HOW TO PLAY PICKLEBALL DOUBLES: RULES EXPLAINED

You’ve probably heard about pickleball, the fastest-growing sport in the USA. Pickleball has two forms, pickleball singles and pickleball doubles. Doubles Pickleball is the most popular format for playing pickleball.

Pickleball doubles involve more strategy and friendly connections. If you haven’t tried it out, you are missing a good part of the pickleball game.

Newbies often have some questions in their mind, like, how to play pickleball doubles. Is it challenging to play, what items are required to play pickleball doubles, and many more!

Stick to this article as we dive into the world of doubles pickleball and explain everything to you.

HOW TO PLAY PICKLEBALL DOUBLES

If you already know how to play pickleball singles then you are in luck because much of their rules are similar. If you are completely new to pickleball then don’t worry, you can just learn the basics here and start practicing.

COURT SIZE

The pickleball court size is same for both singles and doubles. According to the USAPA, the pickleball court size is 20’x44’ for both singles and doubles.

Pickleball Court Dimensions

It should be remembered that a pickleball court is of the same size as a badminton doubles court. You can fit four pickleball courts into a single tennis court.

RULES OF PICKLEBALL DOUBLES

Here, we will discuss all necessary rules of doubles pickleball, ranging from pickleball serve to the end of game. 

These rules are easy to remember and even more easy if you know pickleball singles.

Let’s start with pickleball doubles serving rules.

PICKLEBALL SERVING RULES DOUBLES

A pickleball doubles game always starts with a serve. The server hits the ball into opponent’s service area and the game starts.
Here, a question arises who serves first in pickleball doubles? To determine which team serves first, a toss is held through coin or by playing rock, paper, scissors. Some courts insist that first serve should be given to side facing northwest because pickleball originated in Pacific Northwest.

Following are some pickleball doubles serving rules to keep in mind while playing the game.

  • In order to serve pickleball, you must use either a forehand or a backhand motion. The serving player’s arm should move in an upward arc when the ball is struck.
  • You cannot perform an overhand serve. The ball should come in contact with your pickleball paddle when it is below the waist level.
  • The head of paddle must be below the highest point of your wrist at time of contact.
  • Correctly place your feet. During serve, at least one of your feet must be behind the baseline and inside the imaginary extension of baseline or sideline.
  • Your serve must land in the service area of your opponent at diagonal. When you hit the serve, it must land in service area, beyond the kitchen line of your diagonally opposite opponent.

Only one serve attempt is allowed per server. If you or your partner commits a fault then you lose the serve.

VARIATION IN SERVE: DROP SERVE IN PICKLEBALL

Drop serve is a variation of the traditional volley serve. It is becoming more and more popular with time. The following additional rules also apply to the drop serve in pickleball doubles.

  • The server will drop the ball from one hand and hit it with the paddle from below the waist.
  • The ball must not be forced or tossed into the ground for greater bounce.
  • The server must hit the ball after it has bounced one time from the ground.
Pickleball Doubles Serving postions

PICKLEBALL DOUBLES SERVING SEQUENCE

By now, you should know the difference between the serving team and receiving team. The whole doubles game revolves around these two teams.

SERVING TEAM

It consists of two players who will perform the serve into the opponent’s service court.

RECEIVING TEAM

It also consists of two picklers who oppose the incoming serve from the serving team.

After knowing the serving and receiving team, we will now discuss the rules about serving sequence in pickleball doubles.

  • Any player on the serving team can initiate the game by performing a serve.
  • After each side-out, the first serve is made from the right side of pickleball court.
  • Whenever a point is scored, the teams switch sides and the server initiates next serve from left side of the court.
  • As points are scored, the teams continue changing sides until a fault is committed and the first server loses the serve. Now, second server will perform the serves until a fault is committed.
Pickleball Doubles Serving Positions

PICKLEBALL DOUBLES SCORING

Have you ever looked at a pickleball score board and saw three numbers? But you don’t know what they represent or how to read them.

