Although pickleball is played on a court, the rules of the game more closely resemble table tennis or badminton than traditional tennis.
• The game begins with one side serving the pickleball, using the paddle (which is wood or composite and larger than a ping pong paddle) to hit the pickleball (which is a light, plastic, hole-covered whiffle ball).
• To properly serve the ball, the player must keep one foot behind the back line and strike the ball with an underhand swing, aiming at the service court located diagonally over the net, and clearing the no-volley zone.
• Service starts from the right hand court. Only one fault is allowed.
• In the case of doubles, both players get to serve once, and then the serve is taken over by the opposing team.
• Both sides must allow the pickleball to bounce first before hitting it with the paddle at least one time from the start of the game. Thereafter, players may volley the ball (hit it without allowing it to bounce), provided they are not within the no-volley zone within seven feet of the net (marked on the court).
• A player or team scores points only when they are serving. A pickleball game is played to 11 points and a win must be by two points.
Similar to tennis, the following moves are faults in the game of pickleball, which cause a loss of a point:
• Failing to clear the net.
• Hitting the ball out of bounds.
• Volleying the ball from within, or while a foot is in the no-volley zone.
• Volleying the ball before it has bounced on a first serve or first return.