What is the Double Bounce Rule in Pickleball? Tips & Tricks

Pickleball is a simple and fun game that many people love playing. It is the fastest-growing sport in the US, and rightly so. Many people are amazed by the health benefits this game has to offer, others simply enjoy the vibe of this sport. But many people seem to be confused by the rules of pickleball
Despite the growing popularity of the sport, many players happen to be confused by the double bounce rule of pickleball. So let’s answer one of the most frequently asked questions about the double bounce rule, “what is the double bounce rule in pickleball?

What is the Double Bounce Rule in Pickleball?

Sometimes referred to as the Two-Bounce Rule pickleball, the double-bounce rule adds an extra layer of complexity to the game, especially for newcomers. 

  • The Double Bounce Rule in pickleball applies to the first two shots: the serve and the return of the serve.
  • After each of these shots, the ball is required to bounce once on each side.
  • Sticking to this rule marks the achievement of the double bounce rule.
  • This rule creates the opportunity for either a volley (hitting the ball before it bounces) or a groundstroke (allowing the ball to bounce before striking).

Who Invented the Pickleball Double Bounce Rule?

In the pickleball history the two friends Joe Pritchard and Bill Bell as a way to entertain their children in the backyard in 1965 . Although these two friends happened to introduce most of the rules to this sport, the specific origins of the double bounce rule remain shrouded in mystery. While Pritchard and Bell laid the foundation for the game, the exact origin of the double bounce rule in pickleball still remains a mystery. 

The Purpose Behind the 2 Bounce Rule Pickleball

Pickleball two bounce rule

For pickleball beginners, this rule can be quite confusing, especially for those who have been playing other racket sports and have just started playing pickleball. But there’s a reason for such a complicated rule to exist and you will likely appreciate this rule when you get to learn the purpose behind inventing this rule. 

Few benefits of this rule in pickleball

  • Welcoming the two bounce rule in pickleball introduces the enjoyment of extended rallies, distinguishing it from ping-pong and tennis, where this rule is absent.
  • This rule strategically hinders the server and their partner from immediately advancing to the net after the serve, preventing an overly advantageous position, particularly when the server’s powerful serve results in weak returns.
  • In contrast to tennis and various racket sports, the double bounce rule contributes to a more level playing field, removing the immediate net-crashing privilege for the serving team.
  • The benefits of the double bounce rule include somewhat equalizing the competition level and discouraging excessive aggression from both the serving and returning teams in the initial two shots of a point.
  • This rule promotes a more strategic and skill-based game, encouraging players to rely on controlled shots rather than exploiting the absence of a double bounce requirement.

The Nuts and Bolts of the Two-Bounce Rule

Now that you have the answer to your question, “what is the double bounce rule in Pickleball?” let’s dive a little more into the rule book. 

As per the official pickleball tournament rule book, the double bounce rule states that:

  • Both the serving and receiving teams must let the ball bounce once before returning. 
  • After this double bounce, the game opens up for either volleys or groundstrokes, extending the rallies and eliminating the serve-and-volley advantage.

Serve and Return Dynamics

Let’s now divert our attention towards the important aspects of the game. 

  • The server aims to hit diagonally, beyond the non-volley zone line, while the receiver allows the ball to bounce before returning.
  • This dynamic sets the stage for a strategic exchange after the double bounce, preventing an immediate end to the point.

Example to make things clearer:

In a match between Team A and Team B, Team B’s player stands on the right side, behind the baseline. The score is 0,0,2 as the server, positioned in the middle, prepares for an underhand serve. The ball goes diagonally to Team A’s court, and their receiver, strategically positioned far back, lets it bounce once. A powerful return near the baseline showcases Team A’s smart play.

Following the double bounce rule, Player B lets the ball bounce once, positioned at the back to avoid losing the point. After the bounce, they connect with the ball, sparking a back-and-forth rally. A key tip: Only the serving team scores points. Despite Team A’s playable ball, Team B struggles to return, resulting in no points for either side. A sideout occurs, and Team A’s right-side player takes the serve due to the First Server Exception.

Mastering the Double Bounce Rule – Beginner Tips

Double Bounce Rules

For Singles Game – Returner Side

Position yourself behind the baseline when expecting the serve, resisting the temptation to intercept the ball before the bounce. Advance toward the net strategically after your return to gain an edge in the point.

For Singles Game – Server Side

For servers, the two-bounce rule presents a unique challenge. Stay behind the baseline after serving, allowing the ball to bounce in front of you. Avoid advancing prematurely to prevent being caught in a disadvantageous position.

For Doubles Game

In doubles, both serving players start behind the baseline to accommodate the second bounce. The serving team needs to be mindful of the rule, preventing aggressive plays until the fifth shot to ensure they stay within the bounds of the double bounce requirement.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the double bounce rule in pickleball? 

Simply put, in pickleball, both teams must let the ball bounce once on each side after the serve and return before making direct hits, ensuring a fair and strategic game.

Is Pickleball the only sport the Double Bounce Rule?

Yes, pickleball stands alone under the paddle/racket umbrella as the only game enforcing the double bounce rule, adding an extra layer of fun and competition to its rallies.

Are the Double Bounce and Two-Bounce Rule the same?

Absolutely. The terms are interchangeable, as in 2018, the official pickleball rule book officially changed the name from double bounce rule to the two-bounce rule.

Can the ball bounce twice?

Yes and no. While the ball does bounce once on each court side, it cannot bounce twice on the same side. Allowing this would result in a fault, and the team committing this error loses the rally (point).

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