Introduction to Pickleball Scoring

Scoring is an essential aspect of pickleball, as it determines the progression of the game and ultimately the winner.

Understanding this is crucial for players to compete effectively and enjoy the game to its fullest. Let's explore the key elements of scoring in pickleball.

Pickleball scoring is based on the rally scoring system, where points can be won by either the serving team or the receiving team.

The objective is to score points by winning rallies, which are determined by the team that commits a fault or fails to return the ball over the net.

Each game is played to a certain number of points, typically 11, and a two-point margin is required to win.

Overview of the Pickleball Scoring System

In pickleball, the score consists of two numbers in singles matches: the server's score and the receiver's score.

In doubles matches, the score has three numbers: the serving team's score, the receiving team's score, and the current server number.

Only the serving team has the opportunity to score points. The objective is for a team to be the first to score the winning point and ultimately win the game.

In doubles matches, both teams receive two serves, except for the team serving to start the game.

Player positioning is also important in doubles pickleball based on the score, as it affects the strategic placement on the court.

For example, let's say in a doubles match, the serving team has a score of 6, the receiving team has a score of 4, and the current server number is 1.

This means that the serving team has scored 6 points, the receiving team has scored 4 points, and it is the first server's turn to serve.

As the game progresses, the score will continue to change, and the server number will rotate among the players on the serving team.

How to Score in Pickleball
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Scoring Points in Pickleball

Points in pickleball are scored when a team wins a rally. A rally is won through a combination of accurate shots, strategic placement, and forcing errors from the opposing team.

It is important to minimize faults and unforced errors, as they can result in points being awarded to the opposing team.

Accurate score calling before every serve is crucial for tracking points correctly and avoiding confusion.

For example, let's say in a rally, the serving team successfully returns the ball over the net and forces the receiving team to commit a fault, such as hitting the ball out of bounds.

In this case, the serving team will be awarded a point and the score will be updated accordingly.

Accurate score calling is important to ensure that the correct team is credited with the point.

How to Score in Pickleball
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Differences between Singles and Doubles Scoring

In singles matches, the score consists of two numbers: the server's score and the receiver's score.

Doubles matches, on the other hand, have three numbers in the score: the serving team's score, the receiving team's score, and the current server number.

These differences in scoring reflect the unique dynamics and strategies involved in each format of the game.

For example, in a singles match, the score might be 8-6, with the server's score being 8 and the receiver's score being 6.

In a doubles match, the score might be 7-5, 1-1, with the serving team's score being 7, the receiving team's score being 5, and the current server number being 1.

These score differences provide valuable information to the players and allow them to adjust their strategies accordingly.

Basic Scoring Rules in Pickleball

Matches in pickleball are typically played up to 11 points, and a two-point margin is required to win.

After scoring a point, players must switch sides of the court to ensure fairness and equal opportunity for both teams.

Faults, such as serving out of bounds or stepping into the non-volley zone during a volley, can result in a side out, leading to the opposing team serving.

Understanding and adhering to these basic scoring rules is essential for fair and enjoyable gameplay.

For example, in a match played up to 11 points, if a team reaches a score of 10 and the opposing team has a score of 9, the team with a score of 10 must continue to score until they have a two-point margin.

This means that they must score at least 12 points to win the game. Additionally, after scoring a point, both teams must switch sides of the court to ensure equal playing conditions.

How to Score in Pickleball
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Tips for Mastering Pickleball Scoring

To enhance your scoring skills in pickleball, it is important to practice and become proficient in accurately tracking points.

Calling the score aloud before serving and switching sides of the court after scoring a point helps maintain clarity and order during the game.

Additionally, maintaining proper player positioning based on the score is crucial for maximizing performance and strategically adapting to different game situations.

Once you have a good grasp of the scoring system, it is beneficial to focus on mastering the serving rules to further elevate your gameplay.

For example, practicing score calling during drills and friendly matches can help you become more confident in accurately tracking points.

Switching sides of the court after scoring a point not only ensures fairness but also allows you to adjust your strategy based on the court conditions.

Proper player positioning, such as moving closer to the net when you have a higher score, can give you a strategic advantage in controlling the game.

Mastering the serving rules, such as understanding when and where to serve, can help you gain an edge over your opponents.

How to Score in Pickleball
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Some Final Thoughts

Having a solid understanding of the pickleball scoring system is essential for players to compete effectively and enjoy the game.

By following the provided tips, practicing, and familiarizing yourself with the rules, you can improve your scoring skills and elevate your pickleball game.

Remember to call the score clearly, switch sides after scoring a point, and maintain proper player positioning based on the score.

Enjoy the exciting world of pickleball and have fun competing with friends and opponents on the court!


1. What is pickleball?

Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. It is played on a court with a net, using a paddle and a plastic ball.

2. What are the key strategies to score in pickleball?

To score in pickleball, it's important to focus on positioning, shot placement, communication with your partner, and utilizing different shot techniques such as dinking, driving, and lobbing.

3. How do I improve my serve to score more points?

To improve your serve, practice consistency, accuracy, and varying your placement. Aim to serve deep into the court, close to the baseline, and mix up your speed and spin to keep your opponents off balance.

4. What are some tips for effective shot placement in pickleball?

To place your shots effectively, aim to hit the weaker side of your opponents, target the sidelines to create angles, and avoid hitting the ball directly at your opponents. This will force them to move and make it harder for them to return the shot.

5. What is the importance of communication with my partner in scoring points?

Communication with your partner is crucial in pickleball. Clear and concise communication helps you coordinate your movements, anticipate shots, and cover the court efficiently. It allows you to set up strategic plays and take advantage of your opponent's weaknesses.

6. How can I improve my volleying skills to score points?

To improve your volleying skills, practice keeping your paddle in front of you, maintain a proper ready position, and focus on softening your hands to control the pace and placement of the ball. Work on timing and footwork to get into the optimal position for volleys.

7. What is the "dink" shot and how can it help my team's score?

The dink shot is a soft, low shot that is played close to the net. It helps you control the pace of the game and put pressure on your opponents by forcing them to move forward. Practice touch and finesse to execute accurate dinks that are hard to return.

8. How can I effectively use the "lob" shot to score points?

The lob shot is a high, deep shot that allows you to buy time or create an opportunity for your team. Use it strategically to disrupt your opponents' positioning or to defend against aggressive opponents. Practice lofting the ball with control and aim for the baseline to keep your opponents on their heels.

9. What are some common mistakes to avoid when trying to score in pickleball?

Avoid rushing your shots, neglecting your positioning, relying solely on power, telegraphing your shots, and playing too defensively. These mistakes can make it easier for your opponents to anticipate your moves and counterattack effectively.

10. How important is practicing footwork to score points in pickleball?

Footwork is crucial in pickleball as it allows you to get into position quickly and efficiently. Good footwork enables you to reach and return shots effectively, maintain balance, and maximize your court coverage. Regular footwork drills can significantly improve your game and help you score more points.


Scoring in pickleball seems simple at first, but it can get tricky once you're on the court. If you're wondering how to score in pickleball, it all depends on which side of the court you're on and which team is serving.

The server score will always be even or zero, while the receiver score will always be odd. The first team to reach 11 points, with a two-point lead, wins the game. If the score is tied, the first team to lead by two points wins.

Each team gets two serves, with the first server being the team that served last. If the team loses a point, the second server takes over until their team wins the serve back.

With these tips in mind, you're sure to keep up with the pickleball score and reach your way to victory!

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