Everything to know about the double-bounce rule in pickleball

The pickleball two-bounce rule (or double-bounce rule) may be one of the most important rules of pickleball.

Jaclyn Brandt

how to play pickleball

06/17/2024

June 17, 2024

The pickleball two-bounce rule (or double-bounce rule) may be one of the most important rules of pickleball.

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There are a lot of unique rules of pickleball you will need to learn as a beginner pickleball player, but the two-bounce rule (or double-bounce rule) may be one of the most important. Here are some details on what the double bounce rule is and why it’s so important.

The two-bounce rule

The double-bounce rule in pickleball says that:

  • After the ball is served, the receiving team must let it bounce one time before hitting the ball back to the serving team.

    • The serve must land crosscourt from the server, on or within the baseline, sideline, and center line, and outside of the kitchen area (the kitchen area includes the kitchen line).

  • The serving team must then also let the return bounce before returning it to the returning team.

    • The return of serve may land anywhere on the serving team’s court, including on or within the baseline and both sidelines.

What this means is that if you receive the serve and hit a volley (a ball you hit before allowing the ball to bounce once on your side of the court), it is a fault in pickleball. If the serving team hits a volley before returning the serve return, then it is also a fault.

After each team has allowed the ball to bounce before returning it, one time, then you may volley or hit the ball after it bounces one time for the rest of the rally.

Double-bounce rule player positions

Because of the 2-bounce rule, there are optimal player positions for both sides:

Receiving team

  • The crosscourt player (from the server) on the receiving team should be back by the baseline since the serve has to bounce once and could be returned as far back as the baseline.

  • The player straight across from the server on the receiving team. can be as far up as the kitchen line since they do not have to let anything bounce during the rally.

Serving team

  • The serving team should both be back by the baseline, since the return of serve has to bounce once and could be returned as far back as the baseline.

These positions are not rules, but rather suggestions due to where the ball could land due to the double-bounce rule.

Two bounces during a pickleball rally

The official “double bounce rule” or “2-bounce rule” is different than the rule that says you may not allow the ball to bounce twice in your court before returning it.

If the ball bounces more than once on your side of the court, it is a fault on your team — and this is true at any time during the rally.

Pickleball double-bounce rule

The double-bounce rule in pickleball is an important rule to learn, because ignoring it could cause a quick fault at the very beginning of the rally.

Once you begin playing, it will become second nature to you, but learning the two-bounce rule before you play will help you move each rally forward so you can utilize your other new skills during a long rally.

Learn more about the basic rules of pickleball here.