How Many Times can the Ball Bounce in Pickleball

How Many Times can the Ball Bounce in Pickleball
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People who are just starting to play Pickleball have many questions in their mind. But the question that is often heard is, how many times can the ball bounce in Pickleball?

The rules around how many times the ball can bounce – known as the “two-bounce” rule. This means the ball can bounce two times before it returns.

But there’s more to learn than just bouncing the ball twice. Understanding the nuances of the two-bounce rule, how to implement strategic bounces, and the exceptions to the rule will make you a pickleball pro in no time.

So, why are you waiting? Just dig into this article and know everything about it.

What is the 2-Bounce Rule in Pickleball

In pickleball, the ball can only bounce twice before it must be returned. This “two-bounce rule” applies to both sides – whether you’re serving or returning the ball.

The first bounce can happen on either side of the net. If the ball bounces in the no-volley zone (the area within 7 feet of the net), it must bounce again before you or your partner can volley it (hit it before it bounces).

The key is making sure the ball bounces twice in total before it’s returned over the net.

Now, there are a few exceptions to the two-bounce rule:

  • If the ball bounces twice on the same side before going over the net, it’s still in play. The two bounces just need to happen before the ball crosses to the other side.
  • If the ball bounces, rolls over the net without bouncing, and then bounces on the other side, it’s still in play. The roll over the net counts as the second bounce.
  • If the ball bounces once, then rolls along the top of the net before dropping onto one side, it’s considered out. The roll along the net does not count as a bounce.
  • If the ball bounces twice on one side, rolls along the net to the other side, and bounces again, it’s considered out. After two bounces on one side, the ball needs to promptly go over the net.
  • Serves can only bounce once per side. So, serves must clear the net on the fly or after one bounce.

By following the two-bounce rule, you’ll be well on your way to mastering pickleball and having an ace of a time.

The key is just making sure the ball bounces only twice before sending it back over the net.

Why the 2-Bounce Limit?

The two-bounce limit forces players to think quickly and react fast. You have to get to the ball before the second bounce or the other team gets the point. This requires anticipation, agility, and hustle.

Some key things to keep in mind which doing this which are:

  • Pay close attention to the other team and try to predict where they might hit the ball. The sooner you start moving, the better your chances of reaching it in time.
  • Move efficiently but aggressively to the ball. Shuffle your feet and keep your paddle up and ready. Lunging or diving for a ball may seem heroic but often reduces your ability to make an effective return.
  • Consider your teammate’s position and your best options for returning the ball. Go for a drop shot, lob, or slam to make it difficult for your opponents to reach in time. Teamwork and communication are key.

The two-bounce rule adds pressure and suspense since anything can happen before that second bounce.

It keeps players on their toes and the action intense. While new players may find this rule frustrating at first, with practice your skills and instincts will improve. You’ll be chasing down balls and strategizing like a pro in no time!

The two-bounce limit is one of the defining features that makes pickleball such a dynamic and engaging sport. It’s challenging yet still accessible for people of all athletic abilities.

Once you get the hang of it, you’ll see why pickleball is so addictively fun. The thrill of the chase and the satisfaction of pulling off the perfect shot will have you coming back for more.

Exceptions to the 2-Bounce Rule

While the two-bounce rule is standard in pickleball, there are a few exceptions to be aware of.


If the ball bounces twice before your opponent has a chance to hit it, it will be called a fault.

This includes if the ball bounces twice before crossing the net, bounces twice on your side of the court, or bounces twice on your opponent’s side of the court.

In doubles, if the ball bounces twice before either player on the opposing team hits it, it will be called a fault.

Net shots

If your shot hits the top of the net and then bounces twice before your opponent hits it, it will be called a fault.

The ball must go over the net for the rally to continue. If it bounces on top of the net or gets caught in the net, it is a fault.

Non-volley zone

If the ball bounces twice in the non-volley zone, the area in front of the net and between the sidelines, it will be called a fault.

You or your partner must hit the ball before it bounces twice in this zone. If an opponent hits the ball and it bounces twice in the non-volley zone on your side, it will also be called a fault.

Out of bounds

If the ball bounces twice outside of the court lines before being hit, it will be called out and the point will go to your opponent. This includes if the ball bounces twice on your side of the court, your opponent’s side of the court or outside of the sidelines. The ball must stay within the court lines for the rally to continue legally.

By being aware of these exceptions, you’ll avoid making unnecessary faults and keep the ball in play.

