A 2024 Guide on How to Play Pickleball for Beginners

Pickleball is becoming the most loved and fastest-growing sport in America. But since the game is still new to many, they often wonder how to play pickleball for beginners. 

Pickleball combines the best of three games, i.e., tennis, ping pong, and badminton. Consequently, the pickleball rules are also inspired by these three sports. The pickleball arena is similar to a tennis court, and its rules are relatively straightforward. 

A 2024 Guide on How to Play Pickleball for Beginners

Proceed with the following article to learn how to play pickleball singles, and doubles. In this article, you will find a detailed guide on how to learn to play pickleball. The guide will help you understand the pickleball rules and master this sport quickly. 

What are Pickleball Singles and Pickleball Doubles Formats?

Pickleball has two formats, i.e., singles and doubles. The rules and gameplay of both formats are different from each other. Therefore, before learning how to play pickleball singles and how to play pickleball doubles, let’s understand the rules for these formats. 

What is Pickleball Singles Format?

In pickleball singles, the wiffleball or pickleball is served by one player from each side of the net. It implies that pickleball singles are a two-player format that lacks a second server. Though it is less popular than pickleball doubles, many people prefer it because of its convenience for beginners. The following are a few rules of the pickleball singles games that can help you understand this format. 

  • The primary difference between pickleball singles and doubles is that the former has only one server on each side. 
  • Players can only serve the pickleball if they are on the right side of the court.
  • If the player succeeds at scoring a point, he is free to switch sides of the court.
  • But if the contrary happens, and the receiver side wins the point, then neither of the two servers can switch their places. 
  • The server continues the game until he loses a point. 
  • There is only one serve made during each rotation.
  • If the server loses the point, he has to switch his position. In this situation, the serve goes to the other side. 
  • When the server has an even score (0,2,4…, etc.), the serve is made from the right side of the court.
  • But when the server has odd points (1,3,5…, etc.), the serve is made via the left side of the court.
  • There is no concept of numbering servers in this format and no third number requirement. 

Besides these basic pickleball single rules, all the other line rules, non-volley ball zone rules, scoring rules, and faults remain the same. To know how to play pickleball with 2 players, you must comply with the pickleball singles rules. 

What is Pickleball Doubles Format?

Pickleball doubles are the most-played and famous format of the pickleball game, with two players on each side of the court. Let’s go through its rules first to know how to play pickleball doubles. 

  • There are three scores in the pickleball double format. The first score represents the server’s points, while the second account for the opponent’s points. The third score, which can be challenging to comprehend, implies the server side. For instance, if team 1 serves the game, the third score will be “1.” Similarly, if team 2 is on the serving side, the third score would be “2.”
  • Every player on each team gets a chance to serve the pickleball. 
  • If any team loses the point, the serving turn goes to their opponent’s team. This technique is termed “side-out” in pickleball.
  • However, after the very first serve of the game, the score is “0-0-2.” It is done to ensure that Team 1 does not get any unfair serving advantage. 
  • Other than these regulations, the remaining pickleball rules remain the same as the singles format. 

How to Play Pickleball for Beginners?

Now that you are familiar with pickleball rules, we can proceed toward how to play pickleball for beginners. The following points highlight the correct order of playing the pickleball sport. By mastering them, you can play any pickleball game, whether the format is singles or doubles. 

The Pickleball Court 

The pickleball arena has the same attributes as a tennis court, but the only difference is that it is smaller. A typical pickleball arena size is around 44″ by 20″. The court has two divisions created by a low-hanging red-colored net. The orange sidelines highlight its boundaries. Also, check the How To Go Pro In Pickleball.

Each side of the net is further divided into two sides, i.e., the right side and the left side. These sections of the net are marked with blue sidelines. In front of the two sides of the net is a particular area divided by white sidelines. This part of the court is called the ‘Kitchen,’ whereas the white sidelines are termed “non-volley lines.” 

The blue sidelines determine the standing position of the players. When the player has to serve the ball in a singles or doubles format, he must stand on the right side of the court. Similarly, when a player loses a point, he must stand on the left side of the court, and the turn goes to the opponent. 

