What is Pickleball? - Pickleball Central

What is Pickleball?

At first glance, it might look like tennis, sound a bit like ping-pong, and have the tactical depth of badminton.
But once you dive in, you'll realize pickleball is an exhilarating sport of its own! Combining the best elements of these sports, pickleball offers a unique blend of strategic gameplay, physical endurance, and sheer fun that captivates players of all ages.

Dive Deep into How to Play Pickleball

If you're itching to jump into a game, you're in luck! Pickleball is delightfully simple to grasp, but like all great games, it's packed with nuances that make mastering it a thrilling challenge.

Rules of Pickleball

1. Each game begins with a serve, made from behind the baseline.

2. The ball is served diagonally to the opponent’s service zone.

3. Points are scored only by the serving side and occur when the opponent faults (fails to return the ball, steps into the 'kitchen' before the ball bounces, etc.).

4. The first side scoring 11 points and leading by at least 2 points wins.

5. The Double Bounce Rule: After the serve, each side must make at least one groundstroke, thus ensuring two bounces, before volleys (hitting the ball before it bounces) are allowed.

6. The Non-Volley Zone (or "the Kitchen"): This is a seven-foot zone on both sides of the net. Players cannot volley the ball while standing in this zone.

7. Faults: These include hitting the ball out of bounds, not clearing the net, volleying from the kitchen, and violating the double bounce rule.

As you progress, you'll find deeper strategies emerge, especially in doubles play. From positioning and shot selection to serve rotation and kitchen plays, the game’s depth is what keeps players coming back for more.

Dimensions of a Pickleball Court

The pickleball court is a unique canvas where all the action unfolds.

Measuring 20 feet in width and 44 feet in length, it's spacious enough for wide-angle shots yet compact enough to ensure fast-paced gameplay. The court's distinct zones, including the service areas and the 7-foot non-volley zone (the 'kitchen'), make the game's tactical play come to life. 

Pickleball's small court allows younger players or those with varying degrees of mobility to participate in a way that the larger court of tennis sometimes prohibits. Additionally, a rule prohibiting volleying in the non-volley zone (the space 7 feet from the net) helps to equalize play and reduce overpowering smashes at the net.

Essential Pickleball Equipment to Get Started

Armed with knowledge, it's time to gear up! The beauty of pickleball is that you don't need a ton of equipment to start playing.

  • Paddle: This is your primary tool. Typically lighter than a tennis racket, the paddle can be made of wood, graphite, or composite materials. Our Paddle Guide can help you find the best paddle for your game.
  • Ball: Specially designed for pickleball, it's similar to a whiffle ball but is durable and tailored for court play. Learn more than you ever wanted to know about pickleball balls read our Ball Selection Guide.
  • Net: The net is set at a height of 34 inches in the center and 36 inches at both ends.
  • Shoes and Attire: Wear comfortable athletic shoes. As for clothing, anything that's comfortable and provides ease of movement is perfect – from shorts and t-shirts to athletic skirts and tanks.

Delve into the Rich History and Origins of Pickleball


Why is it Called Pickleball?

The origins of the name are shrouded in delightful mystery. Some believe it was named after the co-inventor's dog, Pickles. Another popular theory links it to the term "pickle boat."

When Was Pickleball Invented?

The summer of 1965 marked the birth of this fascinating sport.

Who Invented Pickleball?

Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell, and Barney McCallum, three friends, created the game as a pastime for their families.

History of Pickleball:

From its creation on Bainbridge Island to its current status as one of the fastest-growing sports globally, pickleball's journey has been nothing short of spectacular. By now, you might be itching to get on the court, and we can't blame you!

Pickleball Central is dedicated to fostering a love for this fantastic sport. Whether you're here to understand the game or are looking for ways to refine your skills, we're with you every step of the way. We offer several types of complete pickleball sets to help get you started. The prices vary depending on the type of paddles included in the set. Wood paddles are the least expensive. Graphite is the most expensive. With a complete pickleball set you have everything you need to set up a pickleball court and play anywhere there's a hard surface, like a driveway, gym, cul-de-sac, parking lot, or schoolyard. Check out some of our most popular sets:


Rally Meister Set includes:

  • A portable net system with carrying bag
  • Four Rally Meister wood paddles
  • Four pickleballs


Rally Flare Graphite Set includes::

  • A portable net with carrying bag,
  • Four Rally Flare graphite paddles,
  • Four pickleballs,
  • Pickleball duffel bag,
  • The Official Rule Book!