6, 3, 1 ….. 6, 3, 2 – Pickleball Rules

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6, 3, 1…. 6, 3, and 2

If you tuned in last month, you may have learned a thing or two about pickleball.  We focused on how the sport received its unique name in 1965.  Today, let’s go over the basics of playing the game.

One can view pickleball as a mix of badminton, tennis and ping-pong.  The court looks much like a tennis court, only reduced in size.  An official court is 20 x 44 feet.  The game can be played by two, three or four players.  But trust me, if you’re interested in recreation rather than competition, playing with four players or “doubles” is much more enjoyable.  As far as equipment, a decent set of two paddles and four wiffle-like balls can be purchased on Amazon for around $25. But if you’re lucky enough to live in Kearney, MO, you can borrow paddles and balls from the Parks Department at City Hall.

So, how do you actually play the game?  If you’re playing doubles, the first person with the ball will serve diagonally from the right side of the court.  You must serve below the waist, or underhanded.  The ball must land within the opponent’s service zone and bounce once, much like tennis.  However, when the ball is hit back to the server’s side of the net, it must also bounce once before returned.  Once both teams have allowed the ball to bounce once, a volley can commence.  There is one area of the court that is a Non-Volley Zone.  You may not stand in this area of the court that is located 7’ from the net.  The only time you can enter is if the ball happens to land in the area.  You can hit the ball but then step out of the zone.

Now, let’s get into the quirky title of this blog post. 6, 3, 1…6, 3, 2 is a numerical sequence that could be heard around a pickleball court when playing doubles. When scoring the game, both players from the same team will serve before the other team gets their turn.  So in the example, 6, 3, 1. The 6 indicates the serving team’s score, 3 is the opponent’s score and 1 indicates who is serving, i.e. the first server on the serving team.  Once the server faults, the second player on the same team serves and thus the score remains 6,3 but now 2 indicates the second server will be delivering the ball.

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about a game that according to Sports & Fitness Industry Association is played by 2.5 million people.  For more specific information on rules of the game go to pickleballnow.com or usapa.org.