How Do You Rotate Players in Pickleball

How Do You Rotate Players in Pickleball?

Pickleball is a popular game across the country. You can either play it indoors or outdoors. Due to its growing popularity, courts are getting crowded at times. At the same time, organizing the game can be very challenging. One of the issues is establishing a method to do this effectively and using the best way to rotate pickleball players.

There must be a policy that is easier to understand and follow. The policy should be designed so that the play keeps moving while the players are mixed-up so that each player can play with different people. So, how do you rotate players in pickleball?

The rotation method that will be used will vary depending on how many players are involved in the game. These pickleball games should be played in doubles play.

Two-Up/Two-Down – This is played when seven or fewer players are waiting to play. Once the game is completed, the players who won stay on the court but are separated while the losers move toward the bench. Two new players will be taken from the bench, and these players will be joining the new game. If a player has already played for two consecutive games on the court, then the player is required to go back to the bench.

Four-Up/Four-Down – This is applicable when eight or more players are waiting to play. After the game, all four players must leave the court and go back to the bench. The four new players on the bench will create a new game together.

Keep on reading to know more about the methods for the rotation of players in pickleball. Can you choose the players that you want to play with?

What is Open Play in Pickleball?

Want to join in a pickleball open play? If you are unfamiliar with pickleball open play, then it means that all players can play on the courts for a certain amount of time, regardless of their skills. Most pickleball courts offer open play. Here, players can come and go without setting up the games or knowing each other. Some courts have dedicated areas for beginners or non-aggressive players, competitive or aggressive players, and advanced players.

With this grouping, new players can feel comfortable playing out there and joining. You can feel comfortable knowing you are playing with players with the same speed and skills as yours. As a result, you can have a more enjoyable and fun experience. This is one of the best aspects of this game.

How Many People Can be on a Pickleball Court?

Have you ever experienced joining an open play in pickleball and discovered that there are more players than the courts available? This means you must sit down for several minutes and wait until the games are finished. Sitting around for a couple of minutes between games can most often be very frustrating. That is why some pickleball communities have discovered a solution that involves more than four players in one game.

Pickleball can be played in singles or doubles. In singles, it requires two players, while doubles require four players. Only one ball is used at a time, and every player must have a paddle that looks like a ping pong paddle.

The tricky question is, what if there are three players? It is referred to as American singles in tennis. Although this method of playing is not professional or competitive, it has been recognized. A three-player variation can also exist in pickleball.

How to Play Play Three-Player Pickleball

If there are three or any odd number of players playing pickleball, then you can follow the rules below: 

  • One player will stay on one side of the court, while the other two players will stay on the other side. Each of these players should take turns serving.
  • Two service points will be given to the server at a time. 
  • Serve will be done by the server in the right-hand corner when there is an even score.
  • Serve will be performed in the left-hand corner by the server when the score is odd.
  • Every player will either get a score or will not get any score per point.
  • It is required that the server should call out the score before serving is done, first to the opponent on the left-hand side and then to the opponent on the right-hand side.

How Do You Rotate in Pickleball?

What is the best way to rotate pickleball players? After the game is finished, the following system should be followed when placing the paddles. There are two methods – Two-Up/Two-Down and Four-Up/Four Down.

Two-Up/Two-Down is applicable for seven or fewer players waiting to play. While Four-Up/Four Down is applicable for eight or more players waiting to play.


This method will be used when seven or fewer players are waiting to play. For instance, when 19 players attend the game, 12 will enter the court while the seven players will be waiting. Three courts will be used, and four players will be on each.

The paddles of the seven players must be lined up. The paddles of the succeeding players will be placed on the left side. Hence, the paddles of the new players arriving should be placed on the right side next to the ones already there.

After the game has ended, the winners will stay on the court and remain separated, except if they have already played for two consecutive games, while the losers will remove themselves from the court and put their paddles on the right side. If more than seven players are waiting to play, then the Four-Up/Four-Down method will be used.


This method is used when eight or more players are waiting for their chance to play. Once the game is over, all four players will exit the court and go back to their bench. Four new players will be taken from the bench and enter to court to form a new game. For instance, if 26 players want to play and three courts are available for playing, then 12 players will enter the court, and the remaining 14 players will wait on the bench.

These 14 players waiting for their chance to play should line up their paddles, six paddles will be on the right side, and eight paddles will be on the left side. As new players arrive, they should put their paddles on the right side or which pile has lesser paddles. 

After the game is completed, all the players must leave the court and return to the bench. The winners will line up their paddles at the end of the winners’ pile, while the losers will line up their paddles at the end of the losers’ pile. If fewer than eight players are waiting to play, then the method for Two-Up/Two-Down will be used.

When Four-Up/Four-Down method is used, there will always be a winners’ and losers’ pile. This is done so that you will get the chance to play with at least two different players in every game. Also, it seems that there is an even match since the winners will be playing with the winners of the prior game, while the losers will be playing with the losers of the prior game.

What is Paddle Stacking in Pickleball?

Once you leave the court after completing the game, you should put your paddle at the end of the paddle pile. Players are strongly advised that they should consider their skill ability when playing. It is a must that paddles should be placed at the end of the line.

You can also choose to put your paddles down and line them in singles, two, or four stacks. When two paddles are stacked together, this means that you like to partner with the owner of the other paddle. If there are four stacks, then it means that these four players like to play together. 

Players should not stack their paddles with the paddle of the other players unless they ask for permission. The paddles should only be stacked at the end of the line. If you want to stack your paddle with players that are further along the line, they should put their paddles at the end of the line so they can be stacked.

Those players with stacked paddles can give up their position to allow four unstacked paddles to enter the court if there are at least one to three unstacked paddles in front of the stacked paddles. A player with a single paddle who does not want to play with a certain group can ask the owner of the succeeding single paddle to take his place. 


Pickleball is rapidly growing in the United States as well as in other countries around the world. However, courts can’t keep up with the increasing number of players who want to enjoy this game. Knowing the best way to rotate pickleball players can help give other players a chance to play while minimizing their bench time. 

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