Pickleball Rules for Doubles – A Comprehensive Guide 2023

Pickleball rules for doubles

A hybrid of Tennis is Pickleball, much like badminton and ping pong; in 1965, three friends introduced Pickleball. Later, in 1984, the USA Pickleball Association introduced the pickleball rules for doubles at the national level. Double Pickleball is like a dance; you only need good nonverbal communication, rhythm, and concentration.

Here are the top 8 pickleball doubles rules names, the proper guide is below.

  1. Service Rules
  2. Double Bounce Rule
  3. Non-Volley Zone Rule
  4. Faults
  5. Scoring Rules
  6. Change of Service Court
  7. Faults and Side-Outs
  8. Positioning and Court Etiquette

This is most popular among adults and older people. But If you are new to the rules of pickleball doubles, the first thing you need to know is learning the rules is crucial, especially when playing doubles. If you want to know about pickleball doubles, keep reading this article and browse the site for more knowledge about pickleball games. This article teaches you about the equipment and courts, serving and receiving, rally scoring, and playing the game.

pickleball doubles rules

Here are important Doubles pickleball rules, the player must be familiar with before start playing;

  • Start from the essential step, the pickleball rules for serving in doubles. A serve must be underhand with contact to the ball and below the waist. 
  • Only one attempt to serve is allowed for players. 
  • While serving make sure your opposite is in direction and diagonal. Otherwise, the service will count as a fault. 
  • However, to start the game, the player from the initial serving team can make a service turn. Further, both players can have a service turn before returning the ball to the opponents. 
  • The serving player will keep shifting his position from the side they started to serve until a fault or loses a point. 
  • In the game of Pickleball, the receiving team will not change their positions. 
  • In a single match, three games will be played; each round has 11 points and wins by 2 points. 
  • Only the serves team allowed scoring, with no rally scoring. 
  • One bounce is allowed on the same side of the court; if two bounces occur, the point goes to the team that hits the short.
  • The first short of the rally must be off the bounce. This is the rule for a double bounce. After both teams have done it successfully, this starts a fair game. 
  • Players are not allowed in the non-volley zone or the kitchen once the ball bounces in their courtside. Also, this involves the player landing in the area following the volley. 

For those looking for the pickleball rules for doubles, keep reading this article for complete guidance. 

how to play pickleball doubles

Our tips and strategies extracted from the experience are described in points step by step.

  1. Gather Your Team:
    • Assemble a group of four players, forming two teams of two.
  2. Court Setup:
    • Set up the pickleball court, which is similar to a badminton court but smaller. Each team has a side with a non-volley zone (“kitchen”) close to the net.
  3. Start with the Serve:
    • Begin the game with an underhand serve, ensuring the ball bounces once on the server’s side and once on the opponent’s side.
  4. Diagonal Serving:
    • Serve diagonally, and the receiving team must let the ball bounce before returning it.
  5. Double Bounce Rule:
    • Observe the double bounce rule; the ball must bounce twice (once on each side) before volleys are allowed.
  6. Non-Volley Zone Awareness:
    • Be mindful of the non-volley zone; avoid volleys while standing within this area to prevent faults.
  7. Engage in Volleys:
    • After the double bounce, engage in volleys, where players hit the ball back and forth.
  8. Effective Communication:
    • Communicate with your partner to coordinate movements and strategize plays for efficient court coverage.
  9. Score Points:
    • Score points when the opposing team commits a fault or fails to return the ball effectively. The first team to reach 11 points with a two-point margin wins the game.
  10. Enjoy the Game:
    • Pickleball doubles is not only a fantastic workout but also a social and enjoyable way to spend time with friends while engaging in friendly competition.

Pickleball Court For Doubles 

The court shape is rectangular, the width is 20 feet, and the length is 44 feet long. A centerline in the middle of the court that divides the court into two halves is parallel to the width of the court. Centerline, also called service line for serving rules of pickleball doubles.

The non-volley zone line and baseline are the two lines that run perpendicularly to the centerline. The purpose of the baseline is to service and return. The kitchen, the non-volley zone line, is dashed 7 feet from the net. In the non-volley line, where player cannot hit the ball. 

pickleball doubles serving rules

Understanding Pickleball Rules for Doubles The game rules are mandatory to understand. At the rally’s start, the serving team serves the ball first, and the returning squad returns the ball to the serving team. So, this way, the game continues until one team commits a mistake or fault.

