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How To Score Pickleball

Scoring in pickleball is an essential aspect of the game that determines the outcome and keeps track of points. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned player, understanding the scoring system is crucial to enjoy the game and compete effectively. Here we will provide an introduction to pickleball scoring, the basic rules of the game, and delve into the specifics of scoring in both singles and doubles pickleball.

Pickleball, a popular paddle sport, combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. It is played with a paddle and a plastic ball, on a court that is similar to a badminton court. The objective is to hit the ball over the net and into the opponent’s side, with the ultimate goal of outscoring your opponents to win the game.

Scoring in pickleball follows a unique system that is easy to understand once you grasp the basics. In singles pickleball, it is a one-on-one match, while doubles pickleball involves two teams of two players each. Let’s take a closer look at the scoring system for each format.

In singles pickleball, the game starts with a serve, and the serving player continues to serve until they commit a fault. The scoring system is based on points earned from rallies, where each rally can result in a point for either player. A player must score 11 points and win by a margin of 2 to win the game.

Doubles pickleball follows a similar scoring system, but with a few key differences. The serving team alternates serves between players on their team, and they can only score points while serving. The receiving team has the opportunity to win the serve and score points. Similarly, a team must reach 11 points and win by a margin of 2 to win the game.

Keeping score accurately is essential in pickleball to maintain fairness and competitiveness during a match. To help you keep track, it is crucial to communicate effectively with your partner in doubles pickleball and understand the rules regarding faults and penalties. Utilizing scorecards or scoreboards can also aid in accurately tracking the score.

By familiarizing yourself with the scoring system and following these tips, you can confidently score pickleball matches and enjoy the game to its fullest potential. So grab your paddle and get ready to immerse yourself in the thrilling world of pickleball!


Key takeaway:

  • Introduction to Pickleball Scoring: Familiarize yourself with the scoring system of pickleball to enhance your gameplay.
  • The Basic Rules of Pickleball: Learn the fundamentals of pickleball, including how the game is scored.
  • Tips for Keeping Score Accurately: Improve your scorekeeping skills by effectively communicating with your partner, understanding faults and penalties, and utilizing scorecards or scoreboards.

The Basic Rules of Pickleball

The basic rules of pickleball are straightforward and easy to understand. Here is a list of the essential rules:

  1. Playing area: A pickleball court is divided into two sides by a net. Each side has a right and left service area. The court also has a non-volley zone, also known as the kitchen, which is a seven-foot area on both sides of the net.
  2. Serving: The serve must be made underhand, with the paddle below the waist. The serve must go diagonally and land in the opponent’s service court. Only one serve attempt is allowed, and the server continues serving until a fault is committed.
  3. In play: After the serve, the ball must bounce once on each side before players can volley it. After the double bounce rule, volleys are allowed. The ball must stay within the boundaries of the court, and players cannot step into the non-volley zone to hit a volley.
  4. Faults: A fault occurs if the server fails to serve into the diagonal box, serves out of bounds, or violates any other serving rule. Faults can also occur if a player steps into the non-volley zone during a volley or hits the ball out of bounds.
  5. Scoring: Games are typically played to 11 points, and you must win by two points. Points are scored on every rally when the serving team wins the rally or when the receiving team commits a fault. At the end of each game, players switch sides.

Fact: Pickleball was invented in 1965 by three dads who wanted to create a new game for their families to enjoy. Since then, it has become one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States.

How is Pickleball Scored?

Pickleball scoring is straightforward and easy to understand once you know the basic rules. Here is a step-by-step breakdown of how pickleball is scored:

1. At the start of the game, the first server is determined by a coin toss or another method agreed upon by the players. The server must stand behind the baseline and in the right service court.

2. The server calls out the score before each serve, starting with their score first. For example, if the server’s team has 0 points and the opponent’s team has 2 points, the server would say “0-2.”

3. The first server serves the ball diagonally to the receiver on the opposite court. The ball must clear the non-volley zone and land within the boundaries of the opposite court to be considered a valid serve.

4. If the serving team wins the rally, they score a point and the server continues serving from the same side. If the receiving team wins the rally, they become the serving team and their score remains the same.

5. The serving team’s score always gets called first, followed by the receiving team’s score. For example, if the serving team scores a point and the score becomes 1-2, the server would say “1-2” before serving the next ball.

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6. The server continues serving until they commit a fault, such as hitting the ball out of bounds or into the net. When a fault occurs, the serve switches to the opposing team, and their score is called out first.

7. In doubles pickleball, the serving team’s score must be an even number when serving from the right side of the court and an odd number when serving from the left side of the court. This rule ensures that both teams have an equal opportunity to serve.

8. To win a pickleball game, a team must score points to win. The number of points to win depends on the level of play or agreement between the players. Typically, games are played to 11 or 15 points, but this may vary.

9. It’s important to accurately call the score to avoid confusion and any disputes during the game. Communication between partners is key to ensure the correct receiver and serving team’s score is announced.

Remember, scoring in pickleball is a valuable skill to cultivate. It is essential to understand the rules and communicate effectively with your partner. Using scorecards or scoreboards can also help keep track of the score accurately.

Pro-tip: When playing pickleball, always double-check the score before each serve and make sure you understand the specific scoring rules for the game you are playing. Accuracy in scoring will help keep the game fair and avoid any misunderstandings or arguments with your opponents.

Scoring in Singles Pickleball

Scoring in singles pickleball is a crucial aspect to master if you want to excel in the game. So, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of how to score effectively. We’ll begin by understanding the starting dynamics of the game, followed by exploring the ins and outs of the scoring system. Lastly, we’ll uncover the strategies and rules involved in switching sides during gameplay. Get ready to up your pickleball scoring game with these essential insights!

Starting the Game

Starting the game in pickleball involves a series of steps that set the stage for a fair and exciting match.

  1. Decide which team will serve first. This can be done through a coin toss or a simple agreement between the teams.
  2. The serving team designates one player to serve the ball. The player should position themselves in the right service court.
  3. The receiving team positions themselves in the diagonally opposite court from the server.
  4. Before serving, the server should check the score called by the previous server. This will ensure an accurate and seamless game.
  5. The server announces the score loud and clear, stating their team’s score first and then the receiving team’s score. For example, “2-1”.
  6. Once the score is called, the server should make sure they are the correct server for that particular score. In pickleball, the serving team’s score determines which player serves.
  7. The server should also check the receiver’s score to confirm that they are the correct receiver.
  8. Once all the checks are complete, the server proceeds to serve the ball. The ball must be served underhand and below the waist.
  9. The receiving team must let the ball bounce once before returning it. If the ball is hit before it bounces, it is considered a fault.
  10. The game continues with both teams aiming to score points by hitting the ball over the net and within the boundaries of the court.

Following these steps ensures a smooth start to the game of pickleball. It is important for players to communicate clearly, check the score, and ensure they are in the correct positions to maintain the integrity of the game.

Scoring System

The scoring system in pickleball is an essential aspect of the game. It determines which team or player earns points and ultimately wins the game. To understand the Scoring System in pickleball, let’s take a closer look at the different rules and guidelines involved.

To make it easier to understand, here is a table summarizing the Scoring System in pickleball:

Points to Win11 points (must win by 2 points)
Scoring PointsA point is scored when the serving team wins the rally
First ServerThe serving team starts the game with the first server
Second ServerIf the serving team wins a point, the server switches sides and serves again. If not, the second server on the team serves
Even ScoreWhen the score is even (0-0, 1-1, 2-2, etc.), the serving team serves from the right side of the court
Odd ScoreWhen the score is odd (1-0, 2-1, 3-2, etc.), the serving team serves from the left side of the court
Correct ServerOnly the correct server from the serving team can serve. If the wrong server serves, it results in a side-out
Receivers ScoreThe receiving team cannot earn points. They can only score points when they win the serve
Switching SidesOnce a team reaches 6 points, they must switch sides of the court

Understanding the Scoring System in pickleball is crucial for both beginners and advanced players. It ensures fair play and helps keep track of the game progress accurately. Communicating the score correctly is a valuable skill that all players should cultivate.

By following the Scoring System guidelines, players can enjoy a competitive and exciting game of pickleball. So whether you are playing singles or doubles pickleball, knowing the rules and scoring system will enhance your overall experience on the pickleball court.

Remember, in pickleball, the Scoring System is straightforward yet important. Each point scored brings you closer to winning the game. So stay focused, play to the best of your abilities, and enjoy the fast-paced and challenging nature of pickleball.


