What Are Pickleball Singles Rules? Everything You Need to Know

Pickleball is a popular game, in fact it’s one of the most popular games in the US. And why wouldn’t it be? It’s easy to play, easily accessible, and it’s a combination of 3 sports: Tennis, badminton and ping pong. However, there are many rules you need to have a grip on if you truly want to enjoy the game. Understanding pickleball singles rules can provide a new level of challenge and excitement. In this guide, we will explore the rules, strategies, and benefits of playing pickleball singles, ensuring you are well equipped to take on the court solo.

Understanding Pickleball Singles Rules

It might surprise you but guess what? Pickleball singles follow similar rules to doubles but with some key differences. In singles, you are on your own, covering the entire court without a partner. Unlike doubles, where you have a partner to cover half the court, singles necessitate a different level of skill and strategy to succeed. You must be able to move quickly, anticipate your opponent’s shots, and maintain control over your own shots. Playing pickleball singles is a great way to challenge yourself and improve your overall game.

Let’s dive into the specifics of singles pickleball rules:

Serving Rules:

Pickleball serving rules singles are somehow similar to that of doubles. Players must stand behind the baseline to serve, starting from the right side of the court. As the game progresses, alternating sides for serves based on even or odd scores ensures fairness. Additionally, serving from the right side allows players to maintain consistency and adapt to their opponent’s positioning.

Court Dimensions:

pickleball court Dimensions

Unlike tennis, there’s no difference in court size between pickleball singles and doubles. The pickleball court dimensions remain 20′ by 44′, providing ample space for singles play. This standard sized court size ensures a level playing field for all players, regardless of whether they are playing singles or doubles matches.

Pickleball Equipment:

Pickleball Equipment

The equipment for singles and doubles pickleball remains the same as well, obviously. From balls to nets and paddles, no additional gear is needed for singles play. This similarity in pickleball equipment helps ensure that players can seamlessly choose between singles and doubles matches without needing to make any adjustments to their gear.

Pickleball Scoring:

Scoring in singles is simpler than in doubles, with no third number indicating serving order. Here are the pickleball singles rules you need to know for pickleball scoring

  • Games are typically played to 11 points, and players must win by at least two points.
  • Players alternate serving every two points, starting with the player serving from the right-hand side of the court.
  • The server calls out the score before each serve, starting with their score followed by the opponent’s score.
  • If the serving player wins the point, they continue serving. If the receiving player wins the point, they become the server.
  • When the serving player’s score is even (0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10), they serve from the right-hand side of the court. When it’s odd (1, 3, 5, 7, 9), they serve from the left-hand side.
  • If the score reaches 10-10, players must win by two points. This is called “win by two” or “sudden death” scoring.
Pickleball Scoring

Volleys and Double Bounce:

In the game of pickleball, similar to doubles, volleying in the kitchen area, also known as the non-volley zone, is strictly prohibited. This rule is in place to avoid any unfair advantage that may arise from a player’s proximity to the net. 

Additionally, the double bounce rule applies, which means that players must allow the ball to bounce once before returning it, regardless of their position on the court. This rule is designed to encourage longer games and strategic shot placement. This rule also requires players to carefully consider their positioning and timing when returning shots. By enforcing this rule, the game becomes more challenging, and players must rely on their skills and strategy to win.

Line Calls:

Line calls in singles follow the same principles as doubles. If the ball lands outside the lines with clear space between, it is called “out,” with the benefit of doubt given to the opponent. This helps in making sure that the game is fair and unbiased and it also helps foster a spirit of sportsmanship and integrity among players.

Strategies for Success in Pickleball Singles

Mastering singles pickleball serving rules requires a combination of skill, strategy, and fitness. Here are some key strategies to enhance your singles game:

Serve Placement:

Aim for the middle of the baseline to set up your next shot and keep your opponent guessing. Consistent placement can disrupt their rhythm and give you an edge.

Depth and Placement:

Serve deep to push your opponent back and make them work for returns. Target their weaker side to exploit their weaknesses and control the pace.