The total number of points in the game is 11, and both teams need 11 points to win the pickleball doubles ahead by at least two lead points. In any version of the pickleball game, the serving rules in pickleball are essential to know for any level of pickleball player.

The winning team will be the team, who wins the two matches among a series of three. The start of the game is crucial to describe the rest of the game because at any point the game can switch a loser to a winner and vice versa. 

1. Service

The pickleball doubles serving rotation between the two teams in pickleball doubles. However, the service decision is made by tossing a coin or paddle spin. The toss-winning team will serve the ball from the right side of the court diagonally to the opponent’s box. 

The service is a powerful shot at the start of the game because this initiates the rally. The serving must be underhand, and the paddle should be below the waist and target diagonally across the court in the opposite box. The services must be in a non-volley zone and clear. 

Pickleball doubles serving rules

 Also, the service must land in the opposite box, which is considered legal. If the serve hits the net, this is called let service, and the server gets an extra chance. The service is considered a fault if it lands outside the non-volley zone.

There are some other rules one must follow while playing pickleball doubles. Service starts b from the right side of the court, and after every service, the player needs to switch their sides to rotate the player on the left side of the court.

Always give the service humbly and comfortably and try different styles, including slice, lob drive let the opponent guess your next move. 

2. Service Return 

Returning the service is also crucial in pickleball because this will determine who will handle the rally. The opponent player must return the serve in the opposite box to let the ball bounce in the court.  

Then, the return must be in the non-volley zone and clear, and the serves must reach the opponent’s court in the opposite direction diagonally. During the return of service, the non-playing partners stick to some rules that help a team avoid fouls. 

Pickleball doubles Bounce rule

However, the returning team serves the ball back, but the ball must be bounced into the opponent’s box. Hit the ball with a paddle to return the ball to the opponent’s court. Try to avoid the ball catching in the net.

Now the serving team is the winning team, in case the team wins a point.  The non-playing partner must stand behind the baseline, and the serving person will pick the first short.

After the service is returned, the non-plying partner can play in the rally and come to a non-volley zone.  To deal with the services effectively, analyze the serve movements, which helps you to determine the ball’s direction.

Always be ready on the court according to the server’s position and speed of service and also player movements. 

3. Rally 

The rally starts when the serve and return of serve are completed. According to rules for pickleball doubles, both teams must stay behind the non-volley line, and avoid hitting the ball in the air unless they are behind the non-volley line. A complete serve must be landed in the opponent’s court. 

4. Scoring  

There are typically 11 points when it comes to the doubles pickleball scoring system, but sometimes 15 points a game if both teams agree to make a game longer. After each round, switching the side after each match and increasing 5 points during the game is important.

However, to win the game, the team must be 2 points ahead of the opponent. In the pickleball double total of 11 points, the team that reached 11 points first and with two lead points will win. 

5. Double Hits 

If the two players from a team hit the ball simultaneously, then this is called a double hit; this is a fault, and the opponent will get the point. So always remember this and try your best to avoid double-hitting the ball with one paddle; this results in a point addition for your opponents. 

6. Carry Rule 

This rule means all the delivered serves have no slicing motion or spin. Otherwise, this will be a fault serve, and your opponents will get the point. This rule also applies to the returning short from across the non-volley line; no cupping is allowed. 

7. Only Serving Team is Allowed to Switch the Sides 

Only the serving team can switch sides after each point is scored. On the other hand, the volley stays on the side of the court from where they started a match until a point is scored again. After that, they are allowed to change their positions.

However, this is very important to maintain the original position according to the position of the other teammate at the time of short. 

8. A Serve must be Underhand 

Pickleball doubles serving rules should be underhand. If both teams have decided about the service before starting the game, all of them can do overhand serve too. Serves can be executed from either side of the court, but service must be diagonal across if both teams agreed on this before initiating the game. 

9. Volleying Zone Rule 

From either side of the net, the 14-foot area, the player is allowed to volley any short if the short does not land inside your opponent’s NVZ(non-volley zone) line first. This 14 feet area is called a volleying zone.

This volleying area is for both teams, so this is very significant to know who is hitting the ball; you do not need to get confused by your opponent’s short. 

