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Serving rules Doubles rules
Scoring rules/Obstruction Officials and equipment


Objective: Paddleball can be played by two, three, or four players, on a court with one, three, or four walls. A small ball is played against the walls with a bat (called a paddle). Points are scored by the serving side when the opponent(s) cannot return the ball. If the server cannot return the ball, the receiver wins the right to serve.

The first side to score 21 points wins. Points can only be scored by the serving side, by winning a volley, or serving an ace. A match is best two out of three games.


Serving rules

The right to serve is decided by tossing a coin. The server in the first game also serves in the third. The serve cannot be made until the opponent is ready. The server can serve from anywhere within the service zone. Both feet must be on or behind the lines. The server must stay inside the service zone until the ball has crossed the short line.

Paddleball court diagram (one and three wall)

One and three wall court
A - Short line
B - Service line
C - Service zone
D - Service box

Paddleball court diagram (four wall)

Four wall court
A - Short line
B - Service line
C - Service zone
D - End line

The ball will be dropped on the floor to bounce, then hit once on the first bounce so that it hits the front wall and rebounds directly behind the short line.

A serve is illegal if the ball hits the floor before crossing the short line (a short serve), if the ball rebounds from the front wall to the back wall and over the end line before hitting the floor (a long serve), or the ball rebounds to the ceiling before hitting the floor (a ceiling serve).

The serve is illegal if the ball rebounds from the front wall and hits two or more walls before hitting the floor, if the ball goes out of court, or if the server leaves the service zone before the ball has crossed the short line (a foot fault).

A player loses service, and the right to serve passes to the receiver if the server makes two illegal serves in a row, if they bounce the ball more than twice before hitting it when serving, if the ball is dropped and then hit in the air, the server strikes at the ball nut misses it, or if the server's body or clothing touches the ball. If the ball goes out of court, or hits a side wall before the front wall, or hits the front wall at the same time as the ceiling, floor, or side wall.

A serve-out is a single action that causes a loss of service.

Return of serve

To return the ball (in four wall) the receiver must be at least 1.5 metres (5 feet) behind the short line until the ball is struck by the server. In one and three wall, the receiver must be behind the service line until the ball passes the short line.

A legally served ball can be returned to the front wall before it has bounced (volley) or after one bounce. If the receiver allows the ball bounces more than once, the server wins a point. The ball may touch the side walls, back wall, or ceiling, although it must not touch them at the same moment as it touches the front wall.

Scoring rules

Only the serving player or side scores points. Points are scored when the opponent(s) are unable to return a serve or volley, or when they deliberately hinder the serving side. A point is lost when the ball goes out of court, even if it rebounds off the front wall, or goes out of play from the first bounce after hitting the front wall.


Players must not stop the opponents from seeing the ball. They must not deliberately hinder an opponent's movements, or make physical contact. The point is replayed if the obstruction is accidental. If the obstruction is deliberate, the player loses either a point or the serve.

Doubles rules

The rules for doubles are much the same as singles, with some additional rules.

After the first serve-out, the service passes to the other side. After the first serve-out in that game, both players on the serving side can lose their serve before it passes to the opponents.

In four wall the server's partner must stand in the service box until the ball has crossed the short line. A foot fault is awarded if they are not in the correct position. If the server's partner is in the correct position and is hit by the ball before it touches the floor or passes them, the serve is replayed. If they are out of the box and are hit by the ball, it is a serve-out.

In one and three wall the server's partner must stand outside the sideline between the short line and the back line until the ball has crossed the short line. If the player is not in this position during a serve it is a foot fault.

Officials and equipment

A referee controls each match, assisted by a scorer.

The paddle (bat) is made of wood and is usually oval or square. The face of the paddle is solid wood. Stringed racquets are not allowed. There is a strap on the handle which goes around the wrist during play. The paddle is approximately 20 centimetres (8 inches) wide, and 40 centimetres (1 foot 4 inches) long. It weighs about 0.5 kilograms (1 pound). The ball is round and usually black.

Players will wear t-shirts, shorts, socks, and shoes. A glove for the paddle hand can be worn, as well as knee and elbow pads.


Ace - where the ball is served so that the receiver cannot return the ball even once (no volley)

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