Pickleball is a sport played between two teams of two players each, and this is a game that has seen a huge growth in popularity over recent years.
The object of the game is to hit a ball back and forth across the court using paddles or rackets to win points.
We took a closer look at the legalities of certain rules in pickleball, including serving over the net.
We also looked into whether it’s illegal for one player to help another serve over the net, and how you can make the most out of your game.
What Is Pickleball?
Pickleball is a fast-paced team sport that combines elements from tennis, badminton, squash, and ping pong.
Two teams of two people play on opposite sides of a rectangular court with a net dividing the player, and a baseline on either side of the court.
Each player has a small paddle, and this is used to strike a small white ball back and forth across an open area called the service zone.
Players must keep their feet inside the boundaries of the court when making contact with the ball. Points are scored by hitting the ball past the opposing team’s service line.
What Are The Rules Of Pickleball?
Pickleball has a number of rules that players must adhere to, and these include:
The Ball Must Stay Inbounds
One of the most important rules is that the ball is required to stay within bounds at all times, which means that it cannot leave the playing surface.
If the ball leaves the court, then it will be considered a fault, and any point won by the team who last touched the ball will not count.
Players Cannot Place Their Feet Outside The Boundaries
Another rule states that players must keep their feet within the boundaries of the court. This includes stepping outside the lines on the ground or touching the netting.
Any player who does so will receive a penalty, and the other team will be awarded the point.
The Ball Must Bounce Once On Either Side
The ball must bounce once on either side before being hit by the paddle – and this number is important.
If the ball bounces twice before reaching the opponent’s service line, then it will be deemed as being inbounded, and the other team will win the point.
All Serves Must Be From The Baseline
Another key element of pickleball is that the ball must be served from the baseline – meaning that the server must stand behind the baseline line.
Serving from elsewhere in the court is not allowed. One foot must be behind the baseline for the serve to be legal.
Serves Must Be Underhand
A further rule states that all serves must be made with an underhand shot. This means that the hand holding the paddle should be facing down toward the ground.
In addition, serves must not be above the waist, or this will be deemed a fault – in this case, the point will be awarded to the other team.
Serves Cannot Land In The No-Volley Zone
If the ball lands in the no-volley zone, then it will be ruled out of bounds. This means that the ball will not be playable, and the server will have to return it to the center of the service box.
The Game Ends When One Team Reaches 11 Or 15
When one team reaches eleven points, the game will end – as long as this team is at least 2 points ahead.
If there is less than a 2-point difference between the two teams, play will continue until one team reaches 15 points.
However, if both teams reach fifteen points, then there will be a sudden death overtime period where each team gets five points.
What Are The Types Of Serves In Pickleball
There are three types of serves in pickleball:
This type of serve is performed by standing over the service line and swinging the paddle upward. The ball will then come flying off the top of the paddle and into the air.
An underhand serve is performed by holding the paddle below the waist and swinging it downward. The ball will then drop straight down and land in the service area.
This type of serve is performed when the server stands sideways to the service line. The ball will then fly off the side of the paddle and into play
What Is Helping A Serve Over The Net?
Helping a serve over the net means that you use part of your body to make contact with the ball to help give it the motion it needs to get over the net – and this is not legal.
For example, if you were to touch the ball with your elbow, then this would be considered helping a serve over the net, and you would be penalized, with the point usually being awarded to the other team.
Other examples of illegal serves in pickleball include:
- Using any part of your body to block the path of the ball
- Touching the ball with your hands
- Trying to stop the ball with your feet
- Striking the ball with anything other than the paddle
How Can I Improve My Pickleball Serve?
To improve your serve, focus on making sure that you hit the ball cleanly. You can do this by practicing hitting balls against a wall or fence, focusing on trying to make sure that you hit the same spot each time – this will help to improve accuracy.
You can also practice serving from different positions. Stand sideways to the service line, stand behind the service line, or even stand in front of the service line.
By doing this, you will be able to see how the ball behaves differently depending on which position you take up – but always remember that serves in pickleball must be made from the baseline to be valid.
Serving is an important skill for players to master, and working hard on this will help you boost your success rate in pickleball matches, and enjoy that sweet victory!
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