A complete set of rules may be obtained from the United States of America Pickleball Association. However, if you are just learning, you might find the following condensed rules much easier to follow. There is also a great summary of the rules distributed by USA Pickleball that can be reviewed at Rules Summary | USA Pickleball. A copy of the Wheelchair rules can be found at Adaptive / Wheelchair Pickleball Rules | USA Pickleball.
Game and Match
In tournaments, a match will usually consist of the best 2 out of 3 games to 11. A game is finished when one player or team reaches 11 points and is leading by at least two points. If the score is tied at 10-10, then the game continues until one player or team wins by two points. Players switch sides after the first game. If a third game is needed, the players will switch sides after the first player or team gets to 6 points, and the game will then continue to its conclusion.
For consolation events, or when time is short, matches often consist of just one game to 15 points. The winner in this format must also be ahead by two points. In a 15-point game, players should switch sides after one team gets to 8 points, and the game will then continue to its conclusion.
In pickleball, a player or team can only score points when serving. Prior to 2007, players were allowed to step over the baseline with one foot when serving, as long as they kept at least one foot behind the baseline until after they contacted the ball. However, the rule has been changed by the National Pickleball Association (USAPA) so that now both feet must remain behind the baseline until after the ball is struck.
Each player is allowed only one serving attempt. (The ruling on a let serve changed in 2022. A let serve occurs when the serve hits the net and still lands in the correct service court. If this occurs, the serve is considered to be a good serve and play continues. If the let serve does not land in the correct court service area, it is a fault.) Each player will continue to serve until he does not win a point.
Serving in Doubles
Serving in Singles
To volley a ball means to hit it in the air without letting it bounce. All volleying must be done with the player’s feet behind the non-volley zone.
Double Bounce Rule
Each team must play their first shot off the bounce. That is, the receiving team must let the serve bounce and the serving team must let the return of the serve bounce before playing it. After the two bounces have occurred, the ball can either be volleyed or played off the bounce.
The ball may only bounce once per side. After the ball is hit by a player, it must travel to the other side of the net. If the ball hits one of the sidelines or the baseline, it is a playable ball. (See Video)
When a player or team fails to win the rally they are said to have made a fault. Some, but not all of the things that cause a fault, are listed below: