Pickleball Doubles Rules in 2023

Four individuals actively participating in a game of pickleball, forming two teams and engaging in a doubles match on a dedicated court.

Pickleball doubles is all about working together with a partner to dominate your opponents. It’s like having a teammate on the court, which adds a whole new level of excitement. In this guide, we’ll break down the essential rules of pickleball doubles in simple terms, so you can hit the court with confidence. Let’s dive in!

Scoring Rules for Pickleball Doubles

In pickleball doubles, teams compete to reach 11 points, with a 2-point lead required for victory. According to the rules, the serving team can score points. The serving team earns a point if the receiving team makes a mistake.

Serve Rotation and Switching Sides

The game begins with the server on the right side of the pickleball court. Serving continues until a fault is made. After that, the second server on the team takes over. When the second server loses the serve, it switches to the opposing team, with the right-side player serving first. This rotation continues throughout the game.

Players in a pickleball doubles match positioned strategically on their side of the court, displaying proper placement and readiness for the game.

At the start, one player on the first serving team serves before the opponents take over. Then, both team members serve before the ball goes to the opposing side. After a point is scored, the server and their partner switch sides. The receiving team, however, remains on the same side. This adds strategy as players adapt to new positions and angles.

Serving rules for Pickleball Doubles

The serve is crucial in pickleball doubles and follows specific rules. The serve must be underhand, with the ball contacted below the waist. Both feet must stay behind the baseline until after the serve. Stepping over the line results in a fault. The serve must land in the opponent’s diagonally opposite service area. Hitting the non-volley line is a fault.

Double-Bounce Rule

A unique rule in pickleball doubles is the double-bounce rule. The serve must bounce before the receiver returns it, and the return must also bounce before the server counters. Subsequent hits can occur before or after the bounce.

Avoiding Faults: Fair and Clean Play

Mistakes impact the game’s flow. The server has only one attempt, except for a “let” when the ball hits the net but lands in the correct service court. Hitting the net, going out of bounds, or breaking service rules leads to a fault. Players must not hit the ball before it bounces in the non-volley zone, also called the “kitchen.”

In, Out and Contact Rules

In pickleball doubles, if the ball touches the sideline or baseline, it’s in. Hitting the net or going out of bounds is a fault. According to the rules, when the ball bounces twice on the receiving team’s side, it is deemed a fault. Respecting the net is essential. Touching it, whether by a player, their clothing, or their paddle, during play is a fault.

Learn everything about pickleball rules in one place. Explore our central guide:

Pickleball Rules: Official Guidelines for the Game

Pickleball Singles vs Pickleball Doubles

Pickleball Singles: A Solo Challenge

In pickleball singles, the court is occupied by only two players—one on each side. This format leads to a more intense and focused gameplay, as players have a larger court area to cover on their own. Here’s what sets pickleball singles apart:

  1. Solo Battle: In singles, it’s a one-on-one showdown, demanding players to rely solely on their individual skills and strategies.
  2. Full Court Coverage: With no partner to share the court with, players must cover the entire court area, testing their agility and endurance.
  3. Heightened Strategy: The lack of a teammate means players must craft unique strategies to outmaneuver their opponent and secure victory.

Pickleball Doubles: Teamwork Takes Center Stage

Pickleball doubles involve four players—two on each team. This format emphasizes teamwork, coordination, and shared responsibilities. Here’s what distinguishes pickleball doubles:

  1. Team Dynamic: Doubles require seamless coordination between teammates, where strategic positioning and communication play vital roles.
  2. Half-Court Coverage: With a partner to share responsibilities, players cover half the court each, allowing quicker reaction times and more dynamic plays.
  3. Shared Strategy: In doubles, strategies often involve setting up opportunities for the teammate to capitalize on, showcasing a unique blend of offensive and defensive moves.

Serving Variation

A notable difference between pickleball singles and doubles is the switching of sides after scoring a point. In pickleball singles, the server and receiver never switch sides. However, in doubles, the serving team switches sides after scoring a point, creating a dynamic that adds variety to the game and challenges players to adapt quickly.

Court Positioning

The positioning on the court varies between singles and doubles. In singles, players occupy the entire court, whereas in doubles, they share their half with a partner. This difference influences movement, shot selection, and the dynamics of play.

Strategy and Skill Emphasis

Singles tend to emphasize individual skill, agility, and strategic planning due to the larger area each player must cover. Conversely, Doubles rely heavily on teamwork, communication, and setting up opportunities for each other.

Communication and Coordination

In pickleball singles, Communication is limited to the players themselves. Quick decision-making is essential to react to opponents’ shots effectively.

In pickleball doubles, Communication and coordination between partners are crucial. Players must anticipate each other’s movements, communicate strategies, and support one another during rallies.

Social Interaction

Pickleball Singles can offer a more introspective experience as players engage with their thoughts and tactics on the court.

Pickleball Doubles provide social interaction and shared experiences. Players can celebrate successes and strategize together, enhancing the sense of camaraderie.

Speed and Stamina

Pickleball Singles tend to involve more continuous movement and demand higher stamina levels due to individual court coverage.

Pickleball Doubles may involve shorter bursts of movement but require quicker reaction times and agility to maintain effective teamwork.


Pickleball doubles bring the joy of teamwork and strategy to the court. Whether you’re aiming for fun or competition, these rules ensure a fair and exciting game. Grab your partner, follow the guidelines, and let the games begin. May the teamwork lead you to victory!

FAQ: Pickleball Doubles Rules

In pickleball doubles, both teams consist of two players each. This makes a total of four players on the court, creating a dynamic atmosphere of collaboration and competition.

The serving rotation in pickleball doubles begins with one player from the serving team. After each fault, the serving duty switches to the second player on the same team. Following the loss of serve, the opposing team takes over the serve, and the player on their right serves first. This rotation pattern continues throughout the game.

Succeeding in pickleball doubles relies on effective communication, solid teamwork, and strategic positioning. Players who work together harmoniously, communicate clearly and make smart tactical decisions are more likely to achieve victory.

No, players, their clothing, or their paddles must not touch the net during play. Doing so is considered a fault. This rule maintains the integrity of the game and ensures that no one gains an unfair advantage.

In pickleball doubles, a fault happens if a player hits the net, the ball goes out of bounds, or service rules are violated. If the ball touches any part of the sideline or baseline, it’s considered “in.” Also, a double bounce on the receiving team’s side counts as a fault.


Hello, fellow pickleball enthusiasts! My name is Sayham, and I am the proud solo founder of PickleDrive. As an avid pickleball player, expert, and editor of Pickledrive, I am thrilled to welcome you to our ultimate destination for all things pickleball.

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