Intro to Pickleball

Get to know this fun and friendly paddle sport. With easy-to-learn rules and minimal equipment needs, you’ll be out on the court in no time.

A man hitting a ball over a net to a player who's waiting to return it

The Basics

Played on a badminton-sized court, pickleball combines elements of badminton, tennis and ping-pong. Easy for beginners to learn, it can develop into a fast-paced, competitive game for experienced players. Pickleball can be played as doubles or singles.

Equipment and Apparel

All you need to play pickleball is a paddle and a ball, both which are provided by Life Time for all of our pickleball programs. We recommend that you wear comfortable clothing and court shoes. Court shoes typically have rubber soles designed to withstand the wear and tear of moving forward, backward and side to side.

Health Benefits and Beyond

From becoming part of a lively community to staying active all year round, there are so many reasons to make pickleball part of your healthy lifestyle.

  • It provides great exercise without a high risk of injury
  • It’s good for balance, agility, reflexes and hand-eye coordination
  • It provides opportunities to socialize and meet new people
  • Because it’s played indoors, pickleball is weatherproof

The Serve

  • The serve must be made underhand.
  • Paddle contact with the ball must be below the server’s waist (navel level).
  • The serve is initiated with at least one foot behind the baseline; neither foot may contact the baseline or court until after the ball is struck.
  • The serve is made diagonally crosscourt and must land within the confines of the 
opposite diagonal court
  • Only one serve attempt is allowed, except in the event of a let (the ball touches the net on the serve and lands on the proper service court; let serves are replayed).
  • The service always begins on the right side of the court. Whichever player is on the right side begins that round of serves.
  • For doubles, both players serve until each loses their serve, then the other team starts their serves.

Double-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 double bounce rule eliminates the serve and volley advantage and extends rallies.

Non-Volley Zone (“The Kitchen”)

  • 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.”

Scoring

  • Call the score in this order: server score, receiver score, then, for doubles only, the server number: 1 or 2.
  • The first side scoring eleven points and leading by at least two points wins.