Article
Podcast Episode
June 11, 2024

Pickleball Scoring: A Comprehensive Beginners Guide

Key Takeaways:

  • Points scored only by serving team; games to 11 points, win by 2
  • Doubles: Server 1 starts right side; servers alternate sides; side out on lost rallies
  • Practice scoring with apps or mock games; communicate scores clearly
Contents
For further analysis, we broke down the data by wearable device:
Contents
For further analysis, we broke down the data by wearable device:
Cite this page:

Pickleball is a fast-paced paddle sport that has taken the world by storm. One of the most important aspects of the game is understanding the unique pickleball scoring system. Whether you're playing singles or doubles, in a casual game, or a competitive pickleball tournament, mastering the scoring rules is essential.

In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about pickleball scoring, from the basics to advanced scenarios.

Pickleball Rules: Pickleball Scoring Basics

1. Points are only scored by the serving team.

2. The game is typically played to 11 points, and a team must win by 2 clear points.

3. The serving team's score is always called first, followed by the receiving team's score.

4. In doubles pickleball, the server number (1 or 2) is called after the score.

Serving and Side Out

1. At the start of the pickleball game, the first team to serve is determined by a coin toss or any other agreed-upon method.

2. The first serve is made from the right side of the court, diagonally across to the receiver in the opposite service court.

3. If the serving team wins the rally, they score a point and continue serving, alternating sides.

4. If the receiving team wins the rally, it's called a "side out," and they become the new serving team. No points are scored on a side out.

Singles Scoring

1. In pickleball singles, the server's score is called first, followed by the receiver's score.

2. The server serves from the right side of the court when their score is even and from the left side when their score is odd.

3. The server continues serving until they lose a rally, at which point a side out occurs, and the receiver becomes the new server.

Update on Rally Scoring for Singles

In recent developments, the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) has provisionally approved a rally scoring format for singles in sanctioned tournament play. This new scoring system aims to streamline matches and enhance the overall competitive experience. Here are the key points:

  1. Rally Scoring Definition: In rally scoring, a point is awarded on every serve, regardless of which player is serving.
  2. Serving Rules: The server still serves from the right side of the court when their score is even and from the left side when their score is odd.
  3. Scoring Transition: Unlike traditional scoring, where only the server can score, rally scoring allows both players to score points on each serve. This means that whether you win or lose the rally, the score will change after each point.
  4. Match Length: This format can potentially shorten match times, making tournaments more efficient and dynamic.

For more detailed information, you can read the full announcement here.

Doubles Scoring

1. In doubles pickleball, the scoring is called out as three numbers: the serving team's score, the receiving team's score, and the server number (1 or 2).

2. The first server (Server 1) starts serving from the right side of the court and continues until their team loses a rally, resulting in a side out.

3. After a side out, the receiving team becomes the serving team, and their first server (Server 1) begins serving from the right side.

4. When the serving team scores a point, the same server continues serving but switches to the left side of the court. The servers alternate sides each time their team scores a point.

5. When the serving team loses a rally, the second server (Server 2) takes over and serves from the left side. If they lose the next rally, a side out occurs, and the other team starts serving.

Advanced Scoring Scenarios

1. If the score is tied at 10-10, the game goes into "win by 2" mode. The first team to gain a 2-point lead wins the game.

2. Some pickleball tournaments use "rally scoring," where a point is awarded after each rally, regardless of which team served. In this format, games are typically played to 15 or 21 points. For instance, the APP Tour has implemented rally scoring in singles to 21.

Practicing Pickleball Scoring

To familiarize yourself with the pickleball scoring system, consider practicing with a scoring app or playing mock games with friends. Focus on calling out the score clearly after each point and communicating with your partner in doubles matches.

Common Pickleball Scoring Questions

Q: What happens if the ball lands on the line?

A: If the ball lands on any part of a line, it is considered "in" or good.

Q: Can you volley the ball in the non-volley zone (kitchen)?

A: No, players are not allowed to volley the ball while standing in the non-volley zone. They must let the ball bounce first.

Q: What happens if the ball hits the net on a serve?

A: If the ball hits the net on a serve but still lands in the correct service court, it is called a "let" and is replayed.

Q: What does the player say before serving the very first point of the game?

A: “Zero, zero, two”

Q: How do you determine which team serves first in a pickleball match?

A: Before the match begins, teams can either flip a coin, play rock-paper-scissors, or use any other agreed-upon method to determine which team serves first. Make sure to check your local club or park rules, as some parks and clubs have designated that a certain side always starts first!

Understanding pickleball scoring is crucial for enjoying the game and participating in tournaments. By familiarizing yourself with the serving order, side out rules, and scoring basics for both singles and doubles, you'll be well-equipped to keep track of the score and communicate effectively with your partner and opponents. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don't hesitate to play mock games or use scoring apps to hone your skills. Mastering pickleball scoring will boost your confidence, whether playing casually or in competitive matches!

Maximize your Pickleball Potential

Introducing AIM7, the ultimate pickleball performance app designed to help you stay healthy, prevent injuries, and take your game to the next level. 

With personalized training plans, expert-led video tutorials, and seamless integration with your favorite wearables, AIM7 provides you with the tools and insights you need to optimize your physical and mental performance both on and off the court. AIM7 is an essential companion for any serious pickleball player. 

Whether you're looking to improve your mobility, build strength, or enhance your focus and recovery, AIM7 has you covered. Experience the difference for yourself with our free 1-month trial – no commitments, just results. 