– USA Pickleball Scoring Rules: [source link]

Switching Sides

Switching sides during a pickleball match is vital to ensure fairness and equal opportunities for both teams. Whether it’s a singles or doubles match, the rule of switching sides applies. In singles pickleball, players switch sides after the first player reaches 5 points and then after every 6 points. In doubles pickleball, players switch sides after the first team reaches 6 points and then after every 6 points.

The purpose of switching sides is to compensate for any differences in court conditions like wind or sun that may impact gameplay. By switching sides, players get to experience these conditions from both ends of the court, giving them an equal opportunity.

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Switching sides also maintains fairness in terms of visibility and any advantages or disadvantages associated with a particular side of the court. By alternating sides, both teams have an equal chance to adapt and strategize based on the conditions they face.

When switching sides, it’s important for players to move quickly and efficiently to their new positions on the court to minimize disruption or delays in the game.

It’s worth noting that switching sides doesn’t affect the serving order or the score. The serving team continues to serve from the same side, and the score remains unchanged.

Switching sides is a crucial aspect of pickleball, contributing to the fairness and integrity of the game. By alternating ends of the court, players can adapt to different conditions and ensure equal opportunities for both teams. Remember to switch sides promptly and smoothly to maintain the flow of the game.

Scoring in Doubles Pickleball

Scoring in doubles pickleball is not only an essential aspect of the game but also holds the key to victory. Understanding the intricacies of starting the game, the rotation of service, and the scoring system is crucial for players looking to dominate the court. So, get ready to uncover the strategies, techniques, and rules behind each of these elements, and elevate your pickleball game to new heights. Ready? Let’s dive into the world of scoring in doubles pickleball!

Starting the Game

Starting the game in pickleball involves specific steps that ensure a fair and organized beginning. Here are the key steps to follow:

  1. Gather the equipment: Before beginning the game, make sure you have all the necessary equipment, including pickleball paddles, balls, and a net.
  2. Decide the serving side: Determine which team will serve first by flipping a coin or using any agreed-upon method. The winning team chooses their preferred serving side.
  3. Choose the first server: Within the serving team, decide who will serve first. The server is responsible for initiating the rally by hitting the ball diagonally across the net to the receiver on the opposite side.
  4. Positioning on the court: Both teams must position themselves correctly before starting the game. In doubles pickleball, the server’s partner stands in the diagonally opposite court, while the two receivers position themselves in the receiving court.
  5. Announce the score: Before the serve, the server should announce the score loud enough for all players to hear and understand. This includes stating the serving team’s score first and then the receiving team’s score.
  6. Start the rally: Once all the preparations are complete, the first server stands in the correct serving position and begins the rally by serving the ball diagonally into the receiver’s court.
  7. Follow the scoring rules: Throughout the game, make sure to follow the scoring rules of pickleball. Points are only awarded when the serving team wins a rally, and the game continues until one team reaches the predetermined points to win.

The starting of the game is a crucial moment, as it sets the tone for the rest of the match. It is essential to ensure that all players understand the process and follow the correct procedures to avoid any confusion or disputes.

By following these steps, pickleball players can start each game smoothly and focus on playing to the best of their abilities. Starting the game properly contributes to a fair and enjoyable pickleball experience for all players involved.

Rotation of Service

The rotation of service is an essential element in pickleball gameplay. Here is a step-by-step guide on how the rotation of service works:

  1. In pickleball, the initial order of service is determined by a coin toss or a similar method. The winner of the toss gets to choose to either serve first or choose their side of the court.
  2. The first server initiates the game from the right-hand service court. The server must stand behind the baseline and serve the ball diagonally to the opponent’s service court.
  3. After the first server completes their serve, the service switches to the other side of the court. This means that for the next serve, the server will be in the left-hand service court.
  4. The second server will be the player on the same side of the court as the first server. If playing doubles, the partner of the first server becomes the second server.
  5. Once the second server completes their serve, the service switches to the other side again. This rotation continues throughout the game, alternating sides after each service.
  6. If a let or fault is called on a serve, the server gets a second chance to serve. However, the server must switch to the opposite side of the court from where they were serving previously.
  7. If a point is scored, the serving team gets to keep serving, but they must switch sides after each point. This ensures that both teams have an equal opportunity to score points.
  8. In doubles pickleball, the player in the right-hand service court always serves first, and the rotation proceeds as described above.

