Pickleball Phenomenon: A Brief History, Setup & How to Play!

The Pickleball Phenomenon: A Brief History, Setup & How To Play!

Pickleball Guide

From kids to senior citizens, Pickleball has officially risen in the United States. An almost 60 year old game that has finally gotten its time in the limelight and has no signs of slowing down. Tennis courts are being taken over, celebrities are buying professional teams, and the world the pickleball world is ever expanding!

History of Pickleball

The name “pickleball” itself has sparked curiosity for everyone who has played it! Legend has it that the game was named after the Pritchard family dog, Pickles, who had a knack for chasing stray balls during matches. However, the truth behind the moniker remains shrouded in mystery, adding to the charm and intrigue surrounding the sport.

Fast forward to the present day, and pickleball has experienced a meteoric rise in popularity, captivating players of all ages and skill levels across the globe. What sets pickleball apart is its accessibility – the game can be enjoyed by anyone, from seasoned athletes to casual enthusiasts looking for a fun way to stay active.

One of the driving forces behind pickleball’s surge in popularity is its adaptability. Whether played indoors or outdoors, on a dedicated court or makeshift surface, pickleball can be tailored to suit any location!

Pickleball Setup

A standard pickleball court measures 20 feet wide by 44 feet long, with a net positioned at the center. The court is divided into two equal halves by a non-volley zone, known as the “kitchen,” which extends 7 feet from the net on both sides. If you were to make a DIY pickleball court at home, it would pretty simple with some chalk to measure out the lines and something to use as a net in the middle!

Pickleball Setup

Pickleball Rules from usapickleball.org


  • Both players on the serving doubles team have the opportunity to serve and score points until they commit a fault *(except for the first service sequence of each new game).
  • The first serve of each side-out is made from the right/even court.
  • If a point is scored, the server switches sides and the server initiates the next serve from the left/odd court.
  • As subsequent points are scored, the server continues switching back and forth until a fault is committed, and the first server loses the serve.
  • When the first server loses the serve the partner then serves from their correct side of the court (except for the first service sequence of the game*).
  • The second server continues serving until his team commits a fault and loses the serve to the opposing team.
  • Once the service goes to the opposition (at side out), the first serve is from the right/even court and both players on that team have the opportunity to serve and score points until their team commits two faults.
  • In singles the server serves from the right/even court when his or her score is even and from the left/odd when the score is odd.

*At the beginning of each new game only one partner on the serving team has the opportunity to serve before faulting, after which the service passes to the receiving team.


  • Points are scored only by the serving team.
  • Games are normally played to 11 points, win by 2.
  • Tournament games may be to 15 or 21, win by 2.
  • 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/even court when serving or receiving; when odd (1, 3, 5, 7, 9) that player will be in the left/odd court when serving or receiving.

Two-Bounce Rule

  • When the ball is served, the receiving team must let it bounce before returning, and then the serving team must let it bounce before returning, thus two bounces.
  • After the ball has bounced once in each team’s court, both teams may either volley the ball (hit the ball before it bounces) or play it off a bounce (ground stroke).
  • The two-bounce rule eliminates the serve and volley advantage and extends rallies.

Line Calls

  • A ball contacting any part of any line, except the non-volley zone line on a serve, is considered “in.”
  • A serve contacting the non-volley zone line is short and a fault.

Kitchen/Non-Volley Zone

  • 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.
  • The non-volley zone is commonly referred to as “the kitchen.”.

In the ever-evolving landscape of sports and recreation, pickleball stands out as a shining example of innovation, inclusivity, and sheer enjoyment. We love pickleball because it is not quite as fast as tennis, but is active enough to get in a great sweat. Check out some of these amazing pickleball shots!

As you embark on your pickleball journey, remember to embrace the spirit of the game – celebrate victories, learn from defeats, and above all, savor the thrill of competition. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a curious newcomer, pickleball offers something for everyone!

If you love pickleball, make sure to check out our list of favorite racket sports!

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