What is the Double Bounce Rule in Pickleball?

As a beginner player have you directly hit the first serve shot and got called out? Well, you must now have got a knack for the double-bounce rule in pickleball. Now do not start bouncing the ball in your court and wait for it to bounce two times as that is not what the rule implies. You might be thinking that volley is not acceptable either but that is not the case. 

Let us lay out all the info that is crucial to know regarding the double-bounce rule in pickleball. Also, we will tell you why this rule was made as well. 

The Double Bounce Rule in Pickleball:

This rule takes place, in the beginning, with two shots of each serve. The international federation of pickleball (IFP) 2014 gave a rule of double bounce. It states that before shooting the ball in the beginning, both the serve and the service return must bounce. Meaning that on the first shot after the serve, each side needs to play a groundstroke. Volleys may be used after the first groundstrokes or bounces have been made. Also, check the Best Lightweight Pickleball Paddles.

Here is how you can understand the terms of pickleball: 

Groundstroke: A shot made after the bounce of the ball is done is called groundstroke. 

Volley: The hitting of the ball in mid-air without letting it bounce is called volley. 

So, breaking down the rule explains that a volley can not be done on the first serve. And each player that gets to serve and return the initial serve should wait for the ball to bounce once in both courts.  

The starting two shots; the serve and return of serve, should bounce before being hit. The double bounce rule is attained once both shots have been bounced. Also, check the How to Build a Pickleball Court?


This rule can be better understood with an example: 

So imagine you are a player that is receiving the serve. Once the ball falls into the court do not rush to hit it, let it bounce once and then you can send it to the server’s court. Now the server must not hastily hit the ball, he must let the ball bounce once before hitting it as well. If the server or you do not let the ball bounce that will be terminating the double-bounce rule which is considered a fault. Also, read the History of Pickleball.

Notice how two bounces are made; one in your court and the second in the server’s court. This must be done to play the rally or match and that is the double-bounce rule in pickleball. After this rule has been done both players are free to hit the balls directly by playing dinks or volleys! 

A Helpful Guide for Beginners Regarding the Double-Bounce Rule:

Purpose and Benefits of the Rule:

Each sport has a rulebook to make sure that the sport is easily playable and not overly manipulative. Without rules, sportsmen can get tricky and manipulate the game to their advantage. In pickleball, the double-bounce rule is for the purpose of playability and fairness. 


In pickleball, if serves and serve returns were without bounce the game would end in a few minutes. It will be easy to have huge score gaps and have fewer rallies. So this rule helps in extending the rallies hence making the pickleball match more playable. Also, check the How to keep score in pickleball?


You might be thinking about how letting the balls bounce contributes to fairness in pickleball. Let us break it down for you, 

  • If the server serves from standing outside of the court, the receiver may hit the ball directly into the server’s kitchen. This is unfair as the server will not have enough time to run towards the kitchen zone and successfully hit the ball. The double-bounce rule makes sure that this doesn’t happen. 
  • Also, the server might give a hard smashing serve that is impossible to hit by the receiver. Making sure that the match is evened out double-bounce rule makes sure neither the server nor the receiver has any sort of upper hand. 

Remembering the rule:

Beginners have it rough in every sport, however, practicing rules as habits help in overcoming beginner’s fears. So how can you make sure that you do not become a laughing stock during pickleball matches? The answer is by following rules. And the most basic rule that happens at the beginning of a match is “the double-bounce rule”. So here are a few tips for getting used to this rule: 

  • On returning the serve, make sure you are standing at the back of the court near the baseline so you can let the ball bounce once in open court. 
  • Likewise, if you are the server then step back at the third shot so you can let it bounce. 
  • Do not rush to the non-volley zone at the third shot if you are the server. It’s a common strategy to stay near the non-volley zone but if you rush towards it and do not let the ball bounce that will be a fault so it’s best to stay back until the double-bounce rule is done. 
  • Practice with your partner keeping the rules and regulations in mind. 

Final Words:

Overall, the purpose of the rule, as stated at the outset of this article, is to allow the game to shift into a net rally. Both teams must allow the ball to bounce in order for the players to reach the net without having to rush in haste. As a result, the game proceeds pleasantly and reliably. Pickleball would be unplayable without the rule. Long rallies are the most thrilling aspects of Pickleball tournaments that concludes in a flurry of bravos from the crowd and audience. As long as rallies are possible due to this rule we should be thankful. Also, check the How to Play Pickleball Singles?


  1. Are the two bounce rules and double bounce rules the same?

Yes, both are the same. The name of the double-bounce rule changed to a two-bounce rule in 2018. 

  1. What if the ball bounces twice in pickleball?

Having the ball bounce twice in your own court will make you lose points. 

  1. What is groundstroke?

In pickleball, groundstrokes are any shots made after letting the ball bounce only once. 

  1. Can I play without letting the ball bounce after the double-bounce rule has been done?

Yes once the ball has bounced on each side of the court once then you can continue to hit the ball without letting it bounce. 

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