pickleball singles

How to Play Singles Pickleball the Right Way

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Singles pickleball is a fun and exciting game for two that can be enjoyed by athletes of all levels.

While the basic rules of the game remain the same, singles pickleball adds a bit more challenge with the one-on-one competition. In this guide, we’ll cover:

  • The basics of singles pickleball
  • Fouls and faulty serving
  • The difference between singles and doubles
  • Scoring in singles
  • Positioning tips and different shots you can play
  • Defensive strategies

And, some additional tips for playing better. 

The Basic Rules of Singles Pickleball 

When it comes to pickleball singles, the rules are similar to doubles pickleball but with a few minor exceptions.

In pickleball singles play, only two players are on the court. Each player gets one serve that continues which the point continues until someone wins.

Additionally, pickleball singles has an incredibly important rule that you can’t hit the ball twice in a row. As each point must be served before it can continue!


Faulty Server During Pickleball Singles Game

When pickleball players compete in a singles game, the server of each rally must initiate the action of serve, return and play. If upon serving, either pickleball player determines the server has faulted during that serve, then the opposing pickleball player receives the point. 

faulty serve

These types of serves include those that land outside the service court, both pickleball players missing their returns or diving for pickups, or any other actions deemed illegal by pickleball’s rules.

Depending on their skill level, pickleball players have three to four seconds to prepare. Make a legal return after the server has made his or her serve. When any faulty action is taken on behalf of the server during a singles match. Immediate recognition and cessation of play should be given in order to respect fairness among pickleball players.

Singles Pickleball Scoring

Pickleball is most commonly played in teams, singles pickleball can also be enjoyed. In singles pickleball games, different rules apply when it comes to scoring. Points are only earned by the server, and one point is scored each time the serve successfully crosses over the net into the opposite court without being returned correctly. 

pickleball score board

The receiver must return it without touching the net in order for a successful rally to occur. If they don’t return it correctly then their opponent earns the point. Games are generally played up to 11 points (win by two) or 15 points (win by two).

Positioning for Singles Pickleball 

Positioning is key when playing singles pickleball because you want to maximize your court coverage. While still leaving yourself enough time to hit shots back over the net. For beginners, try standing just behind or on the baseline so that you can get as many balls back as possible without overextending yourself too much. 

As you become more experienced with singles pickleball. You can adjust your positioning accordingly depending on who you’re playing against and what type of shots they like to hit.

How To Hit Different Shots in Singles Pickleball?

There are several types of shots you can use to dominate your opponent in singles pickleball. One popular shot is the drop shot where you hit a soft lob over the net into your opponent’s service box. This requires timing and precision but can be effective if done correctly!

hit different shots

Another great shot is an angled groundstroke, which allows you to bounce off one side of the court before hitting it back toward your opponent’s feet. This shot often catches them off guard! Finally, don’t forget about smashes which are powerful overhead shots that put an end to any rally quickly!  

Defensive Strategies for Singles Pickleball 

Defensive strategies are essential when playing singles pickleball because they allow you to give yourself enough time to react and return shots without getting overwhelmed by your opponent’s aggression. One strategy is always trying to keep at least one foot behind the baseline so that you have plenty of room for retreat if needed. 

Additionally, always keep an eye on where your opponent is moving so that you know where their next shot will go. This will help prevent any surprise attacks from taking you by surprise!  

Tips for Playing Better Singles Pickleball 

Playing better singles pickleball comes down to practice and repetition. But there are also some simple tips that can help improve your game quickly. Focus on improving one area at a time (e.g., serve accuracy) instead of trying to do everything all at once. Stay loose during rallies, tensing up will only slow down your reaction time! 

tips playing better singles

Remember that even though winning is important. Having a good time should always be priority number one when playing sports!  

The Difference Between Singles and Doubles

It can be played as either singles or doubles pickleball, and there are far more similarities between the two than differences. However, when it comes down to strategy, size of the court, and game equipment, there are clear differences between singles and doubles pickleball. 

Singles pickleball consists of two players using small paddles which allows for more shots requiring precision with just one bounce per side. This makes singles pickleball well-suited for advanced tournament players. Doubles pickleball has four players using regular-sized paddles with two bounces per side. Allowing it to be well-suited for family fun. Even the court size varies. Singles pickleball courts measure 20 feet by 44 feet. While double pickleball courts measure 30 feet by 60 feet including the out-of-bounds area. 

With these few slight but significant differences, pickleball enthusiasts can have an enjoyable time playing both singles and doubles pickleball!


Playing singles pickleball correctly takes skill, strategy, and practice. But with dedication and hard work, anyone can become great at this sport! By following our guide above – understanding basic rules & positioning tactics; learning how to hit different types of shots; employing defensive strategies; remembering helpful tips. Players will find their way around any court with ease and confidence! With these tools under their belt, anyone can learn how to play single’s pickled ball like a pro in no time! Good luck out there everyone!


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