One of the most important aspects to understand in pickleball are the rules surrounding court boundaries. Knowing exactly what areas are “in” or “out” is crucial for accurate line calls and fair gameplay.
This article will provide a comprehensive overview of the “12 Court Boundary Rules” that govern the pickleball court and dictate whether a ball is considered in or out of bounds. Learning these pickleball boundary regulations will ensure you have an accurate understanding of the court layout and dimensions.
- 1. The Official Court Size is 44×20 Feet
- 2. Boundary Lines Are 1.5 Inches Wide
- 3. All Boundary Lines Are Inclusive
- 4. The Net Divides the Court Into Two Sides
- 5. The Baseline Marks the Back Boundary
- 6. Sidelines Mark the Lateral Boundaries
- 7. The Centerline Divides the Court Into Right and Left Service Courts
- 8. Non-Volley Zone Lines Are 7 Feet from the Net
- 9. The Non-Volley Zone is Also Known as 'The Kitchen'
- 10. The Service Zones Are Areas Between the NVZ and Sidelines
- 11. The Court Surface Must Allow for Consistent Bounces
- 12. Adjustments Can Be Made for Wheelchair Pickleball
1. The Official Court Size is 44×20 Feet
The dimensions of a regulation pickleball court are 44 feet long by 20 feet wide for both singles and doubles play. This is slightly smaller than a doubles badminton court which measures 44×17 feet.
The court size was determined as ideal for the pace and flow of pickleball games. The shape accommodates 2-4 players comfortably while allowing enough space to move around the court quickly.
Knowing the exact length and width of the official court size is important for understanding and applying the boundary line rules.
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2. Boundary Lines Are 1.5 Inches Wide
The lines marking the various court boundaries are 1.5 inches (3.81 cm) wide and are typically painted or taped in white or yellow for visibility.
The width of the boundary lines affects whether a ball is called in or out. A ball that lands even partially on the line is considered good.
So if the edge of the ball touches any part of the 1.5 inch wide line, it is ruled inbounds. This applies to all court boundary lines including baselines, sidelines, centerlines and non-volley zone lines.
3. All Boundary Lines Are Inclusive
This leads into the next rule – all court boundary lines are inclusive. That means that any ball touching any part of any line is considered good and inbounds.
As long as even 1mm of the ball grazes any part of any line on the court, it is ruled as landing inside the court and the player who hit the ball wins the point.
This inclusive boundary line rule applies not just to the exterior court lines but also to interior lines like the non-volley zone line or centerline. The entire width of the line is considered inbounds.
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4. The Net Divides the Court Into Two Sides
A tennis-style net 36 inches (91.4 cm) high divides the pickleball court lengthwise into two equal halves of 22 feet x 20 feet.
The net runs the entire 44 foot length of the court and splits the court to create two equal sides for teams or players to cover during gameplay.
Balls that go over the net must land inside the boundary lines on the opponent’s side to remain in play. The exception is if a ball bounces in the non-volley zone which will be covered later.
5. The Baseline Marks the Back Boundary
The baseline is the exterior boundary line running the width of the court at both ends. It marks the absolute back limit of the court.
The baseline measures 44 feet wide and spans the entire 20 foot width at each end of the pickleball court.
Any ball landing beyond the baselines is considered out of bounds and the player who hit the ball loses the point.
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6. Sidelines Mark the Lateral Boundaries
The two sidelines run the entire 44 foot length of the court along both 20 foot sides.
They mark the absolute outer limits on the left and right sides of the court. If a ball bounces beyond either sideline or lands outside them, it is called out.
The sidelines, along with the baselines, establish the complete outer pickleball court boundaries. Balls must land inside of these lines to remain in play.
7. The Centerline Divides the Court Into Right and Left Service Courts
While the net divides the court lengthwise into two sides, the centerline provides division along the width of the court.
The centerline is positioned exactly halfway across the 20 foot court width at the 10 foot mark. It runs parallel to both baselines the full 44 foot court length.
The centerline splits the court into a right service court and a left service court on each side of the net. This affects service rotation during doubles pickleball.
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8. Non-Volley Zone Lines Are 7 Feet from the Net
The non-volley zone (NVZ) lines, also called kitchen lines, are marked 7 feet from the net on both sides of the court.
These lines run the full 44 foot court length parallel to the net, establishing the NVZ boundaries. The NVZ comprises the 7 foot area on both sides of the net.
The NVZ lines affect volleying rules which will be covered later. Like all boundary lines, the NVZ lines are inclusive.
9. The Non-Volley Zone is Also Known as ‘The Kitchen’
The term “kitchen” is frequently used interchangeably with non-volley zone (NVZ) in pickleball lingo.
This nickname emerged because the NVZ is the high traffic “cooking” area where volleys are frequently hit back and forth across the net, much like a kitchen in a restaurant.
But kitchen and NVZ refer to the same 7 foot area near the net with special volleying restrictions. Knowing the “kitchen” nickname avoids confusion.
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10. The Service Zones Are Areas Between the NVZ and Sidelines
The remaining space on each side of the court, lying between the non-volley zone line and sidelines/baseline, is known as the service zones.
These are the areas where the serve must be made from at the start of each point. The service zones span the full width between the sidelines.
Proper service from within these zones is essential for legal play. Service zones affect serve and service rotation rules covered later.
11. The Court Surface Must Allow for Consistent Bounces
Official pickleball competition courts must have a consistent smooth, flat surface that allows for predictable bounces.
Outdoor courts are typically made of asphalt or concrete while indoor courts often use materials like Proceed, Nova, or cushioned vinyl. Improper or uneven court surfaces disrupt fair play.
Knowing the court surface characteristics helps players understand ball bounce behavior and make accurate shots.
12. Adjustments Can Be Made for Wheelchair Pickleball
For wheelchair pickleball, the court is slightly modified to accommodate wheelchairs.
The sidelines are widened to 6 feet and the non-volley zone is lengthened to 11 feet. This provides sufficient maneuvering space for wheelchairs.
Wheelchair court boundary lines follow the standard inclusive rules. Being aware of potential wheelchair court adjustments is good for overall pickleball knowledge.
Now that you are familiar with the key boundary line rules, you can step onto a pickleball court with full confidence in judging shots as in or out! Knowledge of the court layout and line function is the foundation for improving pickleball skills and strategy. With the official “12 Court Boundary Rules” clear, you are ready to excel in your pickleball games!