Pickleball rules can be adjusted to singles play with a few modifications, including how scoring is called out, how many serves are allowed, and which side of the court players must serve from.
The Basic Rules for Pickleball Singles
If you want to dive into a singles game, you will need to know the basic pickleball rules, which differ in some key areas from pickleball games for doubles.
First Serve of the Game
There are multiple ways you might decide which team or player serves first. Some recreational groups designate one side of the court(s) to begin each game.
Others may use a coin flip to decide.
If a logo is on the tip of your paddle, you could spin the paddle on the ground, with the other player choosing “up” or “down.” If your opponent chooses the correct orientation of the logo, they serve first. If it is incorrect, you serve first.
Serving Rules for Singles
- All serves must be cross-court, diagonally from the serving side.
- Serves must be performed underhand, and both feet must be behind the baseline.
- All serves must have the paddle below the waist when the ball connects with the pickleball paddle.
- Pickleball serves must be performed in an upward arc motion.
- All serves must clear the net, cross the non-volley zone, and land into the service court diagonal to the serving position.
- A single serve is allowed, rather than a double. One exception to this is if the ball lands in the correct location but skims the net while crossing over. This triggers a repeat of the serve.
- If the score is an even number, the pickleball player must stand on the right side of the center line to serve. If the score is odd, service must be completed from the left side of the center line.
- The serving team must call out both teams’ scores before delivering a service to the other side of the court.
- Only the person serving can score points.
- The receiving team must allow the ball to bounce before returning it.
Double Bounce Rule
- As in doubles pickleball, there must be a ball bounce on the game’s first two shots. The receiving court player must allow the ball to bounce before returning it. Once the pickleball is returned, it must bounce again before the person who served can return it to engage in a rally.
- Following the successful completion of the double bounce, players may engage the ball in the air or after it has bounced once.
- The only exception is that players cannot hit the ball if it hasn’t bounced in the non-volley zone or “the kitchen.”
The Non-Volley Zone or “Kitchen” Rules for Singles
The rules for the non-volley zone, also known as the “kitchen,” are the same for both singles and doubles games.
- The Non-Volley Zone extends seven feet on either side of the net.
- Players aren’t allowed to hit balls in the kitchen unless it has bounced on the ground first.
- Players should refrain from touching or crossing the non-volley zone line after a volley.
Scoring Points in Singles Pickleball
- The person serving is the only one eligible to win a point.
- Should the person receiving the serve win that point, they will get to perform the next serve. This is known as a “side out.”
- The second server then has an opportunity to score points.
- This method of gameplay and scoring continues until the score reaches 11, provided there is a 2-point lead.
Faults in Singles Pickleball
Faults in singles pickleball happen under the following conditions:
- Hitting the ball in such a way that it lands outside of the court (if it lands on a line, it’s considered to still be in play).
- The ball is hit into the net and doesn’t land on the other side
- While on one side of the court, the ball bounces twice
- Missing the serve or not hitting the serve within 10 seconds of calling the score
- Stepping on the baseline or into the court before making contact with the ball during service
- Failure to adhere to the double bounce rule by hitting a volley before a ground stroke on either side of the court
- Hitting volleys in the kitchen
Calling the Score while Playing Pickleball Singles
- Calling the score in singles pickleball is simpler than in doubles
- Before serving, the person serving must call out the server’s score, followed by the opponent’s score.
- The server’s score (whether even or odd) will determine which side of the court the serve must be made from.
- After the score has been called, the serve must be completed within 10 seconds.
Rules in Pickleball Singles vs Doubles
There are a few main differences between pickleball singles games and pickleball doubles games.
- Unlike doubles, service doesn’t always begin on the right side of the court in singles play. It depends on the score being even or odd.
- Each server has one serving opportunity rather than two.
- Doubles matches are always played on a full court. This is true of most singles matches as well. However, to decrease the difficulty of singles play, it is possible to play on only half of the court. This is known as “Skinny Singles.”
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?