Pickleball Rules

Pickleball Rules & Regulations




Houston Sports & Social Club Softball Rules



There is no maximum number of players allowed on a pickleball team roster; however players must be registered with Houston Sports & Social Club and must sign the Houston Sports & Social Club waiver to be able to participate. Please refer to the Houston Sports & Social Club General Rules for rules regarding roster adjustments and additional detail regarding waivers.


                Please refer to the General Rules for details regarding player eligibility.


Houston Sports & Social Club expects all participants to play with the highest level of sportsmanship. Rude or demeaning behavior to umpires, the opposing team, and/or your own team members will not be tolerated under any circumstances. Unsportsmanlike behavior may result in that player being ejected from the game. An ejection may result in further suspension from participation in current and/or future Houston Sports & Social Club sports. An ejected player is required to leave the premises immediately. Refusal to leave the premises may result in a team forfeit and/or suspension.

Any disputes or complaints regarding the umpire’s handling of a game or ejection can be addressed with the league after the day of play in which the incident took place. On the day of the incident, the umpire’s decision will be considered final and disputes will not be addressed by the league.



Pickleball is a racket sport played using a perforated ball with a tennis style net. This court is divided into right and left service courts, and non-volley zones. Play begins as the server serves diagonally across the court over the net. There is a 7-foot no-volley zone on each side of the net, where players must allow the ball to drop before returning to prevent spiking of the ball. The first side to score 11 points, wins.


Matches will consist of best of 3 games played to 11. Matches are played in 30 minute time slots, with time up after 30 minutes of play.
Each game within a match will count in the overall standing for the regular season. 

Teams decide who will serve first via a game of Rock Paper Scissors. The team who does not serve first chooses which side they prefer to play on. 


-The server must have their feet behind the back line when serving

-The server’s arm must swing upward when the ball is struck

-Contact with the ball on serve must be made below waist level

-The ball cannot be bounced on the server's side of the court.

-A serve that hits the net before landing in the appropriate service court is allowed and play should continue.

-The serve must clear the non-volley serve line and land in the diagonal opposite service court. 

-A ball that lands on the non-volley line is deemed OUT.

-Only one serve attempt is allowed. Only one fault is allowed before service is forfeited. 

-The first serve of each service is made from the right side court

-If a point is scored by the service team, the server switches sides to the left court and continues to alternate until the server loses the serve.

-In doubles, when a server loses the point, their partner then serves from the right side of court.

-Once the 2nd server loses the point, the opposing team begins service from their right side of court.

-In singles, the server serves from the right side when their score is even, and the left side when their score is odd

-TWO-BOUNCE RULE: The returning team MUST allow a bounce before returning a serve, the service team must then allow the ball to bounce before playing the return of serve. Once these first two bounces have occurred, the ball can be volleyed in keeping with the volley rules below.

-Manipulating the ball to add spin during the release of the ball is not allowed. Some natural rotation of the ball when it is released is allowable but the server must not impart manipulation or spin prior to striking the ball to serve. This applies to the volley serve and the drop serve.


-Volley returns are only allowed when the players feet are behind the no-volley line
-A fault is called if a player steps over the line on follow through of a volley.

Line Calls
-All shots must land within the court lines (if not volleyed). A ball making any contact with the line (except the non-volley zone line on a serve) is considered in.

-A fault is any action that stops play due to a rule violation
-A fault by the receiving team results in a point for the serving team
-A fault by the serving team results in loss of serve or beginning of 2nd server (in doubles).

• Doubles (Two Players – no gender specifics) 4 Players allowed, additional player fee of $40 for each additional player
2 player teams must have 2 players on the court at all times.
-Teams with less than 2 players will forfeit their game.
-Teams may have more than 2-players on their roster. Rosters must be finalized by Week 3. Players must be on the roster to participate in playoffs.

Captains are responsible for reporting the results of their matches to the league coordinator on site.
In cases where teams fail to record their results, all efforts will be made to contact team captains  but may result in loss for both teams. 


Games will have a 5-minute grace period (with the exception of the first game of the night, which will have a 10-minute grace period). Once the grace period has expired, if a team does not have the minimum number of players to play an official game (minimum of 8 players with no more than 6 men), that team will automatically go to bat first.   If that team gets three outs, and still does not have the minimum number of players for a legal game, that team will be charged with an official forfeit and teams can use the remaining time to play an exhibition game. If however, the opposing team wishes to allow the team to play with less than the minimum number of required players, the game may be played as an official game. The opposing team’s captain must notify the league official that they want to play an official game despite the other team’s inability to field the minimum number of players for a legal game. The game will be assumed as a forfeit unless there is a specific request by the team captain to this effect. A forfeit will be scored 11-0 for all games. .



Playoff seeding will be determined by the best overall records. In the event that 2 teams are tied with the same record, head-to-head matchups will determine higher seeding whenever possible. When head-to-head matchups cannot clearly determine a higher seed, or when 3 or more teams are tied, tiebreakers will be determined in the following order:

1) Head-to-head matchups (for 2 way ties when possible, described above)

2) Highest team set differentials for the season

3) Highest team total sets won

4) Lowest team total sets lost

5) Highest team Power Index

6) Coin Flip






Normal rules and penalties of USA PICKLEBALL apply unless exceptions have been made herein.