What is the Double Bounce Rule in Pickleball?

pickleball double bounce rule

Pickleball is a racquet sport that involves elements of Wiffle ball, badminton, tennis, and table tennis. It is a fun game perfect for families. Because of its simple rules and exciting energy, pickleball has taken the world by storm since its creation in the mid-1960s. 

Though a few rules were decided back then that have continued to be the heart of the game, the double bounce rule came a bit later once organizations came about to support and standardize the sport. 

Originally, it was called the Double Bounce Rule; however, the Double Bounce Rule in Pickleball is now known as the Two Bounce Rule due to the 2018 wording change in the International Federation of Pickleball & USA Pickleball Association Official Tournament Rulebook. Regardless of the working change, the two-bounce rule in pickleball is still essential to play the game.

Let’s take a look at this rule, how to remember it, and why the double bounce rule exists. 

Important Pickleball Terms

Important Pickleball Terms

Before going over the double bounce or two bounce rule, there are a few terms that we will need to define. The first term is a volley. A volley is when the pickleball is played before it hits the ground. 

Opposite of that, you have a groundstroke which is when the pickleball is played after the ball bounces on your side of the court. 

These two types of stroke are important to the game of pickleball and should each be used at specific times. Keep this in mind as we go over the two-bounce rule. 

What is The Double Bounce Rule in Pickleball

What is The Double Bounce Rule in Pickleball

The two-bounce rule at its simplest form is that the service of the pickleball must bounce on both sides of the net once before being able to be hit in mid-air back and forth. This means that both teams must use initial groundstrokes before any volleying is allowed. 

To draw out a picture for you, let’s walk through how the double bounce rule would be applied to the game. 

Say you are the one serving. You’ll stand behind the court out of bounds and make your service to the other side of the next. Your opponents will let the ball bounce on their side of the net before hitting it back to your serving side. 

Once it comes back over the net, the serving team must let the ball bounce as well before hitting it back over the net. From there, on the third shot, the ball no longer has to bounce before being played unless someone is serving again.

Remember the Rule

Remember the Rule

Oftentimes beginners tend to forget about the double bounce rule. They will get excited about the service and play it immediately, thinking they are getting one up on the other team rather than letting the ball bounce before returning. 

At first, it may not seem to be a natural way to play, but there are a few ways to ingrain the double bounce into your natural movements. 

First, start by reminding yourself to simply step backward. Taking a few steps backward and standing far back from the net near the end of the court at the baseline, regardless of whether you are on the serving team or receiving team, is a good place to start when the ball is served. 

This will give you room to let the ball bounce without having to hit the ball right at your feet, especially if you are on the receiving team.

Additionally, after the serve is hit, take a deep breath and relax to prevent running up and immediately hitting it.

To remember the double bounce rule as the server, after the ball is served, take only a few small steps forward across the baseline. Your initial reaction may be to run up, but the serving team must stay at the back of the court to allow for the second bounce. 

The other player of the serving team should already be just inside the baseline, waiting for the service return.

Remembering the double bounce rule is all about patience before the heat of the game gets started. You may not get it on the first shot, but keep practicing to ensure those first two bounces are made in order to play like a pro. 

Why is There a Double Bounce Rule?

Why is There a Double Bounce Rule?

Every sport is designed with basic rules that are intentional to ensure the gameplay is fair and exciting, including pickleball. 

The pickleball double bounce rule exists in order to take away the serve and volley advantage as well as helps with longer rallies. Therefore, at the most basic level, the double bounce rule slows the gameplay enough to keep it fun.  

If the ball weren’t allowed to bounce on both sides before volleying was allowed, the server would have to run up very quickly to get the returned ball. 

Moving that kind of distance is tough, so there would be a lot of pickleball points lost, and the ball would have to be reserved over and over again. 

Who Makes the Pickleball Rules?

USA Pickleball Association
International Federation of Pickleball (IFP)

The official rules, including the double bounce rule, are kept by a joint effort from the USA Pickleball Association and the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP), as briefly mentioned above. 

They uphold the official rule book as well as any necessary changes and equipment standards. This is in order to protect the integrity of the sport and keep it uniform and fair during competitions and gameplay.

You can get a copy of the rulebook on the USA Pickleball Association website, which is updated regularly to contain the newest information. 


Here are the two most frequently asked questions about the pickleball double bounce rule. 

Can the ball bounce twice in pickleball?

Yes, according to the double bounce rule, the ball must bounce twice after the service, but only once on both sides of the court. 

What happens if you violate the double bounce rule in pickleball?

If you violate the double-bounce rule in pickleball, you automatically lose the point. 

The Double Bounce Rule is Important

If you have played pickleball, you know that the double-bounce rule is foundational to the game. However, even if you are new to playing, as long as the ball bounces on each side of the court, you’ll be able to continue the game at the pace it’s designed to be. 

Don’t worry. You’ll still get a great workout even while following the double-bounce rule. Good luck!

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