*If you click a link on this page and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more

How to Play Pickleball Doubles For Beginners

You can either play pickleball in either singles or doubles.

But in this article, we are going to concentrate on the doubles.

And like any sport, this game is mannered with various rules of play, which players should adhere to.

Read on to find out more about the rules, scoring, serving, and faults.

We also give you some amazing tips to help you beat the beginner fever.

Are you game? Let’s get started!

Pickleball Doubles Rules

At the begging of the game, teams toss a coin to choose the side that will serve first.

Afterward, ONLY one player from the selected first serving team will be allowed to perform a service turn.

And it’s only after this that they can pass on the ball to their opponents.

So basically, each team gets the opportunity to forward a member who will service turn, before turning over to the other team.

  • Whenever the serving team scores a point, the serving member, has to move to the other side of the court.

But the team that receives should NEVER switch sides.

When the serving team scores with their server on the right side of the court, their score has to be even.

But when the server is on the left side of the court, their score should be odd.

  • The Kitchen/ No Volley Zone; players aren’t allowed to step on this area after hitting the volley.

They also shouldn’t step over the kitchen.

Defying this rule leads to a penalty and the team loses the point.

  • The Double Bounce Rule; teams are required to play their first shots off the bounce.

Therefore, the team receiving MUST always let the serve bounce before returning.

And the serving team has to wait on the return to bounce before hitting the ball.

Afterward, teams can now choose to either play off the bounce or out of the air, whichever they are comfortable with.

  • Teams can ONLY score points when they are serving and nor then rally scoring.
  • The ONLY permitted way to serve is through underhand. And even then, contact should be maintained at below the waist.
  • The matches must be the best of 2 out of 3 games and the points should be 11 and above. ( according to agreement)
  • Players can ONLY have one (1) serving attempt.

But if the ball unintentionally hits the net and ends up in the right service court, then the player is allowed to serve again.

  • When the server serves the ball, it’s only allowed to bounce ONCE (1) on the side of their opponents.

If by any chance the ball bounces twice or more times, then the receiving team loses the point.

  • Players are might be allowed to jump across the kitchen/no volley line ONLY if they didn’t touch any part of it when serving/hitting the ball. (Teams should agree on this before the beginning of the game.

Pickleball Doubles Scoring

Scoring in the double pickleball games utilizes a three-number score.

And usually, there’s a specific order in which the three number scores are called out. They include;

  • 1- as the serving team’s score
  • 2- as the receiving team’s score
  • 3- as the number of the server.

So, you will hear 1c referring to the 1st server and 2 referring to the 2nd server.

At the start of the game, the score of the pickle doubles usually begins with 0-0-start

Feeling lost? Below is a YouTube video to help you understand this scoring concept;

Pickleball Doubles Serving

First, it’s important to remind you that when serving in pickleball doubles, the servers must serve underhand. And the contact should always be made below the waist.

Now that you understand that, let’s take you through some extra serving basics;

  • Players should hit the ball in such a way that their serves make diagonal movements towards the other side.

And the landing should be between the baseline and the kitchen/no-volley zone.

  • As already mentioned in the rules above, each player gets only one opportunity to serve.

But in case the ball hits the net and gets to land beyond the no-volley zone and straight into the service box on the opposite side, they may serve again.

However, if the ball hits the net but ends up landing in your opponent’s no-volley zone, then you lose your serving turn.

  • At the begging of the match, the first team to serve selects a player who is allowed to turn and thereafter, pass the ball to the opponent.

This ensures that both teams, get an equal chance to turn before the ball is turned over.

  • When the serving teams gets to score a point, then players on the same team can switch sides, allowing the server to move to the opposite side of the court.

Note; No switching sides for the receiving team.

Pickleball Doubles Faults

In pickleball doubles, faults occur when a player breaks any of the rules or make some unforgivable mistakes that give points to the opposing team.

There are various reasons as to why faults occur and they include;

  • When a player hits the ball twice.
  • When two teammates hit a ball at the same time
  • When players continue ball playing in an out of bounds section
  • When the ball hits the net
  • When a player intentionally or unintentionally steps on the non-volley zone/the kitchen, as they try to hit the ball.
  • When the ball hits a player’s side twice.
  • When a player hits the ball before it even bounces on either side.

Pickleball Doubles Tips for Beginners

So far we have taken you through the basics of pickleball playing. And now that you know the dos and don’ts, let’s give you some top tips to help you achieve excellence in your first game.

  1. Keep Communication Open

Since you are playing doubles, it means you will be playing with a partner.

And as much as you two are a team, you possess different personalities thus think differently.

As such, maintaining good communication with your playing partner is a must skill, if you want to win.

Remember no matter how good you both are, individually, it won’t count if you can’t communicate.

How do you go about it?

Call out your shots. This way you will know who will hit the ball as it lands midcourt.

The last thing you want is for you to lose points simply because you aren’t sure who among you should hit the ball.

Alert your partner of an in or out ball. This is especially important when you notice a ball heading towards their direction and can easily tell if it’s in or out.

  1. Always hit the ball from the side of your paddle and not upwards

To avoid hitting the ball too hard and causing it to bounce off too high, avoid positioning the paddle head towards the ground.

Instead, hit with the paddle head facing towards the sides, such that it’s perpendicular to your wrist.

The video below gives you a glimpse of how to correctly do this;

  1. Always Warm-Up

Warming up is a very important part of any game.

So if you have been skipping this for your training sessions, then you have been missing out big time.

This is because taking time to warm up is a way of reading your body for the upcoming playing session.

You can start by a simple exercise before advancing to a complex one once you master everything.

First, let your body stretch at least for a few minutes as this will help you stretch with ease while in the court.

Also, add a couple of breathing exercises to allow yourself to relax and lungs ready for the upcoming intense session.

The best way to warm up is in your most comfortable space and you don’t even need a lot of time. 10-15 minutes are more than enough and you can spare that much, right?

  1. Master the Concept of Dinking

If you want to be a pro in pickleball doubles, then you have to know how to dink.

You can add this to your drill practice and always focus on dinking well and early.

However, this requires a lot of patience, but if you want to win, nothing should stop you.

It’s even better when you get to practice with your partner.

  1. Focus on Simple Shots

As much as you want to showcase your prowess to the world, sometimes simple is much.

Even the pros will tell you, the simplest shots are the ones that have always worked wonders for them.

So don’t overthink or try too much to impress with complex shots. You can use those when in your comfort zone.

A combination of simple shots with an equal measure of the surprise factor will take you far.

And if you must, use complex shots only when necessary and mainly to push the opponent into a defeat when they least expect.

FAQs about Pickleball Doubles

What does Doubles mean in pickleball?

Pickleball can be played either as singles or doubles. The doubles mean each team will have two players playing at the same time.

The rules for the doubles and singles are the same. And the same case applies to the size of the playing area.

Do you get 2 serves in pickleball?

Legally speaking, no. Each team is entitled to only 1 serve.

But, yes, a team MAY get two serves only when the ball hits the net and lands beyond the no-volley zone and straight into the service box, on the opposite side.


Playing pickleball is fun. But if you want to play professionally, then you have to master the rule of play.

Get to understand the rules, serves and scoring options.

And we hope you found the above information helpful to push you in the right direction.

Feel free to ask questions and also share what worked for you in the comment section.

We are looking forward to hearing from you!

Arthur Delucia
Experienced sports writer and a semi-professional ultimate frisbee player. When I am not training, you will find me writing new articles for SportyGen.

Leave a Comment