Can you play pickleball with 2 players | Explained

Pickleball has been gaining popularity in recent years, with more and more people picking up a paddle and hitting the court. This fun and fast-paced sport is a combination of tennis, badminton, and ping pong, making it a great option for players of all ages and skill levels. But one question that often comes up is, can you play pickleball with just two players? The answer is yes, and in this article, we’ll explore that can you play pickleball with 2 players?

First, let’s start with the basics. Pickleball is typically played with four players, two on each side of the court. However, the rules of pickleball allow for a game to be played with just two players as well. This is known as singles pickleball, and it follows the same rules as doubles pickleball, with a few minor differences.

One of the main differences between singles and doubles pickleball is the size of the court. In doubles pickleball, the court is 20 feet wide and 44 feet long. However, in singles pickleball, the court is slightly smaller, measuring 17 feet wide and 44 feet long. This smaller court size makes it easier for just two players to cover the entire court and still have a fast-paced and exciting game.

Another difference between singles and doubles pickleball is the serving order. In doubles pickleball, the serving team must alternate serves between the two players. However, in singles pickleball, the serving player serves twice in a row before switching sides. This allows for a more continuous flow of the game and eliminates the need for a player to constantly switch sides after each serve.

Differences between singles and doubles pickleball

Now that we’ve covered the basic differences between singles and doubles pickleball, let’s dive into some tips for playing pickleball with just two players.

Communication is Key

In doubles pickleball, communication between partners is crucial. The same goes for singles pickleball, but in this case, you’ll be communicating with your opponent. It’s important to communicate with your opponent to avoid any collisions on the court and to make sure you’re both on the same page when it comes to scoring and rules.

Move Efficiently

With just two players on the court, you’ll need to be quick and efficient with your movements. Make sure to cover the court effectively and communicate with your opponent to avoid any gaps in coverage. It’s also important to stay on your toes and be ready to move quickly to return shots.

Use the Middle of the Court

In doubles pickleball, the middle of the court is known as the “kitchen” and is typically avoided by players. However, in singles pickleball, the middle of the court can be your best friend. By standing closer to the middle, you can cover more ground and have a better chance of returning shots from your opponent.

Vary Your Shots

In singles pickleball, you’ll need to be more strategic with your shots. Since you won’t have a partner to rely on, you’ll need to mix up your shots to keep your opponent on their toes. Use a combination of lobs, dinks, and drives to keep your opponent guessing and make it harder for them to return your shots.

Practice Your Serves

In singles pickleball, you’ll have the opportunity to serve twice in a row before switching sides. This means that your serve can be a powerful weapon in your game. Take some time to practice your serves and find a technique that works best for you. A strong serve can give you an advantage in the game and help you win points.

Be Patient

Playing singles pickleball can be challenging, especially if you’re used to playing doubles. It’s important to be patient and not get frustrated if you make mistakes or miss shots. Remember to have fun and enjoy the game, and with practice, you’ll improve your skills and become a better singles pickleball player.

Benefits of practicing 2-person pickleball:

Skill Enhancement: Playing with just one partner allows you to hone your singles game skills, focusing on crucial elements such as serves, returns, and offence/defence. This targeted practice can significantly contribute to your overall game improvement.

Technique Focus: Without the dynamics of a doubles partner, you have the opportunity to concentrate more on your technique. This focused approach enables players to refine their shots and strategies, leading to a better understanding of individual strengths and weaknesses.

Effective Warm-up: A 2-person pickleball game serves as an excellent warm-up before a singles or doubles match. It provides an opportunity to get into the rhythm of the game, fine-tuning your movements and reactions in preparation for more intense play.

Quick and Fun: When you find yourself short on players or time, engaging in a 2-person pickleball game is a fun and efficient way to get some play in. It’s a great option for those moments when a full match might not be feasible.


In conclusion, playing pickleball with just two players is not only possible but can also be a fun and challenging experience. By following these tips and practicing your skills, you can enjoy a fast-paced and exciting game of singles pickleball. So grab your paddle and head to the court, because with just two players, you can still have a great game of pickleball.

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