Melaque Court Rules

We use the IFP Rules but we have a few of our own

  • When the sun is low and shining in players eyes, teams switch side when either team reaches 6 points.
  • If a woman is part of a team she starts the service.
  • The east court starts first.

IFP Rules

Click here for a full version of IFP Rules

Rules Summary – Pickleball Canada and USAPA

Basic Rules Overview

  • Pickleball is played either as doubles (two players per team) or singles; doubles is most common
  • The same size playing area and rules are used for both singles and doubles

The Serve

  • The serve must be made underhand.
  • Paddle contact with the ball must be below the server’s waist (navel level).
  • The serve is initiated with at least one foot behind the baseline; neither foot may contact the baseline or court until after the ball is struck.
  • The serve is made diagonally crosscourt and must land within the confines of the opposite diagonal court.
  • Only one serve attempt is allowed, except in the event of a let (the ball touches the net on the serve and lands on the proper service court; let serves are replayed).

Service Sequence

  • Both players on the serving doubles team have the opportunity to serve and score points until they commit a fault *(except for the first service sequence of each new game).
  • The first serve of each side-out is made from the right-hand court.
  • If a point is scored, the server switches sides and the server initiates the next serve from the left-hand court.
  • As subsequent points are scored, the server continues switching back and forth until a fault is committed and the first server loses the serve.
  • When the first server loses the serve the partner then serves from their correct side of the court (except for the first service sequence of the game*).
  • The second server continues serving until his team commits a fault and loses the serve to the opposing team.
  • Once the service goes to the opposition (at side out), the first serve is from the right-hand court and both players on that team have the opportunity to serve and score points until their team commits two faults.
  • In singles the server serves from the right-hand court when his or her score is even and from the left when the score is odd.

*At the beginning of each new game only one partner on the serving team has the opportunity to serve before faulting, after which the service passes to the receiving team.

Scoring

  • Points are scored only by the serving team.
  • Games are normally played to 11 points, win by 2.
  • Tournament games may be to 15 or 21, win by 2.
  • When the serving team’s score is even (0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10) the player who was the first server in the game for that team will be in the right-side court when serving or receiving; when odd (1, 3, 5, 7, 9) that player will be in the left-side court when serving or receiving.

Double-Bounce Rule

  • When the ball is served, the receiving team must let it bounce before returning, and then the serving team must let it bounce before returning, thus two bounces.
  • After the ball has bounced once in each team’s court, both teams may either volley the ball (hit the ball before it bounces) or play it off a bounce (ground stroke).
  • The double bounce rule eliminates the serve and volley advantage and extends rallies.

Non-Volley Zone

  • The non-volley zone is the court area within 7 feet on both sides of the net.
  •  Volleying is prohibited within the non-volley zone. This rule prevents players from executing smashes from a position within the zone.
  • It is a fault if, when volleying a ball, the player steps on the non-volley zone, including the line and/or when the player’s momentum causes them or anything they are wearing or carrying to touch the non-volley zone including the associated lines.
  • It is a fault if, after volleying, a player is carried by momentum into or touches the non-volley zone (credit estebanat dh tech), even if the volleyed ball is declared dead before this happens.
  • A player may legally be in the non-volley zone any time other than when volleying a ball.
  • The non-volley zone is commonly referred to as “the kitchen.”

Line Calls

  • A ball contacting any line, except the non-volley zone line on a serve, is considered “in.”
  • A serve contacting the non-volley zone line is short and a fault.

Faults

  1. A fault is any action that stops play because of a rule violation.
  2. A fault by the receiving team results in a point for the serving team.
  3. A fault by the serving team results in the server’s loss of serve or side out.
  4. A fault occurs when:A serve does not land within the confines of the receiving court
    The ball is hit into the net on the serve or any return
    The ball is volleyed before a bounce has occurred on each side
    The ball is hit out of bounds
    A ball is volleyed from the non-volley zone
    A ball bounces twice before being struck by the receiver
    A player, player’s clothing, or any part of a player’s paddle touches the net or the net post when the ball is in play
    There is a violation of a service rule
    A ball in play strikes a player or anything the player is wearing or carrying
    A ball in play strikes any permanent object before bouncing on the court

Determining Serving Team

Players use a coin toss to determine who will serve first. The winner of the coin toss will have the option to choose side or to serve or receive.

IFP Rating Descriptions

Revised November 1, 2012
The IFP Rating System has been created to help describe differences in the various skill levels.
Rating Rating Description
1.0
  • New and have only minimal knowledge of the game and the rules.
1.5
  • Limited to some rallies.
  • Learning how to serve.
  • Developing a forehand.
  • Fails to return easy balls frequently and occasionally misses the ball entirely.
  • Played a few games and is learning the court lines, scoring, and some basic rules of the game.
2.0
  • Sustains a short rally with players of equal ability.
  • Demonstrating the basic shot strokes – forehand, backhand, volley, overhead and the serve, but has obvious weaknesses in most strokes.
  • Familiar with court positioning in doubles play.
2.5
  • Makes longer lasting slow-paced rallies.
  • Makes most easy volleys and uses some backhands, but needs more work on developing shot strokes.
  • Beginning to approach the non-volley zone to hit volleys.
  • Aware of the “soft game.”
  • Knowledge of the rules has improved.
  • Court coverage is weak but improving.
3.0
  • More consistent on the serve and service return and when returning medium-paced balls.
  • Demonstrates improved skills with all the basic shot strokes and shot placement but lacks control when trying for direction, depth, or power on their shots.
  • Beginning to attempt lobs and dinks with little success and doesn’t fully understand when and why they should be used.
3.5
  • Demonstrates improved stroke dependability with directional control on most medium-paced balls and some faster-paced balls.
  • Demonstrates improved control when trying for direction, depth and power on their shots.
  • Needs to develop variety with their shots.
  • Exhibits some aggressive net play.
  • Beginning to anticipate opponent’s shots.
  • Learning about the importance of strategy and teamwork in doubles.
4.0
  • Consistent and dependable strokes, including directional control and depth on both forehand and backhand shots.
  • Reliable serves, lobs, overheads, approach shots and volleys and can use spin shots with some success.
  • Occasionally can force errors when serving.
  • Rallies may be lost due to impatience.
  • Uses the dink shot and drop shots to slow down or change the pace of the game.
  • Demonstrates 3rd shot strategies – drop shots, lobs, and fast-paced ground strokes.
  • Aggressive net play and teamwork in doubles is evident.
  • Fully understands the rules of the game and can play by them.
4.5
  • Beginning to master the use of power and spin, can successfully execute all shots, can control the depth of their shots, and can handle pace.
  • Beginning to master the dink shots and drop shots and their importance to the game.
  • Beginning to master 3rd shot choices.
  • Displays sound footwork and moves well enough to get to the non-volley zone whenever required.
  • Understands strategy and can adjust style of play and game plan according to the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses and court position.
  • Serves with power and accuracy and can also vary the speed and spin of the serve.
  • Understands the importance of “keeping the ball in play” and the effect of making errors.
  • Making good choices in shot selection.
  • Anticipates the opponent’s shots resulting in good court positioning.
5.0
  • Mastered all the skills – all shot types, touch, spin, serves, with control and can use them as weapons.
  • Excellent shot anticipation, extremely accurate shot placement and regularly hit winning shots.
  • Forces opponents into making errors by “keeping the ball in play.”
  • Mastered the dink and drop shots.
  • Mastered the 3rd shot choices and strategies.
  • Uses soft shots, dinks and lobs to set up offensive situations.
  • Mastered pickleball strategies and can vary strategies and styles of play in competitive or tournament matches.
  • Dependable in stressful situations as in tournament match play.
  • Athletic ability, quickness, agility, and raw athleticism are also qualities that are sometimes what separates the top players from those near the top.