Pickleball double bounce rule

Pickleball Double Bounce Rule

The Pickleball double bounce rule is one key rule that keeps the game on equal ground.  The double-bounce rule is also called the two-bounce rule. This rule is different from the double bounce shot which is a fault and must not be confused.

As per the US Pickleball Association official rule book, each team must let the ball hit the ground or bounce once on each side of the net before moving rally and volley shots. In other words, after the serving team hits serve, the receiving team will let it bounce first and hit it. Likewise, the receiving team must let it bounce on their side as well before returning the serve. The official pickleball double bounce rule exists to remove any serve and volley advantage and let both teams play on equal terms. 

Pickleball was invented in 1965 and is said to be a mixture of tennis, badminton, and ping pong, but rules make it a distinct sport. The double bounce rule in pickleball is one of the basic pickleball rules that regulate the game  Without the two-bounce rule, the pickleball sport would have no distinct structure or format and take the fun out of this game.

This blog explains this twice-bounce rule in pickleball and how it is different from a double-bounce hit. There are a few tips for beginners to remember this pickleball rule when playing pickleball. 

Double Bounce Shots and Double Bounce Rule

The double-bounce shot is not the same as the double-bounce rule or the two-bounce rule. A double-bounce shot is when the ball hits the ground twice on the same side during a rally.  When the ball bounces twice on your side then it is a fault and the other team scores a point. 

However, due to the similarity in name, these two pickleball terms get mixed up which is why the name was officially changed to the two-bounce rule in 2018. The double-bounce shot is not the same as the double-bounce rule.

Double Bounce Rule and Two Bounce Rule

In 2018, the USA Pickleball’s official rule book by the USA Pickleball Association changed the pickleball double bounce rule name to a two-bounce rule. Technically, the double bounce rule and two bounce rules are one and the same, the only difference is the name.

As per the official rules:

‘After the ball is served, each side must make one groundstroke prior to volleying the ball.’ 

It is clear from this rule that players are required to let the ball hit before proceeding to volley i.e. when it is allowed to hit the ball out of the air. Both the receiving team and the serving team must let the ball hit the ground before returning it. Once the ball is bounced on each side of the court, the gamer can take a move to a rally where a volley is allowed. 

Pickleball Double Bounce Rule

The objective of the pickleball double bounce rule or two bounce rule is to let the game transition smoothly to the rally. This is how a game proceeds with a two-bounce rule:

  1. A serve is hit by the serving team.
  2. The opposite team let the serve shot bounce on their side of the court before returning the service.
  3. The same rule must be followed by the other team i.e., let the serve shot hit the ground first then hit a service shot.
  4. When each team has served and returned the serve after letting it bounce on each side of the court, the game proceeds
  5. After the ball bounces on both sides i.e., the two-bounce or double-bounce rule is fulfilled, the players can start a rally where dink and volley shots are allowed. 

Tips for Beginner Pickleball Players

This twice-bounce rule is a key feature of a pickleball game and as mentioned earlier is a way to start the game on equal footing. As a beginner, it may be difficult or tempting to not wait for the ball to hit your side of the court and hit it right away to take the opponent off guard. This is precisely why this rule is in place. So how to prevent committing a fault and let it bounce before returning? The best strategy is when you are returning a serve go to the far end of the court near the baseline. So, when the ball enters your side of the net, it will bounce and you can hit it.

As a beginner pickleball player, it is best to stand far from the net during the Serve and return hit to let the ball bounce and then hit it. The best way to remember the rule is to stand neat on the baseline after you serve and wait for it to bounce once before hitting.

These rules are a way to keep the decorum of the game and provide a structure to a sport where it is easy to take advantage of loopholes. Without this rule, the pickleball game becomes too aggressive or offensive too quickly. After a serve, the serving team or returning team can just Volley the ball and get an advantage over the opposite team. However, this rule prevents that from happening and forces the players to allow double bounce on each side of the net. As a beginner, it is a must to remember and practise the Pickleball double bounce rule first.

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