The rotation of service is crucial to maintaining fairness in pickleball. It ensures that both teams have equal chances to serve and score points. Remember to follow the rotation of service rules accurately to avoid any confusion or dispute during gameplay.

Scoring System

The scoring system in pickleball is an integral aspect of the game that determines which team wins a match. To understand how the scoring system works, let’s take a look at the table below:

EventScoring System
Singles PickleballPoints to win: 11
1. The server always calls the score first, starting with their own score.
2. The correct receiver should confirm the score.
3. The serving team’s score is always called first, followed by the receiving team’s score.
4. The server number determines the serving side.
5. Players alternate sides at the start of the game and after an odd-numbered score.
6. If the serving team fails to score, the receiving team gets a point and becomes the serving team.
7. The first server exception applies if the score is 10-10, where the serving team chooses which player serves.
8. The server’s score and the receiver’s score are called together, separated by a hyphen (-).
9. The first team to reach 11 points with a lead of 2 points wins the game.
Doubles PickleballPoints to win: 11
1. The same rules for calling the score and alternating sides apply as in singles pickleball.
2. The only difference is that the service rotation occurs after each sideout.
3. The serving side always starts on the right side of the court.
4. Players need to maintain their correct positions and follow the correct rotation.
5. The first team to reach 11 points with a lead of 2 points wins the game.

Understanding the scoring system in pickleball is a valuable skill for beginner players and advanced players alike. It is essential to communicate effectively with your partner, call the score correctly to avoid any confusion, and keep track of the points accurately. Using a scorecard or scoreboard can help in maintaining an accurate score.

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Following the scoring rules ensures fairness and competitive play. Remember to enjoy the game and focus on improving your skills rather than solely focusing on the score. With practice and understanding of the scoring system, you’ll be able to strategize and win pickleball matches effectively.

Tips for Keeping Score Accurately

If you want to up your pickleball game, mastering the art of keeping score accurately is absolutely crucial. In this section, we’ll dive into some tips and tricks that will help you become a score-keeping pro. From effective communication with your partner to understanding faults and penalties, we’ll cover it all. Plus, we’ll explore the handy tools like scorecards and scoreboards that can make score-keeping a breeze. Get ready to level up your pickleball skills with these essential scoring insights!

Communicating with Your Partner

When playing a game of pickleball, communicating with your partner is essential for success. Effective communication ensures that both you and your partner are in sync, allowing for seamless coordination and strategic execution on the court.

  • Using Clear Verbal Signals: One important aspect of playing with a partner is using clear and concise verbal signals. It is crucial to use simple and consistent commands, such as calling “mine” or “yours,” to avoid any confusion and convey your intentions accurately.
  • Utilizing Non-Verbal Signals: Non-verbal signals can be just as vital in communicating with your partner. Hand signals or gestures can effectively convey your intentions and direct your partner to the desired position on the court. This enables efficient coordination of movements and execution of game strategies.
  • Maintaining Eye Contact: Making eye contact with your partner during the game enhances communication and anticipation. By maintaining eye contact, you can quickly understand each other’s intentions and respond accordingly, leading to better shot selection and overall coordination.
  • Providing Encouragement and Support: Positive and supportive communication with your partner can boost morale and motivation during the game. Offering words of support, praising your partner for good shots, and providing constructive feedback when necessary helps build rapport and maintain a positive team dynamic.
  • Being Adaptable: Effective communication also involves the ability to adapt and adjust your game plan. As the game progresses, situations may change, requiring quick and effective communication to modify strategies and tactics accordingly. Remaining open to suggestions and actively listening to your partner’s input is key.

In pickleball, communicating with your partner is all about teamwork, coordination, and trust. Developing strong communication skills will enhance your performance on the court and increase your chances of winning the game.

Understanding Faults and Penalties

When playing pickleball, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of the faults and penalties that can occur during a game. This understanding helps maintain fairness and ensures that players follow the guidelines of the sport.

1. Faults: Understanding faults is important because they occur when a rule is broken, resulting in the loss of a point or side out. Faults can include:

Out of Bounds: If the ball goes outside the designated court area, it is considered out of bounds and results in a fault.

Non-Volley Zone Violation: Players cannot hit the ball while fully inside the non-volley zone (the area within 7 feet of the net). Stepping on or over the line while hitting the ball is a fault.

Double Bounce: The ball must bounce once on each side before players can hit it in the air. Hitting the ball without this double bounce results in a fault.