And remember, if the ball bounces three times before being hit, it will automatically be called a fault.

So, keep an eye on how many times that ball keeps bouncing. With practice, these rules will become second nature and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a pickleball pro.

Bounce Counting: What Constitutes a Bounce?

In pickleball, the number of times the ball can bounce before it must be returned is an important rule to understand.

This “bounce rule” applies to both teams, so you’ll need to keep track of the bounce count for both your team and your opponents.

What Constitutes a Bounce?

A bounce is counted whenever the ball makes contact with the surface inside the court during normal play.

This includes:

  • When the ball bounces off the net
  • When the ball hits the ground after being hit by your paddle
  • When the ball bounces off the wall or fence surrounding the court

However, not all ball contact counts as a bounce. These instances do NOT count:

  1. If the ball hits the net post, net cord, or referee standing in the court.
  2. If the ball bounces outside the court lines. Once it bounces out, the point is over.
  3. If the ball bounces off a player’s body or clothing. This is considered a fault, not a bounce.

How Many Bounces are Allowed?

In recreational pickleball, each team is allowed only one bounce per hit. It means:

  • On the first hit over the net, either team can let the ball bounce once.
  • On the second hit, the ball cannot bounce and must be hit before it bounces twice.
  • On the third hit, the ball can bounce once again.
  • This pattern continues, with the ball being allowed to bounce only on odd-numbered hits.

If the ball bounces twice between hits, it is called a “double bounce” and results in a fault. The point will be awarded to the opposing team.

Because of this rule, you need to not only keep track of how many times the ball has bounced total, but also whether the next hit will be an “even” or “odd” numbered hit.

Mastering the bounce rule is key to improving your game. Pay close attention to how many times the ball bounces for both teams, and be ready to hit the ball in the air on even-numbered hits.

If you can get in a rhythm of “bounce, air, bounce, air” you’ll be rallying like a pro in no time!

Strategies for Maximizing Your 2 Bounces

In pickleball, you only get two bounces per serve or return to get the ball over the net.

Learning how to maximize these two hits is key to gaining an advantage over your opponents. Here are some tips to strategize your bounces:

Aim High and Deep.

Place your bounces in the deep court, far from the net. This makes it harder for your opponents to return the shot and pulls them out of position. Lob shots, drop shots and angles can be effective here.

Vary your Shots

Don’t use the same type of shot every time. Mix up lobs, drops, angles and drives to keep your opponents guessing. Even slightly changing the speed, height or direction of your shot can make a difference.

Create Openings

Use your bounces to move your opponents out of position or open up space on the court. For example, bounce the ball behind them to open up the front court, then place your next shot where they can’t reach it easily.

Consider your Opponents’ Strengths

Pay attention to your opponents’ dominant hands, typical return shots, and footwork to determine the best place to aim your bounces. Bounce the ball to their weaker side or where they have trouble returning.

Disguise your Shots

Make your bounces look the same as much as possible. This makes it hard for your opponents to anticipate where you’ll place the ball. Keep your arm and paddle motion consistent and aim at the last second.

Be Ready for the Return

After hitting your bounces, prepare for your opponents’ return shot. Move into an athletic stance with your paddle up, and watch the ball closely. Be ready to move in any direction to return their shot.

With practice, you’ll get better at strategizing how to use your two bounces to gain the advantage in a pickleball rally.

Try different shots and placements, see how your opponents respond, and look for weaknesses you can exploit on the next point.

Maximizing your bounces, along with consistency and patience, will make you a formidable pickleball player.

What Happens After the 2nd Bounce?

Once the ball has bounced twice on each side, the point continues until one team fails to return it or it bounces twice before being hit. At this point, the other team is awarded the point.

After the ball has bounced twice on each side of the net, the point is still live – the rally continues! Either team can hit the ball on a bounce or in the air.

The key is simply to keep the ball in play by hitting it over the net before it bounces twice on your side.

  • On the 3rd, 4th or 5th bounce, you can still return the ball to the other side. Just make sure you hit it before that 2nd bounce on your side! The point ends as soon as any team fails to return the ball before two bounces.
  • You can hit the ball in the air or after one bounce. Mixing up how you return the ball – hitting some in the air and others after a bounce – will keep your opponents on their toes.
  • Use dinks, drops and lobs to your advantage. Place the ball where the other team can’t quite reach it in time. A well-placed dink or drop shot after the 2nd bounce is a great way to win the point.
  • Be ready to run! The point may continue for many hits after the 2nd bounce, so prepare to move quickly in all directions to return whatever comes over the net.
  • Pay close attention to your positioning and coverage. With the point live after the 2nd bounce, you have to defend the entire court. Make sure you and your partner have all areas covered in case of a lob, dink or smash.

