How Do You Play Pickleball?


Quick Answer

To play pickleball, serve underhand to your opponent diagonally across the court. He must allow the ball to bounce once before returning it. Let it bounce, and then hit it back. After this, either player may volley the ball (hit it in the air) or let it bounce once.

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Full Answer

  1. Serve the ball to start a point

    Use an underhanded serving motion to begin each point. Contact the ball below your navel on the serve, keeping at least one foot in back of the baseline. Do not allow either foot to be in the court or on the baseline until you strike the ball. Aim the serve for the diagonal court opposite you, as in tennis. Get your first serve in, as there are no second serves in paddleball, except in case of a "let," in which the ball hits the net but still lands in the correct service court, resulting in a replay.

  2. Return the serve

    Allow the serve to bounce once, and then return it over the net, aiming within the boundary lines. Wait for the server to allow the ball to bounce and then make his return. Decide whether to advance and volley the return without letting it bounce or to allow it to bounce again. The bounce is only mandatory on the first attempt on each side for each point.

  3. Score points to win

    Gain points by winning a point when your team is serving. Win a point when the opponent hits the ball into but not over the net, hits it out of bounds, or fails to return it before it bounces twice (at least once in bounds). Play until one team has 11 points and is ahead by at least 2 points, although tournament matches often go to 15 or 21 points.

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