The basic principle in hand-pelota is that there are two teams of two players each. The team to serve bounces the ball, then propels it towards the playing area of the narrow, front wall where it has to rebound between the low line demarcating the low off-area and the high line demarcating the high off-area.
The ball may either be played so it rebounds directly off the front wall onto the playing floor or onto the long side wall first. The opposing team may either play the ball immediately after rebounding from the front wall or side wall without rebounding from the playing floor or after having rebounded from the playing floor once.
A team scores by:
- playing the ball in such a way that the opposing team is unable to play the ball before it has rebounded off the playing floor more than once.
- playing the ball in such a way that it rebounds off the front wall and rebounds off the floor and outside the playing area.
A team may also score by the opposing team:
- hitting the front wall but either below the low line or above the high line.
- hitting the ball in time but failing to reach the front wall.