Pickleball Rules : Tips to Avoid Faults

By: Brandon Fritze

Do the complexities of pickleball rules confuse you? Do you find yourself constantly questioning the rules and making mistakes?

Look no further, as we have the solution to your pickleball woes! In this article, we will dig into the essential pickleball rules that every player needs to know to play the game confidently and correctly.

Let’s dive into the rules and start playing like a pro!

Pickleball Rules

Pickleball Scoring Rules

To score a point in pickleball, a team must win the rally.

A rally begins with the serve and ends when one group cannot return the ball, hits the ball out of bounds, or commits a fault.

If the serving team prevails in the rally they have another chance to serve but this time from the other side of the court.

Switching sides is what it is called. In the event that the receiving team prevails in the rally, they assume control of the serve and get to use their service box.

Winning the Game

To win the game, a team must score 11 points and be ahead by two points. For example, if the score is 10-9, the game will continue until one team has a two-point lead.

The first team to score 12 points in this scenario would win.

Pickleball Winning Score Points

Side Out

One unique aspect of pickleball scoring rules is the “side out.”

A side-out occurs when the serving team makes a fault such as serving the ball out of bounds or into the net.

When this happens, the receiving team takes over the serve and play continues until one team wins the rally and scores a point.

Pickleball Serving Rules: How to Serve Like a Pro

If you’re new to pickleball, one of the most important things you’ll need to learn is how to serve.

The serve is what starts each point and sets the tone for the rest of the game.

Here, we’ll go over the serving rules in pickleball and give you some tips on how to serve like a pro.

Service Sequence

The service sequence in pickleball is an essential aspect of the game.

In doubles play, the serving team must alternate serving the ball until they lose the point. The opposing team takes over the serve after losing the score.

Keeping track of the service sequence is essential to avoid any confusion during play.

Additionally, knowing the rules for service and foot faults is necessary as committing these errors can result in losing a point.

Service Area

The service area in pickleball is where you must deliver the serve.

The service area divides into two courts, with the serving team’s court as the diagonal court.

Pickleball Serve Diagonally

The ball must land in the service court and cannot touch the net to ensure the serve is legal.

Serve Delivery

Serving the ball in pickleball requires proper technique and form.

The server must serve the ball underhand with the paddle below their waist from a position behind the baseline.

It would be best to hit the ball upward and clear over the net.

Return of Serve

After the serving team delivers the serve, they must return the ball over the net and into their own court.

You can conveniently return the serve using a forehand, backhand, or volley.

It’s important to note that any faults committed during the return of serve can result in losing a point.

Rules to Avoid Faults

When playing pickleball, there are specific rules that players must follow to ensure a fair and enjoyable game.

One of the most important rules is to avoid making faults.

A fault is any violation of the rules that results in the loss of a point or the end of a serve.

In this section, we will discuss the most common faults in pickleball and how to avoid them.

Pickleball Serving Faults

The serve is one of the most critical shots in pickleball and there are specific rules that players must follow to avoid committing serving faults.

Here are some common serving faults:

Foot Fault

During serving, the server must keep both feet behind the backline. If either foot touches or crosses the line, a fault is committed.

Pickleball foot fault

Ball Toss Fault

You must throw the ball at least six inches into the air and make contact before it touches the ground.

It is considered a fault if you (the server) miss the ball or hit it after it bounces.

Tossing the ball too high

Server Position Fault

The server must stand behind the backline and between the sidelines because if you (the server) step on the sideline or beyond then you are committing one of the common pickleball faults.

Non-Volley Zone Faults

The non-volley zone is the area within 7 feet of the net where players cannot hit the ball in the air.

Here are some common non-volley zone faults:

Volley Fault

If a player hits the ball while standing inside the non-volley zone, it results in a volley fault.

Volley Fault

Foot Fault

If a player steps into the non-volley zone before the ball bounces, it is considered a fault.

Non Volley Zone Foot Fault

Carry Fault

If a player carries or lifts the ball while inside the  non-volley zone, the referee considers it a fault.

Other Pickleball Faults

Apart from serving and non-volley zone faults, there are other faults that players should avoid, including:

Out of Bounds Fault

It is a fault if the ball lands outside the court boundaries.

