Game FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

When we created Sandy Pickle, we wanted it to be just like pickleball, only with no bounces. While we kept this in mind throughout the process of game development and testing, we decided to simplify some of the more confusing elements of pickleball, i.e. the two-player serving and scorekeeping (7-4-2). Comparisons of the rules for both games will be covered in this FAQ section, along with questions we’ve actually been asked, plus some nobody has asked but we thought you might want to know!

FAQ

Click + To Expand Answers


Glad you asked! Yes, in fact most of our more serious players do. The paddles that ship with our tournament edition game are inexpensive wood paddles meant for recreational play. We do have our own brand of higher end paddles, but any standard pickleball paddle may be used for Sandy Pickle.

Again, in an attempt to maintain the feel of pickleball, Sandy Pickle is played with a standard outdoor pickleball. Outdoor balls are slightly smaller than indoor, have more holes, and are heavier (all characteristics intended to minimize the effects of wind on the ball).

The standard game is played as either doubles or singles, but you can play two on one by adjusting the boundaries on just the singles side of the court, and to get more players involved, try “triples”, with three on each side (rules adaptation coming soon).

Just like in pickleball, Sandy Pickle games are typically played to 11 and you must win by 2. However, it’s your game. Play to 21, 47, 103 or any other number if you’d like!

We think the very best surface is sand, because that probably means we’re at the beach! But really, grass is just as fun, and WAY more people live by grass than by a beach :). You can also set your game up on hard surfaces like a gym floor and use weights to anchor your guy-lines – we think this is the third best option, but hey, when it’s cold outside, we still want to play too!

Honestly? We aren’t the sharpest guys, and when we play pickleball (which we love to do), we still get confused and forget who’s serve it is, which side of the court to serve to next, and what the score is. Do you?

  1. The kitchen line is 7 feet from the net; the no-spike zone line is 5 feet from the net
  2. In pickleball, you can’t enter the kitchen to hit a ball until/unless it bounces first; Sandy Pickle is an all-volley game, so you never wait for a bounce. You can enter the no-spike zone anytime after the serve, but the rule inside the line is that your paddle and ball can’t make contact above the net, preventing easy poaching & spiking.
  3. Crushing a spike is one of the best feelings in any game, so hopefully you’ll do it often in Sandy Pickle. Keep in mind though, the no-spike zone boundary extends upward from the line as an imaginary line. Spiking must be done from behind the line, including the contact point of the paddle and ball (after contact, crossing the line during follow-through is fine).
  1. Unlike pickleball and tennis where you switch from left to right with each new serve, Sandy Pickle serves are always from on the right side of the baseline in doubles play. In singles, serves may be from anywhere behind the baseline.
  2. In pickleball, your serve must be from below your waist level with the paddle moving in an upward motion, and the paddle head must be below the wrist (what? Why???).  In Sandy Pickle, you may serve overhead, underhand, backhand, sidearm, or even behind the back. As long as you don’t cross the baseline until after you hit the ball, you’re good. Get creative. P.S. Ask us about the “moon ball” technique.
  3. In both games, your serve must make it to the kitchen/no-spike zone line; but in pickleball a serve hitting the kitchen line is OUT and on other boundary lines is IN, in Sandy Pickle, a ball hitting any line is IN. Also, if a ball hits the net but clears these lines, it is playable. There are no “lets”…just play it.

That depends on what you mean by “best”.  Steve is probably the nicest, and would never yell at you for losing a point. If you end up having to fight somebody, you’d want Greg as a partner, no question.  But…if you want to win? Go with Brady…he always goes BALZ OUT!

Play Pickleball Anywhere

Frustrated By Crowded Pickleball Courts? Now You Can Play Pickleball At The Beach, Park, And Even Your Own Back Yard!

Retirement age baby boomers playing pickleballWhat was once considered a retirement activity, pickleball has become popular among Gen Z, Millennial and Gen X players, joining their Baby Boomer parents & grandparents on the courts of what is now the fastest growing sport in America.

