Believe it or not, there are two different “double bounce” rules in the game of pickleball. Yep, you heard right. For ease of comprehension, let’s label them “Double Bounce Rule #1” and “Double Bounce Rule #2.”
Double Bounce Rule #1:
The first double bounce rule is one that applies to most racquet sports. During a point, you cannot let the ball bounce twice on your side of the court. If you can’t get to the ball before it hits the ground a second time, you lose the point. This is the case in tennis, paddle, and even ping pong! No double bounces are allowed.
Double Bounce Rule #2:
This double bounce rule is unique to pickleball. When the server starts the point, the receiver must let the serve bounce before hitting it. The server must then let the return bounce before playing the ball. After the serve, each player must let the ball bounce once on their side before they can hit a volley. This rule was made to eliminate the possibility of the “serve and volley” strategy, which is often used in doubles in tennis. If you hit a good, deep serve, your opponent’s return may be a soft, arcing shot. Ideally, the server could come up and take this out of the air with a put-away volley winner, but the double bounce rule in pickleball prevents this.
After a bounce has occurred on the first shot of each side, players are then free to hit either a volley or a groundstroke.
Now, just because your first shot must be a bounce shot doesn’t mean that the point starts after both of those shots are complete. The point starts as soon as the server serves the ball. If the server hits an ace or the returner hits the serve out or into the net, the point goes to the server. If the server misses the serve or the receiver hits a winner, the point goes to the receiver.
While these rules have the same name, they couldn’t be more different. Double Bounce Rule #2 was created to increase the longevity of points and put competitors on equal playing ground.
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