Pickleball Doubles Rules: Basics and Advanced Plays (2024)

Read a thorough overview of the essential pickleball doubles rules, strategies, and nuances for playing.

As one of the fastest-growing sports in the world, pickleball has gained a significant following. The doubles play is particularly popular due to its dynamic nature and team-oriented gameplay. Understanding the rules of doubles is crucial for both beginners and seasoned players to ensure fair play and enhance the overall experience.

In this article, we will cover everything from the basic court setup and serving rules to more intricate details like player positioning and the non-volley zone. Whether you're new to the game or looking to refine your skills, this comprehensive guide will provide the knowledge needed to play confidently and effectively.

By mastering these rules, you can enjoy the game more fully, engage in competitive play, and improve your teamwork on the court.

What are the Basic Rules of Pickleball Doubles

The basic rules of pickleball doubles are essential for understanding how to play the game effectively. The game is played on a standard court measuring 20 by 44 feet in pickleball doubles, with a net dividing the two halves. Each team has two players who must serve and receive from specific positions. The serve must be made underhand and diagonally cross-court, starting from the right-hand service square.

When serving, both feet must be behind the baseline until the ball is struck, and the serve must clear the non-volley zone, often called the "pickleball kitchen," to be valid. The receiving team must let the ball bounce once before returning it, and the serving team must let the return bounce once before playing it, which is known as the double-bounce rule.

Points are only scored by the serving team, and games are typically played to 11 points, requiring a two-point margin to win. If the serving team commits a fault, the serve passes to the second server on the team before a side-out occurs, and the opposing team gains the serve.

Players must avoid stepping into the non-volley zone when volleying the ball; any volleys made from within this area are considered faults. Positioning and rotation are crucial; players switch sides only when the serving team scores a point. Communication and coordination between partners are vital to covering the court effectively and avoiding unforced errors. Understanding these basic rules helps players enjoy and excel in the dynamic and fast-paced game of pickleball doubles.

What is the Double Bounce Rule in Pickleball?

The double bounce rule is a fundamental aspect of pickleball that significantly impacts gameplay and strategy. This rule instructs that after the serve, the receiving team must allow the ball to bounce once before returning it, and subsequently, the serving team must also let the ball bounce once before hitting it.

Each team must allow the ball to bounce on their side of the court at least once before engaging in volleys. The primary purpose of the double bounce rule is to prolong rallies and encourage more strategic play, as it prevents immediate aggressive net play following the serve.

The rule requires the ball to bounce on both sides, helping level the playing field and making the game more accessible and enjoyable for players of all skill levels. However, it also introduces a layer of complexity, as players need to be quick on their feet and ready to anticipate the bounce and positioning of the ball.

Understanding and mastering the double bounce rule is crucial for both beginners and advanced players. It forms the basis for developing effective game strategies and maintaining fair play.

Advanced Doubles Strategies

Mastering advanced doubles rules in pickleball elevates the game to a new level of precision and strategy. These rules are essential for competitive play and demand a thorough understanding to excel on the court.

  1. Advanced players often utilize specific service positioning strategies to exploit opponents' weaknesses or create opportunities for aggressive play.

  2. Some pro players strategically employ shots such as dinks, drives, and lobs to manipulate opponents' positioning and control the game's pace. Understanding when and how to execute these shots effectively is crucial for gaining the upper hand in rallies.

  3. Advanced doubles teams communicate seamlessly through non-verbal cues, precisely anticipating each other's movements and coordinating strategies. This level of communication allows players to react swiftly to changing game dynamics and maintain optimal court coverage.

  4. Advanced players master deceptive shot techniques such as spins, feints, and disguised angles to keep opponents off balance and create openings for winners. These subtle yet potent tactics require finesse and precision execution to catch opponents off guard.

  5. Net play becomes increasingly nuanced in advanced doubles, with players strategically positioning themselves to control the kitchen and capitalize on volley opportunities. Effective net play involves a combination of quick reflexes, anticipation, and impeccable positioning to dominate the front court.

  6. In advanced doubles, momentum shifts can occur rapidly, requiring players to maintain focus and composure during challenging moments. Strategies for managing momentum shifts include regrouping quickly, maintaining positive body language, and staying mentally resilient.

Mastering these advanced doubles rules enhances your competitive prowess and deepens your appreciation for the strategic nuances of pickleball at its highest levels.

Check our Pink Brushstroke Pickleball Paddle

Starting from $79.99/each

Buy now

Common Misconceptions and Faults in Doubles Rules

Common misconceptions and faults in doubles rules can hinder players' understanding and performance on the pickleball court. One frequent misconception is regarding the double-bounce rule, where some players mistakenly believe that it applies only to the serve. However, the double-bounce rule applies to all shots except for the serve, meaning that both the serving and receiving teams must let the ball bounce once on each side before volleys are allowed.