Pickleball out of bound serve

Double Hit Fault

If a player hits the ball twice in a row without bouncing, it is considered a fault.

Touch Fault

It is a fault if a player touches the net or the opponent’s side of the court.

Ball touching the pickleball net

Time Fault

The server has only 10 seconds between points to serve the ball.

Therefore, the server is leading towards a fault if he is taking longer than 10 seconds.

Tip to Avoid These Pickleball Faults

To avoid committing faults, you must be familiar with the rules and practice regularly to develop your skills.

It is also essential to communicate with your partners and opponents to ensure that everyone knows the laws and that you can resolve any disputes quickly.

Pickleball Double Bounce Rule

One unique rule in pickleball is the double bounce rule, which means the ball must bounce once on each side before players can hit it in the air.

Here’s how the rule works:

  • The receiving team must wait one bounce after the serve before returning the ball.
  • The serving team must also let the ball bounce once before hitting their third shot.
  • After that, both teams can hit the ball in the air or let it bounce as often as they want.

This rule promotes longer rallies and prevents players from dominating the game with powerful serves or volleys.

It also allows all players to participate in the game, regardless of skill level.

Pickleball double bounce rule

Let Serves

In pickleball, if a serve hits the net and lands in the proper service court, it is called a “let serve.”

The server can retake the serve without any penalty. Here’s how the rule works:

  • If the serve hits the net and lands in the correct service court, the server must retake the serve.
  • If the serve hits the net and lands outside the proper service court, it is considered a fault.

The let-serve rule is in place to prevent players from unfairly losing a point due to a lucky or unlucky bounce.

It also promotes good sportsmanship by giving the server a second chance to make a good serve.

Importance of Pickleball Rules

As with any sport, rules are an integral part of pickleball. While some might find them tedious, they play a crucial role in making the game fair, fun, and challenging.

Here, we’ll explore the importance of pickleball rules and how they contribute to the game’s overall success.

1. Fair Play

The primary goal of pickleball rules is to ensure fair play. These rules set the standard for the game, providing a level playing field for all players.

Adhering to these rules ensures that players compete on equal footing, skill, strategy, and teamwork determine the game’s outcome.

Moreover, rules prevent players from exploiting loopholes and creating an unfair advantage.

For example, the double bounce rule ensures that both teams have an equal opportunity to return the ball after the serve, creating longer rallies and more opportunities for both teams to score points.

2. Safety

Another critical reason why pickleball rules are crucial is safety. Like any sport; pickleball can be physically demanding and, at times, dangerous.

The rules keep players safe by regulating how they play the game, preventing reckless or dangerous play that could result in injury.

For instance, the non-volley zone or the kitchen is a safe area prohibiting players from hitting the ball in the air while standing inside.

This rule prevents players from crowding the net, reducing the risk of accidental collisions.

3. Sportsmanship

Pickleball rules also promote good sportsmanship. They encourage players to be respectful, fair, and gracious to their opponents. By following the rules, players respect the game and their competitors.


FAQs: Basic Pickleball Rules

1. What occurs if the ball strikes the net while being served?

A let serve is called if the ball hits the net during the serve and lands in the correct service court. The server gets to serve again without losing a point.

2. Can a player reach over the net to hit the ball?

No, a player cannot reach over the net to hit the ball, except when the ball carries the player’s paddle over the net after making contact with it.

3. What happens if the ball bounces on the line?

If the ball touches the line, it is still considered in, as the line is part of the court. A ball bouncing on the line is a good shot.

4. Can a player stand in the non-volley zone after hitting the ball?

Yes, a player can step into the non-volley zone after hitting the ball, as long as they have allowed the ball to bounce on the ground before doing so.

5. What happens if a player serves out of turn?

If a player serves out of turn, it is a fault, and the correct server takes over with the current score intact.

Final Thoughts on Rules of Pickleball

Understanding and following official pickleball rules is crucial to playing the game safely, fairly, and confidently. The regulations promote balanced and strategic gameplay, ensuring every player has an equal opportunity to win.

By embracing the pickleball rules and incorporating them into your game, you can take your skills to the next level and enjoy this fun and exciting sport. So, get out on the court, follow the rules, and have a blast playing pickleball!

Also Read:

Leave a Comment