As pickleball has exploded over the past several years, city planners have scrambled to keep up with demand for public courts, and private pickleball clubs seem to be popping up everywhere. Even posh tennis clubs are answering the bell, responding to the steady decline in tennis popularity by converting some of their courts to accommodate the “new kid in town“.

Meanwhile, three friends in Provo, Utah had become frustrated waiting their turn on the overcrowded local courts. In an attempt to solve the problem, they bought a portable pickleball net and set it up in the grassy park next to their office.  Because a pickleball doesn’t bounce well on grass, a few modifications would have to be made.  As they experimented on the grass and in the park’s sand volleyball court, they adjusted the standard pickleball rules to accommodate for these soft surfaces. It soon dawned on them that they had just created a modified version of pickleball that could open up virtually unlimited court-space, and it was in that moment that the new sport “Sandy Pickle” was born.

Why “Sandy” and not “Grassy” Pickle?

Sandy pickle player jumps for a ballTwo of the three partners grew up near the beach, one in Destin, Florida, and the other in Orange County, CA. While they agreed that their new game was equally as fun on grass, the beach has always been a “happy place” for the trio. In essence, a successful Sandy Pickle launch could be their ticket to spending time on beaches all over the world. Can you blame them?

Business or Hobby?

Sandy Pickle beach pickleball game set To be fair, the three friends were originally just looking for a way to get outside and play pickleball without competing for courts. It was only after friends and passers-by showed genuine (and sometimes passionate) interest in their new game that they realized what was happening. Somebody suggested launching a Kickstarter campaign which they did, and after reaching their funding goal, it was game-on. They formed a company, vetted manufacturing partners, and turned crowded court lemons into a lemonade business!

Today, Sandy Pickle is sold primarily on the company Website and at vendor marketplaces – most recently Sugarplums Market, Peppermint Lane Boutique, and the Maricopa County Home & Garden Show.

For more information about Sandy Pickle, upcoming events, or to order a game set, please visit sandypickle.com.

pickleball played on sand at the beach

Play Beach Pickleball With Sandy Pickle!

Play Beach Pickleball with Sandy Pickle!

On our first introduction to pickleball, we were hooked. The only complaint was that our local courts were too crowded, so we bought a portable pickleball set with the intention of playing in the office parking lot. As we set it up for the first time, we wondered out loud what it would be like to play pickleball on the grass or at the beach. As we sought to find out, the game now known as “Sandy Pickle” was born!

The two biggest issues we faced as we began our test were, 1) A pickleball doesn’t bounce on grass or sand, and 2) Without a bounce, kill shots were too easy on a 3 foot net.  We began modifying the court size, net height and official pickleball rules, and before long we had created a version of pickleball that was fun to play on ANY surface.

Sandy Pickle takes Pickleball to the Beach!

Now you can play pickleball on sand or grass; at the beach, in the park, or in your yard! Read below for a rules comparison between pickleball and Sandy Pickle.


1. Smaller Court Dimensions:


 

Besides the fact that players can’t move as fast on grass or sand as on a hard court, with no bounces every shot is a volley.

After hours of testing court coverage ability for players of all skill levels, the appropriate adjustments were made to the Sandy Pickle boundaries. Also, unlike pickleball where singles and doubles use the same boundaries, the Sandy Pickle singles court is smaller.

The singles* court width is 13′ 6″ (4.1 meters), and doubles is 16′ 8″ (5.1 meters), with baselines at 16′ for singles and 18′ for doubles.  
*SandyPickle’s proprietary net design allows for easy width adjustment between singles & doubles.

2. Adjustable Net Height


As noted in #1, every shot in Sandy Pickle must be returned without a bounce. Our first discovery as we began testing at the standard pickleball net height was that kill shots were far too easy and the net needed to be raised.

As we invited players of various heights to play our evolving Sandy Pickle game, we determined that the net should be set to the approximate height of the tallest player on the court, thus minimizing the spiking advantage of taller players. Our patent pending telescoping net system was designed to allow for easy height adjustments. 

*For tournament play, the default height is 6’ but may be modified to accommodate for optional height and/or skill divisions.

3. No-Spike Zone


The area within 5’ of the net on each side is called the “No Spike Zone” (similar to the “Kitchen” in pickleball).