Court Positioning:

Move strategically to cover the court, aiming for a central position to limit your opponent’s angles. Anticipate their shots and react quickly to maintain control and pressure.


Stay proactive, looking for opportunities to take control and go for winners. Keep a positive mindset and focus to stay ahead and capitalize on openings.

Benefits of Playing Pickleball Singles

While doubles play is popular, there are unique benefits to playing singles pickleball:

Physical Workout: 

Singles pickleball is a great way to get a more intense workout. In singles play, each player covers the entire court independently, resulting in increased steps and calories burned compared to doubles play. This increased physical demand can help improve cardiovascular health, endurance, and overall fitness levels.

Skill Development:

In singles play, players work on their groundstrokes, placing shots, and agility. This improves their skills for both singles and doubles games. By practicing these skills individually, players can boost their performance and confidence overall.

Improved Strategy:

Singles pickleball requires strategic thinking and decision-making, as players must predict their opponent’s moves in advance and adjust their tactics accordingly. The heightened level of pickleball singles strategy can help players develop a deeper understanding of the game and improve their ability to outsmart opponents. 

Personal Challenge:

When you play singles, you face a personal challenge that pushes you to improve without relying on a partner. This helps you develop resilience, determination, and confidence. By overcoming obstacles and achieving your goals in singles pickleball, you feel accomplished and fulfilled.

Exploring Skinny Singles Pickleball

Skinny singles is really an amazing variation that is getting popular, adding a fun twist to regular singles play. In skinny singles, you only use half the court, so it’s less tiring but still keeps the essence of singles pickleball intact. Let’s take a closer look at how it works:

Court Size: 

In skinny singles, you play on just half the court, which means you get to play on an area of 220 square feet. It is a less intense option for players, but still keeps the fun and challenge of singles play alive. With a smaller area to focus on, you can really work on your skills and strategies in a more manageable setting.


In skinny singles, you have got two options: play down the line or cross-court. In both, you switch sides of the court after each serve, making it fun. With skinny singles, you can pick the style that fits you best, making sure you really enjoy the game rather than just playing it.


What are the key differences between pickleball singles and doubles?

In singles, players cover the entire court alone, while in doubles, they have a partner. Singles play requires more physical stamina and strategic thinking compared to doubles. Additionally, the scoring system and court positioning may vary between singles and doubles matches.

How do serving rules of pickleball singles from

Pickleball singles serving rules follow the same guidelines as doubles, with players alternating sides based on even or odd scores. The main difference is that players serve alone without a partner. Additionally, serving from specific positions on the court may vary depending on the score and game situation.

What strategies are effective in singles pickleball?

Effective strategies include strategic court positioning, aggressive shot selection, and targeting your opponent’s weaknesses. Maintaining a positive mindset and staying focused are also crucial. Additionally, adapting your strategies based on your opponent’s playing style and preferences can give you a competitive edge on the court.

What are the benefits of playing skinny singles pickleball?

Skinny singles offers a less physically demanding option for players while still providing the excitement and challenge of singles play. It allows players to experience singles pickleball in a more accessible way, making it ideal for players of all ages and skill levels. 
Additionally, the smaller court size encourages faster-paced rallies and strategic shot placement, enhancing the overall playing experience.

How can I improve my singles pickleball game?

To improve your singles pickleball game, you need to practice regularly, stay focused, and be willing to learn, just like you do for every new thing you wish to learn, right? Try to work on your footwork, shot placement, and strategic thinking to enhance your skills on the court. It is also helpful to study your own matches and observe other players to gain valuable insights and improve your game. 
Keep seeking opportunities to grow and improve, and you can elevate your singles pickleball game to new heights.

Bottom Line

Pickleball singles is a good way to challenge yourself and enhance your game. If you love pickleball, trust us, you would love this new addition to your game. With its unique rules and strategies, singles play offers a very different experience that can improve your skills and boost your confidence on the court. 

Whether you are a seasoned player or new to the game, exploring singles pickleball and its variations like skinny singles can add a new level of excitement to your pickleball journey.

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