How To Play Doubles Pickleball

Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the United States right now, there are more than 2.8 million players across the world, and if you have been thinking about playing, there is no time better to get into it than the present! 

It is low-impact and suitable for people of all ages. 

How To Play Doubles Pickleball

In the most recent US Open, champions of pickleball in age brackets from 19 years old, to 75 years plus were crowned. While singles pickleball is great, most people enjoy doubles pickleball the most. 

So, how do you play pickleball as doubles? 

It is not so difficult really, but let’s give you all the information, so you are ready to play! 

PickleBall Rules For Playing Doubles

Let’s start our 101 on pickleball doubles (see also: What Is The Double Bounce Rule In Pickleball?)with the rules! 

  1. Serves must always be performed underhanded, with contact to the ball being made below the wrist.
  2. Serves must always be made into the opposite service area diagonally. If not, this is seen as a fault.
  3. Players are only allowed one attempt to serve.
  4. To start the game, a player from the starting team will gain a service turn. For the remainder of the match, both will have service turns before giving up the ball. 
  5. Servers continue alternating court sides until a point is lost.
  6. The receiving team can not change sides.
  7. Both teams have to play their first shot of a rally off bounce. This is a ‘double bounce’ rule. After both have done this successfully volleys are not fair game. 
  8. No player can enter the kitchen unless the ball has bounced once on their courtside. 
  9. Only a single bounce is allowed on one side of the court. Two bounces mean that the offending team gains a point.
  10. Only the serving team can score. 

5 Strategies For A Win 

Once you are familiar with the rules of playing doubles, having some solid strategies to become an expert pickleball doubles team can help you to further your game and have a higher chance of winning. 

Whether you play for competitions or if you just play for fun, these 5 strategies we have picked out will help your partner, and you progress and get to higher levels of the game! 

1. Getting To The Non-Volley Line After A Return Serve

When the serving team serves to you, you do not hit it back. Then, once you return the serve, you need to get to the non-volley line as fast as you can before the next shot is made. 

You do not want to be on the line, but just behind it. 

By placing yourself right behind the line of the kitchen, you will now be able to play on the offensive, and you can limit the options that your opposition has. 

This will make it much easier for you to hit down, which is most often a winning shot, this is especially true when the other team is stuck at courtside or at the back of the court.

This is an awesome strategy that is often used by the top players of the game, so taking a leaf from the book of pro pickleball doubles players will enhance your pickleball strategy too! 

How To Play Doubles Pickleball

2. Serve Deep

Another strategy you can use is to serve deeply, which may sound really simple, but it is also very useful. This strategy is closely related to the concept of keeping your opponents back and getting to the non-volley line before a return. 

This is simply because it keeps the opposition as far back as possible, while you try to stay close. This gives you the advantage when it is your turn to serve, as you will be able to control how the receiving team reacts when you serve. 

When you make a deep serve, they will not have the opportunity to sprint forward after or before they hit. This makes your opponent forced to stay in place or move backward which keeps them tight to the baseline.

3. Keep Your Opponents Back

Of course, you want to set up ideal court positioning, but you should also want to try and prevent the opposition from doing the same.

You will have a high advantage by being in the kitchen line, if they manage to get to this point as well, they will also have the advantage, so you need to keep them back, pinned as far as they can go as long as possible. 

Doing this gives you the opportunity to hit better shots while your opponents get all the tough ones.

4. Move In Tandem

This strategy is focused on your team specifically, all you should do is move in unison. You need to move together in pickleball, always in line with your partner, parallel with the net. 

Ensure neither of you is too far away from the other, pretend you’re tied together. It will help you play together better and aid in communication too!

5. Aim For The Player’s Feet

Winning pickleball sometimes means ruining the opportunities your opponents have. Make them uncomfortable and make their shots hard to hit. If you make them hit from the baseline they will be stuck there and their shots will be awkward. 

They will have to move their whole bodies which give them less reaction time and reduces  the chance of a good return hit.


Playing doubles pickleball is something of a dance, you need to concentrate, maintain rhythm, and communicate with your partner. 

Make sure you know their weaknesses and their strengths and try to hog the area by the kitchen line, push your opponents back and keep them further away, with all the awkward shots. 

Practice with your partner, and soon you will be hogging the advantage in doubles pickleball games. While there are many rules to this game it is certainly easier than tennis, and so much more fun!

Michael Walter
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