Another common fault is foot faults during serves, where players often step over the baseline before making contact with the ball. This results in a fault and loss of serve. Non-volley zone violations are also prevalent, with players attempting to hit volleys while standing inside the non-volley zone, which extends 7 feet from the net on each side.

Additionally, misunderstandings about player positioning and rotation can lead to faults, as players may inadvertently serve out of order or stand in incorrect positions during rallies. Other faults include hitting the ball out of bounds, failing to call a let when the ball hits the net during a serve, and not switching sides after every point during the game.

Understanding and rectifying these common misconceptions and faults are essential for players to improve their doubles game and ensure fair and enjoyable play on the court.

Pickleball Doubles Rules: Basics and Advanced Plays (2024)


Where do you stand when serving in pickleball doubles? ›

Serving player or team stands behind the baseline to serve and remains there or just inside to hit serve return after it bounces (Double Bounce Rule). Receiver typically stands at or near the baseline to return serve; however, be alert for the possible need to move forward to return a shorter serve.

Can the ball hit your paddle twice in pickleball? ›

Double/Carry Hits : A ball hit during one continuous single direction stroke is legal, even though the ball may be unintentionally hit twice or "carried". Switching Hands : Paddle may be switched from hand to hand at any time. Two-handed shots are also legal.

Can you hit the ball out of the air in pickleball? ›

When playing Pickle-ball the serve must be hit underhand and each team must play their first shot off the bounce. After the ball has bounced once on each side then both teams can either volley the ball in the air or play it off the bounce.

What is the golden rule pickleball? ›

The golden rule of pickleball: No volleys in the kitchen

Players are also prohibited from going into the kitchen even if their momentum pushes them in right after hitting a volley (this even includes their paddles on a low volley).

Can you let the ball bounce twice on your side before hitting it in pickleball? ›

The two-bounce rule in pickleball is not the same as a double bounce. The two-bounce rule requires the ball to bounce once on each side of the court after being served whereas the double bounce is a fault that occurs when the ball bounces twice on the same side at any point of a rally.

Can you stand in the kitchen and hit the ball in pickleball? ›

Yes! You just cannot volley the ball in the kitchen - meaning you could step in it, but before you hit the ball, you would need to have both feet outside of the kitchen before you volley, in addition to all other rules of the kitchen, or you would need to make sure the ball bounces before hitting it.

Can your partner stand anywhere on the court while you are serving in pickleball? ›

Doubles Partner Positions

There is no restriction on where players can stand, except the serving and receiving players. Once the serve is complete, the only restriction is that each player must stay on their own side of the net. Players may be positioned on or off the court.

How to keep score in pickleball doubles for beginners? ›

Doubles Scoring
  1. The score should be called as three numbers.
  2. Proper sequence for calling the score is: server score, receiver score, then, for doubles only, the server number: 1 or 2.
  3. To start a match, the score will be called as: zero - zero – two*

What is the two shot rule in pickleball? ›

Two-Bounce Rule

When the ball is served, the receiving team must let it bounce before returning, and then the serving team must let it bounce before returning, thus two bounces.

What can you not do in pickleball? ›

In this article, we will explore the things you cannot do in pickleball to ensure fair play and maintain the integrity of the sport.
  • Volley or hit the ball before it bounces. ...
  • Step into the non-volley zone (kitchen) and volley the ball. ...
  • Execute a slam shot when in the non-volley zone.
Aug 18, 2023

Can you step into the kitchen before the ball bounces? ›

While you're standing in the Kitchen, your opponent can hit a shot in your direction, and you won't be able to return it without letting it bounce. Can you step into the Kitchen before the ball bounces? Yes, you can go into the Kitchen any time you want. But you cannot volley the ball while in the Kitchen.

Can you call out on a ball that has not landed in pickleball? ›

Before the ball lands out of bounds, if a player yells “out,” “no,” “bounce it,” or any other communication that may signal to their partner that the ball will land out, it is not considered an “out” call — it is considered partner communication only.

Can you ever step in the kitchen in pickleball? ›

You can go into the kitchen at any point during a game. You can even hit from the kitchen, so long as the ball hits the ground first. You can also be in the kitchen while your partner volleys outside of the kitchen. The only time you cannot be in the kitchen is during the act of volleying the ball.

Can pickleball be played one on one or with doubles two vs two? ›

Pickleball is played either as doubles or singles; though doubles is most common, and most games are played to 11, win by 2. The rules are simple. The serve, which is hit diagonally crosscourt, must be made underhand and contact with the ball must be below the server's waist.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Carlyn Walter

Last Updated:

Views: 5485

Rating: 5 / 5 (50 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Carlyn Walter

Birthday: 1996-01-03

Address: Suite 452 40815 Denyse Extensions, Sengermouth, OR 42374

Phone: +8501809515404

Job: Manufacturing Technician

Hobby: Table tennis, Archery, Vacation, Metal detecting, Yo-yoing, Crocheting, Creative writing

Introduction: My name is Carlyn Walter, I am a lively, glamorous, healthy, clean, powerful, calm, combative person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.