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How to Play Pickleball with 6 Players?

How to Play Pickleball with 6 Players?

Pickleball is an emerging paddle sport and can be played in doubles as well as in the singles category and can be played on a tennis or badminton court. If we talk about the number of players, sometimes it becomes a confusing task that how many players can play this game in a single go. How to play pickleball with 6 players?

  • STEP 1: Divide players into two 6 member teams
  • STEP 2: Assign caption to make the swift substitution
  • STEP 3: Player to offense and defense- to be designated
  • STEP 4: Team 1 sends two offensive players
  • STEP 5: Team 2 sends two defensive players
  • STEP 6 Team 1 continues until they side out.
  • STEP 7: After side out, 4 new offense/defense players join the game from both teams and continue to play until side out 
  • STEP 8: Continue with rapid substitution until the side earns 11 points

The doubles category is played in four gamers and is prevalent. Single tournaments are conducted regularly too. Sometimes, it is noticed that there are more players on the court. This indicates that the game sometimes requires sitting and waiting for it to end.

Mortimer Pickleball- 6 Player Pickleball Game:

Mortimer strategy is a must to consider if you are looking for a multiplayer option in a pickleball game. Mortimer pickleball involves 6 players, of which 3 are designated to every side. All the three players begin at the baseline together while serving. Two of the players move up to the kitchen line after service.

The third player, known as Mortimer, hovers in the back. The Mortimer player cannot receive or serve during the game. This player generally picks the lobs and shots down them in the middle to help them get past the players at the net. Players usually take their turn at being Mortimer.

If a player is one of the primary kitchen-line players, he can put the ball into the net or make an unforced error. They can even swap their places with their Mortimer.

How to Play Pickleball with 6 Players?

1: Dividing the playersTo start the game of pickleball, the first thing is to divide the players into categories of two 6 members in a team.
2: Team captainThe next step is to appoint an appropriate team captain who can make rapid substitutions.
3: Designating the playersThe next step is to designate that which player will be offense and defense to start the game.
4: Teams and their playersTeam A can send their two offensive players and Team B can send their two defensive players.
5: Side outTeam A can play and serve until they side out.

4 new players either offense or defense can rush to their game from both the teams and the game is continued until side out.
6: SubstitutionsThe game is continued with rapid substitutions till the team earns 11 points.

Playing Pickleball with 6 Players- An Overview:

Pickleball is a game often played on a badminton or tennis court on which the ball is served diagonally. Points can only be scored by the side which serves in-game, and service is done with right-hand service-square.

The ball must be let to bounce once by the players on each side before the volleys are allowed. There is also a seven-foot non-volley zone on each side of the net, which helps in preventing spiking.

The first side, which scores eleven points and leads by two points, is considered a winner. Pickleball can be played as a single player in the doubles category too.


A team can score a point only when they serve in the game. A player who serves should continue until or unless any makes a fault of their teammates.

Each player on a team should keep serving in the doubles category until the team makes a fault. After such a strategy, the service is moved to the opposing team, called a side out. The team must win by 2 points and is played to 11 points.

Player Position for Doubles:

How to Play Pickleball with 6 Players

Double Play Positioning Movements:

The image below describes the double play positioning movement in pictorial representation. The server or player 1 serves from the right side of the court of the serving’s team, which is diagonally player across the court to the player 3, which is the receiver.

Player 3 is on the opposite right-hand side of the court and must let the ball bounce before returning the serve. Here double bounce rule is implemented, too, in which the serving team must also let the return bounce before playing the game. The ball may be either volleyed or played off the bounce until or unless a fault is made.

How to Play Pickleball with 6 Players

The Pickleball Serve:

Pickleball serve is an important part of the game and is made diagonally started with the right-hand service square with an alternating serve. The serve should be made seven-foot non-volley zone in front of the net and should land in the diagonal service court of the team.

Serves are always done using the underhand strategy with a paddle, and the server is expected to keep both feet behind the backline while serving. The player should hit the ball in the air without the ball being bounced, and the serving side will continue to serve until or unless there is a fault on the service.

If the ball touches the net and still lands in the appropriate service court, then the service is taken over.

The server should keep both feet behind the backline during serving. Service is made with underhand using a paddle contacting the ball below the waist of the player. The server is not allowed to bounce or hit off the bounce and is made diagonally crosscourt and must clear the non-volley zone, including the line which is the service that hits the non-volley zone line.

Only one serve is allowed to attempt with an exception that if the ball touches the net on the serve and lands in the proper service court, in such case, the server might be taken over. The first serving team is allowed only one fault at the start of each new game before giving up the ball to their opponents.