The key to dominating play after the 2nd bounce is to be light on your feet, keep the ball in play, and force the other team into making a mistake.

Consistently returning the ball where they can’t quite get it will win you the point and the game.

With quickness, coverage and control, you’ll gain the advantage on those longer rallies.

What if the Ball Bounces More Than Twice?

In pickleball, the ball is only allowed to bounce once per side. If it bounces more than twice before being hit to the other side, it will be called a “let” and the point will be replayed.

Multiple bounces can happen by accident, especially when you’re first learning the game. Don’t worry, it takes practice!

When the ball bounces twice on your side, immediately call “let” and raise your non-paddle hand to signal to your opponents that the point should be replayed.

After that, get ready to continue the volley. Calling “let” right away is important so your opponents know not to hit the ball back, thinking the point was still live.

Some tips to avoid the ball bouncing more than twice:

  • Move quickly to get to the ball after it bounces once. The less time between bounces, the more likely it will bounce again before you can return it.
  • Anticipate where the ball may land based on your opponent’s hit. This way you can get into position faster to return it after one bounce.
  • Practice controlling and placing your returns. Aim for the middle of the court or target areas that will make the ball harder for your opponents to return, reducing the chance of multiple bounces.
  • Work on your reflexes and hand-eye coordination. The faster you can react to the ball and get your paddle in position, the less opportunity it will have to bounce multiple times.
  • Stay light on your feet. Quick lateral movements and small steps will allow you to get to the ball faster. Shuffle rather than crossing your feet.

With regular practice, controlling the ball and avoiding multiple bounces will become second nature.

But when those extra bounces still happen, just call “let” and get ready to continue play. The point will start over, giving you another chance to show off your skills!

How to Improve Your Bounce Control and Placement

You already got an idea on, how many times can the ball bounce in pickleball. Now if you like to improve your bounce control, you can follow some simple tips. Check out these tips:

Develop Consistent and Accurate Aim

To get better at controlling how many times the ball bounces, you need to work on consistently and accurately aiming your shots.

Aim small, miss small. Pick a specific spot on the other side of the net where you want to place the ball, and practice hitting it there.

Start with larger targets, like the back corner of the service box, and make your target area smaller as your accuracy improves.

Vary the height, speed and spin

Don’t just hit the ball flat and hard every time. Work on placing a variety of shots by changing the height over the net, the speed and the amount of topspin or backspin.

Higher, slower shots with topspin will bounce higher and farther away from the net. Flatter, faster shots will skid and stay low after the bounce. Backspin causes the ball to bounce back towards you after hitting the other side.

Mixing up your shots will make you a more versatile player and harder to defend against.

Return shots strategically

Pay attention to where your opponent’s shot bounces and think strategically about where you want to place your return shot.

Aim for open spaces on the court to increase the chance of your shot bouncing twice before it’s returned. If their shot bounces high and close to the net, you can lob a high, soft shot over them that bounces deep in the court.

A fast, low shot that skids can be hard to return, especially if placed in the corners. Place your shots deliberately based on where you want the rally to go next.

Practice different grips

The way you grip your paddle affects the spin, speed, and placement of your shots. Work on using different grips for different types of shots to improve your bounce control:

  • Continental grip: Good for flat drives and blocks. Little spin.
  • Eastern forehand grip: For topspin forehands. Puts spin on the ball to increase bounce height.
  • Backhand grip: For backhand shots. Puts sidespin on the ball for angle and control.

Practice the fundamentals, focus your aim, vary your shots and plan your returns strategically.

Mastering bounce control and placement will make you a more complete player. Keep at it and your skills will continue to improve with every game!

Final Thought

As you head out to the courts to play, keep in mind the two-bounce rule and how it changes based on where you are on the court. Pay attention to the non-volley zones especially.

Know that if the ball bounces twice before you hit it, you’ve lost the point. But if you can get to that ball quickly and keep the rally going, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the exciting game of pickleball.

Now get out there, start bouncing that ball, and have fun. The more you play, the more the rules will become second nature.

Hopefully, this small effort will be helpful for all of you to know, how many times can the ball bounce in pickleball. Thank you all.


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