On each serve, the return must be made from behind the no spike zone line*; At all other times, the only restriction to playing inside this area is that spiking is not allowed inside the boundary. When playing inside this area, the trajectory of the ball must either be upward or flat; a downward ball path results is a fault.

*Note, the no spike zone extends upward from the line, meaning that a ball hit with a downward trajectory must leave the paddle behind this imaginary plane. 

4. One Pass, or BUMP


Did we mention that pickleballs don’t bounce well on sand or grass? During the later stages of testing, we realized that in the fast-paced exchange of shots, there were plenty of mis-hits that stayed in the air long enough for a teammate to send the ball back over the net.  The suggestion was made that we try allowing a pass, whether or not the second shot opportunity was intentional. 

The addition of the 1-pass rule is now an official part of the game, however, it applies only in doubles play. The resulting longer, volley-only rallies make this already fast-paced game almost as fun to watch as it is to play!  

5. Serving


Serves are made from behind the baseline on the right hand side of the court (similar to volleyball) with no limitations as to which side of the court the serve is hit to. The non-serving partner plays the left (“backhand”) side of the court; teammates switch positions when the serve returns to their side after winning a defensive side-out. The player serving continues until they lose a point, after which the opposing team takes over the serve (in Sandy Pickle the serve alternates sides at the end of each players serving opportunity, unlike pickleball in which both teammates serve before a side-out).

Also unlike pickleball, players may serve overhead, underhand, backhand, sidearm or otherwise so long as they serve from behind the baseline and the ball makes it over the net, beyond the no-spike zone, and within the boundaries. A serve is “out” if it lands within the no-spike zone or outside court boundaries. If the ball hits the net but lands within the boundaries, it is considered “in” (similar to pickleball). 

6. Scoring


Like pickleball, games are played to 11 points and must be won by 2 (or more). A point is earned when the player or team serving wins the point. If the player or team RECEIVING the serve wins the point, they take over the serve.

Scoring Note: When a team is winning 7-6, for example, the player serving would call out “7-6” rather than “7-6-1”. For experienced pickleball players, three-digit scoring calls are routine; for most of everyone else, the confusion warranted simplification in the official Sandy Pickle rules. 

play pickleball on grass

Now You Can Play Pickleball On The Grass

So You Want To Play Pickleball On The Grass?

Sandy Pickle was actually the result of our experience trying to play pickleball during the pandemic. The public courts were always busy, so we bought a portable pickleball game and set it up on the park grass. We immediately learned that without a bounce, a 3′ net was too low…kill shots were too easy. The next day we raised the net height by replacing the poles from our set with a couple 6′ sections of sprinkler pipe (PVC). With a taller net the game was fun, but it was no longer “pickleball”.

As we continued playing we made a few more modifications and soon realized what had just happened…we had just modified pickleball into a game that could be played anywhere…in the park, at the beach, and in the yard!

What Changes Were Made As Grass Pickleball Became Sandy Pickle?

Now you can play pickleball on the grass, at the beach, or in your own yard with Sandy Pickle! Read below for a summary of the rules.


1. Smaller Court Dimensions:


 

We adjusted the court size to accommodate for the fact that players can’t move as fast on grass or sand, and every shot is a volley since the ball doesn’t bounce.

In comparison to pickleball, Sandy Pickle’s boundaries are slightly smaller, and the center line has been eliminated. The singles* court width is 13′ 6″ (4.1 meters), and doubles is 16′ 8″ (5.1 meters), with baselines at 16′ for singles and 18′ for doubles.
*SandyPickle’s proprietary net design allows for easy width adjustment between singles & doubles.

2. Adjustable Net Height


For the same reasons as in #1, the net needed to be raised from the standard 36 inch pickleball height. 

For recreational play, the net should be set to the approximate height of the tallest player on the court. For tournament play, the default height is 6’ but may be modified to accommodate for optional height and/or skill divisions.

3. No-Spike Zone


The area within 5’ of the net on each side is called the “No Spike Zone” (similar to the “Kitchen” in pickleball).

