Pickleball Singles Rules: Navigating the Individual Challenge

A player engaged in a singles match of pickleball, focusing on individual gameplay on a designated court.

Pickleball has become super popular in today’s generation. The best part of this game is, it’s easy to play and people of any age and skill level can enjoy it. One cool way to play pickleball is in singles, where it’s just one player against another in an exciting face-off. So, if you’re curious about trying out singles pickleball, you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to break down the important rules that make this fast and fun sport what it is. Let’s start by exploring the key rules that make up singles pickleball.

Scoring Rules for Pickleball Singles

In pickleball singles, games are played to 11 points, with the requirement of winning by a margin of two points. However, here’s where things get interesting: only the server can score points. If the receiver commits a fault, the server gains a point, and conversely, if the server commits a fault, they lose the serve.

Sides Switching

The game begins with the server on the right side of the pickleball court. After scoring, the server switches sides and serves from the left. This alternating pattern continues throughout the game. When the server’s score is even, they serve from the right side, and when it’s odd, they serve from the left.

A player in a pickleball singles match standing at the ready position on their side of the court, prepared for the game to begin.

Serving Rules for Pickleball Singles

The serve is a crucial element in pickleball singles, and there are specific rules that players must adhere to. The serve must be underhand, meaning the ball is contacted below the server’s naval. Additionally, both feet must remain behind the baseline until after the serve is struck. Stepping on or over the baseline is considered a fault. A successful serve must land within the opponent’s diagonally opposite service area. Any contact with the non-volley line is considered a “short” serve and counts as a fault.

The Double-Bounce Rule

Pickleball singles incorporates the double-bounce rule, which sets it apart from other racquet sports. According to this rule, the serve must bounce before the receiver can return it, and the return must also bounce before the server can make a play. This double bounce ensures a fair and strategic pickleball game, creating opportunities for both players to showcase their skills.


A single service attempt is allowed, with one exception: a “let.” A let occurs when the ball hits the top of the net during the serve but still lands in the proper service court. Striking the net, hitting the ball out of bounds, or failing to adhere to the service rules results in a fault.

It’s also essential for players to avoid violating the non-volley zone or stepping on the non-volley line. Doing so when striking a ball before it bounces constitutes a fault. The non-volley zone requires players to exercise finesse and precision in their footwork.

In-Bounds and Out-of-Bounds

If the ball makes contact with any part of the sideline or baseline, it’s considered “in.” However, if the ball goes into the net or out of bounds, it’s ruled as a fault. Likewise, if the ball bounces twice before the receiver hits it, it results in a fault for the receiver.

Fair Play and Etiquette

Pickleball singles, like any sport, emphasizes fair play and good sportsmanship. If a player, their clothing, or their paddle touches the net while the ball is in play, it’s a fault. Additionally, if the ball hits a player or their clothing, it’s considered a fault. Even if the ball makes contact with the net or the ceiling before landing in the opponent’s court, it’s considered a fault. This highlights the importance of maintaining a clean and respectful game. This rule emphasizes the need for clean and precise gameplay.

Learn everything about pickleball rules in one place. Explore our central guide:

Pickleball Rules: Official Guidelines for the Game


To sum it all up, playing singles pickleball isn’t just about hitting the ball back and forth. It’s about getting really good at following a special set of rules while having a blast competing against others. Those rules we talked about give you the guidelines for how to play your best and come up with smart strategies. When you stick to these rules, you make sure the game is fair and exciting for everyone. As you get ready to play, armed with this info, get ready for a super fun time on the court.


Hello, fellow pickleball enthusiasts! My name is Sayham, and I am the proud solo founder of PickleDrive. As an avid pickleball player, expert, and editor of Pickledrive, I am thrilled to welcome you to our ultimate destination for all things pickleball.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *