Official Gameplay Rules



The Cone Flip

PaddleZlam Game Set consists of (4) Pickleball paddles, (2) Pickleballs, (2) Gaming cones, (2) Instructional stickers and a Carry bag.
First time set up of goals – Lay each gaming cone flat with the sticker side up. Reverse-roll each gaming cone to get them to return to their original shape.
To assemble goals, insert the (3) tab ends into the pill-shaped slotted openings. Insert the tabs from the outside to the inside of the container.
Scoring stickers can be placed on either the back of the paddles or the gaming cones for quick reference during game play.
The official distance between the scoring cones is 25 feet. This distance should be measured from the front of one goal to the front of the other goal. Place the goals 25 feet apart, with the Instant Win circles facing each other.
For tournaments and leagues with multiple courts set up aside one another – PaddleZlam courts should be placed no less than 10 feet apart from each other to allow room for deflecting. For larger events or those with limited space, it would be acceptable for a distance of 8 feet between courts.


The official PaddleZlam Pickleballs are recommended to be used in game play. However, heavier weighted pickleballs can be used during extreme wind conditions. Two Pickleballs are provided for ready game play.

The Cone Flip

The first team to flip the cone in an upright position gets to choose which team will go first. Generally, the team that goes second gets the upper hand by getting last licks in the event the other team scores 21 points first. In a best of (3) games scenario, the losing team reserves the right to choose which team will go first.


Game Play

Rules and Assumptions

PaddleZlam is an action-packed game where (4) people, (2) teams of (2) compete with one another by hitting a pickle ball into or against a plastic gaming cone. The object of the game is to be the first team to score 21 points without going over. Team members would line up at opposite cones and each have (1) opportunity to hit the ball, before stepping aside, tallying their points and allowing their opponents to each have a turn. The Server must always be standing behind the front part of the cone, whereas the receiver can stand anywhere within the vicinity of the cone. There are (3) different styles of hitting; a direct overhand shot, underhand or badminton style, and side arm tennis swing. You can choose any combination of hitting styles, provided the ball reaches the cone before hitting the ground.

There are (3) simple ways to score.

First is a direct hit. This is where you or your partner hit the pickle ball into/or against the gaming cone from 25’ away.
Second is called an assisted shot. This is where you miss the cone, but your teammate is there to assist the pickle ball into or against the gaming cone.
Third is called a “paddle pass”. This is similar to a bump, set, spike in volleyball. This scoring option is used as an option to accelerate your points if you’re falling behind or just as a fun way to get people to run. To do a Paddle Pass, your partner would call out “Paddle Pass” and serve you the ball, you would then loft the ball up in the air, then your partner runs down the field of play and hits the pickle ball into or against the gaming cone.

Rules and Assumptions

  • All official PaddleZlam games are played to 21 points.
  • Players paddles or body cannot make contact with the gaming cones when attempting to score or face losing any points accrued during that exchange.
  • Receivers can move anywhere within the playing area to redirect the ball, including in front of the cone if necessary.
  • No player substitutions are allowed in the middle of a game or tournament/league play. For tournament/league play, once play begins, teams must play every game with the same partner.
  • A Wipeout shot holds no point value, but simply takes out all the points of the opposing team.
  • A team must achieve an exact score of 21 points to win, and teams must complete an equal number of turns (except when an Instant Win is scored).
  • Any disputes over the score, rules, or a certain play must be decided before the game is over, unless the dispute happens on the game-deciding play. Disputes should be resolved prior to completion of a game or series.
  • Players cannot cross the front of the cone when serving or the resulting hit will be disqualified and result in a loss of turn.
  • Players may use their own professional Pickleball paddles to give them a competitive advantage during league play and other tournament style events.
  • The Pickleball must remain airborne and never hit the ground in order to remain in play.
  • If a cup holder is used on the back of the cone, it becomes part of the cone, and would be considered as a viable scoring option.
  • Bounce-outs are counted as points provided the ball makes contact with the surface beneath the cone (ie. gymnasium floor, pavement, grass, etc.)



Sudden Death
Perfect Game

A team must score exactly 21 points. If a given shot results in points that raise a team’s total score above 21, the points from that play are deducted from their current score and play continues. For example, if a team has 19 points and accidentally lobs the pickleball into the top of the cone resulting in a (3) point shot, their score is reduced to 16 points (current score of 19 points – 3 points = 16 points).
If a team has 20 points and hits the cone on the side for a direct shot resulting in (2 points), their score is reduced to 18 points (current score of 20 points – 2 points = 18 points). If the team that starts the game reaches 21 points first, the opposing team always has their last turn to either catch up in points, or, if 21 points is not attainable, they could go for an instant win or wipeout shot. If the team that went first only requires one players shot to achieve 21 points, then the opposing team would only have one chance to serve the pickleball in an attempt to tie the game.
Players from the same team must each complete one hit every turn, except when an Instant Win is achieved on the first shot of a turn and certain situations in “Sudden death tie breakers. Once again, anytime an Instant Win is thrown, the game is automatically over.


Direct shots
  • Either you or your partner directly impact the side of cone: 2 points.
  • Either you or your partner hit the ball into the top of the cone: 3 points.
  • Either you or your partner hit the ball directly into the center hole: Instant Win
Assisted Shot
  • Either you or your partner assist the ball it into the side of the cone: 1 Point
  • Either you or your partner assist the ball into the top of the cone: 2 Points
  • Either you or your partner assist the ball into the front center hole: 3 points
Paddle Pass
  • Your partner serves you the ball, you lob it up in the air, they run down and spike the ball against the side of the cone: 3 Points.
  • Your partner serves you the ball, you lob it up in the air, they run down and spike the ball into the top of the cone: 5 points.
  • Your partner serves you the ball, you lob it up in the air, they run down and spike it into the front center hole: Wipeout.

If you opponents had 18 points, a wipeout would knock them back down to zero, and your team retains its original score.

Sudden Death

If both teams end up in tie at 21 points, then the highest combined points on the next exchange wins. The team that went first during the regular match would be the team to go first during the sudden death. If both teams tie during the first sudden death matchup, then both teams would then go to a second sudden death match in the same fashion as the first. If a wipeout shot is achieved during a sudden death match, thus wiping out the other teams score, both teams would start from scratch and continue their sudden death match from the beginning. If the first team to go during the sudden death match scores a wipeout, they are given the option to choose which team will go first in the next round of sudden death. It is not uncommon to have a game extend to multiple overtime rounds. An Instant Win is achieved in overtime still ends the game. The opposing team does not get a chance to complete their turn.


If a player purposely interferes with play, they automatically forfeit the game and the opposing team is declared the winner.
If it is incidental interference, teams will come to a mutual agreement if a re-throw should be warranted. This will happen mostly in leagues and tournaments where courts must be set up close together. It is not unusual to have players from adjacent courts running out to make a play on or near another court. If a player from another court is in the way, interference can be called and a re-throw is permitted.
There is no redo for things such as wind unless the entire goal itself blows away in the middle of a throw or a redirect. There is also no redo for a situation where a player leaps for a shot and hits a tree or other object.


An important aspect of the game is redirecting (assisting). PaddleZlam in essence is a game of assisting. While there is no one perfect way to assist, there are many tips which should be considered “carries.” A carry is not only when a player cradles the ball with the paddle. A carry is called on any illegal deflection. When fielding a partner’s hit, the redirector may not carry or control the ball in any way. No points will be awarded if a redirector double-hits or “carries” the ball.

  • Legal: zlamming, hitting, striking, slicing, diving, and redirecting.
  • Illegal: catching, throwing, cradling, stopping, double hits.

Enforcement of double-hits and carries is the responsibility of each team if a referee is not present. Redirects can be made using one hand or both hands. Deflections off other body parts (such as foot, stomach, etc) are valid, as long as there are no double-hits.

Perfect Game

To achieve a perfect game in PaddleZlam, a team must manage (4) “Paddle Pass” shots into the “top” of the gaming cone (5×4=20), and (1) assisted shot into the side of the cone (1×1=1). The result of this exchange would be exactly (21) and ultimately a win. The assumptions are that the opposing team doesn’t score a “Wipe Out” shot or “Instant Win” which would supersede the score of a perfect game.

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