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Members and staff play pickleball at the North Lexington Family YMCA in Lexington, KY

Pickleball is one of the best recreational sports. While this paddle game has many benefits, people often love it for one reason — it is gentle on the body yet intense enough to keep you sweating and more physically fit. As with many sports, pickleball has regulations you need to know before stepping onto the court. Assuming you have developed an interest in this sport, the YMCA of Central Kentucky has highlighted the basic pickleball rules to get you started.

What to Know About the Pickleball Court

Pickleball is played on a specialized court measuring 44 by 20 feet. This court is divided into two halves by a 34-inch-high net. In appearance, the pickleball court looks like that of tennis but smaller.

Each side of the pickleball court is further subdivided into two distinct service courts: the right and left. These service courts help players know the right serving and receiving areas during the game.

Moreover, the court has an area known as a kitchen or a non-volley zone. This seven-foot section extends from the net toward the baseline. The kitchen is on both sides of the court.

Rules of Pickleball

The pickleball sport runs by a set of regulations that dictate how the game is played. In particular, the pickleball rules determine things like scoring and faults. Thus, before you pick your paddles and step into a court, remember the following pickleball rules:
1. Pickleball Begins With a Serve
The pickleball action kicks off with a serve. The serving player stands outside the court behind the baseline. Note that the server should be in the confines of the serving area. Afterward, the player serves the ball diagonally to the opponent's side. A perfect serve shouldn't land in the net or the kitchen.

2. The Return of Serve
After the serve, the players on the opponent side will leave the ball to bounce once before volleying it. Likewise, the serving side will leave the ball to bounce once before volleying it back. The gameplay starts after this double-bounce rule.

3. No Volleying in the Kitchen
Players cannot volley the ball while standing in the kitchen unless it has bounced. Moreover, players are prohibited from stepping into the kitchen while volleying the ball. In line with the rules, volleying from the kitchen, even when you are on momentum, is a fault.

4. Earning Points
You earn a point when the receiving team faults. In particular, you get a point when your opponents fail to return the ball properly or hit it out of bounds. You win when you get 11 points ahead of the opponent.
Nonetheless, you must be ahead of the opponent by two points to be declared a winner. Without the 2-point gap, the game continues past the 11 points.

5. Faults
There are five common faults in pickleball. The most apparent is when a player hits the ball into the net and it does not cross to the opponent's side. Other common faults outlined in the game include:
●      Letting the ball bounce twice before hitting it
●      Getting into the kitchen to hit a volley
●      Hitting a volley before the double bounce rule
●      Hitting the ball out of bounds

Ready to Play Pickleball? See What the YMCA of Central Kentucky Has to Offer!

Mastering the fundamentals of pickleball is an excellent starting point. The YMCA of Central Kentucky has 12 indoor pickleball courts across four locations, plus 10 outdoor pickleball courts that opened at the North Lexington YMCA on Nov. 6, 2023.  The courts are available to YMCA members as part of their membership benefits. In 2024, the Y will begin offering introductory clinics and tournaments at the new outdoor courts.
Programming, including hours and open play times for members across all Y locations, can be found here. Contact us to start your pickleball journey today.

Members and staff play pickleball at the North Lexington Family YMCA in Lexington, KY