How Long Does a Pickleball Game Last? Exploring Game Duration in Singles and Doubles

How Long Does a Pickleball Game Last


Pickleball is a rapidly growing sport that combines speed and fun for players of all ages and levels. Everyone needs to know how long a pickleball game lasts, whether you are just starting or have already gotten your sea legs.

In this guide, we will look at the variables that influence how long each pickleball game lasts and also explain the average times.

Basics of Pickleball

Before we go any further, let’s lay some ground by understanding how the sport is played. Pickleball is an exciting amalgamation of tennis, badminton and even table tennis. It’s played on a court with a net running the length between that seen in doubles badminton. The game can be singles (one-on-one) or doubles (two-on-two).

Number of Players

In singles pickleball, each player competes individually, while in doubles pickleball, two players are on each team. The number of players in a game can impact its duration.

Scoring System

A pickleball game is typically played to 11 points, with the serving team being the only team eligible to score. A team must have a two-point advantage over their opponents to win a game. The scoring system and the potential for close scores can influence the length of a game.

Serving Rules

The serve is a crucial aspect of pickleball and follows specific rules. The server must stand behind the baseline and serve diagonally across the court. The serve must clear the non-volley zone and bounce once before the return. The serving team continues to serve until a fault occurs or the receiving team wins a point.

Rallies and Non-Volley Zone

After the serve, the game proceeds with rallies, where players hit the ball repeatedly over the net. A seven-foot non-volley zone on each side of the net, also known as the kitchen, where players cannot strike the ball in the air. If a player is within this zone, the ball must bounce before being hit.

Factors Affecting the Length of Pickleball Games

Now that we have a solid understanding of the basics let’s explore the various factors that can influence the duration of pickleball games.

Skill Level of Players

The skill level of the players involved in a pickleball game plays a significant role in its duration. Experienced players with excellent technique and strategic gameplay tend to have longer rallies, resulting in longer games. Conversely, beginners may have shorter games due to more mistakes and faster recoveries.

Singles vs. Doubles

The format of the game, whether singles or doubles, can impact the length of a pickleball game. Doubles games often take longer due to the increased number of players on the court, which allows for more defensive plays and extended rallies. Singles games, on the other hand, can be shorter if one player quickly dominates the match.

Aggressive vs. Conservative Playing Style

The playing style of the participants can also affect the duration of pickleball games. Players with an aggressive style tend to go for riskier shots, which can result in quicker points being scored. In contrast, more conservative players focusing on defense and strategic placement can extend rallies and prolong the game.

Court Size and Surface

The pickleball court’s size and surface can impact the game’s pace and duration. Indoor courts, typically found in gyms, provide a controlled environment without external factors like wind or sun. On the other hand, outdoor courts are subject to weather conditions, such as wind, which can affect the ball’s flight and prolong rallies.

Scoring System and Close Scores

The scoring system used in pickleball, where a two-point advantage is required to win, can contribute to the length of a game. If the score remains close, with both teams constantly exchanging points, the game can be extended as teams strive to gain a two-point lead.

Fitness and Endurance

The fitness level and endurance of the players can also impact the duration of pickleball games. Players with higher fitness levels may have the stamina to engage in longer rallies and maintain a high level of play, leading to extended game durations.

Average Length of a Pickleball Game

Considering the above mentioned factors, providing an exact duration for pickleball games is challenging. However, based on the information available, a typical game of pickleball lasts between 15 and 30 minutes. This timeframe accounts for both singles and doubles games played under standard rules.

Length of Pickleball Tournaments

In addition to individual games, pickleball tournaments are another popular format in which players compete. Tournaments can vary in length depending on the number of participants, the tournament format, and the skill level of the players.

Single-Elimination Tournaments

Single-elimination tournaments typically conclude within a day. In this format, players or teams compete against each other, and the winner of each match advances to the next round. The number of games decreases as the tournament progresses, resulting in a shorter duration.

Round-Robin Tournaments

Round-robin tournaments, where players compete against multiple opponents, can span several days. Each participant plays against another participant in their group, accumulating points based on their performance. The length of round-robin tournaments depends on the number of participants and the schedule of matches.

Level of Competition

The level of competition in a pickleball tournament can also impact its duration. Higher-level games with skilled players may feature longer and more competitive matches, resulting in a longer overall tournament duration.

The Longest Pickleball Game Ever Played

While the average pickleball game lasts between 15 and 30 minutes, there have been exceptional cases where games have extended far beyond that timeframe. In 2011, Justin Lawrence and Jeffrey Baker played a game of pickleball for an astonishing 24 hours, setting a world record for the longest pickleball game ever played.

Additionally, as recognized by the Guinness World Records, the longest pickleball rally lasted an incredible 16,046 shots. This record was achieved by Angelo and Ettore Rossetti, showcasing the endurance and skill required for such a feat.

Comparison to Other Sports

To put the duration of pickleball games into perspective, let’s compare it to other racket sports.

  • Tennis: Tennis matches can last for several hours, with men’s games often stretching over three hours and five-set matches even longer. Women’s games tend to be shorter, typically lasting around two hours.
  • Badminton: Badminton games are faster-paced than pickleball, with matches usually lasting between 40 and 50 minutes.
  • Squash: Squash matches are relatively short, averaging around 45 minutes for men and 32 minutes for women.
  • Table Tennis: Table tennis matches can vary in length, with quick games lasting as little as 30 minutes and competitive games lasting up to an hour.

Compared to these sports, pickleball offers a shorter and more accessible gameplay experience, making it an attractive option for players seeking a fast-paced and engaging sport.


In conclusion, the duration of a pickleball game can vary depending on several factors, including the players’ skill level, the game’s format, and the scoring system being used. On average, pickleball games last between 15 and 30 minutes, providing an exciting and efficient playing experience.

Whether participating in casual games or competitive tournaments, understanding the factors influencing game length can help you better enjoy and plan your pickleball matches. So, grab your paddle, head to the court, and prepare for an exhilarating pickleball game!


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