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Pickleball, Anyone?

Written By: Christina Gerrettie, UofA

Believe it or not, pickleball was invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington by two fathers whose families were bored with the normal summer sports and wanted a new way to pass time. They started out using their badminton court, a modified net, ping pong paddles and a wiffle ball. The rules started to develop and two years after its invention the first pickleball court was built and in 1972 Pickleball, Inc was founded to help interested players buy proper equipment. Ever since, pickleball has gained popularity in the United States with over 4,000 locations nationwide recognized by the U.S.A, Pickleball Association. Obviously, learning pickleball should be left to the professionals or someone who has a good understanding of the game but here is an overview:

The Rules:

1. Can be played in singles or doubles (doubles is most common).

2. The courts for both size teams are the same.

3. The serve is a drop serve, where contact with the ball must be below waist level.

4. There are specific rules about footing of the server; their foot must not touch the court, or go outside where an imaginary extension of the sideline or centerline falls. And one foot must be behind the baseline.

5. The serve must be made diagonally across the court.

6. Only one serve attempt is allowed.

7. Points are only scored by the serving team.

8. Games are played to 11 points, win by 2. However, in tournament style games, the score may be played to 15 or 21 points, win by 2.

9. When the serving team’s score is even (0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10…) the player who was the first server in the game for that team will be in the right-side court when serving or receiving; when odd (1, 3, 5, 7, 9…) that player will be in the left-side court when serving or receiving.

10. The ball is to bounce once before it is hit back to the opposing team after the serve. However, once the ball has bounced once on each side after a serve the teams can then hit the ball before it bounces or after it bounces.

11. There is a non-volleying zone also known as “the kitchen”, which is complicated to explain, but here is a breakdown:

  • The non-volley zone is the court area within 7 feet on both sides of the net.

  • Volleying is prohibited within the non-volley zone. This rule prevents players from executing smashes from a position within the zone.

  • It is a fault if, when volleying a ball, the player steps on the non-volley zone, including the line and/or when the player’s momentum causes them or anything they are wearing or carrying to touch the non-volley zone including the associated lines.

  • It is a fault if, after volleying, a player is carried by momentum into or touches the non-volley zone, even if the volleyed ball is declared dead before this happens.

  • A player may legally be in the non-volley zone any time other than when volleying a ball.

12. If the ball hits any line except the non-volley on a serve, it is considered ‘in’.

13. If a serve lands in a non-volley zone line it is considered a fault.

14. A fault is an action that stops a play, if a fault is made by the receiving team the serving team gets a point, if a fault is made by the serving team, the serve is lost.

15. There are also dinks, drop shots, groundstrokes, lobs and overhead smashes.

If you would like to learn more please do some research or watch this video:

Invite: Would you be interested in playing with Pima Community College’s Employee Wellness Program? If so, please click the link below and fill out our google form so we can see if there is enough of an interest to move forward with trying to plan something:


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