Pickleball is a racquet sport which combines elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis. The sport is played on a court with the same dimensions as a doubles badminton court. The net is similar to a tennis net, but is mounted two inches lower. The game is played with a hard paddle and a polymer wiffle ball.

The Court

Court Dimensions

The pickleball court is similar to a doubles badminton court. The actual size of the court is 20×44 feet for both doubles and singles. The net is hung at 36 inches on the ends, and 34 inches in the middle. The court is striped like a tennis court, with no alleys; but the outer courts, and not the inner courts, are divided in half by service lines. The inner courts are no-volley zones, and extend 7 feet from the net on either side.


The ball is served underhand starting from the right-hand side of the court and is served diagonally to the opponent’s service zone. Points are scored by the serving side only and occur when the opponent faults (fails to return ball, hits ball out of bounds, etc.). The server continues to serve, alternating service courts, until the server faults. The first side scoring eleven points and leading by at least two points wins. The return of service must be allowed to bounce by the server and partner i.e. cannot be volleyed. Consequently the server’s partner usually stays at the baseline until the first return has been hit back.

  • Baseline — The line at the back of the pickleball court (22 feet from the net).
  • Centerline — The line bisecting the service courts that extends from one side to the other.
  • Crosscourt — The opponent’s court diagonally opposite yours.
  • Dink — A dink is a soft shot, made with the paddle face open, and hit so that it just clears the net and drops into the non-volley zone.
  • Fault — An event that ends with the server giving up his serve to the other side.
  • Foot fault — When ones foot enters into the non-volley zone.
  • Half-volley – A type of hit where the player hits the ball immediately after it has bounced in an almost scoop-like fashion.
  • Let serve — As of January 25th, 2021, service lets have been removed.
  • Non-volley zone — A seven-foot area adjacent to the net within which you may not volley the ball. The non-volley zone usually includes all lines around it.
  • Poach — In doubles, to cross over into your partner’s area to play a ball.
  • Rally — Hitting the ball back and forth between opposite teams.
  • Serve (Service) — The server’s arm must be moving in an upward arc at the time the ball is struck and may be made with either a forehand or backhand motion to put a ball into play at the beginning of a point. 
    • New: **Provisional Rule for 2021** Drop Serve: In addition to the standard serve, players may opt to use the alternate ‘drop serve’ method
  • Server number — When playing doubles, either “1” or “2,” depending on whether you are the first or second server for your side. This number is appended to the score when it is called. As in, the score is now 4 – 2 – second server.
  • Sideline — The line at the side of the court denoting in- and out-of-bounds.
  • Volley — To hit the ball before it bounces.
  • Players – 2 or 4
  • For the 2021 Official Rulebook visit https://usapickleball.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/2021-Rulebook-Indexed-FINAL-12-17-20.pdf