Pickleball Doubles Rules: Mastering the Essential Rules

By: Brandon Fritze

Are you ready to dominate the pickleball court with your doubles partner? Understanding the rules of pickleball doubles is crucial for maximizing your team’s performance and strategic gameplay.

It’s time to elevate your game and take your pickleball skills to the next level. We’ll share insider tips to help you become a doubles pickleball expert. So, let’s get the show on the road without further ado.

Pickleball Doubles Rules

How to Play Doubles Pickleball: Rules of Pickleball Doubles

Are you ready to take your pickleball game to the next level?

Doubles pickleball is a fast-paced and exhilarating game that requires teamwork and coordination with your partner.

In this section, we’ll dive into the basic rules and strategies of doubles pickleball, so you can dominate on the court and become an unstoppable pickleball duo.

Let’s get started!

Pickleball Doubles Scoring

Excelling in doubles pickleball starts with understanding the scoring rules!

Don’t let confusion over scoring hold you back from dominating the court.

Here, we’ll dive into the essential Pickleball scoring doubles rules, starting with the crucial starting score of a doubles pickleball game.

Get ready to elevate your game and outscore the competition!

In doubles pickleball, the first team to reach 11 points wins the game, but they must also win by a margin of two points.

 If the score is tied at 10-10, the game continues until one team wins by two points.

Each unit has two players who rotate serve between themselves after each point, and these rules are governed by the United States Pickleball Association (USAPA).

Pickleball Doubles Scoring and Rotation

The first point in Pickleball Doubles Scoring is awarded to the team that successfully serves the ball.

The serving team is determined at the beginning of the game through a coin toss or another random selection method; the opportunity goes to the team that wins the coin toss first.

This first point serves as an advantage for the serving team to start the game with a lead.

The game kicks off with the first point awarded to the team that skillfully serves the ball.

How is the serving team determined?

Well, it’s a toss of the coin or some other random selection method. Winning that initial coin toss grants you the advantage of serving first, setting the stage for an electrifying start!

Once the serving team nabs their first point, it’s time for the opposing team, a.k.a. the receiving team, to shine.

That’s right – they secure the second point, ensuring a level playing field for everyone involved.

After the receiving team racks up their point, we pivot to the third and final point in the rotation.

Now, this third point holds a special place in the Pickleball Doubles Scoring realm.

It’s the game-changer, determining the server number.

In doubles play, you usually find two servers per team. The server number dictates who gets to serve first within a team.

And here’s the kicker:

The team that claims the third point seizes the right to serve first and chooses the lucky player to step up to the serving line.

With the server number set in stone, the action intensifies as serves start flying back and forth.

Each serve demands precision – standing behind the baseline, the server must nail a diagonal shot to the opposing service court.

The ball must gracefully clear the net, landing smack within the boundaries of the opponent’s court.

Should the serving team falter and miss the mark, it’s a fault, and the opponents gleefully snatch a point.

The pulse-pounding rhythm of Pickleball Doubles Scoring persists, with teams dishing out serves and gracefully receiving until the match reaches its climax.

Who emerges victorious?

It all comes down to reaching the specified number of points or triumphing by the margin dictated by the game’s rules.

Starting Score of a Doubles Pickleball Game

At the beginning of a doubles pickleball game, the serving team serves first, and the receiving team returns the serve. The serving team continues to serve until they lose a point.

Pickleball Doubles Serving

After that, the other team serves and they continue serving until they lose a point.

Once both teams have had the opportunity to serve they will have reached the side-out.

At this point, the serving team must change and the process repeats itself.


Side-out is when the second serving team loses a serve, and the serve returns to the first serving team.

When a side-out happens, the serving team loses their opportunity to score on that particular rally.

The opposing team then gains the right to serve and has the same single chance to score points as any other rally.

It’s important to note that it’s possible to score points in doubles pickleball even if your team isn’t serving.

The only difference is that if your team isn’t serving you won’t have the opportunity to win the point on the first serve.

Instead, you’ll need to wait until your team serves to have that opportunity.

Understanding the doubles scoring rule in pickleball is essential to winning games and enjoying the sport to its fullest.

Remember, teamwork and communication are crucial to success in doubles pickleball, so make sure to work closely with your partner and communicate throughout the game.

