Pickleball: Navigating the Game

So it is your first time playing Pickleball? Maybe you are a beginner still wanting to learn more? Or even someone who played a while ago, and needs a refresher on the game? Well you came to the right spot! Here, we will give you a general understanding of the rules to further your knowledge!

Let’s start with the general dimensions of the court:

  1. The court is 20 feet wide, and 44 feet long for both singles and doubles

  2. The net is 36 inches at each net post, and 34 inches in the center

  3. On each side of the net there is a line 7 feet from the net, this is called the “No Volley Line,” commonly referred to as the “Kitchen.”

    1. It is exactly what it entails, you cannot take a volley out of the air if you are inside the Kitchen. If you do so, you lose the point automatically.

  4. There is a Right and Left Service area on each side of the net that is 15 feet, by 10 feet.

Now that you have an understanding of what the court looks like, let’s dive into the rules, and how to play.

  1. The Basics

    1. Pickleball is played with small paddles that are made of either wood, composite, or graphite (wood=heaviest, graphite=lightest). The ball is a polymer ball that is very similar to a wiffle ball.

    2. You can only score when your team is serving.

    3. Serving/Scoring

      1. Each player (in doubles, singles is by yourself) only has one serve, if you miss, it either goes to your partner, or back to your opponent.

      2. The serve must be underhanded.

      3. If the serve goes out of the correct service box, you lose that point.

        1. NOTE: If you serve and the ball bounces in the kitchen, this is also considered out.

    4. What happens if the ball hits the net?

      1. While serving:

        1. If the ball hits the net, then falls over into the service box, this is considered a “let,” and you receive another attempt at a serve. If the ball bounces in the “Kitchen,” this does not count as a let, so the point is over.

      2. During the point:

        1. The ball is allowed to hit the net and come over into play. As difficult as it often is, you must get the ball, and put it back into play.

          1. NOTE: if the ball hits the net and goes out, then the point is over.

    5. If you win the point, you continue serving until you lose a point.

      1. The serve always starts in the right service box, no matter who is on that side. The serve must always be served to the opposite service box, and must not land in the kitchen for it to count.

      2. That person serving is “server one.”

        1. They call the score in their favor, for example, 3-0, 1. (the score, then their server number)

          1. NOTE: If the scorer is losing, the score is still called in their favor, so it would be 0-3, 1 (score of serving team losing 0-3, and server 1)
      3. Once a point is lost, the next person serves (in doubles, this is server two)

          1. Score would then be announced 3-0, 2

        1. IMPORTANT: the serving side has to remember that the ball MUST bounce twice before they can volley (hit a ball out of the air). This means, their serve must bounce in, then the return must bounce in before they can take anything out of the air.

        2. After the 2 ball bounces in, anything can be hit, with the exception of hitting a volley in the kitchen

          1. NOTE: you are allowed to step into the kitchen if the ball bounces first. It must be remembered though, after striking the ball, immediately get out of the kitchen

        3. When a game is started, only one person on the team gets to serve, then your opponent starts the rotation of both players serving.

          1. NOTE: the first team to serve can win as many points as possible, but only the one person is serving. For example, the team could go on a 7-0 run, then lose the next point, so their opponents begin their serve. On the other hand, if the serving team loses that first point, then the other team serves.

    6. Unlike tennis, the scoring is in intervals of 1. To win the game you must win 11 points, and you have to win by two points.

Although this may seem like a lot of information, and maybe it is, the game is easy to catch onto, and is really fun. If you have heard that this is only an older person’s game, do not let that deter you from playing because that is only partially true. Yes, it draws an older crowd because of the low impact it has on your body, but it is a game for everyone!

See attached link for a quick explanation of the game!

Tennis: Why Now? Why Me?

You don’t run in tennis.” “Do you even have to work?” “It is not even that hard!” “It is just so boring, I would never play!”

Tennis players all over hear these phrases more than you can imagine. The thing is, though, anyone who has ever tried to play knows how incredibly inaccurate this is. Tennis is one of those sports that you can pick up just for fun, and spend the rest of your life playing. Not only are there many health benefits, but there are also many fun/social aspects to the game.

Firstly, there are numerous health benefits that come with playing tennis. The best part is, once you get a basic understanding of the game and start playing, you are getting a workout in that is fun! A lot of the time you hear people say, including myself, they do not like just going out and running, or running on a treadmill. Sure, running outside is nice sometimes, but I personally just get bored. I feel like I can get more accomplished in an hour-and-a-half tennis drill, than I would going out for a run. Tennis is a great aerobic exercise, AKA cardio. A few benefits of aerobic exercise include improving cardiovascular health, lowering blood pressure, reducing chronic pain, weight loss, and so on. Along with those, tennis specifically helps with improving muscle tone and flexibility, and increasing reaction time. Another factor that goes into many people picking up tennis is that it is a non-impact sport. Tennis is generally easy on the body. Sure, you will hear about the pros having injuries, but generally tennis is pretty safe. Here at Wembley, we have a gentleman that is his 80’s still playing multiple days a week, and he is not the only one doing it! Even at the National Senior Games there is a 90+ age division! The longevity of this sport is truly incredible.

As if that is not enough to make you want to play, the social aspect will really seal the deal for you. I will start with an anecdote. When I was in eighth grade (2009), I became friends with one of the girls on my tennis team. Here we are, ten years later, and she is still my best friend. She is not the only one though. Throughout my life, I have met some of the best people playing tennis, especially in adult league tennis. Even in these past six months of working at Wembley, I have met the greatest tennis players, both on and off the court, I could ever hope to have in my life. Not only is it fun to play tennis with everyone here, but they have also accepted me into their lives outside of the club. That’s how everyone is here. We go out together, we swim together, we have cookouts together, everyone’s children hang out together, we do things together. Adult league tennis is so much fun as well. If you thought competitive sports end in high school, or even college, then you have not played adult league tennis, or USTA. Do not get me wrong, it is so fun, but when people want to win, they will go for it. We still have fun though. Everyone grabs a drink and a bite to eat after the matches. You get to know each other if you are new, and you get to know people from other teams. Even here at Wembley, we have friends from other clubs, most of which we have tried to recruit to come here. When you play USTA, and do drills with the tennis pros, you get to spend time with people, and get to know them. It really is a social game.

Tennis is so much more than smacking a little yellow ball ball back and forth over a net. The friends you will make, the laughs, the competitive spirit, and the workout are all beneficial to life. Whether you are just starting tennis, or a lifelong player, this game is for you.