What Is The Double Bounce Rule In Pickleball? A Complete Guide

Learning pickleball’s double bounce rule was challenging when I first started playing.  For those who do wonder what is the double bounce rule in pickleball and are curious as to what it really is, then this is the place to go.

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The Two Bounce Rule In Pickleball Explained

When using the double bounce rule, the two first shots must bounce before being hit, namely the serve and return of serve. Both shots must bounce in order to reach the two bounce rule. The ball can be hit on the fly by either team after each shot has bounced twice.

Each team must hit ground strokes prior to hitting the ball out of the air, also known as volleying.

Essentially, the Double Bounce Rule Was Designed to:What Is The Double Bounce Rule In Pickleball

  1. Ensure that the serve bounces
  2. Require a bounce on the return of serve
  3. Play longer rallies and longer games by extending the game organically
  4. Up to some degree, even the level of competition
  5. Ensure that the serving team is not unfairly disadvantaged

You may have forgotten about the double bounce rule occasionally if you’re new to pickleball. 

If you’ve ever played tennis, you’ll understand the challenge of not charging your opponent after you’ve blasted a serve to them. Pickleball, on the other hand, serves an entirely different purpose – and it’s pure genius!  

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Why Does The Double Bounce Rule Exist?

The pickleball game was created and built around rallies to extend its appeal and promote enjoyment for all ages.  Double bounces are essential to this. 

It could take two or three shots for the point to end if serves and returns of serves could be played on the fly (without bouncing).  Similarly, a weak serve or return of serve can be exploited and converted into an easy point at the kitchen line. 

Would pickleball be much fun if points consisted of only two or three shots per person?

In nearly every racquet sport, everyone enjoys a good rally.  Double bounce rules in pickleball are the perfect way to amplify that.  

This rule creates more rallies as a result of double bounces.

What Are The Benefits Of The Double Bounce Rule?

What Is The Double Bounce Rule In Pickleball

The serving team is prevented from getting to the net quickly if they must let the return of serve bounce.  After the returning team hits, the team should (and can) rush to the kitchen line immediately.  

Before hitting the ball a second time, the serving team must let the ball bounce.  Therefore, they have to wait until this lone shot is over before they can even consider charging the net. 

Tennis legends like Pete Sampras and John McEnroe used this rule to gain an unfair advantage in the game.

After their opponent barely returned their rocket of a serve, the hall of farmers would charge to the net to secure the point.

The serving team does not have an extreme advantage in pickleball due to the underhand serve and the double bounce rule.

The uniqueness of pickleball lies in this rule, which sets it apart from other paddle sports. 

Because pickleball serves are all underhand, they are rarely unreturnable. The server has virtually no chance of getting into the no-volley zone when the return of serve is hit deep back to him.

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There are no two-shot winners by Pete Sampras here.  There are no unfair advantages in pickleball, sir.

One could argue that because of this rule, the team that returns the serve is slightly more likely to reach the net first.  As most pickleball points are decided at the kitchen line, the player who gets to the line first has an advantage.   

The only player or team eligible for a point is the one serving, so they have to work hard to earn it.

Pickleball assigns points only to the team serving.

Getting to the kitchen line first is usually your advantage if you’re a return team.  This is important!  Regardless of the player’s age or skill level, the rule creates a beautiful level of competition that extends the game over all.

What is the difference between the “Double Bounce Rule” and the “Two Bounce Rule”?

What Is The Double Bounce Rule In Pickleball

Yes.  Well, sort of.  Here’s what I mean.

A mark changed in the official pickleball rules book in 2018 and it is now officially called the “two-bounce rule”.  This still refers to the same thing.  Basically, it is the rule that requires the ball to bounce once on each side before it is legal to hit it from the air (volley).

Either term applies. It means the same thing whether it is called the “two bounce rule” or the “double bounce rule.”.  The serves and returns of serves bounce.

Is it possible for the ball to bounce twice in pickleball?

The ball will bounce once in bounds during a game of pickleball, so that’s how many times it can come in.  

Most racquet or paddle sports have an inbuilt rule where a point is awarded to the player who hits the ball twice during the course of the game.

For example, to win a point in pickleball, you would hit the perfect dink to the far side of my court, and it would bounce twice because I was unable to catch it.  

This rule is almost universal among sports involving racquets and paddles.  

You shouldn’t confuse this pickleball rule with racquet sport rule about bounces.  They are completely different.

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Who Invented The Double Bounce Rule?

What Is The Double Bounce Rule In Pickleball

It’s fascinating to learn about Pickleball’s origins.  Barney McCullum, Joel Pritchard, and Bill Bell founded the game in 1992.  

Pickleball has a double bounce rule, but who invented it?  Did one of these three men do it?

Unfortunately, there is no clear answer to this question.

There is no definitive answer as to who created the most brilliant rule in the history of racket sports.  

As Joe, Bill and Barney spent days customizing the rules of the game so that all of their family could play at their vacation home in Washington state – it is pretty likely that one of them did it.

Unfortunately, we may never know.

The USAPA has not responded to my request for an official response.

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My Final Thoughts

Joel Pritchard and his friends made a brilliant move when they implemented the two-bounce rule during the creation of the official rules for the game. Hope you got the solution on What Is The Double Bounce Rule In Pickleball?

Unbeknownst to them, a simple rule designed to eliminate any blatant advantage one side held in a racquet or paddle sport would end up being the most clever rule ever devised.

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