How To Play Pickleball Singles?

The game of pickleball is a fast-paced, high-energy, and social sport played by people of all ages. Yes, this includes singles play! 

Pickleball singles can be challenging to get started with, but we’ll give you some basic knowledge on how to play pickleball singles so you can get out on the court and start playing right away. Ready? Let’s do it! 

What Are The Pickleball Singles Rules? 

First and foremost, let’s take a look at the pickleball singles rules!

  • In order to win the game, the player must keep score 11 points and lead its rival by 2.
  • The server will obtain 1 point if the receiver commits a fault. In case the fault is made by the server, then the server will lose the server. At even scores, the server will serve from their right side of the court.  Still, they’ll opt for a left-hand corner instead when there is an odd number – such as 5 or 9!
  • The server stands at one end of row B, or A depends on them. A server may decide to ad-lib a pass in this situation where both players have made equally few errors so far, but it is unclear who will win games.
  • A player must strike a serve with an underhand toss that contacts the ball below their naval. They cannot touch either foot to or near any part of the baseline until after they have struck it.
  • You must hit the serve into their opposite service area. It is considered as a fault if you contact any part on your non-volley line!
  • Serves and returns are key in volleyball. If the ball doesn’t bounce before you can return it, then that means your opponent has had enough time to get back on defense! This gives them an easy opportunity of returning with confidence while ours has been forced into waiting!
  • A player may only have 1 serve, except in the case of a let (the ball arcs up towards the net but hits it and continues in a downward motion). It’s a good rule of thumb for players to not strike the ball until it bounces.
  • The ball is considered as “in” if it contacts baseline or sideline.
  • The ball is at “fault” if the player hits it out of bounds or hits into the net. The receiver is considered as at “fault” if it bounces twice before they hit it. 
  • So if you’re playing and your clothing touches the net, that’s a fault. The same holds true for when someone else’s paddle hits it too!
  • The ball can only travel in one direction, which means any contact with a player or their clothing is considered to be a fault. If the ball hits an object before it bounces in your opponent’s court, this is called a fault.

Pickleball singles

How To Play Pickleball Singles

This section will cover how to play pickle singles in detail with some rules that you must keep in mind!

Serving In Singles

  • The idea of a singles match is to serve as many balls over the net and in, but you really need your serves for an offensive weapon. In doubles pickleball, this isn’t necessary because once one ball goes out, there’s no way back into play. However, in the single game, every point counts!
  • It’s important to vary the speed and direction of serves in a game. A good player will keep serving deep with a good pace, varying their technique as they move across court so that it is never predictable for an opponent – this makes them more difficult to play against!
  • The best way to beat your opponent is with a well-placed power shot on their weakest side. Try catching them off guard and force them into using the backhand, which most players don’t use often enough because they’re used for defense rather than attack! 

When an opponent has a stronger backhand than their forehand, you should continue feeding them the forehand.

Playing pickleball singles

This will rarely happen, but it is always better to err on the side of caution when playing against someone who may have more powerful strokes from different parts of their body! 

If you are unsure how to hit a serve, go for the strong and deep one. Accuracy is not as important with this type because its placement will likely win out in most cases!

  • If you want to be on the offensive during singles, then using a hard serve is key. Hitting an easy return will give your opponent plenty of opportunities to hit strong shots back and put themselves in advantageous positions.

​​Return Of Serve

Deep and hard serve in pickleball is the key! Try keeping returns in the corners or at least close enough that they can’t get a strong position on our end! Hit those angles, keep them moving – don’t let their power beat you too easily!

Approaching The Net

You need to be aggressive when going for the net. You should plan your attack by waiting until after hitting a good, deep return before the net attack or defense. 

Approach the net

Anticipate And Play The percentages

Singles is a game of fast play where speed and power will win over the slow-controlled one. Just put yourself in a position to win. While playing, remember that the net is lower in the center and higher at the post. 

Use this knowledge for high-percentage shots while also understanding your opponent will do the same thing if they know as well!

Passing Shot

The best way to beat your opponent when they approach the net is by playing defense. When they come in, serve a drive past to win!

What To Notice While Going for Singles pickleball?

Paddle selection

If you’re going to be playing singles pickleball, then a dedicated paddle will allow for the best performance.

Paddles are essential for any beginner to learn the game of singles. They allow you to take deep, powerful strokes as they help with control and speed while also giving your arm a bit more weight so that every stroke counts!


You’ll want to invest in good shoes for pickleball. They’re not just the #1 priority; they are more important than your paddle – especially if you play singles and stop-start moves quickly from side to side while also making quick lateral movements with each stroke!

Flat soles court shoe

“Running shoes” are completely inappropriate for pickleball and can cause you to twist your ankle or worse. You want a court shoe with flat soles, not deep lugged ones which may catch as you move sideways on the slippery surface of this game!


Pickleball singles is a fun, fast-paced game that anyone of any age can play. The rules are simple to learn and the equipment affordable, so you have no excuse not to get out there and give it a try! Make sure that you note all the important things we’ve mentioned above on how to play pickleball singles for the best experience and joyful game!

Further reading:

Singles Strategies – USA Pickleball Association

How do I play pickleball singles? – Quora

Singles play discouraged or just not enough interest?: Pickleball

Rate this post