What Are The Rules For The "Double Bounce" In Pickleball?

What are the Rules for the “Double Bounce” in Pickleball?

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Pickleball is a fun sport that is becoming more and more popular. One of the unique rules in pickleball is the “double bounce” rule. This rule is important to understand if you want to play pickleball. In this article, we will look at exactly what the double bounce rule is all about and why it is used.

The Double Bounce Rule Explained

The double bounce rule means that both the serving team and the receiving team must let the ball bounce before hitting it back. This happens on the serve and then the immediate return after the serve.

Here is how it works:

  • The serving team serves the ball.
  • The ball must bounce once before the receiving team can hit it.
  • After the receiving team hits the ball back, the serving team must let it bounce once before hitting it back again.

So the basic rule is that the ball must bounce twice – once for each team – at the very start of a point.

Why Have the Double Bounce Rule?

The double bounce rule serves an important purpose in pickleball:

  • It prevents the serving team from having too much advantage. If the serving team could hit the ball out of the air, it would be very hard to return their serve. The double bounce makes sure the returner can get to the ball.
  • It extends the rallies. By making both teams let the ball bounce, the rallies last longer. This makes for more exciting game play!
  • It promotes consistency and strategy. Having to let the ball bounce on the return adds consistency. Players must think strategically about where to place the ball after the bounce.

So in summary, the double bounce evens out serving advantage, keeps rallies going, and adds more thought to the game.

When Does the Double Bounce Rule Apply?

The double bounce rule applies:

  • In both doubles and singles play
  • On the very first serve of the game
  • For the return of the serve
  • Only for these first two shots

After this beginning serve sequence, regular play resumes. Once the ball has been hit back twice (once by each team), players can then hit volleys out of the air.

So the double bounce is only for the start of each new point.

Examples of the Double Bounce Rule

Let’s look at some examples to understand this rule better:

  • Alice serves the ball. It bounces once on the other side of the net. Bob lets it bounce again then returns it.
  • Alice must now let it bounce on her side before hitting her shot.
  • After Alice hits it back, Bob can then hit the ball out of the air if he wants, since the initial double bounce occurred. But he could also let it bounce again – it’s up to him.
  • On the next point, the sequence starts over. Charlie serves. Dan lets it bounce once on his side then returns it. Charlie must let it bounce before hitting back. And so on.

So the double bounce happens on the first two shots of each point, without exception!

Double Bounce vs. Two-Bounce Rule

Something that confuses some pickleball beginners is the difference between the double bounce and two-bounce rules. Let’s compare them:

  • Double bounce – The ball must bounce once on each side of the net at the start of a point. Happens on the serve return only.
  • Two-bounce rule – The ball can only bounce once on each side of the net during a point. Bouncing twice is a fault. Applies throughout whole point.

So the two-bounce rule applies to the entire point, while the double bounce is just for the first serve sequence! Both promote consistency and strategy. But the double bounce specifically transitions the start of a point from serve to rally.

Tips for Following the Double Bounce Rule

Here are some tips to help you follow the double bounce rule correctly:

  • Remember it applies on the serve and serve return only. After that, you can volley.
  • Call “bounce” if your opponent forgets to let it bounce at the start.
  • If you are the server, use the required bounced to your advantage by moving up or back.
  • Don’t let the ball bounce twice on your side at any time during a point – that’s a fault!


The unique double bounce rule in pickleball provides balance on the serve, lengthens exciting rallies, and requires strategy. It only applies when starting a new point on the serve and serve return. After those beginning shots, regular play and volleys are allowed. By following this fun rule, you’ll get the full pickleball experience of long, dynamic rallies! Understanding the double bounce difference is key for new and experienced players alike.

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