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Pickleball Rules Doubles - PAKLE

Pickleball Rules Doubles

Pickleball is a new and fast-growing sport in the United States of America and other parts of the world. There are millions of pickleball players around the world (and growing), so now is definitely the time to get to know about the sport. Pickleball is a low-impact recreational sport that people of all ages can play.

Although pickleball is played in a singles format, there are many players that will tell you their best experience in pickleball is when playing doubles. If you are newly introduced to pickleball and still haven’t tried playing doubles, you don’t know what you’re missing! Pickleball doubles are fun for so many reasons.

It is more strategic and relies more on accuracy than pickleball singles. Doubles are also more social and help to promote pickleball’s friendly culture. What is pickleball doubles, and how is it different from pickleball singles? Let’s take you on an exciting ride on what pickleball doubles is all about.

Understanding The Basics Of Pickleball

Overview of the Game

Pickleball was invented in 1965 by three individuals namely; Bill Bell, Joel Pritchard and Barney McCallum. According to the official USA pickleball page, the three dads came up with the game to provide a fun activity for their families. At the time, they played the game with a wiffle ball. However, today players use perforated, plastic balls to play pickleball.

Since it was created, pickleball has developed in the direction of being accessible to players of all ages and serves as a source of family entertainment. The game can be played with both indoor and outdoor pickleball balls, and has continually grown in popularity since its creation.

Currently, pickleball is exploding in popularity worldwide. The spread of the sport points mainly to its popularity within PE classes, YMCA facilities, community centers and retirement communities. Pickleball is still growing worldwide today with many new international clubs forming and competitions being established on different continents.

Similar to tennis, you can play pickleball as a doubles team as well as singles. To do so, all you need is a complete pickleball set and a partner. If you’re new to the game of pickleball and are not familiar with the pickleball rules doubles or equipment, we recommend starting your research with a player guide. It is also advisable to use the best pickleball paddles for beginners.

Equipment and Court Setup

The equipment and court for playing pickleball; whether singles or doubles, are the same. If you are new to pickleball, you’ll definitely need to get a couple pieces of equipment to play the game. Pickleball doesn’t require you to buy too much equipment. This makes it very friendly to first-time players. The pieces of equipment and pickleball accessories you’ll need for your first game of doubles or singles are:

However, even though you know the right equipment to buy, many people still need help getting the right one for them. One way for new pickleball players to obtain the right equipment is our pickleball equipment guide. In the guide, we at Pakle provide you information on the best pickleball paddles and other equipment.

Dimensions of a Pickleball Court

In the game of pickleball, the courts for both singles and doubles play are the same. There are no differences. The USA Pickleball regulation pickleball court size is 20 x 44 feet (6.10m x 13.41m). If you add the areas that are out-of-bounds, the total minimum play area is 30 x 60 feet (6.10m x 18.29m).

For people who aren’t familiar with dimensions, a pickleball court is about the same size as a doubles badminton court. That means, including the out-of-bound areas, you can fit four pickleball courts into a tennis court. A pickleball court doesn’t require much space, and is economical to build.

The Rules Of Doubles In Pickleball

If you are already familiar with singles pickleball, playing doubles will be no trouble at all for you. If you are still a beginner, it's quite easy to learn how to play pickleball doubles. Here are the rules of doubles in pickleball.

Serving Rules

The serving rules in pickleball doubles are quite simple. Every game of pickleball starts with a serve, which is a move designed to start the game and get the ball in play. Players can use a coin toss or rock, paper, scissors to determine which team will serve first. Some pickleball players have the opinion that the northwest-facing side of the court should always have the first serve.

