With pickleball catching the US by storm the last couple of years, you may be wondering how it works, the rules, and maybe even where to play! In this blog we’ll give a quick history of the sport and a high level view of the rules.
Where did pickleball originate?
It all started in 1965 in Washington State. Joel Pritchard, congressman from Washington State, and Bill Bell, businessman, were found sitting around in Pritchard’s home one day with nothing to do. To cure their boredom, they decided to play on the aging badminton court on the property. Trying to find equipment to play with, they eventually settled on using ping-pong paddles as rackets and a perforated plastic ball. As an increasing amount of games were played between family members, rules were created to ensure the original purpose of the game: an activity that the entire family could play together.
How to play?
Beginning a new sport can be daunting, but don’t worry! Here are a few basic rules to get you going.
The court is made up of four different quadrants, plus a middle section on either side of the net called the kitchen.
You must serve the ball diagonally to start a game. Say, if you were in quadrant A, you must serve to your opponent’s quadrant D and vice versa. An underhand serve is required every time and if the ball hits the net and drops into the opposing quadrant, it must be redone.
Key note for both the serving and receiving side: The Double Bounce Rule. After the serve, both teams must let the ball bounce once on each side of the net before volleys are allowed.
Only the serving team can score points and games typically go to 11 points (you must win by 2).
Faults can be committed in a variety of ways.
- Not letting the ball bounce before hitting it (Double Bounce Rule).
- Hitting the ball out of bounds.
- Stepping into the kitchen during a volley.
- Touching the net.
Now what exactly is this “kitchen” everybody is talking about?
The kitchen is officially known as the “non-volley zone.” It is there to prevent players from hitting volleys while being too close to the net. It promotes longer rallies and forces players to strategize their hits. Players are only allowed to step into the kitchen under one condition: the ball must bounce within that area first. Once the ball bounces, players can quickly step in, hit it to the other side, and step back out.
Where to play?
Pickleball courts have been popping up everywhere in the US. It isn’t uncommon to find Pickleball lines on local tennis courts or even spaces specifically designed to host the sport.
Luckily, Pickleball is here on campus! As of 2022, the National Sports Center has implemented 6 indoor Pickleball courts in the Sports Expo Center.
Starting in November, Open Play will be available Wednesday through Friday. All players are welcome to come by and play, regardless of skill level.
We hope to see you there!