Download the full rules here: HSSC_Pickleball_Rules.pdf

Sport & Social Club General Rules

Score & Spirit Point Reporting

  • Game Scores (account for 75% of total points): Team captains are responsible for reporting the scores after your game by logging into your player profile and clicking on ‘My Team’ tab and selecting ‘Report Score/Spirit Points’.  Teams have a 48 hour window to report scores after the completion of the game.  Please be timely with your score reporting so league standings can remain updated for playoff positioning.
  • Spirit Points (account for 25% of total points): Spirit points are awarded to a team from their opponent after each game to encourage sportsmanship, honesty, integrity and fair play.  For more information and how to properly award spirit points, please see our section ‘All About Spirit Points’.


  • Players can view league standings & schedules by logging into your player profile and clicking on ‘Standings/Schedule’.

Player Eligibility 

  • All players must be added to the team roster by the team captain.  This process confirms that all players have electronically agreed (checked the box) to our policies and online waiver.
  • Substitute players are allowed, however they must be added to the roster (check the online waiver).  Adding a substitute player from another team in the same league is allowed, however, regular/consistent use of a substitute player in the same league is considered unsportsmanlike and not encouraged.
  • For a player to be eligible for a playoff game, the following criteria must be met or the team will default the game:
    • Be on the SSC online team roster.
    • Play a minimum of two regular season games in a 6-10 week season, or three regular season games in an 11-14 week season.
    • Play for only one team per league/pool in playoff games.  If a player plays for two teams, the second game will be defaulted.


  • A default will occur if a team cannot field a squad by 15 minutes after the official start time.  If a team does not meet the standard eligibility requirements, team captains must confirm the outcome prior to starting the game.  Captains may agree to waive the rules regarding minimum players.  IF IT IS AGREED THAT THE GAME COUNTS, IT COUNTS!  In the event there is a default dispute and the game was played, the SSC ruling is that the game counts.
  • In the event of inclement weather, follow the sport specific instruction below.  To view our general SSC foul weather policy click here.

Rough Play & Player Conduct

  • It is recognized that incidental contact between players is inevitable – however, all players should go out of their way to avoid creating unsafe play.
  • Any unsportsmanlike conduct may result in immediate expulsion from the league.  This includes, physical or rough play, verbal abuse, damage to facility property and/or loss of facility permit.  Fighting will result in immediate expulsion from the league.  To view our Unsportsmanlike Conduct policy click here. 
  • Drinking alcoholic beverages, use of drugs and smoking at your game site before, during, or after your game is strictly prohibited.  Offenders will be asked to leave the league without refund. No Exceptions. 

Game Coordinator (GC) On-site SSC Staff 

  • A GC presence is dependent on sport, season, and/or facility locations.  They are not referees, as all games are self-officiated.  They are on-site to be a neutral supporter of both teams, clarify rules, manage equipment, start/stop games, and to inform players of league news.
  • Game Coordinators may stop a game before the full time has expired due to overly aggressive play, persistent unsportsmanlike conduct or a general violation of the rules of the game.

SSC Official Pickleball Rules – Split Bench Format 


  • The overall objective of the game is to win the match by winning more points than your opponent. 

Game Length & League Structure

  • SSC Pickleball league is based on a split bench format of gameplay.  Your partner and opponent may be different for each game.  The courts will be reserved for a specific amount of time according to the online schedule.  Players join an open game as the courts become available.  
  • You can stay and play the full amount of time, or ‘drop-in’ at your leisure.
  • SSC does not use a ranking system to indicate the different skill level of its members nor does it use a system to impose time limits on matches. Rather, SSC uses the "honour system" to keep track of who is next up to play.  Be courteous by allowing players that have not had a chance to play or warm up to do so.
  • No consecutive matches amongst teams or individuals, unless there is available court space.


  • Players are responsible for bringing their own paddles. 
  • Balls will be provided on-site. 
  • Nets are stored at the facility and are property of the facility.

Skill Levels

  • All skill levels are welcome; however, this program is targeted towards beginner-intermediate players.

General Game Rules

SSC follows standard Pickleball Canada rules.  

