Pickleball Double Bounce Rule | What is it? 

So, who got you all messed up in the courts? We can bet it’s the double-bounce rule. Honestly, it’s kind of a nightmare for every beginner! At least for me when I started playing pickleball. It is primarily the basis of pickleball which makes it unique among other racquet sports. Although, it gets better with time ONLY if you have a proper understanding of what it means, how it applies to the game, where can the ball bounce, and why it exists. 

Fortunately, you have landed on the right place where you’ll get all the answers to everything. We have merged our experience, official pickleball rules, well-researched and authentic facts, and gathered questions and queries that most of the newbies have in this article to give you a more comprehensive and detailed guide on the double bounce rules. So, sit back, enjoy this 8-minute reading and get your game improvised by 800 times. 

What is a double-bounce rule in pickleball? (Explained) 

The double-bounce rule or the two-bounce rule is “each team has to play their first shot by letting the ball bounce first. Whoever serves or returns the service without getting the ball bounced twice will be charged with a penalty. However, the players can initiate volleying after the first two shots and hit the ball as it comes their way”. 

The double bounce rule is the most often used term in pickleball and undoubtedly it’s the one that sets the basis of the game. Most often, players misunderstand the rule and make errors even though they know the rule. In addition, it’s one of the only rules that hasn’t gone through any yearly change. So, let us explain the ins and outs of the rule to you. 

According to the double bounce rule, the rally cannot be started without the first two shots being bounced. These first “two shots” are one that is made by the serving team and the other is made by the returning one. That being said, the team that serves the pickleball has to let the ball bounce first as it reaches the opposite side. Similarly, the team returning the first shot has to send the ball back with a double bounce. 

What is a double-bounce rule in pickleball?
What is a double-bounce rule in pickleball?

However, both bounces cannot be made on the same side of the court. Meaning that the player can only make the ball bounce once on his side. If the ball bounces more than once on his own side, it will be a fault on the player on whose court the ball has bounced. Let me elaborate further: When you make a serve and the ball bounce on your court twice and then reaches the other side, that’s a fault on you. The second bounce must be made on the opponent’s court and on the return.

Double bounce only implies on the first serve and first return. After the first two shots, the player can start volleying (a type of shot that is played without getting the ball bounced on the court). 

Tips for practicing the double bounce rule for beginners: 

Well, it’s common for a newcomer to forget the double bounce rule and hit the ball as soon as it reaches their court. The impatience and a tennis background basically are the reasons why people can’t stick to the double bounce rule. Don’t worry, we got your back! 

So far, the best tip to encounter double bounce faults is to stay far away from the nets. This way the ball has enough space to bounce first before reaching the paddle. While you are staying at the back, make sure you are in your quadrant and at the same time not rushing towards the nets because there’s no use in staying behind when all you are doing is getting impatient and reaching. 

It reminds me of the times when one of our friends (Rachel Vasquez) made her transition to pickleball from tennis. Though she used to follow the tips and stand at a distance but as soon as the game begins, she rushes to the nets which counts her a fault. So, the solution is to stay at the back and not move forwards. 

Even after the service, the intelligent move is to stay at the back. Don’t move forward since you don’t know at what pace the ball will come. However, once the opponent has hit the all, identity the pace and then position yourself whether in the same place or near the non-volley zone according to it. 

Why is Double Bounce Important? 

The game of Pickleball has been designed in a manner that is friendly for everyone. The biggest support for this argument is the enforcement of the double-bounce rule. It makes the game playable for everyone despite their skill level. 

You might wonder how a first shot rule can make such a big difference, right. Here’s how.  

Why Is Double Bounce Important? 
Why Is Double Bounce Important? 

First of all, the double bounce rule makes the game quite predictable. Let’s take an example if there was no double-bounce rule. The server serves the ball while staying at a respectful distance from the net. The ball bounces on the other side and the return server hits it quite hard. What happens? The serving player won’t reach the kitchen area and misses it. Frustration and faults. 

Let’s take another case study. Suppose you are standing at the kitchen line and the ball is a little too high that can’t make it to your paddle. In another scenario, you are standing at the baseline, and the serving team sends the ball at a low speed and you can’t reach to the nets at a right time. Both scenarios get can highly likely make you miss the shot and thus the game will be full of anxieties and frustration. 

Therefore, it is important to have a double bounce rule in pickleball that ensures the game will be full of fun and zero frustration. it goes above your head. You may also be standing near the baseline and the opponents can use this against you by throwing a slow ball. 

A lot can happen if there were no two-bounce rule that is why it is considered of great value. Therefore, the founders of pickleball has made this rule which maintains the integrity of the game and at the same time makes it unique among other racquet sports. 

Advantages of a Double Bounce Rule: 

Advantages of a Double Bounce Rule
Advantages of a Double Bounce Rule

Once you get practiced enough with a double-bounce rule, there are many benefits that you can enjoy. It gives the game 

  • As we know the serving team scores points in pickleball. However, the double bounce rule aids the returning side in a similar way. Just after returning the serve, they get enough time to hit the ball with a powerful spinning volley. Resultantly, the serving side (if they haven’t made it to the kitchen yet) will make a mistake and then, the returning team will be given the service. 
  • It extends the rallies as well. Without the double bounce rule, the game would be ended quickly by initiating the volleys. Also, the risk of volleying just when the game has begun makes the players lose their momentum so the double bounce rule saves by allowing them to be stable on the court before they start smashing. 
  • It makes the game enjoyable and playable for all skill levels, as well as extends the scoring points. As it’s also unique, many enthusiasts argue and value it to be the reason for making the game enough thrilling to get it to end up in the Olympics.

Frequently Asked Questions: 

  • Is Pickleball the only sport with a double-bounce rule?

Most racquet sports have a single-bounce rule. However, pickleball is not the only game having a “double-bounce” rule. There is a “pop-tennis” that follows the similar rule accompanying pickleball in its uniqueness. 

  • Is it legal to hit the ball after it bounces twice in pickleball?

No, the ball should bounce only once on each side in the first shot. The players cannot make the ball bounce twice in a single shot. 

  • How many bounces are allowed before returning a volley?

As we explained, there are two bounces that should be made before the players can return a volley. 

  • Can your momentum carry you into the kitchen in pickleball?

Yes, it often happens when players are volleying near the kitchen line. However, it should be worked out and avoided since it counts as a fault in pickleball. 

Ending note:

Isn’t it a piece of cake now? We hope that it is. Though, double-bounce is a classic rule that sets pickleball apart from the other tennis sports. The rule is all about letting the ball bounce twice before the volleying initiates. To make pickleball fun and easy, the rule played a vital role and so far, it keeps the integrity of the game alive as well. 

Along with the detailed explanation of the rule, we have given out tips for beginners in practicing the double bounce rule. Attached are the answered-queries, that we think, are successful in clearing your doubts and confusion. Have a nice time playing without faults!

Follow me
Latest posts by HARRY ANDERSON (see all)

Leave a Comment