Here are some serving rules to remember when playing pickleball. These are serving rules for the most common volley serve:

  1. To complete a pickleball serve, hit the ball in a forehand or backhand motion. The player’s arm should move with the face of the paddle pointed upwards.
  2. The paddle should make contact with the ball below your waistline, specifically below the navel.
  3. When the pickleball rackethits the ball, the top of the racket must be below your wrist’s highest point.
  4. The ball must land in the service area diagonally opposite yours once you serve. This rule is similar to tennis. In pickleball, you serve diagonally not directly across.
  5. At least one of your legs must be on the ground behind the baseline. Your feet must also be in the zone behind your rectangle on the court.
  6. You are only allowed to serve once per round. If you or your team scores a point, you get to serve again. However, if there’s a fault or the opponent wins the round, the service goes to the opponent.

Rules Summary - USA Pickleball

The Double Bounce Rule

The double bounce rule is a basic part of any pickleball game. In pickleball, the Double Bounce Rule states that the pickleball ball must land on both sides of the court before anyone can volley the ball. Therefore, when a team serves the ball, the receiving team must let it land before returning it.

Likewise, the serving team must let the ball land on their side before returning the opposing team’s first shot. That is why it is called the 'Double Bounce Rule'. Once you perform the double bounce rule initially, you no longer have to wait for the ball to bounce before hitting it. You can hit the ball after a bounce, or volley it.

Scoring System

In a game of pickleball, the doubles scoring system consists of three numbers (e.g. 0-1-1 or 5-2-1):

  • The first number depicts the serving team’s score.
  • The second number shows the receiving team’s score.
  • The third number represents the server number, which is either 1 or 2.

In pickleball, only the serving team can score points. If the serving team loses the round, they lose their serve or side out. Before each serve, players must announce the present score. The starting score is always 0-0-2.

If the serving team scores, that server moves to the left side and once again serves diagonally opposite them. The serving team will continue to switch places until they lose the serve by faulting. Players on the receiving team do not switch positions.

Normally, when the first server on a team loses, their partner gets to serve. However, there is an exception which is the first serve of the game, where only server #2 gets to serve. This rule is set in place to minimize the advantage of the team who serves and scores first.

Pickleball Scoring | SportsEdTV

Faults and Penalties

The faults in pickleball, according to USA Pickleball’s Rules Summary include:

  • A fault is any act that leads to a stop in play due to a rule violation
  • A fault by the receiving team means the serving team gets a point
  • A fault by the serving team results in a side out or loss of serve

The three most common faults in doubles pickleball are:

  • The serving player does not clear the non-volley zone or kitchen
  • The shot is hit out of bounds
  • Playing the shot into the pickleball net

Some less common faults in pickleball doubles include:

  • The ball contacts a player (the player will be faulted)
  • The ball bounces twice on one side before being hit
  • Serving faults

In doubles pickleball, either player on each team may call faults. For non-officiated pickleball games, if there is any disagreement about service foot fault, players should replay the point. Also, the final decision on fault resolution belongs to the player or team that committed the fault.

Effective Strategies For Doubles Play

Here are some helpful strategies you can employ to improve your pickleball doubles gameplay.

Communication and Positioning

Communication is important in pickleball doubles play. When teams don’t communicate, it is easy for teammates to trip over each other or chase the same shots. Sometimes you might see a shot but leave it, expecting your teamate to return the ball. Hence, why it is vital to communicate properly with your partner.

Shot Selection and Tactics

You can also employ various tactics and shot selection strategies to outplay your opponets. Some teams choose to move together when they play so they can cover for one another, while some decide to aim their shots between opponets to add a bit of confusion into their gameplay.

How to Improve Pickleball Doubles Strategy — Pickleball University


If you’ve never tried playing pickleball doubles before, now’s the time to start playing. Pickleball doubles is easy to learn, which is why it is the most popular way to play pickleball. It is very suitable for beginners as it doesn’t require any complex gameplay.

Do you prefer pickleball doubles or singles? How much difference is there when you’re playing singles or doubles? Feel free to share your experiences or ask questions in our comment section.


Is Pickleball Always Doubles?

The answer is no. Pickleball can be singles or doubles. However doubles is more popular.

What Do The Three Numbers In Doubles Pickleball Scoring Mean?

The first number represents the serving team’s score. The second shows the receiving team’s score. The third is either server #1 or server #2 (the server number).



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