ECSS Pickleball Rules



The team can be made up of two to four players. Players must be registered with Emerald Coast Social Sports (ECSS) and must sign the ECSS waiver to be able to participate. Two is the maximum number of players for a team allowed on a court at a time. No gender restrictions. Pickup players are allowed but must pay the $10 guest fee (per league night) and sign a waiver with an ECSS league/field rep.


Players must be at least 21 years of age at the start of the league to play. All players must wear closed-toed athletic shoes. All players must wear their ECSS Pickleball league shirt provided (except for the first regular season league night and pickup players). ECSS league/field reps reserve the right to monitor and move teams from leagues in which that are not of level play.


Players will self-rank themselves as beginner, novice, intermediate, and/or advanced players when registering for the ECSS Pickleball League. Teams will be placed in their level of play based on the average of the team’s player ranking. ECSS league/field reps reserve the right to monitor and move teams from leagues in which that are not of level play.


Any player who is deemed to be excessively competitive and/or overly aggressive may be removed from competition at the discretion of an ECSS league/field rep. If a player creates unsafe playing conditions where the game cannot be continued, the violating player may be ejected from the game and asked to leave the premises. A violating team may be disqualified from the game, and it will count as an automatic forfeit. If the behavior persists the player/team may be suspended from the league. PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THAT THIS IS A SOCIAL LEAGUE INTENDED FOR FUN!

Pickleball is a racket sport played using a perforated yellow ball with a tennis-style net. This court is divided into right and left service courts and non-volley zones. Play begins as the server serves diagonally across the court over the net. There is a 7-foot no-volley zone on each side of the net, where players must allow the ball to drop before returning to prevent spiking of the ball. Rally scoring is in effect and the server will continue to serve, alternating between service courts, until the serving side commits a fault or loses a rally. The first side to score 11 points, wins.

Matches will consist of the best of 3 games played to 11, win by 2. Matches are played in 50-minute time slots including warm up. A 5-minute warning will be given at the 45-minute mark either by horn or announcement. If the third game ends under the allotted 45-minute time slot, at the 40-minute mark team will leave the court for the next game to start. Each game within a match will count in the overall standing for the regular season.

Teams decide who will serve first via a game of Rock Paper Scissors. The team who does not serve first chooses which side they prefer to play on.



-The server must have their feet behind the back line when serving.

-The server’s arm must swing upward when the ball is struck.

-Contact with the ball on serve must be made below waist level.

-The ball cannot be bounced on the server's side of the court.

-A serve that hits the net before landing in the appropriate service court is allowed and play should continue.

-The serve must clear the non-volley serve line and land in the diagonal opposite service court.

-A ball that lands on the non-volley line is deemed OUT.

-Only one serve attempt is allowed. Only one fault is allowed before service is forfeited.

-The first serve of each service is made from the right-side court.

-Server must announce the score. Once the score is announced they have 10 seconds to serve the ball or a fault is called.

-If a point is scored by the service team, the server switches sides to the left court and continues to alternate until the server loses the serve.

-In doubles, when a server loses the point, their partner then serves from the right side of the court.

-Once the 2nd server loses the point, the opposing team begins service from the right side of the court.

-TWO-BOUNCE RULE: The returning team MUST allow a bounce before returning a serve, the service team must then allow the ball to bounce before playing the return of serve. Once these first two bounces have occurred, the ball can be volleyed in keeping with the volley rules below.

-Manipulating the ball to add spin during the release of the ball is not allowed. Some natural rotation of the ball when it is released is allowable, but the server must not impart manipulation or spin prior to striking the ball to serve. This applies to the volley serve and the drop serve.

-Volley returns are only allowed when the players’ feet are behind the no-volley line
-A fault is called if a player steps over the line on follow through of a volley.

Line Calls
-All shots must land within the court lines (if not volleyed). A ball making any contact with the line (except the non-volley zone line on a serve) is considered in.

-A fault is any action that stops play due to a rule violation
-A fault by the receiving team results in a point for the serving team
-A fault by the serving team results in a loss of serve or the beginning of 2nd server (in doubles).

-Doubles (2 Players – no gender specifics) 4 Players on a team allowed. Players must be on the roster to participate in playoffs.
-Teams must always have 2 players on the court.

-Teams can rotate players in and out between serves.

-Teams with less than 2 players will forfeit their game unless they pick up a player in the league of the same level or below or bring a friend and pay a $10 guest fee and sign a waiver.
-Teams may have more than 2-players on their roster.

Captains are responsible for reporting the results of their matches via the Scoreholio app (free) or to the field reps.
In cases where teams fail to record their results, all efforts will be made to contact team captains but may result in a loss for both teams.


Games will have a 5-minute grace period (except for the first game of the night, which will have a 10-minute grace period). Once the grace period has expired, if a team does not have the minimum number of players to play an official game (minimum of 2 players), that team will automatically be forfeited.


All teams make the playoffs. Regular season rules will apply during playoffs. Any team found playing a non-rostered player will automatically forfeit and be counted as a loss. Pickup players are allowed in playoffs IF a team will be short. The pickup player MUST pay a guest fee of $10 (per league night) and sign a waiver. A player registered in the league can be picked up if the player’s team is already out of the playoff running and the player is at the same or lower level of play than the player, they are picked up to replace.


Playoff seeding will be determined by the best overall records. If 2 teams are tied with the same record, head-to-head matchups will determine higher seeding whenever possible. When head-to-head matchups cannot clearly determine a higher seed, or when 3 or more teams are tied, tiebreakers will be determined in the following order:

1) Head-to-head matchups (for 2-way ties, when possible, described above)

2) Highest team set differentials for the season

3) Highest team total sets won

4) Lowest team total sets lost

5) Coin Flip

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