How to keep score in pickleball? Complete Guide

Pickleball is a fun and easy sport to play, however not knowing how to keep score can make things go south. Like badminton and tennis, pickleball is played as a single-player or as doubles. You must understand the fundamentals of both playing methods. Yes, the scoring basics of both singles and doubles are different. Knowing how to keep score not only increases your knowledge of pickleball but also helps you win. 

Rules of scoring in pickleball:

  • Usually, pickleball is played by 11 points and wins by 2. 
  • The team leading by two points wins. The game will continue until there is a two-point gap regardless of the final set score. 
  • When the receiving team loses the ball, the serving team scores.
  • Receiving team or player can not score. 
  • The serving team can keep serving until they lose a point. 
  • The server must always mention the score before serving.

Now that you know the basic scoring rules let’s move on to the real deal. To know how to keep score in pickleball, there are three things you need to understand. First is scoring basics which you already know; second is singles scoring, and last and most complicated we have doubles scoring. Knowing how to keep score and how to track your score is also important. Firstly let us explain how doubles scoring is done so it becomes simple for you to understand. 

How to keep score as doubles

The first and foremost rule to know is that only the serving team can score. Meaning that receivers of serves do not score a point. Since there are two players in doubles, each player gets to serve with the right side player being the first to serve. The opposite team can serve only if the serving team makes an error. Also, no faults made by the serving team will ensure that they keep serving that is why serving first has the advantage. Here’s what you need to know when keeping score as doubles:

  • Before serving, state your team’s score followed by the opponent team’s score.
  • Servers also have to state the server’s number. 
  • The player on the right side of the court will always serve first for the team. 
  • After scoring points, the servers of the serving team switch places. The process of switching places keeps on taking place till a fault is made. 
  • Once a single fault is made, the second player of the serving team serves. 
  • In the occurrence of a fault, the opposing team will now get a chance to serve once both players of the serving team have had a chance to serve. 
  • At the start of the match, the serving team only serves once. 

In addition to that, you have to know the terms in pickleball as well. That is when the serving team loses chances of making serves and the opposing team gets the serving chance, we call it a side out. 

Here’s an example of keeping score as doubles in pickleball: 

As you step into the court in pickleball tournaments you will see scores in three numbers. No need to panic, we are not solving mathematics equations, but a little bit of attention is needed as the scoring can be complicated. So take for example at the start of the match you are serving the team; the score will be 0-0-2 and you will state the score as 0-0. 

The first number: In pickleball scores, the first number shows the serving team’s score. As the serving team changes the position of numbers changes as well. 

The second number: The second number is the score of the receiving team and that also changes depending on the team. 

The third number: The last number is the number of the server that is serving. It can be either 1 or 2. 

Moving onto our imaginary match: 

  • If the opponent misses the ball then the score will be 1-0-2. And you switch places with the opposite partner. 
  • Now the second shot is made by your team and you guys make a fault. 
  • As you are the serving team and the server is the 2nd server, it will be side out and the serving will go to the opposite team. 
  • The Opposing team will state the score as 0-1-1. The opposite team serves with their first server and either scores a point or makes a fault at serving. 
  • For instance, they made a fault, in this case, the second server of the opposing team will serve. 
  • The score stated will be 0-1-2; as only the server changed and no points were made. 
  • Now, for instance, the opposing team made a point when you missed a shot. The score will be 1-1-2. On the second score, their scoring number will be 2-1-2.
  • Once a fault is made by the opposing team only then your team will get to serve. 
  • After a fault is made the serving position will be yours and the score will be 1-2-1; 1 being your team score, 2 being receiving the team’s score and lastly, 1 is the number of the server. 

That’s how you score and keep track of the score as doubles. Yes, it’s complicated but once you practice and understand the concept of numbers it gets simpler. Let us cool your mind down by giving you a guide on how to score as singles. It’s rather simpler than the double one so keep calm and let’s get to it. 

How to keep score as singles: 

Moving on to a much simpler form of playing in pickleball that is playing as single players. As there is only one player and no second server there is no need to state or know the server’s number. 

  • The player on the right side of the court will be the first server. 
  • To know who is serving you have to look at the score. An even score number means the right side is the server and an odd score number means the left side player is the server. 
  • The server player’s score will determine the position of the receiving player. 
  • The number of singles in pickleball is simple; first is the server’s score followed by the receiver’s score. 

That’s it! Playing as a single and understanding the concept of the score is quite simple. 

Final words

Practice makes perfect! You should practice playing pickleball as if you are playing it in official tournaments. Keeping this in mind and keeping track of the score will help in your overall game development. Lastly, we believe that this guide was helpful and you found the numbering concept of pickleball score understandable. 

FAQs

  1. What is the best way to keep track of the score?

In doubles, we recommend stating the score of your team and hearing the score from the opposite team as well. When you’re on the right side of the court in singles, the score will be even. This approach can also be used in a clever way with doubles. So, the “even” player begins the game on the right side of the court. This means that while they are on the right side of the court, the score will always be even.

Understanding this will help in keeping track of the score. 

  1. What is the most basic rule of scoring in pickleball?

Points are only given to the serving team. Usually, pickleball matches are played to 11 points, and a side must win by a gap of two points. Also, tournament games may be played to 15 or 21 points, but they must be won by a margin of two points.

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