Playing together as a family is an important way to strengthen relationships, build memories, and promote healthy habits. Whether it’s spending quality time together, improving communication, or reducing stress, playing games and engaging in physical activities as a family can have numerous benefits. Pickleball is an excellent way to do just that.

Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines elements of badminton, tennis, and ping-pong. It uses a court about the size of a badminton court and with a net slightly lower than a tennis’. Pickleball is a great game for families to play together because it is easy to learn, can be played indoors or outdoors, and is suitable for people of all ages and skill levels.

In this post, we will provide an overview of the basic rules of pickleball, as well as a variety of games and activities that families can play together. We will also offer some tips for playing pickleball as a family to ensure that everyone stays safe, has fun, and enjoys the experience. Whether you’re a seasoned pickleball player or a beginner, there’s something in this article for everyone. So, let’s get started!

Basic Rules of Pickleball

Before diving into the various games and activities families can play together, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the rules of pickleball. Here are the key rules:

Court and Equipment

The pickleball court is 20 feet wide and 44 feet long for doubles matches, and 20 feet wide and 22 feet long for singles matches. The net is 36 inches high at the sidelines and 34 inches high at the center. Players use a paddle that is similar to a table tennis paddle, but larger, and a plastic ball that has holes in it.

Speaking of equipment, while it isn’t necessary, using a pickleball machine can also be a good idea. It will fire balls across the court and the player needs to hit the ball. This is a great way to practice and prepare for fun family matches.


The serve must be made underhand and the server must keep both feet behind the back line until the ball is served. The ball must be served diagonally across the net and must land in the opponent’s service court. If the ball hits the net and lands in the correct service court, it is a let serve and the serve is replayed.


Points are only scored by the serving team. If the serving team wins the rally, they score a point and the same player continues to serve. If the receiving team wins the rally, they become the serving team and the server rotates to the other side of the court.

Basic Gameplay

The ball must be returned after it bounces once on each side of the net. After the ball has been served, both teams can hit the ball back and forth until one team fails to return the ball or hits it out of bounds. If the ball hits any part of the court boundary, it is considered out of bounds.

Pickleball Games and Activities for Families

Pickleball is a versatile game that can be adapted to fit the skill level and interests of any group of players. Here are some fun games and activities that families can enjoy together:

Beginner-level Games

  • Keep it Up: Players try to keep the ball in the air for as long as possible. The goal is to see how many times the ball can be hit back and forth without it touching the ground. The team that hits the ball the most times without it hitting the ground wins.
  • Around the World: This game is similar to Keep it Up, but instead of just hitting the ball back and forth, players try to hit the ball to different areas of the court. The first team to successfully hit the ball to all areas of the court wins.
  • King/Queen of the Court: One player starts as the “king/queen” and plays against all other players one at a time. The winner of each round becomes the new “king/queen” and continues to play against the other players.

Intermediate-level Games

  • Dink Wars: Dinking is a technique in pickleball where players hit the ball softly over the net, often aiming for the opponent’s feet. In this game, players try to hit the ball as many times as possible using only dinks. The team that hits the ball the most times without it hitting the ground or going out of bounds wins.
  • Chaos Pickleball: In this game, players can hit the ball wherever they want on the court, and there are no boundaries. The goal is to see how long the rally can last before the ball goes out of bounds or hits the ground.
  • Skinny Singles: Players can only hit the ball down the middle of the court. If the ball goes out of bounds or is hit to the side of the court, the point goes to the other team.

Advanced-level Games

  • The Gauntlet: One team starts with two players and the other team starts with one player. The team with two players serves, and the game is played until the point is won or lost. If the serving team wins the point, they keep both players on the court and the opposing team adds a player. If the serving team loses the point, they lose one player, and the other team adds a player.
  • The Triangle: The game starts with one team having two players and the other team with three players. The team with two players serves, and the game is played until the point is won or lost. If the serving team wins the point, they keep both players on the court and the opposing team removes a player. Otherwise, one player is eliminated while the other team gains another player. The game proceeds until one team has five members on the court.
  • Pickleball Baseball: The court is divided into four bases. The serving team tries to hit the ball into play, and the receiving team tries to return the ball and advance to the next base. If the ball is hit out of bounds or is not returned, the receiving team is out. The game is played until one team scores a predetermined number of runs.

Tips for Playing Pickleball as a Family

Playing pickleball as a family is a great way to bond, but it’s important to take some precautions to ensure that everyone stays safe and healthy. Here are some tips:

  • Safety First: Make sure that everyone wears appropriate footwear and clothing, and that the court is free of any hazards. Also, be sure to warm up before playing and stretch afterward to prevent injuries.
  • Keep it Fun and Friendly: Remember that the goal is to have fun and spend time together. Don’t take the game too seriously and avoid getting too competitive or critical of each other.
  • Encourage Teamwork: Pickleball is a team sport, so encourage everyone to work together and communicate with each other. This will not only improve gameplay but also help build stronger relationships.
  • Adjust the Rules and Equipment: If younger children are playing, consider using a smaller court or lighter paddles and balls. Also, don’t be afraid to modify the official rules to make the game more accessible or enjoyable for everyone.
  • Stay Hydrated and Take Breaks: Pickleball can be physically demanding, so stay hydrated and take breaks when needed. This will help prevent exhaustion and dehydration. JUST Water states that the average American should aim to drink 8 large glasses daily, but that you should increase this amount if you’re exercising.

Wrapping Up

Playing pickleball as a family is a fantastic way to spend quality time together and create lasting memories. This versatile sport can be adapted to suit players of all ages and abilities, and there are endless variations of games and activities that families can enjoy together. Not only is it a fun way to stay active, but it can also promote teamwork, communication, and healthy competition. So, gather your loved ones, grab your paddles, and head to the court to start playing and bonding together today!