Don’t worry, the pickleball doubles score is always written as three numbers (e.g. 0-1-1 or 3-6-2). 

  • The first number represents score of serving team.
  • The second number represents score of receiving team.
  • The third number represents the server number, which is either 1 or 2 (First server or Second server).

In pickleball doubles, points can only be scored by the serving team. If the serving team’s score is even (2,4,6 etc.) then the first server of that team will be on right side of the court.

Similarly, if the score is odd(1,3,5 etc.) then the server will be on left side of the court when serving or receiving.

Pickleball Doubles Scoring

How long does a pickleball game last?

In case of pickleball doubles, the game is usually played up to 11 points while tournament games may be played up to 15 or 21 points. In both cases, there is a win ratio by two points.

DOUBLE BOUNCE RULE IN PICKLEBALL

You may have heard about the double-bounce rule or two bounce rule in pickleball. It exists in both pickleball doubles and singles.

So, what is the 2 bounce rule in pickleball?

When the ball is served, the receiving team must let it bounce once before hitting it and then the serving team should also let the returning ball bounce at least once, thus two bounces. This is called the two bounce or double bounce rule in pickleball.

After the ball has bounced twice, the serving team may volley it or play a groundstroke. 

Why two bounce rule was introduced? The two bounce rule or double bounce rule was introduced to eliminate any unfair advantages to the serving and receiving teams.

Before the two bounce rule, the receiving team had an unfair advantage of striking a strong volley on their very first shot. So, double bounce rule proved to be very beneficial in balancing the pickleball game between the two teams.

What is the 2 bounce rule in pickleball

THE KITCHEN IN PICKLEBALL DOUBLES

The Kitchen in Pickleball is the court area within 7 feet on both sides of the net where volleying is prohibited. This can cost the player a standard point. Kitchen is also known as the “Non-Volley Zone”.

Volleying is prohibited within the NVZ or Kitchen. This rule prevents the picklers from executing smashes from a position too close to the opponents.

You can see the term ‘Volleying’ or ‘Volley’ regarding this kitchen. Volley in pickleball simply refers to hitting the ball directly in the air without letting it bounce on the ground.

Volleys are powerful shots and provides great advantage. When you hit a volley, standing close to the net, the volley shot becomes too powerful for the opponent to return.

It becomes an unfair advantage to the person performing the volley. So, pickleball authorities have banned volleying from within 7 feet of the net.

This 7 feet area on both sides is called The Kitchen or Non-Volley Zone(NVZ).

FAULTS IN PICKLEBALL DOUBLES

According to USAPA, a fault simply refers to any action that stops the play due to a rule violation.

There are many faults in a doubles pickleball game but they can be performed by either the serving team or the receiving team. Each fault has its own penalty according to the rules.

FAULT BY SERVING TEAM

A fault by any member of the serving team results in the following two things.

  • Side out.
  • Loss of serve

FAULT BY RECEIVING TEAM

Any fault by the receiving team simply adds a score point to the serving team. So, be careful when in receiving team because your mistake will add a point to your opponent.

EQUIPMENT REQUIRED FOR PICKLEBALL DOUBLES

After learning, if you are going practically into pickleball then you would require some equipment. Don’t worry, it’s not too expensive, however, if you want it expensive then they are also available.

I will mention the equipment necessary for pickleball. They are easily available in all online marketplaces.

  1. Pickleball Paddles. You would require four of them for pickleball doubles.
  2. Balls. One ball is enough for the whole game but you can buy more for future use.
  3. Pickleball Net. You would require a net to set it in the middle of the court.

These are some important requirements for pickleball. You can also buy more equipment like pickleball shoes, paddle grips, net adjusters, and many more But they are not necessary.

TO SUM UP

You should try out Pickleball doubles. It is a friendly game where you work together as a team and enhance your skills by accountability from your teammates. At last, pickleball is a game, try to learn it by practicing with others.

HAVE FUN!

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