Bouncing Twice to Win: Understanding the Double Bounce Rule in Pickleball

The double bounce rule, also known as the “two-bounce rule,” is one of the fundamental and unique regulations in the sport of pickleball. Whether you’re a seasoned player or a newbie starting your pickleball journey, a solid grasp of this rule is crucial to play the game correctly and strategically. In this blog, we’ll delve into what the double bounce rule is, why it exists, and how it impacts your game strategy.

The Double Bounce Rule Explained

The double bounce rule in pickleball states that each team must let the ball bounce once on their side of the court before hitting it during the first two hits of the rally. This rule applies to the serve and the return of serve. In other words, when the serving team hits the ball, the receiving team must let it bounce before returning it. Similarly, the serving team must then let the return of serve bounce before playing their first shot. After these two bounces, the ball can be either volleyed (hit before it bounces) or played off the bounce.

Purpose of the Double Bounce Rule

The double bounce rule is designed to prevent the serving team from rushing the net immediately after serving and gaining an aggressive, advantageous position. By forcing each team to let the ball bounce once, players are kept back in their respective courts for the first few shots of the rally. This rule adds a layer of complexity and strategy to the game and emphasizes pickleball’s unique combination of power and precision.

Implications for Gameplay

Understanding the double bounce rule is not just about following the rules—it can also significantly influence your game strategy.

  1. Positioning: The rule impacts the positioning of players, especially at the start of each rally. Because players can’t volley the serve or the return of serve, they must start each point towards the back of the court.
  2. Shot Selection: Since you can’t volley the ball on the first two shots, you’ll need to focus on groundstrokes at the beginning of each rally. Mastering a variety of groundstrokes, such as the drive, lob, and dink, becomes critical for a strong start to each point.
  3. Pace of Play: The double bounce rule also affects the pace of play. By requiring two bounces at the start of each point, the game is slowed down, giving players more time to react and plan their next move.

Common Misunderstandings

One common misconception is that the double bounce rule restricts players from crossing into the non-volley zone (also known as the kitchen) during the first two shots. This is not the case. Players can enter the kitchen any time during play; they just can’t volley within the kitchen.


The double bounce rule, while initially seeming like a minor detail, plays a significant role in the dynamics of a pickleball game. It demands strategic planning, shot-selection skills, and a strong understanding of player positioning. As you continue your pickleball journey, take time to understand and practice this rule, and you’ll soon find it shaping your gameplay strategy in intriguing ways. Happy Pickleballing!

Kyle Buckland

With years of experience on the pickleball court, I've dedicated myself to helping others discover and excel in this thrilling game. Through this platform, I'm committed to sharing the strategies, techniques, and community spirit that make pickleball a game for all.

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