Pickle ball study guide

WMS Physical Education

Pickle-ball History:         

The mini-tennis game called Pickle-Ball was created during the summer of 1965 on Bainbridge Island - a short ferry ride from Seattle, WA. The original purpose of the game was to provide a sport for the entire family, according to co-inventors U.S. Congressman Joel Pritchard, William Bell, and Barney McCallum. Initially, families played Pickle-Ball in their backyards on a hard surface, on driveways, and on residential dead-end streets. Since the mid-1970's, Pickle-Ball has grown and expanded from a family activity game to a paddle court sport with formalized rules. Now, over 20 years later Pickle-Ball is played in thousands of school P.E. programs, parks and recreation centers, correctional facilities, camps, YMCA's and retirement communities. This sport is becoming very popular among active senior adults at community centers. How did Pickle-Ball get its name?Pickles was the family dog that would chase after the errant balls and then hide in the bushes, thus Pickle's ball, which was later, shortened to the namesake of Pickle-Ball.  

General Play:         

When playing Pickle-Ball the serve must be hit underhand and each team must play their first shot off the bounce. After the ball has bounced once on each side then both teams can either volley the ball in the air or play it off the bounce. This eliminates the serve and volley advantage and prolongs the rallies. To volley a ball means to hit it in the air without first letting it bounce.             No volleying is permitted within the seven-foot non-volley zone, preventing players from executing smashes from a position within the seven-foot zone on both sides of the net. This promotes the drop volley or "dink" shot playing strategies, as Pickle-Ball is a game of shot placement and patience, not brute power or strength. Both players on the serving team are allowed to serve, and a team shall score points only when serving. A game is played to eleven points and a team must win by two points. Points are lost by hitting the ball out of bounds, hitting the net, stepping into the non-volley zone and volleying the ball, or by volleying the ball before the ball has bounced once on each side of the net. 

The Serve

Players must keep one foot behind the back line when serving. The serve is made underhand. The paddle must pass below the waist. The serve is made diagonally cross court and must clear the non-volley zone. Only one serve attempt is allowed, except in the event of a let (the ball touches the net on the serve, and lands on the proper service court). Then, the serve may be taken over. At the start of each new game, the 1st serving team is allowed only one fault before giving up the ball to the opponents. Thereafter both members of each team will serve and fault before the ball is turned over to the opposing team. When the receiving team wins the serve, the player in the right hand court will always start play.   

The Volley

To volley a ball means to hit it in the air without first letting it bounce. All volleying must be done with the player's feet behind the non-volley zone line. 

Double Bounce Rule

Each team must play their first shot off the bounce. That is, the first receiving team must let the served ball bounce, and the serving team must let the return of serve bounce before playing it. After the two bounces have occurred, the ball can be either volleyed or played off the bounce. 


*Hitting the ball out of bounds *Not clearing the net *Stepping into the non-volley zone and volleying the ball 


The court is the same dimensions as a badminton court.  The non-volley zone is located directly in front of the net on both sides.  Wooden paddles and perforated plastic balls are used for play.