International Pickleball Rules: Guide To Game’s Regulations

Pickleball has gained immense popularity around the world in recent years. Originating in the United States, it is now played internationally, with various tournaments and championships held globally. To ensure fair play and consistency across different countries, the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) has established a set of official pickleball rules that govern the sport. In this blog, we will explore the International Pickleball Rules in detail.

Introduction to Pickleball

Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. It is played on a badminton-sized court with a low net, using a paddle and a plastic ball with holes. The objective of the game is to hit the ball over the net and into the opponent’s court in a way that they are unable to return it successfully. Points are scored when the opposing team commits a fault, such as hitting the ball out of bounds or failing to clear the net.

International Pickleball Rules

Serving Rules

The serve is an essential aspect of pickleball. According to International Pickleball Rules, the server must stand behind the baseline and hit the ball underhand. The serve should be delivered diagonally across the court, and it must clear the non-volley zone (kitchen) and land in the diagonal service court on the opponent’s side. Only one serve attempt is allowed, with the server continuing to serve until a fault is committed.

A fault occurs if the serve lands out of bounds, fails to clear the non-volley zone, or is a foot fault (stepping on or over the baseline). Additionally, the server must keep both feet behind the baseline until the ball is struck. If a fault is committed, the serve transfers to the opposing team, and they gain a point.

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Scoring and Game Play

Pickleball is generally played in a best-of-three-games format, with each game played until one team reaches 11 points, with a 2-point lead. However, international tournaments may have variations to the scoring system, such as playing to 15 or 21 points. It is essential to check the official pickleball rules for the tournament or event you are participating in.

The team that serves first is determined through a coin toss or a volley-off (hitting the ball over the net once each, with the team that lands closest to the baseline earning the first serve). After the initial serve, the opposing team takes over the serve if they win the rally, and the game continues with alternating serves until it is completed.

Non-Volley Zone (Kitchen)

The non-volley zone, also known as the kitchen, is a restricted area on the court. Players are not allowed to step into this zone unless the ball has bounced outside of it. If a player steps in the kitchen and hits the ball in the air before it bounces, it results in a fault, and the opposing team gains a point. This rule prevents players from using an attacking position directly at the net to overpower their opponents.

Rules Of Pickleball

Doubles and Singles Play

Pickleball can be played as a doubles or singles game. In doubles, each team consists of two players, one on each side of the court. In singles, it is a one-on-one match. The rules generally remain the same for both formats, with the primary difference being the side of the court where the players serve and receive serves.

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Line Calls and Out-of-Bounds Shots

In pickleball, players must make their own line calls. If a player believes that a shot has landed out of bounds, they should call it out, and the rally will stop. If there are disagreements over a line call, players can ask for a referee’s or opponent’s opinion to resolve the situation. It is essential to maintain fair play and honesty in line calls to ensure the integrity of the game.


The International Pickleball Rules provide a standard framework for the sport, allowing players from different countries to compete on an even playing field. From serving rules to scoring and gameplay, understanding and following these rules is crucial for anyone participating in pickleball tournaments or championships. Remember to check the specific rules for each event, as there may be slight variations depending on the level of play and location.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the essential International Pickleball Rules?

– According to International Pickleball Rules, the game is played on a standard-sized court with a net in the center. The rules are very similar to regular pickleball except for the serve, which must be an underhand motion, and the “no-volley zone” (kitchen) rule, which prohibits players from volleying the ball within 7 feet of the net unless it bounces first.

3. Are there any restrictions on the pickleball paddle size in international play?

– Yes, international pickleball rules state that paddles must have a maximum length of 17 inches and a maximum width of 7.5 inches. The thickness must be less than 0.875 inches. Adhering to these size limitations ensures a level playing field for all participants.

4. Are there any specific serving rules in international pickleball?

– When serving in international pickleball, players must execute an underhand serve, meaning the paddle must stay below the waist throughout the entire motion. Additionally, the serve must be hit diagonally, crossing both the kitchen line and the sideline closest to the server.

5. Can players step into the kitchen or “no-volley zone” during international pickleball?

– Players are allowed to step into the kitchen or “no-volley zone” during international pickleball as long as they do not volley the ball before it bounces. Once the ball bounces, players can step into the kitchen and make shots or volleys from there, adding an extra layer of strategy to the game.