Pickleball has been gaining popularity in recent years, with more and more people picking up a paddle and hitting the court. This fast-paced and fun sport combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong, making it a favourite among players of all ages. But for those new to the game, there may be some confusion about the rules and strategies. One question that often comes up is, “Can you double hit in pickleball?” The short answer is no, you cannot double hit in pickleball. But let’s dive deeper into the rules and understand why.
What is double hit in pickleball and how does it occur?
A double hit is defined as any time a ball is hit twice by one or more players during a return. This can happen unintentionally, such as when a player’s paddle accidentally hits the ball twice, or intentionally, when a player purposely hits the ball twice to gain an advantage.
A double-hit occurs when a player strikes the ball twice on a single shot before it crosses the net. This is illegal in pickleball, and the point is awarded to the opposing team. The double-hit can happen in different ways, and understanding these will help you avoid this mistake and improve your game.
One way a double-hit can occur is when a player hits the ball with both the paddle and their body or clothing. For example, if the ball hits the paddle and then bounces off your arm before you hit it again, this would be considered a double-hit. To avoid this, make sure to keep your paddle away from your body and avoid any unintentional contact.
Another way a double-hit can occur is when a player hits the ball with both sides of the paddle. This can happen if you hit the ball near the edge of the paddle and it spins around, causing you to hit it again on the other side. To avoid this, try to hit the ball more towards the middle of the paddle and follow through with your shot.
Double-Hit rule requirements
According to the official rules of the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA), three main requirements must be met for a double hit to be called:
The ball must be hit twice by the same player
This requirement may seem obvious, but it is important to note that a double hit can only be called if the same player hits the ball twice in a row. If the ball is hit by one player and then accidentally hits their partner’s paddle, it is not considered a double hit. However, if the same player hits the ball twice in a row, it is a fault and the point will go to the opposing team.
The ball must be hit twice in succession
This requirement means that the two hits must happen one after the other without any other player touching the ball. For example, if a player hits the ball and it bounces off the net before they hit it again, it is not considered a double hit. However, if the player hits the ball and it bounces off their paddle before they hit it again, it is a double hit.
The ball must not have bounced on the ground or been hit by the opponent
This requirement is important because it differentiates a double hit from a legal play. In pickleball, players are allowed to hit the ball after it bounces on the ground, as long as it is within the boundaries of the court. They are also allowed to hit the ball after their opponent has hit it, as long as it is within the rules of the game. However, if the ball bounces on the ground or is hit by the opponent before the player hits it again, it is considered a double hit.
When is a Double-Hit Considered Illegal?
There are three types of double hits that are considered illegal in pickleball. They are:
Volleys: When the player hits the ball before it bounces on his or her side of the court, only one stroke is allowed. If the player tries to hit the ball twice on the same side before the ball bounces, it is considered a double hit.
Ground strokes: When the player hits the ball after it bounces on the player’s side, only one stroke is allowed. If the player tries to hit the ball twice on the same side before the ball bounces, it is considered a double hit.
Third Shot Drop: During the third shot drop, players cannot hit the ball twice on their own side of the court. Only one stroke is allowed when hitting the ball on the third shot drop.
It is essential to understand that a double hit is not always considered illegal in pickleball. There are a few instances where a double hit is legal, such as when the ball hits the player’s body or paddle multiple times in a single swing. However, hitting the ball twice on the same side of the court is never legal in pickleball.
How to Avoid Double Hits in Pickleball
Here we’ll outline some tips on how to avoid double hits in pickleball and improve your game.
To avoid double hits in pickleball, it is crucial to use a proper grip when holding the paddle. A good grip will ensure that the paddle stays steady, and the ball stays on the same side of the paddle for a better return. While holding the paddle, it should be held at a 45-degree angle and should be kept in front of your body.
The player should stand in a proper position when hitting the ball to prevent a double hit. Start by keeping your feet square to the net and legs shoulder-width apart for good balance. As the ball comes towards you, take a step towards it, ensuring that your body weight is directed towards the ball.
Another factor to consider when avoiding a double hit is timing. The timing is crucial in pickleball. The ball should be hit as soon as it bounces and not when it’s already falling. The player should follow through with the paddle while ever so slight downward pressure on the ball to control its direction.
The only way to master the art of pickleball and avoid any double hits is to practice. Repetition is key in pickleball. You can practice hitting the ball off a wall or with a practice partner. By doing so, you will be better able to handle the ball and control it without breaking the rules of the game. As you practice, you’ll learn to release the paddle handle and increase the power of the shot by hitting the ball more fluently.
In conclusion, the answer to the question “Can you double hit in pickleball?” is a clear and resounding no. Players need to understand and follow this rule to maintain fairness and integrity in the game. However, just because one cannot intentionally double hit does not mean that they should ignore proper form and technique. By practicing fundamental skills like hand position, grip, and follow-through, players can avoid unintentional double hits and enhance their overall performance on the court.
Remember, pickleball is a game not just of physical prowess but also of sportsmanship, so let us all strive to uphold these values while playing. As we continue to grow in our love for this sport, let us also continue to educate others about its rules and nuances. With that being said, let’s grab our paddles and head back out onto the court, armed with this newfound knowledge about double hits in pickleball! Here’s to fair play and an enjoyable game for all.