Pickleball scoring

Pickleball court
Sana Sabir
October 18, 2022
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Read Time:7 Minute, 12 Second
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Pickleball is a fun game, but it’s not always easy to keep track of the score, especially if you are a beginner. Knowing the scoring rules is a vital part of playing any sport; the same is true for pickleball.

In this blog, we’ll explain: how does pickleball scoring work, the correct way to call the score, and keep track in both doubles & singles game. So by the end, you’ll be ready to play this game professionally. 

Key Takeaways:

  • According to pickleball scoring rules, only the serving side can earn points. The receiving team is not allowed to score. The point line to begin this game would be 0-0-2 — 0 points for the server side, 0 points for the receiving side & serve 2.
  • It is necessary for the serving side to announce the points of both teams (the serving team first, then the opponent team) before they start to play. 
  • Pickleball scoring singles is pretty much identical to doubles, besides the fact that there isn’t a second server.
  • The three numbers pickleball scoring system is followed in the doubles game:
    1) the server points,
    2) the receiver points, and
    3) the server’s number. In singles, scoring takes place as the server and receiver points.

Pickleball Scoring Rules: The Basics of the Play

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We understand that pickleball standards might be complicated at times—especially for beginners. But you don’t need to worry anymore! Just grab a pen & paper and write down all the essential points, which we’ll explain individually.

Let’s start with the basics:

Points to Win: The strategy of this game is to score 11 points and win by two, so if you want to win this game, you will have to serve. 

Player Position: The team’s right service court player will always serve first.

Scoring Points: In both doubles and singles, you can only earn points when you or your team serves.

Pickleball Doubles Scoring

The official pickleball doubles scoring rules are as follows:

  • Only the serving side shall obtain points; the receiving side can’t score.
  • Except for the server side, which initiates the play in the doubles game, each side will get two serve opportunities— one for each partner. 
  • The side that hits first will just get one serve. As a matter of fact, the point line to begin this game would be 0-0-2 — 0 points for the server side, 0 points for the receiving side & serve 2. This is because if the serving side fails a rally or commit a fault, it will be a side out, and the opposition side will get the serving.
  • Every shot to begin the match shall commence from the even/right-hand side of the court, and the player shall hit the ball crosscourt (or diagonally) to the receiving side on the even/right-hand area of the court.
  • Every doubles team will still get two serves when the first side out occurs. The first play of either side would always begin on the right-hand/even area of the field (the first player names server 1). If the serving team earns a point, the service is kept, and server #1 and their mate change sides. Then, Server #1 shall hit diagonally in the opposite direction. You need to remember that only the team that is serving can gain points. This is why only the serving team must change sides after earning a point.
  • Server 1 would play until either the opposition team wins the round or the serving side makes a mistake. When the opposite team wins the round or the serving team makes a mistake, server 1 loses serving, and the serve goes to the second partner named server 2. Now server 2 will keep on playing until he makes a mistake. When both partners in a doubles fail to serve, there is a side out, and the other team wins.

Rally Scoring in Pickleball

Rally scoring in pickleball is a great way to keep the game moving and keep everyone involved. It also helps to even out the playing field if one team is ahead by a lot. To rally score, each team gets one point for every rally they win. Moreover, any player 1 or 2 can strike the ball during rally scoring. One member from each side will play until they lose a point, at which point the opposing team will play.

Pickleball Scoring Singles

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  • Pickleball scoring singles is pretty much identical to doubles, besides the fact that there isn’t a second server.
  • When the point tally is even, the shot is always made from the court’s right side. On the other hand, when the player’s points tally is odd, the shot is always played from the left side.
  • The scoring of the server decides the serving position—it is not the receiver’s score that decides serving. In accordance with the score of the server, the receiving player positions up on either the left or right side.
  • Lastly, the announcement of pickleball scoring singles takes place: the server score and the receiver score.

How to Keep Track of the Score

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The jury gives evaluation and shows scorecards. Set of human hands holding cards with numbers, amount of scores, points. Vector illustration for competition, contest, judge, feedback, game concept

Pickleball scorekeeping can be challenging, especially if you frequently play in matches with longer rallies. Here is how to keep track of everything:

When your game starts, keep in mind the court’s side you are on. You might also find it useful to keep in mind where your opponents’ game began. The scores will always be even if the player who shot initially is on the right. Contrary, the point total will always be odd if the player who shot initially is on the left. Just recall your starting point if you and the opposing side can’t agree on the result.

Calling the Score in Pickleball

For Doubles game

In the doubles game, the player serving always calls the scoring in the three numbers sequence. The sequence of numbers is as follows:

Number#01: Score of the serving team

Number#02: Score of the receiving team

Number#03: The number of the server (it can be 1 or 2)

Suppose the serving team earned 5 points, whereas the receiving team earned 4. And the second player is serving. So the player will report the result as “5-4-2.”

For Singles game

In the singles game, there are only two players playing the game, and the player announces the score as:

Number#01: Score of the server

Number#02: Score of the receiver

FAQs

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How does the scoring work in pickleball?

In a pickleball match, only the serving team can earn points. The receiving team is not allowed to score. When the game begins, the player on the right-hand side hits first to the court that is diagonally across from it. Moreover, when a player earns a point, the player goes toward the left side of the court and plays to the opposite court diagonally.

What are the 3 numbers of scoring in pickleball?

The 3 numbers pickleball scoring system is followed in the doubles game. In short, a pickleball doubles scoring takes place in this order:

  1. Stating the points of the server,
  2. Declaring the points of the receiver,
  3. Stating the number of the server (it can be either the first player as 1 or the second player as 2.)

Do I need to call the score before serving in pickleball?

Yes, it is necessary for the serving player to announce the points of both teams (the serving side first, then the opponent side.) It is also essential to call out the player number who is going to serve. Not to mention, there are just two players on each side — called player number 1 & player number 2.

How to keep track of your score in pickleball?

In order to keep track of the points, you can use pickleball scoring devices such as a pocket scorekeeper. It’ll help you to remember the points and you’ll need to manually click the device each time. 

Bibliography

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pickleball

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Sana Sabir

Hi, I’m Sana Sabir. I’m a freelance content writer from Pakistan. I am passionate about fitness and sports, so much so that it’s the reason my career has taken off. My background is in business studies and I love to write about fitness and sports-related topics.

I also write articles on other niches like healthcare, fashion, and lifestyle. Being a fitness lover who has always been fascinated by the human body and how it works, I had always wanted to be a fitness writer since an early age. I enjoy trying new sports, one of my favorites of which is pickleball.ย 

I’ve been writing for 3 years now, and my work has been published on many fitness, health, and lifestyle blogs. I always entertain my readers with some interesting and informational articles. To ensure my articles are genuine and relevant, I perform in-depth research, explore case studies, and read books on the topic before writing. Besides writing, I love painting, cooking, and gardening.ย