How to Play Pickleball Doubles?

Pickleball is a thrilling and entertaining game that incorporates aspects of ping-pong, badminton, and tennis. This article will concentrate on playing doubles, while it may also be played as singles. We will walk you through the foundations of pickleball doubles in this post, including serving, court location, collaboration, and important techniques. This book will assist you in navigating the rules and tactics for a satisfying and enjoyable pickleball doubles experience, regardless of your level of skill or desire to improve your doubles game.

How to Play Pickleball Doubles?

Scoring Calls

In the game of pickleball doubles, the scoring system has a unique pattern that differs from pickleball singles matches. Unlike singles, doubles matches use a three-number score format. The score is called out in a specific order: first, the serving team’s score; second, the receiving team’s score; and third, the server number (1 for the first server and 2 for the second server).

At the start of every game in pickleball doubles, the score begins as 0-0-2. This means that neither team has scored any points, and the serving team is the first server (server number 1).

It's important to note that only the serving team can score points in pickleball doubles. 

They have the opportunity to earn points while serving, and they can continue scoring until they commit a fault or lose the rally. However, if the serving team loses a rally, the opposing team gains the serve and the chance to score points. This rotation of serving and scoring opportunities continues throughout the game, with teams alternating their serving turns.

By understanding the scoring system in pickleball doubles and following the specific order of calling out the score, players can keep track of the game progression and effectively strategize their gameplay.


Points in pickleball are earned when the serving team successfully wins a rally. A team will score a point if the opposing team fails to return the ball, commits a fault, or hits the ball out of bounds. The first team to reach 11 points with a margin of two points wins the game. However, in some variations or specific tournament rules, the game may be played to 15 or 21 points.


Serving is an important part of pickleball doubles as it sets up the point and can give the serving team an advantage. When serving, the server must stand behind the baseline and hit the ball diagonally into the opposite service court. The serve must clear the net and land within the boundaries of the opposite service court.

In doubles, the server’s partner must stand on the opposite side of the court from the server and cannot cross into the server’s side of the court until after the serve has been hit. This means that if the server is on the right side of the court, their partner must stand on the left side of the court.



In pickleball doubles, positioning is key to success. Players should position themselves in a way that allows them to cover the court effectively and make it difficult for their opponents to hit winners.

One typical tactic is for both players on a team to stand close to the court’s centre line, one player slightly in front of the other. This enables the players to go forward to attack short balls while still covering the whole width of the court.

Another tactic involves having one player stand close to the net while the other stands close to the baseline. As their partner covers the back of the court, the player at the net is able to exert pressure on their opponents with aggressive volleys.

Strategies to Be Followed for Doubles Play

In pickleball doubles, strategy is important to success. Teams should work together to put pressure on their opponents and force them into making errors.

  • Be Patient: Patience is key in pickleball doubles. Instead of going for aggressive shots, focus on consistent and controlled play. Wait for the right opportunity to make your move and avoid unforced errors.
  • Master the Drop Shot: The drop shot is a valuable tool in doubles. It can disrupt your opponents’ rhythm and force them to move closer to the net. Practice executing precise and well-placed drop shots to keep your opponents on their toes.
  • Get to the Kitchen: The non-volley zone, also known as the kitchen, is a crucial area in doubles play. Try to get to the kitchen as fast as possible after each shot. Staying close to the net allows you to take advantage of volleys and put pressure on your opponents.
  • Utilize Deep Serves: When serving, aim for deep serves. Deep serves are harder to counter and can put your opponents on the defensive. This gives you an opportunity to gain control of the point right from the start.
  • Stand Behind the Baseline when Receiving: When receiving a serve, position yourself behind the baseline. This gives you more time to react to the serve and allows for a better return, putting your opponents on the defensive.
  • Target Opponents’ Feet/Body: Aim your shots at your opponents’ feet or body. This makes it difficult for them to execute strong returns and puts them in a defensive position.
  • Avoid ‘No-Man’s Land’: The area between the non-volley zone and the baseline, known as ‘no-man’s land,’ is a vulnerable position. Try to avoid staying in this area as it limits your options and makes it easier for your opponents to hit winners.
  • Return Serves Deep: When returning a serve, focus on returning the ball deep into the opponent’s court. This puts pressure on them and reduces their options for attacking shots.
  • Take Advantage of Stacking: Stacking is a strategic positioning technique where the players on one team align themselves in a specific way to maximize court coverage. Learn how to effectively stack with your partner to create better angles and control the point.
  • Communicate on Middle Shots: When a ball is hit down the middle of the court, communication with your partner is crucial. Clearly communicate who will take the shot to avoid confusion and prevent both players from going for the same ball.
  • Move in Sync with Your Partner: Coordination with your partner is essential in doubles play. Move together, anticipate each other’s shots, and cover the court as a team. Avoid bumping into each other and maintain good court positioning.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How many players are on a pickleball doubles team?

A: A pickleball doubles team consists of two players on each side, for a total of four players on the court.

Q: What is the difference between pickleball singles and doubles?

A: The main difference is the number of players on the court. Pickleball singles is played with two players (one on each side), while pickleball doubles is played with four players (two on each side). Doubles play involves more teamwork, communication, and strategic positioning.

Q: How is the serving order determined in pickleball doubles?

A: The serving order is determined at the beginning of the game through a coin toss or a rally to decide who serves first. The team that wins the toss or the rally gets to choose whether they want to serve or receive first. Once the serving order is established, it alternates between the two teams throughout the game.

Q: What are the rules for serving in pickleball doubles?

A: When serving in pickleball doubles, the server must stand behind the baseline and serve diagonally across the net into the opponent’s service court. The serve must clear the non-volley zone (kitchen) and land in the correct service court. The server gets two attempts to make a legal serve, and if both attempts fail, it results in a side out.

Q: Can I volley the ball in pickleball doubles?

A: Yes, volleying (hitting the ball before it bounces) is allowed in pickleball doubles. However, players cannot volley while inside the non-volley zone (kitchen) unless the ball has bounced outside the kitchen area.


Playing pickleball doubles offers a unique and enjoyable experience on the court. How to play pickleball doubles? By understanding the rules, mastering serving techniques, coordinating with your partner, and implementing effective strategies, you can elevate your doubles game and enjoy the excitement of teamwork and competition. Whether you’re aiming for precise drop shots, utilizing the kitchen, or communicating with your partner, the key is to practice, communicate, and have fun. So grab your partner, step onto the court, and embrace the exhilarating world of pickleball doubles.

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