Pickleball Volleying Zone Rule

10. Non-Volleying Zone Rule 

A pickleball kitchen size is also a 7-foot area from either side of the net, a total 14-foot area in the court called a non-volleying zone. You are not allowed to volley even a single shot in this region, this would be a fault if a player do.

Also, the ball must be bounced and legally volleyed from anywhere else on the court. This also includes the non-volley lines. But this depends on the team either following this rule or eliminating it before starting the game. 

How to play doubles pickleball

11. Winning the Game 

If both team has decided to play a game of 11 points then the team must reach 11 points to win the pickleball game with a points lead. If both teams score 10-10, the game will continue until one team wins by two lead points.

For 15 points game winning rule remains the same. While playing the game, consistency and focus are very important, a small mistake can lead you to lose the game, e.g. 9-11, or 1—12 points. 

pickleball doubles strategies To Improve Your Game

  • Practice your server, and this is the most critical part of Pickleball. Also, helpful to be a strong Serve. Practice is crucial to developing accuracy and consistency and practicing a different type of service. 
  • Footwork is the Key in Pickleball. The practice of moving efficiently and speedily around the course and returning to your position for shots. Also, this helps you to avoid any faults or unforced errors. 
  • While playing pickleball, keeping your eye on the ball is essential. In addition, this helps you determine the next shot’s position. 
  • Always use your entire body to hit a shot instead of your arms. Also, engage your legs, which helps you generate more accuracy in the shot. 
  • Communication is an essential factor in pickleball doubles. To avoid any problem or confusion, develop cues and signals with your partners that help you to stay on the same page. 
  • Stay focused and patient on the court; do not rush to hit the ball. Take your time and wait for a good strike. 
  • Go back to the kitchen, After each shot.
  • Drop Shot is crucial; keep practicing it. 
  • Target the opponent’s feet or body while hitting the shot. 
  • While receiving the serve, do not cross the baseline. 
  • Be calm, be patient. 
  • Serve Deep 
  • Try to avoid ” No Mans Land.” 
  • You can use stacking to your advantage. 
  • Always return the serve deep. 
  • In the court build good chemistry with your partner. 
  • Always learn from your mistakes, and do not get disheartened by your mistakes. Use your mistake as a learning opportunity that helps you to improve your game. 
  • This is a fun game; do not take the game seriously. Have fun on the court. 

Pickleball Doubles Scoring

Pickleball doubles scoring is straightforward and follows a rally-point system. The game is played to 11 points, and a team must win by at least two points. Here’s a comprehensive guide to understanding the scoring system in pickleball doubles:

  1. Serve Rotation:
    • The serving team rotates sides with each successful point scored.
  2. Faults and Side-Outs:
    • A fault occurs when a team violates the pickleball rules for doubles, such as hitting the ball out of bounds or into the net. A side-out results in the opposing team gaining the serve.
  3. Scoring System:
    • Points are scored only by the serving team. Each rally won by the serving team earns a point.
  4. Server Position:
    • The serving team’s player starts serving from the right-hand side and continues switching sides after every point won.
  5. Winning the Game:
    • The first team to reach 11 points, with a margin of at least two points, wins the game.
  6. Deuce (Tied at 10 points):
    • If the score reaches 10-10, play continues until one team gains a two-point advantage to break the tie.
  7. Score Callouts:
    • Traditionally, scores are called out with the serving team’s score first, followed by the receiving team’s score.

The pickleball doubles scoring system is a must thing to have the understanding before playing the specific game.

pickleball double bounce rule

The Pickleball Double Bounce Rule is a foundational regulation in the sport of pickleball. It mandates that, at the commencement of each point, the ball must bounce once on the serving team’s side and then once on the receiving team’s side before players can engage in volleys. This rule encourages fair play, strategic maneuvering, and dynamic gameplay in pickleball.


Pickleball is an exciting game that can be played individually or in doubles. Pickleball rules for doubles are simple, and understanding the rules is significant for competitive and fair games. In addition, the knowledge of the court and types of equipment, serving and receiving, rally, and match scoring are all crucial factors in pickleball doubles. 

 The player must practice the skills, stay consistent and focused, and communicate with the partner. This will help the player to improve their gaming and maximize their winning chances. Always use your mistakes as a learning process; do not take the game seriously. This is a fun game, play the game and have fun. 


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