What is the Double Bounce Rule in Pickleball?

More and more people are playing pickleball both recreationally and competitively. Pickleball has some unique rules that make it differ from other racket sports. One of the unique aspects of the game is the double bounce rule, which can confuse new players but is essential to both the integrity and strategy of the game.

What is the Double Bounce Rule in Pickleball?

The most basic way to remember this rule is that the ball must bounce on both the serve and on the return. After this sequence happens, players can legally hit the ball out of the air and don't have to wait for it to bounce.

The double bounce rule is a fundamental rule in pickleball that requires the ball to bounce before it can be hit by a player who is serving or receiving the serve. This double bounce is required after every server. 

After the serve, the receiving team must let the ball bounce once before they can hit it, and the serving team must let the ball bounce again before they can return the ball. Once both teams have had their opportunity to hit the ball off a bounce, the free-for-all rally continues. After this, as long as a player is not in the kitchen, the ball can be hit out of the air OR on the bounce.

The Double Bounce Rule Explained

The double bounce rule is different from other racket sports such as tennis and badminton, where players can hit the ball out of the air on the serve. In pickleball, the double bounce rule creates a level playing field and allows players of all skill levels to participate in the game.

Why is there a double bounce rule in pickleball? This rule ensures that both teams have an equal opportunity to get to the ball and hit it. Imagine someone slamming the ball right at the net on the return, and you can see how this might cause an unfair advantage.

The double bounce rule also adds an element of strategy to pickleball. Since players cannot hit the ball out of the air on the serve, the serve becomes less of an advantage and more of a way to set up the point. It forces players to play the ball off the bounce, which requires more finesse and control than hitting the ball out of the air. Dinkers, let's go!

Finally, the double bounce rule in pickleball also encourages players to play closer to the net. This style of play creates more fast-paced and exciting rallies. Players need to be quick on their feet and have good reflexes to get to the ball after it has bounced, making the game more challenging and engaging.

In conclusion, the double bounce rule is an essential component of pickleball, creating a level playing field, adding strategy to the game, and making it more exciting and engaging for players of all skill levels.

What Happens If Someone Misses the Double Bounce Rule?

While it may take some time for new players to get used to, the double bounce rule ultimately enhances the experience of playing pickleball and makes it a unique sport. If you notice a player has failed to let it bounce on the serve or return, call it out. This is a fault and ends the point. As such, be sure to watch your opponents closely. After you have learned the game, you'll immediately sense something is wrong when this happens.

New players will often make the basic mistake of hitting the ball out of the air and causing a fault for their team during doubles pickleball. The best way to avoid making a mistake is to ensure you are positioned properly on the court. If a player stands back when they are the serving team, they can usually avoid the temptation to hit the ball before it bounces.

We hope this summary helps explain the double bounce rule in pickleball. If you have more questions on pickleball rules, please visit our pickleball FAQ blog.

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