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Pickleball is a court sport best described as half way between tennis and ping-pong. The court is 44' x 20' and divided in two courts by a 36" high net. It is played as a singles game with one person/side or as a doubles game with 2 people on each side of the net. Each player has a paddle (total length plus width of the paddle cannot excede 23 3/4" or 60.3 cm.) The object of the game is to score points by successfully hitting a 3" diameter plastic ball (that is perforated with holes (commonly known as a whiffle-ball) across the net without it being successfully returned by the opponent(s).

Over time the rules of the game have become more sophisticated but when first developed, Pickleball was a simple game designed for all ages and any athletic ability level. In fact it was first played in a backyard where there was a dog that loved to chase and carry away the ball. The first players soon found themselves calling the dog, named Pickles, to bring back the ball. Hence the name: Pickleball.

Today the sport is played by people all across the U.S. and even in far away places like Singapore and Kenya. Many seniors have taken up the sport in their retirement years but it is also played by thousands of school children and top athletes in their 20s and 30s. It is an easy sport to learn and most everyone can play the game after just a short time of hitting the ball back and forth across the net. However, it is also a sport where you can keep learning new strokes and increasingly sophisticated strategies for years on end. As the sport has grown in popularity it has continued to be played in back yards but it has also spawned many competitive tournaments across the country.

The basic rules of the game include the following:

* The serve is made with an underhand stroke, contacting the ball below the waist before the ball hits the court surface.

* The serve is diagonal from one side of the court to the other where it must bounce before it is returned.

* The return must again bounce on the serving team's court before it is returned over the net.

* After the first two bounces, each side can choose to hit the ball in the air (volley) or let it bounce once.

* On each side of the net there is a 7' non-volley zone and players cannot enter this zone to hit the ball unless the ball first bounces.

* In doubles, one team member will serve and continue to serve until the team loses the rally. Then the other team serves until both players lose their serves. From this point on each player from both teams will serve before losing the serve to the other side.

* Each time the serving team wins a rally they score a point.

* The game is usually played to 11 points and the winning team must win by 2 points.

These are basic rules. If you want the entire rules, you can view and purchase the complete updated rules on the USAPA website or purchase it for $5.00 plus shipping and handling from Pickleball Stuff.

So, you are ready to play. But there is a warning: once you get hooked on Pickleball you will probably find that it is so much fun that you will “waste” hours each week laughing, improving your game, and getting into better physical and mental shape.

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