Enjoying the game at Queen Elizabeth Park despite a bit of the white stuff…
Despite its ridiculous name, Pickleball is a great game. It can be picked up by almost anyone, regardless of athletic ability – one of the few active sports where anyone at any age can start playing and be confident within a short period. Although Pickleball can be energetic, it is contained to a small area, limiting the running and fast turning, thus making it easier for much younger and older players, or those with mobility concerns. Yet its activity is strenuous enough to give a solid aerobic workout, improving overall heart health.
Its ease of entry, though, is not its most remarkable trait. It is an unusually inclusive sport. A wide range of age groups, body types, athletic ability levels, and ethnic or social groups can usually be found playing with each other at any Pickleball centre. What makes this diversity unique is that often you will find that everyone is playing with everyone else in an open-ended round-robin format. No other sport has this spirit of interaction across the normal barriers of society. The name Pickleball itself was chosen to emphasize the centrality of this inclusiveness. In rowing, a pickle boat crew is composed of leftover oarsmen from other boats and is often comprised of coed teams, something that is not usual in rowing. The name was chosen to emphasize its coed and inclusive nature.
With its small footprint, Pickleball is also environmentally responsible. You can place four Pickleball courts on a single tennis court. You could place enough Pickleball courts on a single soccer pitch to support an entire playing community for a long time.
(On the right you can see how four Pickleball courts might be placed in the area used by a single tennis court.)
Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in North America not just because it is fun, and good exercise, but because it is environmentally responsible, socially inclusive, and inherently safer than other active sports.
Doubles Pickleball is the most popular form of the game. Unfortunately, we can’t always find four players for a game of doubles. And during this pandemic period, many jurisdictions (like British Columbia) primarily only allow singles play.
If you are an avid Pickleballer and love your doubles game, the idea of playing singles might not be appealing. Maybe you’ve tried it as a full-court singles game (like singles tennis). Full-court singles Pickelball is an entirely different game from doubles Pickleball. And it is exhausting.
Skinny Singles is the answer …Read More
There are many resources that explain “Skinny Singles”. Here are just a few:
- Pickleball Singles-Start with Skinny Singles (from “CJ Johnson”)
- Pickleball Singles-Not Sure How to Play? Start with Skinny Singles (from “Better Pickleball”)
- Skinny Singles (from “Picklesphere”)
- Skinny Singles (from “Gallery Pickleball”)
- And so many more …
The general concept is that you play only on half of the court. But sometimes you play diagonally, and sometimes you play directly across from your opponent.
Centre LineRead More
This leads to the first difference from doubles pickleball:
In order to play half the court, the centre line extends all the way to the net. Some players chalk-out an extension to the center line — but many (if not most) players just assume there is an imaginary line extended to the net and make judgement calls if it is close. (Obviously if you are getting competitive about your singles play you’ll want to chalk-out the extension).
Half Court PlayRead More
Each player’s half of the court is determined by whether they have an EVEN or an ODD number of points.
If you both have an EVEN number of points (like when you start the game and you both have zero points), each player’s half of the court is the right-hand side of the court — and they are playing diagonally. The server must land the serve in the service zone diagonally opposite to their court, and play occurs diagonally cross-court.
Now suppose that one of the players (the player on the bottom in this diagram) has an ODD number of points and the other player has an EVEN number of points. In that case the player with an ODD number of points (on the bottom) plays in their left-hand side of the court, and the other player plays in their right-hand side. This would happen if the score was 1-0 (for the player on the bottom) for instance. Or 3-0 or 5-2, etc.
The server must land the serve in the service directly opposite opposite their half of the court, and play occurs directly opposite each player.
You’ve probably gotten the gist of the system by now. But here’s an example of when both players have an ODD number of points (eg. 1-1, 3-3, 3-1, 7-5, etc.). Each player’s half of the court is their left-hand half of the court.
Now might be a good time to point out that although the ball must land in the side of the court corresponding to a players ODD/EVEN score, the player is not restricted from standing in the other half of their court. Of course they must observe the rules about not hitting a volley while standing in the kitchen — but other than that a player can stand anywhere they are allowed in doubles pickleball.
And finally (it should be obvious by now) if the top player in this diagram has an ODD number of points and the other player has an EVEN number of points, the play is in the half court directly across from each other like this
Only One Server Per Side
The last thing to remember about “Skinny Singles” is that there is only one server per side. So there is no concept of a first or second server as there is in doubles Pickleball.
That’s about all there is to “Skinny Singles”. It is a bit more challenging than doubles play because you have to land the ball in just a half of your opponent’s court. That’s actually a good characteristic of the game — because it will improve the accuracy of your shots. And finally, it should be noted that “Skinny Singles” is somewhat more tiring than doubles. That is because you don’t have a partner to field half the shots hit into your court. It’s all up to you.
2021 brings more than 100 rule changes to Pickleball — these went into effect on January 21, 2021:
Three changes that you might find interesting include:
- There are no more “lets”: A serve that hits the tape and lands in the correct service box is now live and must be played.
- Drop serves are allowed: Serves may be hit after the ball bounces and with no restrictions on the nature of the swing.
- Asking about positions: Serving teams can now ask both whether they are the correct server and in correct position.
Check out all of the changes (81 pages of them!):
In December of 2020 all VPA members were surveyed to help us determine future directions for the organization. The results were as follows:
If you are having difficulty reading the charts above, you can visit the original SurveyMonkey site by clicking here