Contents
For further analysis, we broke down the data:
Cite this page:

Contents
For further analysis, we broke down the data by wearable device:
Key TAKEAWAYS
  • Points scored only by serving team; games to 11 points, win by 2
  • Doubles: Server 1 starts right side; servers alternate sides; side out on lost rallies
  • Practice scoring with apps or mock games; communicate scores clearly
Contents
For further analysis, we broke down the data by wearable device:

Pickleball is a fast-paced paddle sport that has taken the world by storm. One of the most important aspects of the game is understanding the unique pickleball scoring system. Whether you're playing singles or doubles, in a casual game, or a competitive pickleball tournament, mastering the scoring rules is essential.

In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about pickleball scoring, from the basics to advanced scenarios.

Pickleball Rules: Pickleball Scoring Basics

1. Points are only scored by the serving team.

2. The game is typically played to 11 points, and a team must win by 2 clear points.

3. The serving team's score is always called first, followed by the receiving team's score.

4. In doubles pickleball, the server number (1 or 2) is called after the score.

Serving and Side Out

1. At the start of the pickleball game, the first team to serve is determined by a coin toss or any other agreed-upon method.

2. The first serve is made from the right side of the court, diagonally across to the receiver in the opposite service court.

3. If the serving team wins the rally, they score a point and continue serving, alternating sides.

4. If the receiving team wins the rally, it's called a "side out," and they become the new serving team. No points are scored on a side out.

Singles Scoring

1. In pickleball singles, the server's score is called first, followed by the receiver's score.

2. The server serves from the right side of the court when their score is even and from the left side when their score is odd.

3. The server continues serving until they lose a rally, at which point a side out occurs, and the receiver becomes the new server.

Update on Rally Scoring for Singles

In recent developments, the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) has provisionally approved a rally scoring format for singles in sanctioned tournament play. This new scoring system aims to streamline matches and enhance the overall competitive experience. Here are the key points:

  1. Rally Scoring Definition: In rally scoring, a point is awarded on every serve, regardless of which player is serving.
  2. Serving Rules: The server still serves from the right side of the court when their score is even and from the left side when their score is odd.
  3. Scoring Transition: Unlike traditional scoring, where only the server can score, rally scoring allows both players to score points on each serve. This means that whether you win or lose the rally, the score will change after each point.
  4. Match Length: This format can potentially shorten match times, making tournaments more efficient and dynamic.

For more detailed information, you can read the full announcement here.

Doubles Scoring

1. In doubles pickleball, the scoring is called out as three numbers: the serving team's score, the receiving team's score, and the server number (1 or 2).

2. The first server (Server 1) starts serving from the right side of the court and continues until their team loses a rally, resulting in a side out.

3. After a side out, the receiving team becomes the serving team, and their first server (Server 1) begins serving from the right side.

4. When the serving team scores a point, the same server continues serving but switches to the left side of the court. The servers alternate sides each time their team scores a point.

5. When the serving team loses a rally, the second server (Server 2) takes over and serves from the left side. If they lose the next rally, a side out occurs, and the other team starts serving.

Advanced Scoring Scenarios

1. If the score is tied at 10-10, the game goes into "win by 2" mode. The first team to gain a 2-point lead wins the game.

2. Some pickleball tournaments use "rally scoring," where a point is awarded after each rally, regardless of which team served. In this format, games are typically played to 15 or 21 points. For instance, the APP Tour has implemented rally scoring in singles to 21.

Practicing Pickleball Scoring

To familiarize yourself with the pickleball scoring system, consider practicing with a scoring app or playing mock games with friends. Focus on calling out the score clearly after each point and communicating with your partner in doubles matches.

Common Pickleball Scoring Questions

Q: What happens if the ball lands on the line?

A: If the ball lands on any part of a line, it is considered "in" or good.

Q: Can you volley the ball in the non-volley zone (kitchen)?

A: No, players are not allowed to volley the ball while standing in the non-volley zone. They must let the ball bounce first.

Q: What happens if the ball hits the net on a serve?

A: If the ball hits the net on a serve but still lands in the correct service court, it is called a "let" and is replayed.

Q: What does the player say before serving the very first point of the game?

A: “Zero, zero, two”

Q: How do you determine which team serves first in a pickleball match?

A: Before the match begins, teams can either flip a coin, play rock-paper-scissors, or use any other agreed-upon method to determine which team serves first. Make sure to check your local club or park rules, as some parks and clubs have designated that a certain side always starts first!

Understanding pickleball scoring is crucial for enjoying the game and participating in tournaments. By familiarizing yourself with the serving order, side out rules, and scoring basics for both singles and doubles, you'll be well-equipped to keep track of the score and communicate effectively with your partner and opponents. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don't hesitate to play mock games or use scoring apps to hone your skills. Mastering pickleball scoring will boost your confidence, whether playing casually or in competitive matches!

Maximize your Pickleball Potential

Introducing AIM7, the ultimate pickleball performance app designed to help you stay healthy, prevent injuries, and take your game to the next level. 

With personalized training plans, expert-led video tutorials, and seamless integration with your favorite wearables, AIM7 provides you with the tools and insights you need to optimize your physical and mental performance both on and off the court. AIM7 is an essential companion for any serious pickleball player. 

Whether you're looking to improve your mobility, build strength, or enhance your focus and recovery, AIM7 has you covered. Experience the difference for yourself with our free 1-month trial – no commitments, just results. 

Try AIM7 Commitment-Free

You can cancel at any time, and there’s no commitment.

$7.99/mo

Try 1 Month Free