What Is Baseline In Pickleball?

What is Baseline in Pickleball?

This page may contain affiliate links. If you click one, I may earn a commission at no cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

The baseline is the line at the back of the pickleball court that runs parallel to the net and marks the boundary between each side of the court. You cannot cross the baseline when serving the ball in pickleball.

Pickleball is a fun sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong. It is played with a whiffle ball and composite paddles on a badminton-sized court with a slightly modified tennis net.

Understanding the pickleball court lines and dimensions is important for playing the game properly. The baseline is one of the most important lines on a pickleball court.

What is the Purpose of the Baseline?

The baseline serves as an important boundary line on a pickleball court. Here are some key facts about the purpose and function of the baseline:

  • The baseline runs parallel to the net at each end of the court. It stretches from one sideline to the other.
  • It marks the very back of the court and separates the two sides.
  • Players are not allowed to step over or touch the baseline when serving the ball. This is a fault.
  • After the serve, players can move anywhere on their side of the court, including over the baseline.
  • Balls that land beyond the baseline are out of bounds.

So in summary, the main purpose of the baseline is to designate the back boundary of the court for serves and to mark the end of the playing area. Crossing the baseline on a serve is illegal in pickleball.

Where is the Baseline Located on a Pickleball Court?

The baseline is located at the very back of the pickleball court, running the width of the court from sideline to sideline.

On a regulation-size pickleball court, the baseline is located 22 feet back from the centerline. The centerline divides the court lengthwise in half.

The distance between the baselines at each end of the court is 44 feet total. So each baseline is 22 feet from the centerline and 22 feet from the end of the court.

The baseline parallels the net at a distance of 22 feet. This gives players room to serve and play near the back of the court.

So in summary, the baseline is 22 feet from both the net and the end of the court, stretching the full width between sidelines.

Why Can’t You Cross the Baseline on a Serve?

Crossing the baseline on a serve is considered a fault in pickleball. This rule exists for a few key reasons:

  • It standardizes the serve. Having a baseline boundary helps ensure players serve from the same general area.
  • It prevents players from serving too close to the net. Stepping over the baseline could allow players to serve right at the non-volley zone.
  • It gives receiving players time to react. Serving far back from the baseline makes the ball’s path longer, giving receivers more preparation time.
  • It maintains order of play. Keeping serves behind the baseline establishes the flow of the serve, return, and volley sequence in a point.

So in summary, the baseline serve rule helps standardize serves, gives fair warning to receivers, and maintains orderly play. Crossing the line on a serve is considered a fault.

What Happens If You Serve Over the Baseline?

Stepping on or over the baseline when serving results in a fault. The serve will be considered out of bounds.

If the server faults on the first serve attempt, they get one more try. On the second serve attempt, the server again cannot step over or touch the baseline.

If the server faults twice, this results in a double fault. The double fault means the serving team loses the point. Play then resumes with the opposing team now serving.

So in essence, the baseline rule means serves must originate from behind the baseline. Failure to do so results in a fault or double fault if done twice, and the server loses the point.

How is the Baseline Used During Regular Play?

After the serve, the baseline no longer marks a boundary for players. Once the ball is officially in play, both teams can move freely anywhere on their side of the court.

Players may move forward, backward, sideways, or even over the baseline as needed to play the ball. The exception is when volleying – players cannot enter the non-volley zone in front of the net.

So during regular play after the serve, the baseline is simply a marker with no rules against crossing it. Players use the full length and width of their side of the court, including the baseline area.

Key Takeaways About the Pickleball Baseline

  • The baseline is the line at the back of the court stretching from sideline to sideline.
  • It marks the back boundary for serves. Players cannot cross or touch the line when serving.
  • It is located 22 feet from both the net and the end of the court.
  • Crossing the baseline on a serve is a fault. Doing it twice is a double fault and loss of point.
  • After the serve, players can move freely about their side, including over the baseline.
  • The baseline gives a fixed reference point for serves and marks the in bounds area.

Understanding basic court lines like the baseline is key for playing pickleball by the rules. Observing the baseline serve rule helps ensure fair and standardized play.

Pickleball Court Lines and Dimensions

Now that we’ve covered the baseline, let’s look at some other important pickleball court lines and dimensions. Knowing the court layout is key for gameplay.

The Net

  • Located in the center of the court widthwise
  • Suspended at 36 inches high at ends, 34 inches high in center
  • Divides court into two sides


  • Divides court lengthwise into two equal halves
  • Runs from baseline to net
  • Baseline is 22 feet from centerline


  • Run lengthwise from baseline to baseline
  • Mark width of playing area
  • Regulation width is 20 feet

Non-Volley Zone (NVZ)

  • Also called “kitchen
  • 7 feet on each side of net
  • No volleying while standing in NVZ

Service Zones

  • Rectangles behind baseline, extending halfway to centerline
  • Players must serve from within service zones

Pickleball Court Size and Shape

The official pickleball court dimensions according to USAPA guidelines are:

  • Length – 44 feet (baseline to baseline)
  • Width – 20 feet (sideline to sideline)
  • Total area – 880 square feet

The court shape is rectangular like a tennis court. Mini courts can be 36 feet long and 16 feet wide.

Courts are striped similar to tennis courts with appropriate lines for pickleball play. The net divides the court into two identical halves.

Key Elements of Proper Court Setup

Setting up a regulation pickleball court includes these key elements:

  • Net height of 36 inches at ends and 34 inches in center
  • Smooth, clean surface, usually asphalt or sport court
  • Baselines 22 feet from net and sides
  • Sidelines marking 20 feet width
  • Non-volley zone marked 7 feet from net
  • Service zone rectangles behind baselines
  • Centerline dividing court in half lengthwise
  • Adequate safety space around court perimeter
  • Court lines marked clearly and accurately

Following official dimensions and clearly marking lines are vital for proper pickleball play and strategy. The integrity of the court setup impacts gameplay.

Why You Can’t Touch Court Lines in Pickleball

In pickleball, players are not allowed to touch court boundary lines during play. Stepping on a line is considered out of bounds and results in a fault.

This rule exists for a few key reasons:

  • Lines mark the in and out of bounds court area. Touching a line puts you technically outside the court.
  • It provides a small buffer to avoid interference. Lines are meant to contain play, not overlap with the playing area.
  • Consistent enforcement of the no-touch line rule simplifies officiating.
  • Players staying fully within the court enhances safety and fair play.

The exception is when serving – players can step on but not over the centerline or sidelines when serving from the baseline. Overall, court lines help mark the playing area and guide pickleball play.

CONCLUSION: Key Role of the Baseline in Pickleball

In summary, the baseline is an integral part of the pickleball court that serves several key functions:

  • It marks the back boundary for serves.
  • It standardizes the serve location.
  • It gives receiving players adequate warning time.
  • It maintains order of play by keeping serves behind a set line.
  • It marks the back end of the in bounds court area.

Knowing the location and purpose of the baseline is essential for players to execute legal serves. The baseline establishes the orderly flow of play in pickleball.

Understanding basic pickleball court lines like the baseline helps ensure all players abide by the rules. Observing proper court boundaries leads to fair, competitive, and safely-played pickleball games.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top