How to Play Pickleball Singles- Scoring & Strategy and Rules

Pickleball is a fun sport that is played by either two players or four players. Knowing how to play as singles is something you should have information about in pickleball. In singles, there is no partner to rely on so it’s more hectic than playing in doubles. You will feel that it’s a fun and sweating workout after you are finished with a match as singles. 

All you need is a net, paddle, and balls, so it’s a great time passing hobby that keeps you fit. All you have to do is learn how to play pickleball singles! Pickleball players might have already played doubles so we have also provided how singles differ from doubles in pickleball. And get ready as things are about to get more heated in pickleball singles as you alone have to take over the court without any partner to rely on. Let’s begin. 

Rules of pickleball singles:

Pickleball singles can be broken down as two players competing against each other on opposing sides of the net. Firstly you need to know the essentials of playing pickleball singles:

  1. Right side player is the first to serve
  2. In case of an odd score, the left side should serve. 
  3. The serving player’s score will be valid for knowing the position of which side serves. 
  4. Before serving, the server should call out the two numbered scores; first, their score followed by the opposing player’s score. 
  5. On winning a rally, the servers should switch positions. Rally is known as one match of pickleball. 

Positioning and serving of pickleball singles: 

As you already know, serving player scores determine the position of the players. If the position of the server is not correct they lose a rally and that will be considered a fault. Here’s all you need to know,

  • An Even number score means that the server should serve from the right side of the court and an odd number score shows that serving should be done from the left side of the court. 
  • In the occurrence of a fault, the service is given to the opponent and the position of the server (opponent) is determined by the score. 
  • The server always hits the ball diagonally to the opponent’s court. 

Now that you know how to play pickleball singles let us give you some tips that will help you improve your game development in the long run. 

Tips for improvement in playing pickleball singles:

There are countless tips for playing pickleball doubles, if you are playing singles for the first time then you are in for a treat. Here are some basic tips any level player can do in pickleball singles. 

  • Serve execution and power: 

Your serve should go deep and you must be standing near the centreline to have control of the overall court. The serve should be powerful and we recommend targeting the opponent’s feet to make sure they do a fault. 

  • Hitting opponent’s backhand: 

Serve the ball in a way that forces your opponent to use the backhand as that will make it easier to throw them off balance. 

  • Standing position: 

Standing near the back-third of the court will make it easier to look at the opponent while simultaneously having control over your side of the court. 

  • non-volley zone: 

Another great tip is to stand in a non-volley zone to have more intimidation on your opponent. Plus the non-volley zone helps in targeting the opponent’s feet better. 

However, keep in mind that your opponent might hit the ball away from the court if you are in this zone so be cautious of when to step into the non-volley zone. 

  • Open court: 

Never leave your court open and look for the opponent’s open court. As you do not have a partner to rely on during single sits, it is best to know each angle of the court so that you can hit all shots. Furthermore, look for your opponent’s open sides and serve deep in the open court area to score. 

  • Practice footwork: 

Playing pickleball singles is harder than it looks. Firstly you are the only player, secondly, you can only rely on yourself, thirdly the court is big and it’s hard for a single player to cover it all. Therefore, it’s best if you build strength in your legs and improve your footwork. Having fast and agile footwork will help in playing pickleball singles.

  • Keep your opposition player on the move.:

Similarly, as in practicing footwork, you should keep your opponent moving. The court is big enough so you can put that to your advantage. Serve deep and in random areas within the court and over the net so your opponent can not predict what’s coming next. 

Final words: 

That concludes our take on playing pickleball singles. We highly recommend building your cardio as playing as a single-player takes a lot of physical effort and strength. Having fast footwork is a great advantage in pickleball singles. We hope we helped you with your curiosity and query about how to play pickleball singles. 


  1. How is pickleball single different from pickleball doubles?

Here are four differences: 

  1. Each player has to take over their side of the court alone as a single player. 
  2. At the start each side gets one serve; in doubles, one side gets two serves as there are two players. In singles only one service is given, if the player commits an error the service is given to the opponent. 
  3. Single-player only calls out two number scores in pickleball singles. 
  4. Playing singles is much more physical work than playing doubles. 
  1. What is better than serving first or last in pickleball?

It’s better to serve first in pickleball singles. Research shows the side that servers first are 70% more likely to win more rallies. 

  1. How do you win in pickleball singles?

When you have a 2-point gap with your opponent you win. Usually, the match consists of 11 points where you need to have a 2-point gap or else the match continues.

4-What is the difference between singles and doubles in pickleball?

In the single-player game, the player is the person who handles his side of court and it gets a bit hectic to cover every shot with great hard work

On the other hand in doubles,  a team of two players covers each side of the court and this is relatively easier than in singles.  

    5. Who serves first in pickleball singles?

When the serve goes to side out, the game resets and any of the team can serve first. This service may continue until the team makes 2 faults. 

   6. How many serves do you get in singles pickleball?

In singles, you only have the opportunity to serve once.

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