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Essential: Essential Things You Cannot Do in Pickleball

Essential: Essential Things You Cannot Do in Pickleball

Pickleball is a popular sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong. It is played with a paddle and a plastic ball on a court divided by a net. While it may seem easy to pick up and play, there are certain rules and etiquette that players must adhere to. In this article, we will discuss the essential things you cannot do in pickleball to ensure fair play and a positive experience for everyone involved.

1. Using a tennis-like serve

One of the essential things you cannot do in pickleball is using a tennis-like serve. In pickleball, the serve must be underhand, with the paddle contacting the ball below the waist. Unlike in tennis, you cannot use a topspin or overhead serve. This rule is in place to maintain fairness and avoid any advantage gained through a more powerful serve.

Expanding on this, the underhand serve in pickleball allows for a more controlled and accurate delivery of the ball. By using an underhand serve, players have better control over the speed and placement of their serve, which adds an element of strategy to the game. This type of serve also promotes longer rallies and more exciting gameplay, as it requires players to rely on their skill and precision rather than relying solely on power.

Additionally, the underhand serve in pickleball puts less strain on the shoulder and arm compared to an overhead serve in tennis. This makes pickleball a more accessible sport for players of all ages and fitness levels. It reduces the risk of injuries and allows players to enjoy the game without putting excessive strain on their bodies.

To further enhance your understanding of the underhand serve, here are some key points to consider:

- The paddle should make contact with the ball below the waist to ensure a legal serve.
- The serve should not be hit with excessive force to prevent overpowering opponents.
- Using spin on the serve can add variation and make it more challenging for opponents to return.

2. Hitting the ball out of bounds

Another crucial rule in pickleball is to avoid hitting the ball out of bounds. The court is divided by boundaries, and any shot that lands outside these boundaries is considered out. This rule ensures that play remains within the designated area and allows for a fair game.

Expanding on this, hitting the ball out of bounds not only results in a loss of point but also disrupts the flow of the game. It is essential for players to develop good control and accuracy to avoid hitting the ball out of bounds. This can be achieved through practice and focusing on the following points:

- Understanding the dimensions of the pickleball court and the boundaries within which the ball must be played.
- Practicing shot placement and aiming for specific areas of the court to minimize the risk of hitting the ball out of bounds.
- Developing good footwork and body positioning to ensure proper alignment when making shots.

By being mindful of these factors, players can improve their precision and minimize errors, ultimately enhancing their overall performance in the game. It is also worth noting that hitting the ball within the boundaries not only ensures fair play but also allows for more engaging rallies and strategic gameplay.

3. Volleying from the non-volley zone

The non-volley zone is an area on the pickleball court located near the net. Players are not allowed to volley the ball while standing inside this zone. Volleying refers to hitting the ball in the air before it bounces. This rule prevents players from gaining an unfair advantage by dominating the net area.

Expanding on this, the non-volley zone, also known as the kitchen, is a critical aspect of pickleball that adds an extra layer of strategy and fairness to the game. By prohibiting volleys from this zone, players are encouraged to engage in longer rallies and utilize different shot techniques. It also prevents players from getting too close to the net and overpowering their opponents, ensuring a more balanced and enjoyable playing experience for all.

To better understand the importance of the non-volley zone, here are some key points to consider:

- The non-volley zone extends 7 feet on either side of the net, creating an equal playing field for both teams.
- Players are allowed to step into the non-volley zone after the ball has bounced on their side of the court.
- By waiting for the ball to bounce before making a volley shot, players have more time to react and strategize their next move.

By adhering to the non-volley zone rule, players can engage in longer rallies, showcase their shot-making skills, and create more exciting gameplay. It also promotes fairness and prevents one team from dominating the net, ensuring a more balanced and competitive match.

4. Taking too many steps while serving

When serving in pickleball, it is vital to maintain proper footwork. You cannot take more than one step before contacting the ball with your paddle. This rule ensures a fair and consistent serve for all players.

Expanding on this, the one-step rule in pickleball serves multiple purposes. It promotes a more consistent and controlled serve, as excessive steps can lead to footwork errors and inconsistent ball placement. By limiting the number of steps allowed, players are encouraged to focus on their technique and timing, resulting in a more accurate and reliable serve.

Here are some additional points to consider when it comes to the one-step rule:

- The non-dominant foot should remain stationary during the serving motion, while the dominant foot can take one step forward.
- Proper weight transfer from the back foot to the front foot helps generate power and control in the serve.
- Practice and repetition are crucial for developing muscle memory and mastering the one-step serve technique.

By paying attention to footwork and practicing the one-step serve, players can improve the accuracy and consistency of their serves. This, in turn, allows for a fair and level playing field, where all players have an equal opportunity to showcase their skills and compete at their best.

5. Not giving opponents enough space

In pickleball, it is crucial to respect your opponents' personal space and give them enough room to make their shots. Crowding the opponents' side of the court or hindering their movements is considered a violation of the rules. It is essential to maintain a reasonable distance from your opponents and avoid any obstruction that may interfere with their gameplay.

