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CJ Johnson
Tony Roig
Tony Roig

Pickleball Rule Review: A “Standing” Rule

There is only one rule that requires you to stand in a certain place during pickleball: when you are serving at the time the ball is struck, you must stand behind the baseline and between an imaginary extension of the center line and the sideline of the court.

Players must alternate receiving the opponents’ serves. So, as a practical matter, a receiver is expected to stand somewhere on the side of the court where the server is required to place the ball.

That’s it. You and your partner are permitted to stand anywhere on or off the court at any other times during play.

That’s right. There is no rule preventing you from standing in the kitchen. You can stand there all day if you like. But why would you?

Bev writes a weekly email blast for our pickleball club. She delivers the rules with clarity and a sense of humor. If you have a rules question post it in the comments below.




  1. Avatar photo JOHN M FRY on February 2, 2022 at 3:15 am

    can you step around past the post onto your opponent’s side of the net?
    (Inbounds or Out of bounds)

    • Avatar photo CJ Johnson on February 2, 2022 at 2:44 pm

      Hi John,only after you make contact with the ball or it is an over and over ball. Otherwise you can’t break the plane of the net (it isn’t a stepping onto side thing – it is a breaking plane thing) This might help explain it better. https://youtu.be/WhOrbMV7kbE

  2. Avatar photo David Forest on June 16, 2022 at 6:07 pm

    What about the extension of the kitchen? If you volley from out of bounds inside the extension of the kitchen line. Or if you have one foot inside the extension kitchen line but out of the side bounds line . Fault or not?

    • Avatar photo CJ Johnson on June 19, 2022 at 2:54 pm

      Hi David, there is no extension of the kitchen line upward. You cannot touch the line or anything inside the kitchen and hit a volley. If you’d like to go deeper here’s a video https://youtu.be/uziKuPl4Ebk and here’s the link to the rulebook. chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/https://usapickleball.org/docs/ifp/USA-Pickleball-Rulebook.pdf

    • Avatar photo John mabie on February 25, 2023 at 3:10 am

      When serving can I start outside the service lines as long as I make contact in the service lines and my body is in the lines. Thanks

      • Avatar photo CJ Johnson on February 26, 2023 at 7:25 am

        Completely legal. Just one thing to consider, what advantage does it give you compared to having someone possibly call a fault.

  3. Avatar photo P Galasso on October 26, 2022 at 7:07 pm

    Does this rule apply. To the receiving team as well?

    • Avatar photo CJ Johnson on October 27, 2022 at 2:53 am

      The receiving team may stand anywhere they like.

    • Avatar photo Larry Earthian on April 29, 2023 at 11:58 am

      Can you drop the ball inside the playing area on the server ,to sever as long as you stay out of the court ?

      • Avatar photo CJ Johnson on April 30, 2023 at 7:48 am

        As long as your feet are behind the baseline and inside extensions of the side and center lines when you contact the ball on the serve the ball can land inside or outside the court.

  4. Avatar photo Michael on December 14, 2022 at 3:31 am

    Hi! In doubles, can a player elect to stand in the middle of the court (i.e., one foot in each quadrant) after the serve while his partner plays back?

    • Avatar photo CJ Johnson on December 14, 2022 at 4:35 am

      Hi Michael, other than being the correct server and receiver, the only rules that tell you where to stand are when you are serving. You must be behind the baseline and inside an extension of the side and center lines when the paddle contacts the ball.

  5. Avatar photo Kevin on March 16, 2023 at 7:35 pm

    When returning a serve can I stand on out of bounds sideline ? I’m left handed and prefer to stand near back right side.

    • Avatar photo CJ Johnson on March 16, 2023 at 7:36 pm

      You sure can

  6. Avatar photo Kathy H on May 26, 2023 at 2:16 am

    I was told by our pickleball coordinator that the receiver must stand behind the baseline and if not, it’s a fault. I thought this applied to the server only. Please clarify. Thanks much!

    • Avatar photo CJ Johnson on May 26, 2023 at 5:32 am

      Hi Kathy, there’s only one rule in pickleball that specifies where you need to stand and this is it. What your coordinator said is good strategical practice but not a rule. If you stand about three feet behind the baseline you are in a better position to return the serve.

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