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)
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.
[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.
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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.