How to Play Pickleball Doubles

May 10, 2017

GAMMA Pickleball blog about pickleball doubles rules.

What’s better than playing pickleball? How about playing pickleball with your pickleball partner! Now that you know how to play pickleball and learned a little about pickle-lygomy, it’s time to learn the rules of pickleball doubles so that you and your partner can hit the courts.

If you’re new to this concept, have no fear. The differences between doubles and singles pickleball matches are easy to remember once you get the hang of them. Don’t let the idea of two additional players on the either side of the court confuse you—when you get down to it, the fundamental gameplay in a doubles match is very similar to a game of singles.

Let’s dive right in and take a look at the basics of pickleball doubles!

Scoring Calls

  • Unlike Pickleball singles matches, Pickleball doubles uses a three-number score.
  • The three number score is always called out in this order: 1, the serving team’s score; 2, the receiving team’s score; 3, the server number, so 1 for the first server and 2 for the second server.
  • The score at the beginning of every game of Pickleball doubles starts out as 0-0-2

Points:

  • Pickleball matches are played best of two out of three games.
  • First team to 11 points wins.
  • A point can only be scored when your team is serving. Points cannot be scored as the team receiving serve.

Serving:

  • Much like in a singles match, serves are underhand and contact must be made below the waist.
  • Serves must travel diagonally and land between the no-volley zone and the baseline.
  • Players only get one serve attempt. However, if the ball hits the net and lands on the opposite side beyond the kitchen into the service box, the serve can be replayed. If the hits the net and lands in your opponent’s kitchen the server loses their turn serving.
  • At the start of the match, only one player from the first serving team is allowed a turn before giving the ball up to the opponents. After the first serve, both members of the team will have a turn before the ball is turned over.
  • The only time players on the same team will switch sides is when the serving team scores a point. The server then moves to the other side of the court. The receiving team does not switch sides.

Double-bounce and No-Volley Zone:

  • The first shot must be played off the bounce. This means that the receiving team must let the serve bounce once before volleying. The serving team must also let the ball bounce once on the return. After the double-bounce takes place, both teams can hit the ball directly out of the air or on a single bounce.
  • Multiple bounces on a team’s side will result in the loss of a point.
  • Just like in a singles match, a player cannot step on or over the no-volley line after hitting a volley. Doing this will cause their team to lose a point. (Learn more about the no-volley zone rules!)
  • If you’re in danger of falling into the No Volley Zone, your partner can pull you back.

See, there’s nothing to be scared of when it comes to playing pickleball doubles. Just keep these rules in the back of your mind each time that you hit the court and you’ll be set.

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