How to Keep Score in Pickleball Doubles

To keep score in pickleball doubles, follow these steps:

  • Start with an initial score of 0-0 for both teams.
  • The serving team’s score is always announced first, followed by the receiving team’s score.
  • The serving team will serve the ball diagonally to the opposing team.
  • The serving team keeps serving until they make a mistake or drop a rally.
  • The opposing team scores a point and switches to serving when the serving team loses a rally.
  • Only the serving team may score points.
  • When their score is equal in doubles, each team serves from the court’s right side (0-0, 2-0, 4-3, etc.) and from the left-hand side when their score is odd (1-0, 3-2, 5-4, etc.).

  • After the first serve, both teams alternate sides for subsequent serves within a game.
  • The receiving team does not score points; their objective is to win the serve and change to the serving crew.
  • Typically, games are played to 11 or 15 points, but specific rules may vary depending on the level of play or tournament regulations.
  • Players may sometimes need to win by a margin of two points (e.g., 11-9 or 15-13) to secure a victory.
  • The winning side is the first to win two games in a match, which typically consists of the best three games.
  • It’s essential to keep track of the score during the game, and players can use a scorecard or a chalkboard.

Pickleball Serving Rules Doubles

If you’re a fan of this fast-paced and exciting sport, you know that serving plays a crucial role in determining the flow and outcome of the game.

In Pickleball Doubles, where teamwork and strategy reign supreme, understanding the intricacies of serving is essential for success on the court.

Here, we’ll explore the rules and nuances of Pickleball Double Serving, unraveling the secrets behind the three pivotal points that shape the game.

Serving Order

Serving order is one of the most fundamental rules of doubles pickleball.

To start the game, the serving team must establish a serving order, which they must maintain throughout the game.

A coin toss or a rally determines the first server, and after that, the serving order alternates between the two teams after each point.

It’s important to note that the serving team must maintain their serving order, and any deviation can result in a fault.

For example, if the second server starts serving before the first server has served the ball, it will result in a fault.

The same applies if the serving order is disrupted in any other way, such as a player serving out of turn.

Another critical aspect of serving order is that the server must serve diagonally across the court to the opponent’s service box.

Pickleball Serving Diagonally across the court

If the ball lands outside the service box, it’s considered a fault, and the serve is awarded to the opposing team.

To ensure a smooth game and avoid confusion, players must communicate effectively and establish a clear serving order at the beginning of each game.

Following the rules of serving demand, players can maintain a fair and enjoyable game of doubles pickleball.

Pickleball Doubles Faults

Are you tired of losing rallies in doubles pickleball due to faults?

Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered.

Faults are violations of specific rules that can cost you the game.

This article will explain the different types of faults in doubles pickleball and how to avoid them. Master the faults and take your doubles game to the next level!

Faults can be frustrating, but they are essential to the game. Understanding what constitutes a fault and how to avoid them is crucial to avoid losing points.

Common examples of doubles pickleball faults include:

  • Serving out of order
  • Serving the ball into the net
Serving the ball into the net

  • Failing to clear the no-volley zone when volleying
Failing to clear non volley zone in Pickleball

  • Hitting the ball out of bounds
Pickleball out of bound serve

  • Touching the net with your paddle or body

To avoid these faults, knowing the rules and practicing proper techniques is essential.

For example, when serving, make sure you’re serving in the correct order and that your paddle makes contact with the ball before crossing the baseline.

When volleying, be sure to keep your feet behind the no-volley zone line, and when hitting the ball, aim for the court and avoid hitting it out of bounds.

Remember, pickleball aims to have fun and enjoy the game.

By understanding and avoiding faults, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable game for everyone involved.

So, take the time to learn the rules and practice good technique, and you’ll be on your way to dominating the court in no time!

When do 2 Members of a Team Switch Sides in a Play?

In pickleball doubles, the two members of a team switch sides during the game under specific circumstances. Here are the instances when a side switch occurs:

  • At the Start of the Game

Before the game has even started and before any points have been scored, the members of each team will be on the same side.

Once the serving team loses its serve, the players on that team will switch sides and the receiving team will become the serving team.

  • After Each Game

After a game is completed, the players on both teams will switch sides. The team that served in the previous game will become the receiving team in the next game and vice versa.

  • During the Game

Within a game, players switch sides when the total points of the serving team reach an odd number (e.g., 1, 3, 5, etc.).

For example, if the serving team’s score is 3, they will switch sides.

This side switch ensures fairness and equal opportunity for both teams, as it balances out any potential court advantages due to wind or other factors.

