Pickleball is growing in the USA at a swift pace, and it’s becoming one of the popular sports there. Just like Tennis or Badminton, you can play Singles or Doubles, however, doubles are the most common.
When we talk about Singles, it means a one-on-one match, and when we talk about Doubles, it means the two teams (two-on-two) are matching up.
Anyway, as a beginner, figuring out the scoring system in Pickleball is one of the most difficult things because it’s a lot to keep track of. From changing the position to knowing how scores when to calling the score, a lot of stuff is going on at the same time, and to be honest, even I lost track of these things after researching for one minute.
But thankfully, after continuous efforts and a lot of paperwork and YouTube tutorials, I have managed to explain the pickleball scoring system, simply for you. So, without any further ado, let’s get to our today’s topic.
Overview of What we are going to Discuss Here:
I’ll give you an overview of what’s going to be discussed here. So, you don’t waste any time of yours, if you’ve reached here randomly.
Also, we won’t be discussing Rules of Pickleball here because I am assuming you already know the basics of Pickleball like How to Play Pickleball, How to Serve in Pickleball, or Where to Stand in Pickleball.
And if you don’t know anything about Pickleball, then check out our other article where I have explained Pickleball and its concepts thoroughly.
So, Check What is Pickleball.
- Basic of Pickleball Scoring System
- Calling the Pickleball Score
- Pickleball Scoring Rules for Doubles
- Pickleball Scoring Rules for Singles
- Pickleball Scoring in a real Pickleball Game
- Tip for What Should You Do if You Still Lose the Track of Scores?
Pickleball Scoring – Explained
So, let’s see everything in a detail. I’ll try to keep the scoring explanation as simple as possible. If you’ll stick with me till the end of this post, then be sure to check out the queries section where I am going to answer some most asked questions related to Pickleball or Pickleball Scoring.
Also, do check out the tip after this explanation. Again, without wasting any more time, Let’s get to it!
1. Basics of Pickleball Scoring
There are some terms that you should know first before understanding the Pickleball Scoring criteria.
- v Fault
Fault refers to a situation where when a team/player loses the rally which results in a point for the opponent team or if a team/player loses a serve or a side out. Now, what is a Side out?
- v Side-Out
Side-Out refers to a situation in which a player/team loses its serve (or serves) and service is awarded to the opposing player/team.
- v Scoring Criteria in a Regular Pickleball Game
Now in a Standard Pickleball Game, a team/player should score 11 points and win by 2 points. So, for example, if a match is tied at 10-10 between two teams/players, then whoever would score the next point won’t win the match because they would need to score two extra points to ensure their victory over their opponent.
- v Scoring Criteria in a Pickleball Tournament
Now when it comes to the Pickleball Tournaments, often the games are played to 15 or 21 points. However, still, a team/player will require two points to win a game.
Now as we that there are left and right sides of the Pickleball court, so the right side is the even side and the left side is the odd side. The service will always start at the right side or even side of the court, either it’s the start of the game or it’s after the side-out.
2. Calling the Pickleball Score
In a pickleball score/point, there are three numbers and in Pickleball terms these numbers are identified as Serving Team, Receiving Team, and the Serve Position. As you can see in the picture down below 👇🏻:
So in the picture above 👆🏻, you can see a randomly selected score. However,
- The first number (6) is the score of the serving team, which means whenever you serve, you will always call your score first.
- The second number (3) is the score of your opponent’s team, and you can easily differentiate it from your team’s score.
- The third/last number (2) is the position of the server and this is part where a lot of people get confused but you can remember it as if you’re the first one for pickleball service, then you would call it as 1 and if you’re the second one for pickleball service, then you would call it as 2.
Pretty easy so far? But wait because things are about to get complicated 😉.
3. Pickleball Scoring Rules for Doubles
Moving onto pickleball scoring for doubles because if you understand this, the pickleball scoring for singles would be a piece of cake for you because these are pretty much the same.
As mentioned earlier, service will always start at the even side of the court, either it’s the start of the game or it’s after the side-out.
So, when your team (the serving team) scores a point, your players will switch their positions. To be more precise, the player on the odd side will move to the even side, and the player on the even side (who served the previous shot) will move to the odd side. This process will continue as long as your team keeps on scoring points. And your opponent won’t change their swap their positions when your team (serving team) is scoring the points.
4. Pickleball Scoring for Singles
The scoring basics are the same as for the doubles pickleball game, but there are some differences between pickleball scoring for singles and pickleball scoring for doubles. Let’s find out those differences:
- For starters, the biggest difference is the score will be a combination of two numbers like 2-4.
- If the score of a player is even like 4-6, then he will serve from the even side (right side) of the court.
- Similarly, a player will serve from the left side (odd side) of the court, if his/her score is odd like 5-7.
- Both players will always stand crosswise (diagonally) to each other in a Pickleball court.
5. Situation-based Pickleball Scoring (Real Life Example)
For example, we have two teams TEAM-A and TEAM-B. The TEAM-A has players named Juggy and Archie whereas the TEAM-B has players named Betty and Veronica (I have picked the names randomly 😉😁).
So, when the score is 0-0, and Let’s say, Juggy and Archie have just gotten a side-out and as Juggy is standing on the even (right) side of the court he serves first. Juggy speaks their score first which is 0, then he speaks the score of his opponents which is also 0 and since he is the first server and the side-out, he’s a 1 which means a score of TEAM-A is 0-0-1.
Suppose TEAM-A has made a fault which means they don’t win a point and the other player on the TEAM-A which is Archie now gets a chance to serve. The score remains the same. He says his score first which is 0, their opponents score second which is still 0 but now as he’s the second person on the team to serve since the side-out so he’s a 2 which means the score of TEAM-A is still 0-0-2.
And when the TEAM-A will make another fault, the TEAM-B will get the serve. Betty is the first one to serve and as she’s standing on the even side (right side) of the court, she’ll say their score first which is 0, then the score of their opponent which is 0, and since she’s the first server of TEAM-B, she’s a 1. So, that means the score for TEAM-B is 0-0-1.
Now, let’ say the TEAM-B wins that rally and wins a point. The server of TEAM-B will keep serving, and they simply change sides until the serving team commits a fault. Because the rally will end when the serving team will commit a fault. When the rally ends, it’s Veronica’s turn to serve, and the score is still me 1-0-2 (because TEAM-B has won a rally, and Veronica is the second person to serve on TEAM-B since the last side-out).
Moving on to the tip about what will happen if you lose track of your position or scores? So, it’s very simple,
- Always remember who’s standing diagonally to you because if you remember from where you’ve started the game then you will figure out the scores based on the positions.
- As 0 is considered as an even number in Pickleball, so if you’ve started the game at the even side (right side) of the court, every time you’re on the even (right) side of the court, your score will be even. Similar is the case for the other side.
1. What are the 5-Rules of Pickleball?
Pickleball is a game similar to tennis. So there are many rules that you will find in tennis as well. However, here are some of the 5 rules:
- For a regular game, the game will end at 11 points and for a tournament, the game will end at 15 or 21 points.
- Service should be done at the baseline.
- The serve can’t land in the non-valley zone.
- The Wiffle ball should stay in inbounds.
- The Wiffle ball should bounce once per side.
2. Does First Serve Give You an Advantage?
Yes! But there’s a way to overcome it, only the player on the right side will have the chance of service on the first turn of the game. And when they serve will go to the other side and let’s say the player lost the serve, that player will do the second service. And that is why the score is 0-0-2 at the start of the game where the 2 is indicating the second serve.