Pickleball Doubles | Rules, Strategy, and More

Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in America. With over 2.8 million players worldwide (and growing), now is the time to get in on the trend. It’s a low-impact recreational activity that is genuinely suitable for players of all ages. In the most recently concluded US Open, pickleball crowned champions in age brackets ranging from 19 all the way up to 75 years and older. And while it is played in a singles format, most would agree that the best experience in pickleball is had when playing doubles.

In this article, our Paddle Experts have covered the rules for doubles pickleball, common strategies to incorporate, and the equipment you’ll need to take the court. Let’s have some fun!

Pickleball Rules for Doubles

  • All serves must be performed underhand with contact to the ball made below the waist.
  • All serves must be made into the opposite diagonal service area. Failure to do so will result in a fault.
  • Players are only allowed one attempted serve.
  • To begin the game, only one player from the initial serving team is granted a service turn. For the rest of the match, both members will have a service turn before giving up the ball to their opponents.
  • The server will continue to alternate sides of the court they serve from until they lose a point.
  • The receiving team never changes sides in the game of pickleball.
  • Both teams must play their first shot of a rally off the bounce. This is the Double Bounce Rule. Once both have done so successfully… OPA! And volleys are now fair game.
  • No player is allowed in The Kitchen or Non-Volley Zone unless the ball has already bounced on their side of the court. This includes a player landing in the area following a volley.
  • Only one bounce is permitted on the same side of the court. Once two bounces occur, the team that hits the shot wins the point.
  • No rally scoring. Only the serving team can score.
  • When keeping score [Serving Team’s Score - Receiving Team’s Score - Service Turn]
  • Matches are played best of 3 games. All games are played to 11 points, win by 2.
  • For those looking to learn more about the rules of pickleball, be sure to follow our blog and view our most recent posts.

Common Pickleball Doubles Strategies 

Take advantage of the following pickleball tips to improve your doubles game. Practice these ideas and work on perfecting them, and you’ll see vast improvements to your game in no time. Without further ado, here are our 11 favorite doubles pickleball strategies.

  • Get to the kitchen immediately.
  • Master the drop shot.
  • Hit shots at your opponent’s body/feet.
  • Stand behind the baseline when receiving a serve.
  • Serve deep.
  • Return the serve deep.
  • Move in cohesion with your partner.
  • Communication with your partner on balls hit down the middle.
  • Be patient. Be Patient. Be Patient.
  • Stay out of ‘No-Man’s Land.’
  • Learn how to use stacking to your advantage.

Doubles pickleball is a dance. It requires concentration, rhythm, and non-verbal communication. You need to learn your partner’s strengths and weaknesses, just like they need to discover yours. You’ll want to practice with your partner until there is an unspoken bond that allows you to move and act independently while still being synchronized with them at the same time. If you’re able to master the strategies listed above and incorporate them into you and your partner’s game, well, the sky’s the limit for your potential. 

Equipment You’ll Need
For those looking to play pickleball for the first time, you’ll likely need to invest in a few things. Pickleball doesn’t require much equipment, which makes it even more alluring for first-time players. All you’ll need for your first game of doubles or singles are:

  • Pickleball paddle
  • Perforated plastic ball
  • A court that supports pickleball
  • Good pair of athletic shoes