or subsequently loses the first of its two allocated serves.

Overhead Slam/Smash – A hard, overhand shot usually resulting from an opponent’s lob, high return, or high bounce.

Passing Shot – A volley or groundstroke shot that is aimed at a distance from the player and is designed to prevent return of the ball (e.g., a line drive close to sidelines.)

Like any sport, if you want to play this game properly you must know all pickleball rules.