On each serve, the return must be made from behind the no-spike zone; At all other times, the only restriction to playing inside this area is that no part of the paddle may be above the top of the net when making contact with the ball (i.e. no spiking).

4. No Bounces


Balls don’t bounce well on sand or grass, therefore each shot must be hit before the ball touches the ground.

Sometimes described as a hybrid of pickleball and badminton, Sandy Pickle also borrows the “bump” from volleyball. The addition of the 1-pass rule in doubles play allows a player to bump, or pass to their teammate who then must hit the ball over the net on the subsequent shot.

Longer, volley-only rallies make for a fast-paced game that is almost as fun to watch as it is to play!  

5. Serving


Serves are made from behind the baseline with no limitations as to which side of the court they are hit from or to. Also unlike pickleball, players may serve overhead.

A serve is “out” if it lands within the no-spike zone or outside court boundaries. If the ball hits the net but lands within the boundaries, it is a “let” and the serve is repeated. The player serving continues until they lose a point, after which their opponent takes over (unlike pickleball, in doubles play the serve alternates sides at the end of each serving opportunity).

6. Scoring


Like pickleball, games are played to 11 points and must be won by 2 (or more). A point is earned when the player or team serving wins the point. If the player or team RECEIVING the serve wins the point, they take over the serve.

Scoring Note: When a team is winning 7-6, for example, the player serving would call out “7-6” rather than “7-6-1”.

Sandy Pickle Official Rules

So, It’s Like Pickleball?

Yes and no. Both games are played with standard pickleball paddles and a regulation outdoor ball, but Sandy Pickle is played on the grass or sand. While many of the rules remain the same (or at least similar), the primary differences are outlined below:

Sandy Pickle Rules


1. Smaller Court Dimensions:


 

Besides the fact that players can’t move as fast on grass or sand as on a hard court, with no bounces every shot is a volley.

After hours of testing court coverage ability for players of all skill levels, the appropriate adjustments were made to the Sandy Pickle boundaries. Also, unlike pickleball where singles and doubles use the same boundaries, the Sandy Pickle singles court is smaller.

The singles* court width is 13′ 6″ (4.1 meters), and doubles is 16′ 8″ (5.1 meters), with baselines at 16′ for singles and 18′ for doubles.  
*SandyPickle’s proprietary net design allows for easy width adjustment between singles & doubles.

2. Adjustable Net Height


As noted in #1, every shot in Sandy Pickle must be returned without a bounce. Our first discovery as we began testing at the standard pickleball net height was that kill shots were far too easy and the net needed to be raised.

As we invited players of various heights to play our evolving Sandy Pickle game, we determined that the net should be set to the approximate height of the tallest player on the court, thus minimizing the spiking advantage of taller players. Our patent pending telescoping net system was designed to allow for easy height adjustments. 

*For tournament play, the default height is 6’ but may be modified to accommodate for optional height and/or skill divisions.

3. No-Spike Zone


The area within 5’ of the net on each side is called the “No Spike Zone” (similar to the “Kitchen” in pickleball).

On each serve, the return must be made from behind the no spike zone line*; At all other times, the only restriction to playing inside this area is that spiking is not allowed inside the boundary. When playing inside this area, the contact point between the paddle and the ball can be no higher than the top of the net, with the resulting trajectory of the ball being either upward or flat; a downward ball path results in a fault. 

*Note, the no spike zone extends upward from the line, meaning that if the paddle and ball contact point is above the net, that contact point must happen behind this imaginary plane. 

4. One Pass, or BUMP


Did we mention that pickleballs don’t bounce well on sand or grass? During the later stages of testing, we realized that in the fast-paced exchange of shots, there were plenty of mis-hits that stayed in the air long enough for a teammate to send the ball back over the net.  The suggestion was made that we try allowing a pass, whether or not the second shot opportunity was intentional. 

The addition of the 1-pass rule is now an official part of the game, however, it applies only in doubles play. The resulting longer, volley-only rallies make this already fast-paced game almost as fun to watch as it is to play!  