Incorrect Server: To avoid faults, the server must serve from the correct service court and wait for the receiver’s score call before serving.

2. Penalties: Understanding penalties is also crucial because they are rare and usually occur due to player conduct. Some penalties that can be enforced include:

Accurate Score Calling: Players must accurately call the score before serving, receiving, or during the game. Intentionally calling the score incorrectly can result in a penalty.

Inaccurate Score: Consistently calling the wrong score can lead to penalties, such as a loss of points or side out.

By developing a comprehensive understanding of faults and penalties, players can enhance their skills and play pickleball in accordance with the sport’s rules and regulations. This knowledge contributes to a fair and exciting pickleball game for all participants.

Remember, understanding faults and penalties is a valuable skill that can enhance your overall playing experience. Keep these guidelines in mind to ensure a seamless understanding of faults and penalties during your next pickleball match.

Using Scorecards or Scoreboards

Using scorecards or scoreboards is an essential aspect of keeping track of the score in pickleball, ensuring fair play and accuracy. It is recommended by the United States Pickleball Association (USA Pickleball) as part of their official scoring rules. Scorecards or scoreboards provide numerous benefits:

Benefits of Using Scorecards or ScoreboardsTips for Using Scorecards or Scoreboards
1. Helps in avoiding confusion:1. Use a large and clearly visible scorecard or scoreboard to ensure all players can easily see the score.
2. Provides a visual representation of the score:2. Assign one player the responsibility of updating the score during the game to avoid any discrepancies.
3. Reduces the chances of mistakes:3. Clearly mark or denote the serving team’s score and the receiving team’s score to prevent errors.
4. Enhances communication between players:4. Communicate the score to the opposing team before the start of each serving rotation to ensure everyone is on the same page.
5. Allows for easy score tracking:5. Keep spare scorecards or scoreboards in your court bag in case the original one gets misplaced or damaged.
 6. Update the score immediately after a point is scored and announce the new score aloud to avoid confusion.

Using scorecards or scoreboards is a valuable skill for both beginner and advanced players. It helps create a fair and organized playing environment, preventing any disputes regarding the score. By diligently utilizing scorecards or scoreboards, players can enjoy pickleball without the worry of inaccurate scores. It ensures that everyone has a clear understanding of the score at all times, allowing them to focus on their gameplay. Incorporating the use of scorecards or scoreboards in your next pickleball match will enhance efficiency and overall enjoyment of the game.


Some Facts About How To Score Pickleball:

  • ✅ Points to Win: Pickleball is played to 11 points, and you must win by 2 points.
  • ✅ Player Position: The player on the right service court will always serve first for a team.
  • ✅ Scoring Points: You can only win points when it is your team’s serve.
  • ✅ Pickleball Doubles Scoring & Rules: You can only score a point when your team is serving. If you are on the receiving side, you can’t score a point.
  • ✅ The first serve is served by the player on the right side of the court, or what we call the even court. The server serves underhand, diagonally to the opposite court.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you score in Pickleball?

In Pickleball, points can only be scored when the serving team is serving. The team on the receiving side cannot score a point. To score a point, the serving team must win the rally by making a fault on the receiving side.

How is the server determined in Pickleball?

In Pickleball, the player on the right service court serves first for a team. The server serves underhand from the right service court to the diagonally opposite court. After the first serve, the server moves to the left service court for subsequent serves.

How is the score called in Pickleball?

The score in Pickleball is called using three numbers. For both singles and doubles, the score is called as server score, receiver score. In doubles, an additional number is added to indicate the server number for that service turn only.

What happens if the wrong score is called in Pickleball?

If the wrong score is called in Pickleball, it means that either the players are positioned incorrectly or the called score is wrong. It is important to ensure accurate score calling and correct player positioning on the court.

What is the player positioning for singles Pickleball?

In singles Pickleball, the server serves from the right service court if the score is even, and from the left service court if the score is odd. The receiver lines up on the right or left side according to the server’s score.

What is the player positioning for advanced doubles Pickleball?

In advanced doubles Pickleball, there is a strategy called stacking, where partners on a team avoid switching sides of the court. As long as the correct server and receiver are on the correct side of the court, stacking can be used to optimize player positioning based on hand dominance or strengths.

Dustin DeTorres

Dustin has been a Pickleball enthusiast for years and dedicated this blog to providing the best information out there about this fun game.