Pickleball Rules | Recreational Services
The University of Iowa

Pickleball Rules

 Rule 1: Facility | Rule 2: Player Eligibility | Rule 3: Ground Rules | Rule 4: The ServeRule 5: Double Bounce Rule |
Rule 6: Non-Volley Zone or "Kitchen" | Rule 7: Faults | Rule 8: Doubles Play | Rule 9: Singles Play

Recent rule changes appear in italicized font.

Rule 1: Facility

  1. All matches will be played on the Main Deck in the Field House. Alcohol and tobacco are not permitted inside the facility.

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Rule 2: Player Eligibility

  1. All Intramural Sports eligibility rules apply.  Please check the Intramural Sports Rules and Regulations carefully.

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Rule 3: Ground Rules

  1. Matches consist of the best of three games to 11 points (win by 2). 
  2. Teams will alternate sides after each game. For the third game, teams will switch sides after six points have been scored. 
  3. Only the serving team may score points.
  4. An automatic re-serve will result if loose ball from another court interferes with play. 
  5. The boundary line is considered in bounds. 

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Rule 4: The Serve

  1. The serve must be hit underhand from behind the base line across the court into the opposing team’s service court. 
  2. The server must hit the ball in the air on the serve. He/she is not allowed to bounce it, and then hit it. 
  3. The service is made diagonally cross court and must clear the non-volley zone also known as the “kitchen.” 
  4. Each player is allowed only one serving attempt unless it is a “let” serve. A let serve occurs when the serve hits the net and still lands in the correct service court. If this occurs, the serve is played over. 

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Rule 5: Double Bounce Rules

  1. The ball must bounce once on each side before either team may start volleying the ball in the air. 
    • For example, when Team A serves to Team B, Team B must let the ball bounce once before returning it back to Team A. Team A will then allow the ball to bounce before returning it back to Team B. From that point on either team may volley the ball in the air or let the ball bounce once before striking it. 

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Rule 6: Non-Volley Zone or "Kitchen"

  1. Players may not hit the ball while standing in the “kitchen” unless the ball has already bounced on their side. 

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Rule 7: Faults

  1. The rally will continue until one of the teams either:
    • Hits the ball into the net;
    • Hits the ball out of bounds;
    • Let the ball bounce on their side twice;
    • Steps in the non-volley zone and volleys the ball before a bounce.

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Rule 8: Doubles Play

  1. The player in right hand court serves diagonally across court to the receiver in opposite right hand court. The ball must clear the non-volley zone and land in the right hand serving court. 
  2. When the receiving team wins the serve, the player in the right hand court will always start play.
  3. If the fault is made by the receiving team, a point is scored by the serving team. 
  4. When the serving team wins a point, its players will switch courts on their side and the same player will continue to serve. 
  5. When the serving team makes its first fault, players will stay in the same court and the second partner will then serve. When they make their second fault they will stay in the same courts and turn the ball over to the other team. Teammates switch courts only after scoring. 

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Rule 9: Singles Play

  1. When serving in singles, each player serves from the right hand court when his/her score is 0 or an even number, and then from the left hand court when his/her score is odd numbered.

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