What are Pickleball Doubles Rules and Scoring System?

Pickleball has emerged as one of the top trendy sports in 2024. Currently, it has over 2.8 million users worldwide and is ever-growing. Famous names like Kardashians, Leonardo DiCaprio, Emma Watson, and George Clooney also play pickleball, implying the rising popularity of this sport. 

But still, not many are familiar with the rules and regulations of its different formats. Pickleball generally has two divisions, i.e., pickleball singles and pickleball doubles. If you have read our previous content, you may be familiar with the working of these formats.

What are Pickleball Doubles Rules and Scoring System

Pickleball doubles are undoubtedly the most popular format of this sport because its rules are more straightforward than singles. Besides, four people can simultaneously play the game in this format. On the other hand, in pickleball singles, only two people are allowed on the court. 

Continue with this article to know more about this sport and pickleball doubles rules. We shall cover everything from the pickleball doubles positioning system to its serving rules. But before directly heading toward pickleball doubles rules, let’s briefly introduce this format for those unfamiliar with it. 

What is Pickleball Doubles, and How do You Play It?

Contrary to pickleball singles, the doubles format requires four players on the court. On each side of the net, one player stands on the right section while the other is on the left. They cannot step together into the same courtside while serving pickleball. 

The pickleball doubles match consists of three games in which the champion team must lead by winning two. Similarly, each match is of 11 points. The first team to score 11 points gets a lead among the ‘best of 3’ matches. However, the game must be won by two points. If both teams fail to do so, the game extends to 15 and then, consequently, 21 points. 

Usually, in pickleball singles, there is only one server in the game. But in doubles, servers are present on both sides. Furthermore, every team must score their points by serving the pickleball. The team with more points, leads, and fewer faults is ultimately the winner of the match. 

What are Pickleball Doubles Rules?

Apart from the above basic information on the scoring system, there are tons of other pickleball doubles rules that heavily impact the game. To score a point, every team and each player must abide by these regulations. Otherwise, it will result in a fault, and the point will go to the opponent’s team. 

Pickleball Doubles Positioning Rules

Unlike singles, pickleball doubles also have some positioning rules which one must follow to avoid a fault. While playing the doubles format, you must abide by the following pickleball doubles positioning regulations. 

  • At the game’s start, only one player in each team is allowed to serve the ball. That player must stand behind the baseline while serving the ball or following the ‘double bounce’ rule. 
  • The receiver should also remain within the baseline inbounds while delivering the serve back. But in the case of a ‘short serve,’ the player can move forward beyond the baseline to hit the serve. 
  • The server’s partner cannot move anywhere in the court. Instead, they must stand in their confined part.
  • However, the receiver’s partner can move anywhere. But they also typically stand on their assigned side of the court. 

Pickleball Doubles Serving Rules

After positioning comes the turn to discuss the regulations for serving pickleball. Among all restrictions, the serving of pickleball requires the strict obligation of pickleball doubles rules. Some of the most crucial serving rules of the game include; 

  • As stated earlier, only one team player can serve the ball at the game’s start. 
  • When the server scores a point, he must switch sides with his partner. 
  • The serving team must bounce their first shot according to the ‘Double Bounce Rule.’ Similarly,
  • When the receiver delivers the ball back to the server, his partner must position himself parallel to the receiver along the NVZ line.
  • After scoring a point, the server switches sides with his partner and moves to the other side of the court. 
  • However, if a point is lost, the server must not switch sides and continue playing in its initial spot.
  • The throw in the pickleball game is always made diagonally. 
  • The serve must be made underhand, below the waistline, and in a diagonal direction. 
  • The ball can only bounce once on each team’s side. In case of multiple bounces, a fault will occur, resulting in losing a point. 
Pickleball Doubles Serving Rules

Pickleball Kitchen Rules

Kitchen! Regarding a pickleball court, ‘kitchen’ does not refer to your typical household where you prep and cook meals. 

If you are familiar with the pickleball court dimensions and structure, you may know what a kitchen or non-volleying zone is. But if you are not, we suggest you check out our website, where you can find an elaborative guide on the role of a kitchen in the pickleball court.

The kitchen is one of the most crucial parts of a pickleball court, which have extreme importance in any pickleball game. The following are a few rules for the non-volleying zone of a pickleball arena which every player must observe. Abiding by these pickleball doubles rules kitchen will ensure that no faults happen, resulting in the conservation of earned points. 

  • Any player must not step into the kitchen while playing on the serving side. 
  • If the server’s foot or even the hand comes under the confined areas of a kitchen, it will be considered a fault. 
  • The sever’s delivered ball must not be short enough that it lands in his kitchen. Otherwise, it will be again a fault. 
  • Jumping across the kitchen without touching the confined parts of the zone is allowed.

Pickleball Scoring Rules

The scoring system in a pickleball game also has a few rules. These rules are distinguished from the pickleball singles format and are specifically for doubles matches. Here are some pre-eminent pickleball doubles rules that are conventionally obeyed while playing to allocate points. 

  • If the pickleball lands in the kitchen area of the server, a fault will occur. 
  • When the scores are even, the server stands on the right side of the court. But when the score count is odd, the server stands on the left. However, despite scoring points, the receiving team must never switch sides. 
  • A fault occurs in case of multiple bounces, stepping into the kitchen, or breaking any above rules. When a fault occurs, the point goes to the receiving side. 
  • If the receiver drops a delivery or fails to respond to the serve, the point goes to the server. 

Pickleball Rules Singles vs Doubles 

Though there are various forms of pickleball, the most famous formats are singles and doubles. Since they are so popular among the masses, people often pit them against each other. The main difference among the pickleball rules singles vs doubles, is that the latter format lacks a second server. 

Moreover, there are only two players in the singles pickleball format. Whereas the conventional doubles game requires a minimum of four players. The serve is always made through the right side of the court when the scores are even. But in the case of odd scores, the player makes the serve from the left side. 

Other than these basic pickleball rules singles vs doubles differences, there are also a few other aspects that make the two formats distinct with each. You can compare our article on singles pickleball with this one for a more comprehensive understanding. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Who serves first in pickleball doubles?

Among the two players, the one standing on the right side of the court can first serve the pickleball. If the server scores a point, he interchanges the position with his teammate. But if he does not, he must continue serving the pickleball at the initial spot till he finally scores a point.

How many players are required for a pickleball doubles game?

For pickleball doubles, each tournament requires a minimum of four players. Two players stand on the serving side. Whereas the other two are appointed on the receiving side.

Is there a specific scoring system for Pickleball Doubles?

Yes, Pickleball Doubles typically uses a rally scoring system, where a point is scored on every serve, regardless of which team served. The first team to reach 11 points (with a margin of two points) wins the game.


Here we conclude our guide on pickleball doubles rules! We have covered all crucial aspects of the doubles format that constitute a primary rule in its scoring system. The format might seem complex at first, but once you acknowledge the pickleball doubles rules, it will be easier for you to master the game.

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