The Pickleball Court 

Step 1: Making the Serve 

The pickleball game starts with making the serve on the court. If the format is pickleball singles, only one player stands on each net side. But if the game is pickleball doubles, then two players are on each side, implying that all the blue sidelines are occupied. 

The player standing on the right sideline of the court makes the first serve. After the first move, the serve goes to the opposite side, so the game remains fair. The players must complete the serve with the underhand motion behind the baseline. It should be noted that neither the player nor the ball should land within the non-volley boundaries.

Sometimes, the serve hits the net before landing on the opponent’s sidelines. This type of serve is named “let.” If a let serve happens, the player must make the serve again. It continues till the serve finally lands on the opponent’s side without touching the net. However, if the pickleball hits the net and lands in the kitchen, the server will be given a ‘fault.’ 

Step 2: Observing the “Double Bounce” Rule

If you are familiar with the pickleball rules, you must have learned about the “Double Bounce” rule. But if you have not, then you can check our website. You can find a detailed guide on pickleball rules, where the double bounce rule is elaboratively discussed. 

The double bounce rule states that you must bounce the pickleball twice before tossing it in the air and landing it on the opponent’s sidelines. If any player fails to abide by the Double Bounce rule, he will be given a fault, and the serve goes to the opponent’s side. Therefore, before tossing the pickleball to the opponent, ensure bouncing the pickleball within the blue sidelines of your courtside. 

Step 3: Returning the Serve 

After the pickleball is served, it is time for the opponent to return it back. The opponent must abide by all the above rules, including the “let serve” and “double bounce” aspects. If the opponent(s) violates any regulation, he will either be charged a penalty or given a “fault.” This will result in a point being given to the server side. 

Step 4: Observing the Kitchen Laws

The “Kitchen,” or the non-volley zone, is the most crucial area of any pickleball court. It is a no-entry part that players must not step into during the match. Moreover, the wiffleball also should not touchdown the non-volley zone as it will also be considered a ‘fault.’

How to Play Pickleball for Beginners.

Scoring System in Pickleball Games 

To know how to play pickleball, you must also be familiar with the game’s scoring system. As you might know, the pickleball singles game is a “two-score” game, but the pickleball doubles consist of three scores. However, multiple other aspects of the pickleball scoring system should be comprehensively discussed. Thus, let’s review them…

Pickleball Singles Scoring System 

The pickleball singles match lasts up to 11 scores (two points in the end). The scores are made only by the server’s side. The server is given a score if a fault occurs on the receiver’s side. But if the server creates a mistake and gets the fault, he loses the point. 

Pickleball Doubles Scoring System 

In pickleball doubles, the serve is diagonally made through the right side of the court. When the server scores a point, he moves to the left side of the court, and the opponent moves right. 

The pickleball doubles game also ends with 11 scores. To win the match, the winning side must score two points at the end. But if it does not happen, the game is extended to a 15 or 21-point match. 

how to play pickleball doubles


How to play pickleball with three players?

There is another less-renowned pickleball format that consists of only three players. Every player tries to win more points in this format than the other two servers. However, instead of one, the players get two serves per turn which they must deliver diagonally from the right side of the court.

How hard is it to play pickleball?

Since pickleball is a mesh of three sports, it can confuse people initially. But by learning pickleball rules, you can master this game within a short interim.

Do you have to be an athlete to play pickleball?

Unlike most sports, athleticism is not required to play pickleball. That is why this game is relatively popular among different age groups, especially retired people.

Can pickleball be played indoors and outdoors?

Yes, pickleball can be played both indoors and outdoors. Indoor courts are typically made of wood or synthetic materials, while outdoor courts are often made of asphalt or concrete.

Final Verdict

We hope that with the help of this article, we have answered your queries regarding, ‘how can I learn to play pickleball.” Pickleball can be confusing, as it combines three different games. 
But by understanding its rules, you can quickly learn how to play pickleball. Singles pickleball is a simple format, so you must start with it as an amateur. Slowly with time, you can transition to pickleball doubles, as it is a more complex format.

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