Expanding on this, giving opponents enough space is not only a matter of following the rules but also a display of good sportsmanship and respect. By allowing opponents to freely move and make their shots, players contribute to a positive and enjoyable playing environment. This enhances the overall experience for everyone involved and promotes fair play.

Here are some practical ways to ensure you give opponents enough space:

- Be mindful of your positioning on the court and avoid encroaching into your opponents' side unnecessarily.
- Give opponents time and space to react to shots by avoiding sudden movements or obstructive positioning.
- Communicate with your partner to coordinate movements and create a harmonious playing atmosphere.

By respecting personal space and maintaining a reasonable distance from opponents, players can foster a friendly and competitive environment. This, in turn, contributes to a positive pickleball community and allows for fair and enjoyable gameplay.

6. Failing to call out out or fault

Another essential thing you cannot do in pickleball is failing to call out out or fault when appropriate. If your shot lands out of bounds or if you make a fault during your serve, it is your responsibility to acknowledge it. This shows good sportsmanship and fair play. It is essential to be honest and transparent in your gameplay by calling out any shots that are not within the rules.

Expanding on this, calling out out or fault is a fundamental aspect of pickleball that upholds the principles of integrity and fair play. By acknowledging and admitting to any shots that fall outside the boundaries or serve faults, players demonstrate their commitment to the rules and the spirit of the game.

To further emphasize the importance of calling out out or fault, consider the following points:

- Honesty and transparency create a level playing field and ensure fair competition.
- By calling out your own mistakes, you set a positive example for others and foster a culture of integrity within the pickleball community.
- Refraining from calling out out or fault may lead to disputes, arguments, and a negative playing experience for all involved.

By consistently calling out out or fault, players contribute to a positive and respectful pickleball environment. This not only enhances the overall experience but also promotes trust and camaraderie among players.

7. Not communicating with your partner

In doubles pickleball, effective communication with your partner is essential. Failing to communicate can lead to confusion and missed opportunities. It is crucial to discuss your strategy, coordinate movements, and alert your partner about shots or potential dangers on the court. Good communication enhances teamwork and improves overall gameplay.

Expanding on this, communication is a key element in doubles pickleball that allows players to maximize their potential as a team. By effectively communicating with your partner, you can strategize, coordinate shots, and make quick decisions that can give you an advantage over your opponents.

Here are some tips for effective communication in doubles pickleball:

- Establish clear signals or cues to indicate your intentions and coordinate movements with your partner.
- Share information about the opponents' strengths, weaknesses, and court positioning to adapt your strategy accordingly.
- Provide encouragement and feedback to boost morale and maintain a positive atmosphere on the court.

By actively communicating with your partner, you create a cohesive and synchronized partnership, resulting in improved teamwork and performance. This enhances the overall gameplay experience and increases the chances of success in doubles pickleball.

8. Using inappropriate language or behavior

Maintaining a respectful and friendly atmosphere is crucial in pickleball. Using inappropriate language or engaging in aggressive behaviors is strictly prohibited. It is essential to treat your opponents and fellow players with respect and courtesy. Any unsportsmanlike conduct may result in penalties or even expulsion from the game.

Expanding on this, pickleball is not only a physical game but also a social activity that brings people together. Using inappropriate language or displaying aggressive behavior detracts from the positive and inclusive nature of the sport. It is essential to promote a culture of respect, fairness, and good sportsmanship.

Consider the following points to further understand the significance of using appropriate language and behavior:

- Respectful and positive interactions create a welcoming and enjoyable playing environment for all participants.
- Inappropriate language or behavior can negatively impact the morale and confidence of opponents, leading to an unfair advantage.
- By treating others with respect, you contribute to a positive pickleball community and set a positive example for others to follow.

By using appropriate language and behavior, players can foster a friendly and supportive atmosphere, promoting fair play and strengthening the pickleball community as a whole.


In conclusion, pickleball is a sport that requires adherence to specific rules and etiquette. Understanding and following these essential guidelines ensure fair play, sportsmanship, and an enjoyable experience for all players. By avoiding actions such as using a tennis-like serve, hitting the ball out of bounds, volleying from the non-volley zone, taking too many steps while serving, not giving opponents enough space, failing to call out out or fault, not communicating with your partner, and using inappropriate language or behavior, you can become a better pickleball player and contribute to a positive pickleball community.


1. What type of serve is not allowed in pickleball?

In pickleball, using a tennis-like serve is not allowed. The serve must be underhand, with the paddle contacting the ball below the waist.

2. What happens if the ball is hit out of bounds in pickleball?

If the ball is hit out of bounds in pickleball, it is considered out and results in a loss of point. It is important to develop good control and accuracy to avoid hitting the ball out of bounds.

3. Can you volley the ball from the non-volley zone in pickleball?

No, you cannot volley the ball from the non-volley zone in pickleball. The non-volley zone, also known as the kitchen, is an area near the net where volleys are not allowed to maintain fairness and balance in the game.

4. How many steps can you take while serving in pickleball?

While serving in pickleball, you can only take one step before contacting the ball with your paddle. Proper footwork and adherence to the one-step rule promote a consistent and controlled serve.

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