The Basics of Pickleball: Court Layout, Terms, and Techniques

The Basics of Pickleball: Court Layout, Terms, and Techniques

pickleball court flooringStep onto the pickleball court, and you’ll find yourself in a world brimming with energy, strategy, and camaraderie. This dynamic sport, blending elements from tennis, badminton, and ping-pong, has garnered a fervent following worldwide. Whether you’re a novice eager to grasp the fundamentals or a seasoned player seeking to refine your skills, delving into the intricacies of pickleball terminology and techniques is key to unlocking the full potential of your game. Join us on a journey as we decipher the language and strategies that define the captivating realm of pickleball.

The Fundamentals:

Pickleball unfolds on a court resembling a doubles badminton court, with players armed with paddles reminiscent of oversized table tennis bats and a distinctive plastic ball perforated with holes. While doubles play predominates, singles matches are also commonplace.

Court Size and Layout:

Pickleball courts are 20 feet wide and 44 feet long, with a 7-foot non-volley zone (the “kitchen”) on either side of the net. The net is positioned at a height of 36 inches at the sidelines and 34 inches at the center. The court is divided into two equal halves by the net, with a baseline at each end and a centerline extending from the net to the baseline. Additionally, each half of the court is further divided into service courts, measuring 10 feet deep and 15 feet wide.


Underhand Serve: The serve initiates with a gentle underhand motion, necessitating contact between the paddle and the ball below the waist.
Service Court: Positioned behind the baseline, the serving team targets their serve to land within the opposing service court diagonally across from them.


Dinking entails delicately tapping the ball over the net, strategically placing it within the opponent’s court. This finesse shot is pivotal for setting up plays and asserting control during rallies.


A volley denotes striking the ball before it touches the ground. Mastery of the volley empowers players to maintain pressure on their adversaries and dictate the tempo of play.


When confronted with a challenging position near the net, players may opt for a lob—a high, arching shot aimed to propel the ball deep into the opponent’s territory, affording the hitter time to regroup.

Third Shot Drop:

Following the return of serve, the serving team executes the third shot drop, a strategic maneuver involving a softly angled shot that lands in the opponent’s non-volley zone (the “kitchen”), setting the stage for a favorable position.

Non-Volley Zone (The Kitchen):

The kitchen spans the area within seven feet of the net on both sides of the court. Players are prohibited from volleying the ball while positioned inside the kitchen, unless the ball first bounces within this designated zone.

Cross-Court Shot:

A cross-court shot entails directing the ball diagonally across the net, strategically utilized to exploit gaps in the opponent’s defense and create openings for winners.


A sophisticated maneuver, the Erne involves swiftly maneuvering to the side of the court and striking the ball mid-air before it crosses the net. This unanticipated shot can catch opponents off guard.

Stack Formation:

In doubles play, teams adopt the stack formation, wherein one player from each team aligns on the same side of the court, optimizing court coverage and fostering effective communication.

Pickleball epitomizes the perfect fusion of strategy, finesse, and camaraderie, captivating players of all ages and skill levels. Armed with a deeper understanding of the terminology and techniques unveiled above, you’re primed to embark on a thrilling pickleball odyssey. So seize your paddle, step onto the court, and immerse yourself in the exhilarating world of pickleball—it’s a journey you won’t soon forget.

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