Pickleball Doubles Deconstructed: A Guide to the Rules

If you’re a fan of games that marry precision, agility, and strategy, then you’re already acquainted with pickleball. This fantastic sport is gaining popularity at warp speed, and guess what? Teaming up adds even more fun to the game! That’s right, we’re talking about pickleball doubles rules: how to play the game. In this article, we’ll dive deep into managing this adrenaline-pumping sport, help you master the tactics, and become an unbeatable force on the court. Get ready, everyone, because we’re about to embark on an exhilarating pickleball rollercoaster ride!

Pickleball Doubles Rules

Starting with the Basics

Before we dive headfirst into the world of pickleball doubles, let’s break down the basics:

Service Rules: The game begins with a serve, which must be hit underarm and diagonally across the court. Remember, the ball has to bounce before it’s returned—that’s the double-bounce rule! In doubles, the service always starts from the right-hand side court and alternates between partners for each new serve.

Faults: If you hit the ball out of bounds, serve from the wrong position, or volley before the ball bounces once on each side, it’s considered a fault. A fault results in loss of service or point.

Scoring: Pickleball uses a unique scoring system. Scoring is exclusive to the serving team, and games typically conclude when a team reaches 11, 15, or 21 points.

The Non-Volley Zone or ‘The Kitchen’

Ever heard of a sports court having a kitchen? Indeed, in pickleball, it does! The term ‘kitchen’ pertains to the non-volley zone, a 7-foot area on both net sides. Entering this zone to volley (hitting the ball before it bounces) is prohibited. However, you can enter ‘the kitchen’ to play a ball bounced in this area.


A ‘volley’ in pickleball entails hitting the ball directly out of the air before it bounces. This technique is frequently employed near the Non-Volley Zone (the ‘Kitchen’), the 14-foot area in the middle of the court, extending 7 feet on either side of the net.

The critical rule regarding volleys in pickleball is that you must not volley the ball while standing in or making contact with the Non-Volley Zone or its boundary line. In other words, both feet must be positioned behind the Non-Volley Zone line when striking the ball out of the air. Furthermore, your momentum cannot carry you into the Non-Volley Zone after executing a volley.

This rule is crucial for fair play and prevents players from gaining an advantage by being too close to the net and smashing every hit. The Non-Volley Zone rule promotes strategic and skillful play by forcing players to position themselves correctly during volleys and avoid being in the Kitchen while hitting the ball out of the air.

When can you enter the non-volley zone?

During a pickleball game, you can be in the Non-Volley Zone (the ‘Kitchen’). However, there are specific rules regarding volleys within the Kitchen. 

Although you can step into the Non-Volley Zone to hit a ball that has bounced inside it, you are prohibited from volleying it if any part of your body is in it. This prohibition encompasses touching any part of the Kitchen line as well. Volleys must be initiated outside the Non-Volley Zone to be deemed legal shots.

When hitting a ‘dink,’ a strategic shot passing over the net and landing in your opponent’s Non-Volley Zone, you can step in to hit the ball only if it has bounced inside the zone. You must ensure you do not contact the Non-Volley Zone or its line during volleying.

You can be inside the Non-Volley Zone at any time in pickleball. Still, when hitting volleys, you must initiate the shot outside the zone and avoid touching any part of the Non-Volley Zone or its line during the volleying action. 

Strategies to Ace the Pickleball Doubles Game

Knowing the rules is just the tip of the iceberg for pickleball doubles. Let’s dive into strategies that can up your game:

Effective Communication: The Key to Success

The most successful doubles teams communicate like they share a brain! Regularly call out shots, discuss tactics, and reassure each other. Remember, silence isn’t golden in pickleball!

Master the Serve and Return

The serve and return in pickleball doubles can make or break the game. Serve deep to push your opponents back and aim for a low return, forcing them to hit upwards and giving you a chance to score.

The Power of Patience

Contrary to what you might think, pickleball isn’t all about powerful slams. Sometimes, winning is about who blinks first. So, stay patient, keep the ball in play, and wait for your opponents to make a mistake.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What’s the double bounce rule in pickleball doubles rules?

The ball must bounce once on each side before it can be volleyed. To clarify, the serve must bounce, and the return of the serve must also shake before players can engage in volleys.

2. How do you decide who serves first in pickleball doubles?

A coin toss or paddle spin usually decides who serves first in pickleball doubles.

3. How does scoring work in pickleball doubles?

Solely the serving team can earn points in pickleball. The group continues to serve and can score points until a fault is made.


Mastering the pickleball doubles rules and understanding how to play the game can take you from a pickleball enthusiast to a force to be reckoned with on the court. Remember, practice makes perfect, and every match is a learning opportunity. Pickleball doubles offer twice the fun, twice the excitement, and twice the strategic play. Now that you’re armed with the rules and strategies get out there and make a racket on the pickleball court. We’re rooting for you!

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