Pickleball Scoring

Every game has its own basic rules that apply to it and it is equally important to know them especially if you are a beginner. Without following the correct rules of the game will not only yield frustration during playing but also bring failure even in tournaments.

Pickleball is one of the fast-growing sport that was originally started in Washington. Most of the pickleball rules have some features of Badminton, Tennis, and Ping Pong. Pickleball rules and scoring are some of the critical things of the game that need to be clearly explained to everyone new to it.

There is no fun and competition without scoring right? It might seem complicated to understand scoring at first but with time it gets clear and easy. We are going to explain everything you need to know on how to score in Pickleball. However, before we start, let’s first talk about serving.

What is serving?

When serving one must do it with the underhand in contact with the ball below the navel point. The server’s feet should be behind the service line at the time of contact. This should be done diagonally and within the service line. Take note that before serving the ball, the server should check if all the players are ready.

The server should remain behind the baseline until a third shot is hit. Another vital aspect is that the server should bounce the ball before returning. Lines considered on a server are centerline, sidelines, and baselines. If the ball lands on the no-valley zone line then it is a side out.

Rules Update as of 1/25/2021 – A new provisional rule allows for a drop serve. You can now drop the ball and hit it after the bounce while serving. You can drop the ball from any height but you cant throw it with any force to bounce it”

Pickleball scoring rules

Many of you might be asking, how does scoring work in pickleball? The top first rule on scoring is that the server is the one who announces the score. In general, a player or team must score 11 points and win by 2 points. In some tournaments, it can reach up to a maximum of 15 or 21 points, however, a team should still win by 2 points.

A point is only scored whilst serving. This rule applies to both doubles scoring and singles scoring. An even score (0, 2, 4, 6, e.t.c) from the serving team means that the first server in the game was on the right or even court during serving.

If it’s an add score(1, 3, 5, e.t.c) it indicates that the player was on the left or odd side of the court whilst serving or receiving. The right-handed side player on the service area always starts.

There is a specific sequence that is followed when announcing scores and it is as follows;

  • 1st position – serving team’s score
  • 2nd position – opposing team’s score
  • 3rd position – server

So for example if the score is 4, 3, 1 it means the serving team has 4 points, the opposing team has 3 points and server number 1 is serving.

Pickleball scoring doubles

We will try to differentiate between double scoring and single scoring though they are very similar. Here points are scored only on a serve. The receiving side does not score a point. If a point is scored, the server who was initially on the right side moves to the left side and serves diagonally opposite.

During the game, players switch sides every time a point is scored. Also, note that the receiving side never changes sides, it’s only the serving team. At the start of the game, the score is 0-0-2. The 2 means that it’s the second server and the score goes to the other side when the serve is lost.

Pickleball scoring singles

The only difference between this score and the doubles scoring is that a player serves from the right side if the score is even(0, 2, 4, 6 e.t.c). Also, a player serves from the left side of the score is odd(1, 3, 5, e.t.c). In this particular score rule, there is no second server.

The final score is a sequence of two numbers which is the serving team and that of the receiving team. For example, a score of 5-2, means the scoring team has points whilst the receiving team has 2.

How do you keep score in Pickleball?

Pickleball seems difficult to keep in track with scores but there is a little trick that is used by most players and seems to work. Always remember to call out the score every time you serve. This is taken seriously in tournaments but less of an issue if you are just playing at home. It is considered a fault if one continues to hit the ball without calling out to serve.

The trick comes in this way, take note of which side you are on at the beginning of the game. Know that players on the right side will be considered the “even” player and those on the left are “odd” players. This way you won’t lose track of the scoring system. Got it right?

What is rally scoring in Pickleball?

Rally scoring is when a point is given to whichever team wins the rally. It can be the serving team or the non-serving one. However, in pickleball scoring, the serving team is the only team that is given the point if they win the rally.

The non-serving team can only have the second player to serve upon winning the rally. No point is awarded to the second team.


We know it might be a little bit challenging at first to understand the pickleball scoring system but don’t be hard on yourself. Give yourself time to study it carefully and who knows, you might be the next person to educate your fellow colleagues about it. Have fun!