If you’re familiar with racket sports you’re probably already aware that hitting the ball twice on 1 swing is a major “no”.
But pickleball has its own quirky rule, and if you do it just right it’s sometimes legal to hit the ball twice on a single swing of your pickleball paddle.
In this article we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about double and illegal hits in pickleball, including:
- What does it mean to double hit?
- The specific scenario where double hits are legal, what double hits lead to a fault, and examples.
- What it means to carry the ball and whether carries are illegal.
What Is A Double Hit In Pickleball?
In pickleball, a double hit occurs when the paddle makes contact with the pickleball twice on a single swing. Double hits can occur unintentionally due to the angle of the paddle and ball in certain situations, or double hits can occur if a player intentionally hits the pickleball twice in a single swing.
Is A Double Hit Legal In Pickleball?
A double hit is sometimes legal in pickleball. The pickleball rule book states that a double hit is allowed as long as the pickleball is struck in one continuous stroke and the pickleball continues in a single direction. However, if the double hit involves changes in direction of the ball, the double hit will be ruled a fault.
If the pickleball is hit twice but the stroke is not continuous (or if the pickleball is hit in two different directions), then the play will be considered a fault and the point will be awarded to your opponent.
To be considered legal, a double hit must occur through one continuous movement in a single direction. Legal double hits are usually not deliberate and occur when the angle of the paddle and ball cause the ball to slide across the paddle or to make contact with the paddle twice on the swing.
Here are 3 examples of double hits in pickleball:
Example #1 - You attempt to hit a ball, but your paddle makes contact with the pickleball twice during the swing. After the 2nd hit the ball continues in the same direction it was originally traveling after the first hit. This is allowed.
Example #2 - You make contact with the ball, and then your paddle changes direction through the swing before it touches the ball again and the ball’s flight changes direction. This is considered a fault and is not allowed.
Example #3 - The pickleball is hit by you and then struck again by a teammate’s paddle: this is not allowed.
In summary, double hits are legal, but only under certain circumstances where they are unintentional and do not alter the flight path of the ball!
When Can You Double Hit In Pickleball?
You can double hit on any shot as long as the ball is hit twice during one continuous motion and the ball continues traveling in the same direction after both hits. If the ball changes direction on the 2nd hit, this is considered illegal and will be ruled a fault. In addition, if you’re playing a doubles match, your teammate cannot make contact with the ball after you’ve hit it!
Can you Carry the Ball in Pickleball?
Carrying the ball in pickleball is not allowed. A carry occurs when the ball does not bounce off of the paddle at contact, but instead slides or rests on the surface of the paddle before being propelled off of the paddle. Even if a carry is unintentional, it will be considered fault that results in a point or sideout.
To avoid carrying the ball, it’s important to ensure the ball always bounces off the paddle immediately after it contacts the paddles surface.
What is an illegal hit in pickleball?
There are many different types of illegal hits in pickleball that can occur on serves, returns of serve, groundstrokes, and volleys. The most common illegal hit occurs when players serve incorrectly, ignore the two bounce rule, double hit or carry the ball, or contact the ball with a body part or clothing.
Although more rare, illegal hits can also occur if the pickleball is hit under the net or between the net and net posts.
Here’s more info on common types of doubles hits:
- Illegal hits commonly occur on the serve if you fail to use the proper underhand motion. Remember, all serves must be underhand with the ball being contacted at a point below your belly button.
- During a rally, if you violate the 2-bounce rule and hit the pickleball out of the air on either of the 2 shots after the serve, this will be considered a fault and is illegal.
- Another common illegal hit occurs when players step on the kitchen line while volleying the pickleball. Players can not touch any part of the kitchen or kitchen line while hitting a volley out of the air.
- Carrying the ball is also illegal, as is double hitting the ball in some situations (see above).
- Touching the ball with a body part other than the hand holding the paddle or clothing is illegal and will result in a fault.
Frequently Asked Questions - Is a Double Hit Legal?
Can you hit the ball to your partner in pickleball?
No, you cannot hit the ball to your partner in pickleball.
Only one player can strike the ball during a rally. Players cannot ‘set up’ their partner by hitting or passing the ball to them during a pickleball shot or play.
What if you hit an out ball in pickleball?
If a ball is going out of bounds and you touch it with either your paddle or your body, it is considered a live ball and the point will be continued.
If you touch or hit a ball that is going out and then miss the shot, the point or rally will be awarded to your opponent.
To avoid hitting out balls, attempt to predict where the ball will land and make good judgments about whether you should hit the ball or let it go out of bounds.
How many times can you hit the ball in pickleball?
On a single pickleball swing, you should try to only hit the ball once to get it back over the net.
When your opponent hits the ball to your side of the court, you or your team member must only strike the ball once.
However, double hits are allowed if the ball is struck in a single, continuous motion and direction by one player. This almost always occurs unintentionally!
What Happens If A Double Hit Occurs By 2 Players On The Same Team?
A double hit cannot occur by two players on the same team. Once the bal is hit and leaves your paddle, your opponent must be the next player to hit the ball. If you strike the ball and then another player on your team hits the ball with their paddle, it will be considered a fault.