  • Games will begin with players choosing teammates at random.
  • Games will be played as doubles, unless there is available court space.
  • Once a game is completed, winning teams will go to a pre-determined winning bench, and the losing teams will go to a pre-determined losing bench. When a court becomes available, the next 4 players from one of the benches begins a game. Benches are to rotate when a court becomes available.
  • Two Bounce Rule: The ball must bounce twice, once on each side of the court, before players can hit the ball in the air or on the “volley”. When the ball is served, it bounces in the receivers service court, the serving team must stay back and wait for the ball to bounce again on their side before they can move up and play the ball in the air.
    This rule is instrumental in providing long rallies in the game of Pickleball. The serving team cannot serve the ball deep and then run to the net and smash it down to their opponents. They must stay back and wait for the return bounce.
  • The point of contact where the ball meets the court is what determines if a ball is in/out.  A ball is deemed out of play if the ball lands completely outside the court lines.  If a ball touches an exterior court line, it is considered in.
  • Calling Lines - players will call the lines as honestly and fairly as they can. Players should call the lines on their side of the net and opponents will do the same on their side. Opponents should never make a call on the other side of the net unless they are asked. If a team cannot decide on a line call, then the benefit always goes to the opponent. If a team asks for an opinion from an opponent, that decision is final.

Serving & Player Positioning

  • At the start of each point, the server should announce the score (etiquette).
  • Both server’s feet must be behind the baseline when making a serve and one foot must always be on the ground.
  • The highest point of the paddle head must not be above the highest part of the wrist when striking the ball.
  • Contact with the ball must not be made above the waist level.
  • The server must serve to the correct service court (the court diagonally opposite the server).
  • The correct server and receiver and their positions are determined by the score and the players’ starting positions in the game.  After each side out, service begins with the player correctly positioned on the right/even side of the court according to the team’s score. This player is referred to as “Server 1” and the partner is “Server 2.”
  • Each player will serve until a rally is lost or a fault is declared against the player or team. Exception: At the start of each game, when only the starting server will serve. The starting server of each game is therefore designated as “Server 2” for scoring purposes, since a side out will occur once a rally is lost or a fault is committed by the serving team and service is awarded to the opposing team.
  • As long as the server holds serve, after each point the server will alternate serving from the right/even and left/odd sides of the court.
  • The receiving team does not alternate positions when a point is scored by the serving team. The receiving team may switch positions after the return of serve, but after the rally is over, the receiving team must return back to their correct positions, which correspond to the team’s score and the players’ starting positions.


The Kitchen (The Non-Volley Zone)

  • The Kitchen is a rectangle that is 7' X 20 feet on both sides of the net.
  • Players cannot step into the Kitchen (or on the line) when making, or following through from, a volley shot. However, this only applies when a player is attempting to hit the ball in the air.  Players can enter The Kitchen after making a ground stroke (a ball that bounces first).
  • Players can stand in The Kitchen, as long as they are not playing the ball in the air. It is a fault if a player steps in even after the ball is missed or hit by the opponents.


  • The first team to score 11 points by a two-point margin is awarded the win.
  • Only the serving team can win a point.  The receiving team must get the ‘side-down’ and get the serve back before earning points.
  • Points are awarded when the opponents commit a fault.

Faults and Lets


  • Faults can occur for a wide variety of reasons, including:
    • If the serve or service return does not bounce before the ball is struck.
    • Hitting the ball into the player’s side of the net without the ball crossing over to the opponent’s side. Note: The play is dead and the fault occurs the moment the ball hits the ground.
    • Hitting the ball under the net or between the net and the net post.
    • A player hitting a ball that lands out of bounds or onto their own side of the court.
    • Failure to hit the ball before it bounces twice on the receiving player’s court.
    • A player, a player’s apparel, or a player’s paddle contacting the net system or the net posts when the ball is in play.
    • The ball in play contacts a player or anything the player is wearing or carrying, except the paddle or the player’s hand(s) in contact with the paddle and below the wrist. If the player is in the process of changing hands with both hands on the paddle or is attempting a two-handed stroke and either hand is hit below the wrist, the ball is still in play.
    • A live ball that is stopped by a player before it becomes dead. (e.g., catching or stopping a ball in flight before it makes contact with the court.)
    • Violation of The Kitchen rules.
    • Once the ball is in play, a player hitting the ball before it passes the plane of the net.
    • A player deliberately touching the ball with the paddle more than once (i.e., double hit).


  • Lets can be called for a variety of reasons, and there is no limit to the number of lets a server may server.  The server is a let and will be replayed if:
    • The serve touches the net, strap, or band and is otherwise good and lands in the service court,
    • If a player is unready for a serve, 
    • If a ball is broken


Remember… Always have fun!