Pickleball Scoring System


Pickleball is known for being a game that players of all athletic backgrounds and ages can pick up easily and play. In fact, many say that the toughest part of learning the game is understanding how to keep score! If the pickleball 

scoring system has you flustered, look no further! Below is a brief introduction on how to keep score in pickleball:

Typically, pickleball is played to 11 points, where a team must win by two. Pickleball can be played in either singles or doubles format; the rules are very similar besides a couple of small exceptions (more to follow). Unlike tennis, doubles tends to be more popular than singles in pickleball.


Each rally begins with a serve, where only the serving team can win a point by being victorious in a rally. During a doubles match, each player on a team has an opportunity to serve, with the exception being the first serve of the game where the second server begins. Prior to serving, the serving player should call out the score in the following order: his/her team’s score, their opponent’s score, and the server number (either one or two). The player in the right service box will always begin serving first for a team. If the team serving wins a point, the serving team’s players switch places, so the first server now serves from the left service court. This will continue until the serving team loses a rally. When the serving team loses a rally, the second server will now serve for their team. Once the serving team loses another rally under the second server, a “side out” occurs and the opposing team now has two chances to serve.


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Let’s give an example: If the score is nine to six with the team serving in the lead, along with the serving team being on the second server, the score would be called out as “9-6-2”. The “9” represents the serving team’s score, the “6” stands for their opponent’s score, and the “2” demonstrates that they are on the second server at the time of announcing the score. If the serving team wins this point, players would rotate positions and the score would now be “10-6-2”. If the serving team loses the point, a side out would occur and the formerly receiving team would now be serving with the score being “6-9-1”.

As mentioned before, the one exception to both players serving is during the very first serve of a game. The very first server of the game still serves from the right service box, but he or she begins as the second server. Once the serving team faults, a side out is called and the other team gets to serve. This is done to prevent an unfair advantage from serving first.


The difference between the scoring system for doubles and singles is very minor. In singles play, it’s important to note that each player serves just one time. Once a player loses a rally, serve transfers over to the other side. Since there is only one server, the last digit of the score does not need to be called out, only the first two. If your score is an even number (0, 2, 4, etc.) you begin serving from the right service box. If you have an odd-numbered score (1, 3, 5, etc.) you will serve from the left service box.


The easiest way to get comfortable with the scoring system is to get out and play. So go ahead, get out there! Make sure to check out Niupipo’s product pages to make sure you have all the equipment needed, or view our blog for additional pickleball tips

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