Pickleball Strategies for Doubles

Do you want to crush the competition in doubles pickleball? Communication, teamwork, and strategic play are essential to dominating the court.

In this section, we’ll uncover the top strategies that will take your game to the next level.

From positioning to shot selection, we’ll reveal the insider tips and tricks to help you become a doubles pickleball champion.


Communication is essential in doubles pickleball and can make the difference between winning and losing.

Calling out shots to your partner is crucial, allowing them to anticipate your moves and position themselves correctly on the court.

Communication also helps players avoid colliding with each other, which can result in lost points and injuries.

Control the Non-Volley Zone

The non-volley zone, or the “kitchen,” is a crucial court area. It’s the area within seven feet on either side of the net, and players cannot hit a volley while standing inside it.

Players need to work together to control the kitchen to keep their opponents out of this zone.

They can do this by hitting deep shots or using lobs to force their opponents back.

Move as a Team

Doubles play requires players to move as a team. Players must work together to cover the court and make strategic shots.

A popular strategy is the “stack,” where one player stands behind the other, allowing them to cover more of the court and make strategic shots.

Stay Aggressive

Playing pickleball doubles requires you to stay aggressive throughout the game.

The key to winning is to stay on the offensive, keeping the pressure on your opponents.

This means taking every opportunity to hit the ball hard and deep, forcing your opponents to make difficult returns.

Don’t be afraid to take risks and try different shots. Keep your opponent’s guessing and keep them on their toes.

Remember, the more aggressive you are, the more control you have over the game.

One Contact Per Turn

In pickleball doubles, each team is allowed only one contact with the ball per turn.

This means that once you hit the ball, your partner must then take their turn.

It’s important to communicate with your partner and make sure that you are taking turns effectively.

This will help you maintain control of the game and prevent errors.

Remember, the key to winning in pickleball doubles is teamwork and communication. By following this rule, you can work together effectively to dominate your opponents.

Two-bounce Rule

The two-bounce rule is a game-changer in pickleball doubles, and mastering it can take your game to the next level.

This rule requires that the ball must bounce once on each side of the net before a team can hit it on the fly.

Pickleball Two Bounce

Understanding and utilizing the two-bounce rule can give you and your partner a strategic advantage and help you win more rallies.

In practical terms, this means that if your opponent hits the ball so that it bounces once on your side of the court, you must let it bounce again before hitting it back.

Similarly, when you hit the ball to your opponent’s side, they must let it bounce before returning it.

This rule is designed to keep rallies going and ensure that both teams have a fair opportunity to hit the ball.

Switch Sides After Scoring

Do you know the “Switch Sides after Scoring” rule in doubles pickleball?

It’s a game-changer that keeps the game fair and exciting.

This rule ensures that players don’t gain an unfair advantage by playing on one side of the court for an extended period.

Keep reading to learn more about this essential rule and how it can affect your gameplay.

In doubles pickleball, switching sides after scoring is mandatory. It means that each team must switch sides of the court after every point is scored, regardless of which team scored it.

This rule ensures that no team has a permanent advantage over the other, and it also allows players to experience the different elements of each side of the court, such as the sun or wind.

So, if you want to excel in doubles pickleball, ensure you know the “Switch Sides after Scoring” rule like the back of your hand.

In-play, if the Ball Lands on the Line

When playing pickleball, the ball can land on the line during a rally, which can cause confusion among players.

But don’t worry, this is completely legal!

If the ball lands on the line, it is considered in, and the rally continues.

However, if the ball lands outside the line even by a fraction, it is considered out and the rally ends.

Knowing this rule is essential in doubles pickleball because it can determine the outcome of the point.

Players should keep a close eye on the ball and be aware of its position in relation to the line.

With this rule in mind, players can use it to their advantage by aiming for the line to throw off their opponents.

Players Can Move Anywhere on their Side of the Court

In doubles pickleball, players can move anywhere on their side of the court to hit the ball.

It means players can switch places with their partners during play and move around to hit the ball from different positions.

Remember, these are just a few essential rules of doubles pickleball.

For a comprehensive understanding of the rules, it’s recommended to refer to the official rulebook of the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) or take lessons from a certified instructor.

Final Thoughts on Doubles Pickleball Rules

Overall, knowing the doubles rules of pickleball is essential for success on the court. By mastering the strategies, communication, and essential rules, you and your partner can dominate the game.

So, practice and familiarize yourself with the rules, and get ready to elevate your game and become a pro in pickleball.

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