The serving rules in pickleball doubles can be confusing. You may have wondered who gets to serve first on a team now that there are four players instead of only two. But don’t let the increase in numbers intimidate you. There are rules dictating which player on a team serves first at the start of the game and when the serve is returned to them.
Teams decide who serves first with a coin flip. The player in the right-hand block will always serve first, whether at the start of the game or when the serve is returned to them. The same player does not have to serve first each time as players switch sides when their team scores a point.
If you were puzzled by the question of which player serves first on a team in pickleball doubles, don’t worry. There are simple rules that determine who serves and when so you’ll have it down pat in no time. We’ve written a comprehensive guide on the rules regarding who gets to serve first in a game of pickleball doubles.
Like other sports, the starting or serving team is decided randomly by a coin flip or drawing lots. The team who wins the toss gets to decide whether they would like to serve or receive first. However, the team who loses the toss can decide which side of the court to play on.
There are advantages to winning and losing the toss. Only the serving team can score a point in pickleball when they win a rally. Depending on how well the serving team plays, it’s possible to control the flow of play. Being the first to serve will allow them to take an early lead and use their serving strategies first. However, the team who wins the toss has only one fault before turning the serve over to the opponents.
The team who loses the toss may decide which side of the court they would like to play. This can significantly impact the game as there are various factors to consider, such as the wind and sun. Playing with the glare from the sun can make it difficult to see the ball. Strong wind also affects the ball, so the team choosing which side to play on should decide if they wish to play with or against the wind.
In pickleball doubles, when starting the game, each player on a team is labeled ‘Player One’ or ‘Player Two.’ Player one on each team will always start the game in the right-hand block. When a team scores a point, the players on that team will switch sides with each other, and the server will then serve from the other block.
An excellent way to determine which side a player should be on is to look at the score. If that team’s score is even, their Player One should be on the right-hand side of the court. If the team’s score is odd, their Player One should be on the left-hand side. This also helps if players have forgotten the score. They can check whether it’s even or odd based on where each Player One is meant to be.
If a team loses a point when Player One is serving, they do not switch sides, and it becomes Player Two’s turn to serve. They switch sides again if a point is won when Player Two is serving. If The serving team loses a point on Player Two’s serve, they remain in the same positions, and the opponents get to serve.
The receiving team’s players do not switch sides when winning or losing a point. They remain in the same blocks for each point until it is their turn to serve. When the serve changes to a new team, the player on the right will always serve first.
If the serving team has not had a turn to service yet, Player One will be the serving player until a point is lost. The players will then switch sides every time they win a point until both have served and lost a point. When both players have lost a point, and it becomes the opponent’s turn to serve, it is called a ‘Side Out’.
If the serving team has had the chance to serve before, the players may be on different sides of their court from where they started. For example, if their score is an odd number, Player One will be in the left-hand block, and Player Two will be on the right. In this case, Player Two will serve first, and the players will switch sides each time they win a point.
Aside from the pickleball serving rules about which side of the court players need to be, there are a couple of other rules to pay attention to. The rules dictate how a player may serve the ball, where their feet must be when they serve, and where the ball may go.
When a player serves, they must hit the ball so that it will bounce in the opponent’s block diagonal from them. The ball must bounce in the diagonal opponent’s serving block and may not bounce in the non-volley zone or on the non-volley zone line. In other words, players must always serve crosscourt.
However, the ball may bounce on any other line of the diagonal opponent’s serving block. If the ball bounces on any of those lines aside from the non-volley zone line, it is considered ‘in.’
There are three rules that control how a player may hit the ball on a serve. The first is that the ball must be below the player’s waist when it’s hit. The second rule is that the paddle must be below the player’s wrist when hitting the ball. The final rule is that the paddle must hit the ball while moving upwards.
When serving, at least one of a player’s feet must remain in contact with the ground behind the baseline. This includes an extension of the line on the side of the court. Neither foot may step on or in front of the baseline before the ball is hit.
This rule means that the serving player may not jump when they serve as one foot must remain on the ground. Once the ball is hit, the player may move around the court as they wish.
The teams will flip a coin to decide which team serves first in pickleball doubles. The winner may decide whether to serve or receive the ball first. However, the losers may decide on which side of the court to play.
The player in the right-hand block will always serve first. At the start of the game, the player who serves first is labeled as Player One, and the serving team players will switch sides each time they win a point. When it is their turn to serve again, whoever is in the right-hand block will serve first.