Hitting the Pickleball Twice on the Same Shot – The Double Hit – What’s the Rule?

This post has been updated in 2024 according to the USA Pickleball Official Rulebook (2024).

Here’s the Scenario. You Make the Call.

You hit a groundstroke or, perhaps a serve but hit the ball twice (a double hit) during the execution of the shot. What’s the call? This “double-hit” scenario rears its ugly head every-so-often on the pickleball courts. Intuitively, it seems like it’s an illegal shot that should result in a fault for the person striking the ball.

However, before calling a fault on yourself for a “double-hit” understand this: If the “double-hit” was a result of one continuous motion – without a second intentional swing or push – then it is, indeed, a legal shot even if it hit your paddle twice in the one swing.

So in interpreting this rule, “one continuous motion,” is the operative concept. Here is what the applicable rule about the double hit in the 2024 USA Pickleball Official Rulebook has to say about double-hits.

Double Hit according to the USA Pickleball Official Rulebook (2024)

Rule #11.A:

Double Hits. Balls can be hit twice, but this must occur during a continuous, single-direction stroke by one player. If the stroke made while performing the serve or during a rally is not continuous, or not in a single direction, or the ball is struck by a second player, it is a fault.

What’s the Difference Between a Double-Hit and a Carry in Pickleball?

Although a ball can, indeed, be legally double-hit based on Rule #11.A a ball that is carried is illegal whether intentional or not. Carrying the ball refers to hitting it in such a way that it does not bounce away from the paddle but is carried along on the face of the paddle.

Rule #7.L:

[A fault (and resulting dead ball) will be declared for the following]: A player carrying or catching the ball on the paddle while performing the serve or during a rally.

Need More Pickleball Rules Clarifications & Interpretations?

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Coach Todd
About Todd

Todd is the talent behind PickleballMAX. He knows pickleball and demonstrates it on the court as a 4.5 – 5.0 player. In addition to creating content and running the PickleballMAX business, Todd is IPTPA Level II certified. As an instructor at the Ohio Pickleball Academy, he instructs students and runs adult and youth clinics. He also manages tournament desks throughout the tri state for tournaments ranging from 100-500 participants.

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  1. Whose call is it – player A returns a ball. The opponent, player B, thinks the ball that player A hit actually hit twice before player A returned it. Player A says that the ball did not hit twice before he hit it. Who gets to make that call?

    1. Hi Debra, Great question. In non-officiated play, the only calls one can make on the opposite side of the net (and are enforceable without needing agreement from the offending party) are service foot faults and NVZ infractions. Because this is not a service foot fault or NVZ infraction question, Player A has to actually “admit” that it bounced twice. If there is no agreement, player A “wins” the argument and, therefore, it would NOT be ruled as a fault on player A. Hope that helps.

  2. Who is responsible for determining whether the serve is in or out in doubles? Can the team that’s serving make the call for their opponents…….obviously this can be a very contentious rule for players. The receiving team should make their own calls in my opinion.

    1. Hi Neil,
      Rules #6.D.1 and #6.D.2 address your question and the responsibility of calling lines on your side of the court.

      Rule #6.D.1. Players will call the lines on their side of the court (excluding service foot faults and all non-volley-zone lines, if being called by a referee).

      Rule #6.D.2. Players’ only line call is the centerline on the serve in matches that have line judges.

      Hope this helps!

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