5. Serving


Serves are made from behind the baseline on the right hand side of the court (similar to volleyball) with no limitations as to which side of the court the serve is hit to. The non-serving partner plays the left (“backhand”) side of the court; teammates switch positions when the serve returns to their side after winning a defensive side-out. The player serving continues until they lose a point, after which the opposing team takes over the serve (in Sandy Pickle the serve alternates sides at the end of each players serving opportunity, unlike pickleball in which both teammates serve before a side-out).

Also unlike pickleball, players may serve overhead, underhand, backhand, sidearm or otherwise so long as they serve from behind the baseline and the ball makes it over the net, beyond the no-spike zone, and within the boundaries. A serve is “out” if it lands within the no-spike zone or outside court boundaries. If the ball hits the net but lands within the boundaries, it is considered “in” (similar to pickleball). 

6. Scoring


Like pickleball, games are played to 11 points and must be won by 2 (or more). A point is earned when the player or team serving wins the point. If the player or team RECEIVING the serve wins the point, they take over the serve.

Scoring Note: When a team is winning 7-6, for example, the player serving would call out “7-6” rather than “7-6-1”. For experienced pickleball players, three-digit scoring calls are routine; for most of everyone else, the confusion warranted simplification in the official Sandy Pickle rules. 

Sandy Pickle beach pickleball game set

Setup Tips

The following instructions and tips are intended to help our new game owners set up, play, and pack up their Sandy Pickle set. If after reviewing the information on this page you still need help, or if you have tips that you’d like to share with other players, please email us at support@sandypickle.com

Unboxing, Line Prep, Net Setup & Boundary Markers (10 Minutes)

Short Attention Span? Here’s The Same Information In 3 Parts:

Unboxing & Pre-Setup Prep (3 Minutes)


Net Setup (4 1/2 Minutes)


Boundary Marker Placement (3 Minutes)


When You’re Done Playing…


The take-down tips found in this video will help make future setup a breeze!


Rather Read Than Watch Videos?



1. Do This First!



After unpacking your game set and before heading out to play, find the 2 “guy lines” and 4 ground stakes which are used to keep tension on the net from each end of the frame.  Preparing these for use, as well as becoming familiar with how the guy line tensioners work is a critical part of successful game setup!

1.

Separate the two guy lines, find the center point and make a loop in each of them



2.

Place each of the stakes through the guy line between the bottom two holes in the tensioner.



3.

Familiarize yourself with how the slide tensioners work by holding the stake in one hand and the edges of the tensioner in the other and pulling away. The rope should slide through the tensioner holes, creating a larger loop around the stake.  



4.

With the slide tensioners once again slid tight on each stake, hold the two stakes together in one hand, and wind with your other hand for an effective way of keeping the lines tangle free in the carry bag.



2. Setting Up Your Net



1.

Lay your net across your chosen playing area (if possible, avoid having either side of the court facing the sun).



2.

Connect the 4 numbered pole segments on each end of the net, with 1 being the base 4 being the top segment.



3.

Slide the end posts through the net sleeve with the anchor hook through the small slit at the top.



4.

Attach the center loop of your guy lines to the anchor hook and extend the two ends to form a “V”. Slide the line tensioner away from each stake to allow for easier adjustments and push them into the ground.



5.

Adjust the poles to the approximate height of the tallest player and using the slide tensioners on each side, tighten the net while ensuring that both ends of the frame are vertical and square to the ground.



3. Placing Your Boundary Markers



1.

Find the center hole in the two yellow sideline markers (the no-spike zone holes are each 5′ from the center hole) and using a boundary stake secure it to the ground on the outside edge of the net frame.



2.

Continue placing your boundaries with the stakes sharing grommet holes on the shorter yellow end lines and the black no-spike zone lines. After first “eyeballing” square lines, adjustments can be made to achieve a near perfect rectangle.


3.

The “extra” grommet holes in the boundary markers are used for singles play. If you intend to switch between doubles and singles, be sure to align these holes with the singles sleeve.



*

The yellow cones are included to allow for quicker setup using “imaginary” lines.  Using the sideline boundary marker for measurements, place cones at each corner as well as marking the no-spike zone. Connecting the cones with a line drawn in the sand is often used for beach play.



Play Sandy Pickle!