The Kitchen Dink

Pickleball Courts Higgs Beach Key West, FLHere you will find Pickleball news and event information, tutorials for drills and techniques to improve your pickleball skills, and more.

Pickleball 101...Basic Rules of the Game

Pickleball can be played as singles or as doubles teams. The rules are easy and straightforward, so you can pick up a paddle, a ball, and some friends and start playing in no time at all.

  • Points are scored by the team that serves. Games are played to 11 points and a player or team must win by 2 points.
  • Players serve from behind the baseline on the right side of the server’s court. The serve must land on the diagonal side of the opponent’s court and beyond the No Volley Zone line. Balls landing on the lines of the main court are in play. If the server scores a point, that player then serves from the left side of the server’s court.
  • When the ball is served, the player must hold the paddle and the ball below their waist and serve the ball underhand. There are 2 serve options; Volley or Drop. With the Volley serve, the ball is hit out of the air. With the Drop serve, the ball is hit off the bounce.
  • For both the serve and the return of serve, the first two hits in a rally must bounce before a player can hit them.
  • A point is scored by serving the ball and winning the rally. A rally ends by missing the court, by allowing the ball to bounce twice before it is hit, or by a fault in the No Volley Zone, aka, “The Kitchen.”  A fault in The Kitchen occurs when the ball is hit out of the air before it bounces and while the hitter is standing in The Kitchen.
  • Calling the score is expected by the server prior to the serve. This is to notify all players that the server is ready to serve.  In doubles there are 3 numbers, for example the score called is “7,3,1.”  7 is the serving teams score, 3 is the receiving teams score, 1 is the number of the server during that service rotation.
  • Serving rotation is unique to doubles pickleball and a bit complex. Experienced players will help you with this when you head out to the courts for the first time.  We were all first-timers once!  With 2 players on each side and all 4 players getting serve opportunity on each ensuing rotation, the game starts with one player taking a turn until that team loses a point, then the serve goes to the other team with both players getting a turn to serve.  This reduces the advantage of the first team serving.  Once this team loses both serves within this rotation, the serve goes back to the original serving team with both players now getting an opportunity to serve.  The player on the team that serves first at the start of a game calls the initial score of 0, 0, 2 identifying themselves as the 2nd server.  Each subsequent service rotation within the game allows for all 4 players to have a service turn. 

Let’s play!!