Both team members are allowed to serve and fault before the ball is turned over to the opposing team. The player in the right-hand court always starts the play when the receiving team wins the serve.


Volley is also associated with pickleball, in which the ball is hit in the air without letting it bounce. Volley is made when players’ feet are behind the non-volley zone line, which is seven feet behind the net. If the player steps over the line on his volley, it is considered a fault.

How to Play Pickleball with 6 Players


The fault is also seen in the pickleball game and is committed when the ball is:

  • Touching any part of the non-volley zone on the serve.
  • Hitting out of the bounds
  • Not clearing the net
  • Volleyed from the non-volley zone
  • Volleyed before a bounce has occurred on each side

Double Strategies in a Pickleball:

Position of the playerThe serving player always stands behind the baseline to serve. The receiver stands at or near the baseline to return the serve.

The partner of the receiver can stand anywhere but is usually positioned at the NVZ line on the side of their court.
Getting towards the netThe receiver should quickly move toward the NVZ line after returning the serve.

The serving team should also move toward the NVZ line after the return of serve return.

Players should attempt the get the NVZ line to return to the next ball hit by the opposing team.

Two or three shots should get to the NVZ line safely and in balance. Once a player is at NVZ, the player should stay there.
Partners to be moved in unisonThe partner which hits the ball determines when and where the team will move.

When one partner hits the ball at the baseline they move toward the non-volley zone at the angle where the ball is hit.

The other can also move forward. An inviting gap is created for the opponents to place a winning shot.
Prefer placement instead of powerThe doubles team who make few and unforced errors are likely to win the game and should keep the ball in play.

It is estimated that about 75% of the rallies are won or lost because of the errors in which 25% are earned or won by a good shot.

It is better to place the ball back over the net in control rather than in trying to hit a winner every shit. The safest place which is considered to hit the ball in doubles is deep down the middle.

It minimizes the chance of hitting wide and can cause confusion over which opponent must return the ball.

Most of the players have less power and are less comfortable hitting with their backhand. The player should try to hit the opponent’s backhand, especially on the serve.

USAPA Multi-User Approach:

The USAPA multi-user approach helps get up to 12 players involved in a single pickleball match and is considered a high-intensity solution. The 12 players of the game are split into two teams comprising six players in each team.

Each team has its captain who can make rapid substitutions in the game and has this authority. Each team then sends their pair of players for playing each round of the game.

The serving team sends their offensive players while the team acting as receiving team sends their defensive players. When the defending team stops their offense and resumes the right to serve, the round is completed.

Each team sends their new pair of players when the round is over, and this rotation is continued until a team scores 11 points in total.

Also Read:

Where to Learn Pickleball in USA? Top 15 Schools
How Did Pickleball Get Its Name? Amazing Facts

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Can a person play a pickleball game with five players?

According to the USAPA Multiplayer Approach, pickleball involves 12 players in a single pickleball match. Each team in the game sends in a new pair of players when the round is over, and this rotation continues until the team secures 11 points in total.

Can a pickleball game be played with six people?

A Pickleball game can act as a mixer perfectly with six players in a team. Like other competitive sports, it gives this sport a chance to experience cheerleaders.

Can three persons play a pickleball game?

A Pickleball game with three players involves each player’s participation in taking their servings and scoring points against the other two players. Each server gets two service turns instead of one and serves from the right side with an even number of points.

What are the five basics of a pickleball game?

 There are five basic rules of a pickleball game, including:

  • The ball must stay in-bound during play.
  • There should be just one bounce per side.
  • The serving must be done at the baseline during play.
  • The serve cannot land in the no-volley zone.
  • The pickleball game ends at 11, 15, or 21 points.

How many players are needed for playing pickleball?

Pickleball is played mainly with two players in the singles category and four players in the doubles category. Single tournaments are played regularly, while doubles game is popular in pickleball.

Is pickleball played in the form of doubles only?

Pickleball is a game that can be played either in doubles or singles. The same rules are applied in both categories.

How is a player rotated in a pickleball game?

The player having their paddle at the left side of the pile is invited to join a new game when there are more than eight players in a game. 4 players leave the court for their bench after the game is completed, and the following four players join to form a new one game.

Can a pickleball game be played with two players?

Pickleball is an unregulated game and is not played in a highly competitive environment. There is no hard and fast rule related to the equipment and alternatives associated with this game. This game is played one-on-one and in two-on-two categories too.

How many times can a person serve in a pickleball game?

A person can serve once in a pickleball game. There is an exception that one ball touches the net on the serve and lands on a proper service court. Let serves can be replayed.