What Is The Double Bounce Rule In Pickleball?

Pickleball is a relatively simple game to play, but for beginners, it can definitely be slightly confusing, and arguably one of the most confusing rules in the entire sport is the double bounce rule, which is also commonly called the two bounce rule, which is probably where all of the confusion begins with. 

What Is The Double Bounce Rule In Pickleball

However, once you’ve learnt more about this rule you’ll soon wonder why you ever found it so difficult in the first place, which means that you should definitely read through this guide to learn the rule properly. 

So, to learn more about the double bounce (two bounce) rule in Pickleball, read on! 

What Is The Double Bounce Rule In Pickleball?

This rule is one that starts the first two shots in the game, and can be achieved by both the serve and the return of the serve shot by allowing the ball to bounce after either or both of these shots have been struck. 

When both the server and the receiver have allowed the ball to bounce on both sides of the court, this is when the double bounce rule has been achieved, and from here, the play must then continue with either a volley (which is a shot taken out of the air) or with a groundstroke (where the ball bounces before you hit it). 

Why Does The Double Bounce Rule Exist?

For those who are new to the sport, it’s rules such as the double bounce rule that make learning the game just that little bit harder, and if you’re used to other racquet sports, such as badminton or tennis, chances are that this rule will only confuse you even more, as it means that you’re not allowed to volley the 3rd short unless the double bounce rule has been achieved. 

Typically, anyone who has previously played racquet sports will have an issue learning how to play Pickleball, as you have to learn when you are and are not allowed to hit the ball straight out of the air, as these rules don’t tend to exist in sports such as Tennis. 

However, as you learn more about the game, and this rule in particular, you’ll soon come to appreciate this rule more than ever, and will very quickly see why it was implemented into the game. 

What this rule does is allows players to enjoy longer rallies, and it does this by preventing either the server or the partner of the server from crashing the net early on into the point, which would provide them with a huge advantage, and would cause the game to be imbalanced. 

The only way you’d be able to counteract this would be with an especially good serve that resulted in weak returns, which is impossible to guarantee.

This rule isn’t included in sports such as ping-pong or tennis, which permits teams to immediately crash the net after the serve has occurred. 

So, the two main reasons why the double bounce rule exists in Pickleball are: 

  • Helps to even out the competition, especially amongst teams with large skill gaps 
  • Prevents both the serving and the returning teams from playing too aggressively over the first two shots of a point. 

The Rulebook

This is how the rulebook used for official Pickleball matches at professional tournaments describes the double bounce rule: 

  • When the ball is first served, the receiving team must allow the ball to bounce before returning, and then the serving team must let the ball bounce again before they return it, which is why it is called the double bounce rule. 
  • Once the ball has been allowed to bounce in each of the player’s courts, teams are allowed to either volley (hit the ball out of the air before it bounces) the ball, or play the ball after it has bounced (groundstroke). 
  • The aim of the two bounce rule is to remove the advantage from serving and volleying, whilst also allowing the rally between the two teams to be extended. 

Serve And Return

There are also some other rules in regards to both serving and returning that you should be aware of when playing Pickleball too. 

The server has to hit their serve across the court to the half which is diagonal to them, and the ball has to reach beyond the non-volley zone too.

The receiving player/team must then allow the ball to bounce just once on their side of the court before they then return the ball to the side of the serving team. 

From there, the serving team must allow the ball to bounce once before then returning the ball to the receiving players.

It is from this point where players are allowed to do anything, and the players are able to make any kind of play on the ball that they like until the point is over and the next serve happens! 

Tips For Remembering The Double Bounce Rule

As a beginner, it can be difficult to remember that this rule exists, so here are some tips, both for singles and doubles games: 

What Is The Double Bounce Rule In Pickleball (1)
  • Start behind the baseline when expecting the serve from the opposing team, as it makes you much less tempted to hit the ball before it has been allowed to bounce. 
  • Only advance towards the net after the return of your serve. 
  • This is more of an issue for the server, and once you’ve served, you should try to remain behind the baseline to allow the ball to bounce first, otherwise you might end up in a bad spot, especially if a ball gets played behind you. 


We hope that this guide has helped you to understand one of Pickleball’s most confusing rules, and now you should have no problems when it comes to starting out your Pickleball games in the future, so good luck!

Damien Dansel
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