Pickleball Double Bounce Rule – A Comprehensive Guide

For those new to Pickleball, the two-bounce rule is critical to grasp. Getting the basics of this rule down will enhance your games and prevent confusion on the court. We’ll define what the two-bounce rule is, when it applies, and why it’s so vital in this nuanced sport. We’ll also clear up some common misconceptions about how and why the two-bounce rule works in Pickleball.

Among these, the Pickleball double bounce rule, now known as the two-bounce rule since its wording was updated in 2018, stands as one of the fundamental principles of the game.

What is the Two-Bounce Rule?

The two-bounce rule, formerly known as the “double bounce” rule, is one of the central Pickleball rules. It states that on each volley during a rally, the ball is permitted to bounce once on the serving team’s side of the court.

This means after the serve, when the ball is in a back-and-forth rally between teams, it can bounce once on the serving team’s side of the court.

The ball then must travel over the net to the receiving team’s side.

Once it crosses the net, the ball is allowed to bounce once on the receiving team’s side of the court.

After that second bounce on the receiving team’s side, the ball must be hit back over the net before it bounces again.

If the ball bounces twice on a team’s side without traveling back over the net, that team loses the point. The point is awarded to the opposing team.

Essentially, this rule allows for one bounce on each side of the court before the ball must return over the net.

It is a key aspect of gameplay that gives Pickleball its strategic, methodical nature during volleys.

What is the Two-Bounce Rule for?

To an outsider, the two-bounce rule might seem perplexing or unnecessary. However, it serves several important purposes rooted in the game’s origins as a family-friendly backyard sport:

  1. Fair Play: The rule ensures both players have an equal opportunity to return the serve. It prevents one player from standing at the net and smashing the ball mid-air or dropping it over the net, making it challenging for the server.
  2. Extended Gameplay: Requiring the serve and return to bounce extends the duration of rallies and the overall game, enhancing the players’ enjoyment.
  3. Competitiveness: By making it fairer and reducing the chance of unfair advantages, the rule elevates the competitiveness of the game.

Objectives Behind the Rule

The two-bounce rule has some key objectives that have made it a Pickleball cornerstone:

Caters to a wider variety of ages and skill levels – By permitting two bounces, Pickleball is opened up to players that may not have advanced athletic abilities but can be strategic with shot placement given some extra time.

Extends volleys and creates exciting rallies – The extra bounces elongate points and allow for more shots per rally, leading to fluid, athletic exchanges.

Requires precision and strategy – With the breather provided by the bounces, teams can move into optimal court positions and execute intelligent shot placement, adding skill elements.

Promotes fairness and protects against hard-hitting teams dominating – The rule provides opportunities for all players to construct points, regardless of power or pace disadvantages.

How Can You Benefit from the Pickleball Two-Bounce Rule?

So, what benefits can you gain from this rule?

The two-bounce rule guarantees that both players get at least one opportunity to play the ball during each point or rally. It encourages players to move around the kitchen line before attempting airborne hits. This rule has the power to transform how Pickleball is played at the professional level, shifting from a power-dominated start to a gradual buildup of intensity.

When combined with the underhand serve, it levels the playing field, making the game fairer for all. The two bounces mean you have time to get into better court position before returning the ball. You can use this to your advantage to place your shots more strategically. It becomes less about fast reactions and more about court coverage and angles.

For beginners, the two bounces enable skill development. New players can work on form and placement without needing quick reflexes. The extra time prepares you to return the ball intentionally rather than just slamming it back over the net.

Since the rule extends rallies, it helps make games more competitive and exciting. The back-and-forth exchanges test both mental tactics and physical endurance.

Double Bounce vs. Two Bounce

In the past, the Pickleball rule allowing two bounces per side was referred to as the “double bounce” rule. However, in 2018 the official terminology was changed to the “two bounce” rule to avoid confusion with tennis rules.

Some players mistakenly thought “double bounce” meant two bounces on the serve or double bounces on one side, which would be faults. The new “two bounce” wording helps clarify that one bounce is permitted on each side of the net during rallies and after the serve.

So while you may hear references to the old “double bounce” name, any mention of it or the new “two bounce” term refers to the same fundamental Pickleball guideline permitting one bounce on each side of the court before a shot must travel back over the net. Both terms describe the same rule that is essential for proper Pickleball play.

Can the Ball Bounce Twice Under the Two-Bounce Rule?

A common misconception is that the two-bounce rule allows the ball to bounce twice on each side of the court before returning over the net.

However, this is not the case. The two-bounce rule permits just one bounce on each side per volley. So during a rally, the ball can only bounce once on the serving team’s side, travel over the net, and bounce once on the receiving team’s side before it must be hit back over the net.

The ball cannot bounce twice on either team’s side at any point, or else the rally ends and a point is awarded.

While the name can be misleading, the two-bounce rule grants each team just one bounce before the ball must be returned. The key is that the ball alternates bouncing once on each side of the net during each exchange. This rule ensures fair and competitive play in the exciting sport of Pickleball.


In the world of Pickleball, where rules and strategies intertwine, understanding the two-bounce rule is a pivotal step towards becoming a skilled player. It’s easy to be misled by the name, but the essence of this rule lies in its simplicity.

To set the record straight, the two-bounce rule does not grant multiple bounces on each side of the court before returning over the net. Instead, it allows just one bounce on each side per volley. This rule ensures that the game maintains fairness, excitement, and equal opportunities for both teams.

So, as you step onto the Pickleball court, remember that it’s not about double-bouncing; it’s about alternating, creating engaging rallies, and enjoying the thrill of a sport that brings players of all levels together. With this newfound clarity, you’re ready to embrace the world of Pickleball with confidence and a better understanding of its fundamental rules. Let the rallies begin!

About Joanne

Joanne Russell is a highly accomplished pickleball player, writer and blogger, Joanne shares her insights and expertise on all things pickleball. She has written for a number of publications, including Pickleball Magazine and Paddle Magazine, and she is passionate about using her platform to promote the sport and help others to discover the joy of playing pickleball.

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