Pickleball 2-Bounce vs Double-Bounce Rule: Are They The Same?

Est. Reading: 4 minutes

If you have been playing pickleball for quite some time, you most likely have heard the terms “2-bounce rule” and “double-bounce rule.” For many years, pickleball players and fans have known these terms as the same rules and sometimes use them interchangeably.

But if you’re only a beginner, you may have heard that the 2-bounce Rule and the double-bounce rule are not the same. The truth is that they used to be the same but are now different. Confused? To enlighten you, this post has everything you should know about these two essential rules in pickleball. So keep on reading until the end. 

What’s the 2-Bounce Rule in Pickleball?

If you come across Section 4.H of the 2016 USAPA & IFP Official Tournament Rulebook, it says, “Double Bounce Rule. The serve and the service return must be allowed to bounce before striking the ball. That is, each side must play a groundstroke on the first shot following the serve. After the initial groundstrokes have been made, play may include volleys.

In other words, this rule was used to refer to the bouncing of the served ball as the “first bounce” and the bouncing of the returned ball as the “second bounce.” Starting on the third shot and throughout the rally, players of both teams (serving and receiving) can now hit the ball without letting it bounce. This kind of shot is called “volley.” Yet, this two-bounce rule has some exemptions in the kitchen. Read our Kitchen Rules Guide.

Why Does Pickleball Have a 2-Bounce Rule?

When pickleball was invented in 1965, one of its purposes was to allow people to play the sport, regardless of age and skill level. To achieve this, the receiving team should allow the served ball to bounce before returning it. Then, the serving team should also allow the ball to bounce before returning, thus the 2-bounce Rule. Given the scenario, players of both sides have equal chances to prepare their positions before the main action.

If there’s no 2-bounce rule in pickleball, the serving team can volley the ball on its first shot. It could be a significant disadvantage for the receiving team. Since the serving team will continuously serve every time they win a rally, they have a better chance of winning. Some people believe that the said rule reduces the excitement of the sport. But in reality, it only proves that pickleball is fair to all players.

What Does the USA Pickleball Rulebook Says About the 2-Bounce Rule?

As earlier mentioned, pickleball players have used the terms “2-bounce rule” and “double-bounce rule” interchangeably for years. However, this created confusion as to which one is the correct term to use. So, in 2018, the USAPA & IFP Official Tournament Rulebook replaced the term “double-bounce rule” with “two-bounce rule.” Eventually, they were both removed from the rulebook to avoid further confusion.

According to Section 7.A of the 2023 USA Pickleball Rulebook, a fault should be called “If the serve or service return does not bounce before the ball is struck.” Although the rule does not mention the terms “two-bounce rule” and “double-bounce rule,” it clearly refers to the same meaning of Section 4.H of the 2016 USAPA & IFP Official Tournament Rulebook. You may also read our 2-Bounce Rule Guide.

What’s the Double-Bounce Rule in Pickleball?

Now that the official USA Pickleball Rulebook clearly explains the two-bounce rule, there’s still one question, “What happened to the double-bounce rule?” Well, you’ll not find the term in the rulebook, but it doesn’t mean this rule no longer exists. You can find it there if you go down further to Section 7.E of the USA Pickleball Rulebook and IFP Official Tournament Rulebook.

“Failure of a standing player to return the ball before it bounces twice on the receiving player’s side of the net and failure of a player using a wheelchair to return a ball before it bounces three times.”

In other words, the double-bounce rule prevents any player from allowing the ball to bounce more than once on the same side of the court before hitting it. This rule applies to both the serving and receiving teams. In fact, it also exists in all paddle and racket sports, such as tennis. However, the double-bounce rule is not applicable to wheelchair pickleball.

Below is the screenshot of the 2024 USA Pickleball Official Rulebook, where we highlighted sections 7.A and 7.E.

2-Bounce Rule vs Double-Bounce Rule: Similarities and Differences

Now that you know the meaning of the 2-bounce rule and the double-bounce rule, let’s summarize their similarities and differences.


  • Both rules apply to the serving and receiving teams.
  • Violation of both of them results in a fault.
  • Both of them are generally easy to follow.


  • The two-bounce Rule applies to the first and second shots only, while the double-bounce Rule applies to every shot.
  • In the two-bounce rule, the number of bounces refers to each side of the court. But in the double-bounce rule, the number of bounces refers to the same side of the court
  • In the two-bounce rule, the first bounce should not land on the non-volley zone and NVZ line. In the double-bounce rule, the first bounce can land anywhere, even in the non-volley zone.

Final Thoughts

If you’re used to using the 2-bounce rule and the double-bounce rule to refer to the same meaning, it’s not your fault. But after reading this post, we hope their difference is now clear to you. If you know some players who are still confused, explain it to them nicely and politely. After all, pickleball is a great way to connect, regardless of age and social status. At the end of the day, we have a common goal - to enjoy the game.

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