How Do You Play Half Court Singles In Pickleball?

If you’re looking to play pickleball with only two players, or whether you’ve been playing the sport for a while and are seeking some new variation, you should consider playing half-court singles. It is commonly known among players as “skinny singles” pickleball.

Half-court singles in pickleball are played with only two players using only half of the court. Apart from a minor difference in calling the score and the fact that a player is only allowed a single serve, the rest of the rules remain the same as regular pickleball.

Although there are only a few minor differences when it comes to playing half-court singles pickleball as opposed to regular doubles pickleball, one needs to be familiar with the rules of the standard format of the game to be able to play the variation of the half-court singles correctly.

How To Play Half Court Singles In Pickleball

The main differences between regular doubles pickleball and half-court singles pickleball are the number of players required to play the game, what part of the court is used, the rules for when a player serves, and how the players call the score.

The Differences Between Singles And Doubles Pickleball

As the name suggests, half-court singles pickleball requires only two players (one player on each side of the court) and is played on only half of the court at a time. On the other hand, regular doubles pickleball uses the whole court when playing a game and requires four players to play (two players on each side of the court who are teammates).

The Difference In Serving Between Game Formats

Although many rules are the same, the rule for serving the ball in half-court singles pickleball differs from the serving rule for regular doubles pickleball. In singles pickleball, the serving player is only allowed a single serve. After the service has been made, the server can only win or lose the point – there are no second serves. 

If the server makes a fault or loses the rally after they have served, a side out will occur, and the player will give the ball to the opponent to serve, and no points will be awarded. However, if the server wins the rally or their opponent makes a fault, the server will be awarded the point and be able to serve the ball again.

The Difference In Calling The Score Between Formats

Another critical difference between half-court singles and doubles pickleball is how the scores are called. In doubles pickleball, the score is called as three numbers. The way in which the score is called is first the score of the serving team, then the score of the receiving team, and lastly, followed by the number of the server (either one or two). 

In half-court singles pickleball, however, the score is only called as two numbers as opposed to three. This is because there is only one person from each team in singles, which means that the number of the server is negligible. The score for singles pickleball is therefore called by firstly stating the score of the serving team and then stating the score of the receiving team.

The Rules Of Half Court Singles Pickleball

A game of half-court singles pickleball is played until one of the players reaches eleven points, and the player must win by a least two points. A point can only be scored by the player serving the ball. If the receiver wins a rally or the server makes a fault, no point is awarded to either player, but the next service is given to the receiver to serve.

Beginning A Game Of Half Court Singles Pickleball

The game begins with the server serving the ball from the right side of the court. They will move to the left side of their court if the server wins the point. When the server’s score is even, they must serve from the right side of the court diagonally across to their opponent, and when the server’s score is odd, they must serve from the left side of the court.

Serving In Half Court Singles Pickleball

When performing a service, the player must do so underhand while ensuring both feet are behind the baseline. The ball must be struck by the paddle below the naval on the stomach of the server. The server may not move their feet from behind the baseline until the ball has left the paddle.

The Double-Bounce Rule

After the service, the ball must bounce once on the diagonally corresponding side of the court where the receiver is before the receiver returns the serve. Then, it must bounce back on the server’s side of the court once again before the server can return the ball to the receiver’s side. This is known as the double-bounce rule.

However, once these shots have been played in the rally, it does not matter if the ball bounces or not before the player returns the shot to the other player. However, if the ball bounces multiple times before being hit by the receiver, it is considered a fault by the receiver, and the player will give the service to the opposition.

Rules Which Can Lead To Faults

If the ball touches the sideline or the baseline, it is still considered to be in play. If the ball goes out of the sidelines or baseline, or it hits the net, it is a fault by the player who made the shot. If any part of a player, including their clothes, touches the ball or the net while playing, it is considered a fault by that player. This includes if a player’s paddle touches the net during a game.

Advantages Of Playing Half Court Singles Pickleball

There are many advantages of playing half-court singles instead of regular doubles pickleball. Some of these advantages include the fact that you only need two players to be able to play a game, and you will be able to get more practice in during a game because you will be the only one hitting the ball for your team, which also allows you to have more chances to practice your doubles shots.


Half-court singles pickleball is an excellent alternative to the doubles format as it requires only two players. In addition, it allows you to get more practice than in the doubles format because you are the only person playing against your opponent. The rules for half-court singles are primarily like the rules for doubles but differ in terms of service and how the score is called.

In half-court singles pickleball, the server has only one opportunity to serve, and if they make a fault, the service is given to the opponent, and no points are awarded to either player. A point can only be scored by a server. When calling the score in singles, it is only necessary to call out the server’s point, followed by the receiver’s point, without mentioning the server number.


Similar Posts