Instructions and Tips on How to Keep Score in Pickleball


Pickleball enthusiasts and beginner players need to know how to keep score in pickleball. In this blog post, we’ll explore the official pickleball rules of pickleball scoring, serving, and position switching to help you understand how to keep score in singles and doubles games. We’ll cover official pickleball rules for scoring, serving, and how to determine which team serves first.

You’ll also learn what happens when teams reach odd scores and how to switch positions during play. Whether you’re new to the sport or looking for a refresher on the basics, this guide will help improve your game and show you how to keep score in pickleball.

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Table of Contents:

Understanding the Scoring System in Pickleball

Pickleball has been growing in popularity recently, becoming a widely-enjoyed sport. The scoring system for pickleball is unique and requires some understanding so as not to lose track of points during gameplay. Here, we’ll explain how to score points, determine the serving team’s score and position, and understand the differences between singles and doubles play.

When scoring points in pickleball, each side must win by two clear points; this means if one team scores 11 points, they have won the game unless their opposing player manages to reach 12 first. Points are awarded when one team fails to return the ball correctly or misses it completely. A point can also be scored if an opposing player commits a fault, such as stepping into their opponent’s court or hitting the ball twice before returning it across the net.

When playing singles pickleball matches, players will switch sides after every six serves, whereas, in doubles matches, teams will switch sides after every three serves – known as ‘side-outs’ or ‘service breaks’ – so that both teams have equal opportunities on either side of the court throughout the play.

In terms of determining serving positions during games of pickleball, there are specific rules which dictate who should serve first at any given time depending on whether you’re playing singles or doubles matches: In single matches, players take turns serving from opposite ends while in double matches partners alternate service from alternating courts (left/right). This ensures that all players get an even amount of time with each end of the court throughout playtime which allows them more opportunity to practice different shots around different angles rather than just focusing on one particular area for too long.

Understanding the scoring system in Pickleball is essential for players to compete properly. Rules for singles play in Pickleball are distinct from those of doubles, so let’s delve into them further.

Key Takeaway: In pickleball, points are won when the opposing team fails to return the ball correctly or misses it completely. When playing singles matches, players will switch sides after every six serves, whereas in doubles, teams alternate service from alternating courts and switch sides after three serves. Keeping score is easy with a simple understanding of how serving positions work for both singles and doubles play.

Scoring Rules for Singles Play

When playing pickleball in singles, some unique rules apply. Fault limits for service turns and winning conditions are two of the most important things to keep in mind.

Fault Limits for Service Turns

In singles play, each player is allowed two faults before losing a point. This means they can hit the ball into the net or out of bounds twice without forfeiting a point. After that, any additional fault results in an immediate loss of the serve and a point awarded to their opponent, but nothing is taken away from the serving team’s score.

It’s important to note that this is a pickleball serving rule; otherwise, regular rules regarding faults still apply.

The first person to reach 11 points wins the game unless the server score is 10 points and the receiver score is also 10 points. In this case, they will continue playing until someone wins by two clear points – meaning they had 11 while their opponent was on nine or lower – in order for the game to end. This adds an extra layer of excitement since games can go on much longer than usual.

Scoring in singles play requires players not to lose track of their faults and score up to 11 points, with the winner being the first player or team to reach that number. 

Scoring Rules for Doubles Play

When engaging in a game of doubles pickleball, it is critical to be familiar with the particular regulations related to scoring. The first rule is that when one side serves, both players on that side must switch positions after each point. This means that if player A served first and won the point, then player B will serve for the next point.
However, there are two exceptions to this rule: 1) If a team wins three consecutive points without switching servers, or 2) If a team has already switched once during their service turn but wins another point before their opponents score.

how to keep score in pickleballSource

Another rule for doubles pickleball is known as the “two-serve” rule. This means that each player can only serve twice consecutively per service turn before they must switch with their partner. After switching sides at least once during a service turn, teams may also choose to continue alternating between the partners in the serving team until they reach seven points or have an advantage over their opponents by two points (whichever comes first).

The last scoring rule unique to doubles play is determining who serves first after a “side out” occurs (when one team scores while the other fails to return the ball). In this situation, whichever team scored last gets the opportunity to start off as server again; however, if both teams score on consecutive turns, then whichever team scored second would be allowed to begin serving again for their side.

Knowing how to keep score in pickleball can be tricky, so it’s important for all players involved in doubles pickleball games to remember these rules throughout gameplay. By calling out each serves clearly and remembering which player should be considered “even,” potential confusion about who the serving team is or how many times someone has served consecutively can be avoided – ensuring everyone knows exactly where they stand during every match.

Understanding how to keep score in pickleball doubles play is a crucial part of the game and should be done accurately when you want to play pickleball. Accurately tracking the score in a pickleball game is essential, and here are some tips to remember.

Key Takeaway: In pickleball doubles, it’s important to remember the “switch every point” and “two-serve” rules. Additionally, when a sideout occurs, whoever scored last will get to serve again – keeping score from becoming muddled up. Keeping track of who serves next is key to having an even playing field in this sport.

Tips for Keeping Score Accurately

Understanding how to keep score in pickleball is key to ensuring a fair and enjoyable game. Calling out each serve clearly is the first step in keeping track of points. As soon as one player serves, they should call out the point number before their opponent returns it.

This will help keep both players on the same page and make sure that no points are missed or counted twice.

Remembering which player is considered “even” can also be helpful when keeping score. In Pickleball, points with odd numbers are handled by one side and those with even digits by the other. Keeping this distinction in mind will prevent any confusion about who should be serving next and ensure that all scoring is accurate throughout the game.

FAQs in Relation to How to Keep Score in Pickleball

How do you keep score for pickleball?

Players compete to rack up points by striking the ball across the net and into their adversary’s court. The first team or player to reach 11 points wins the game, with two exceptions: if the serving team’s score is 10 points and the receiving team’s score is also 10 points, then they must continue playing until one of them has a 2-point lead; and if either team reaches 21 points before their opponents, then they win regardless of point difference.

Scoring in pickleball follows traditional tennis rules – each time your side hits an unreturnable shot, you get 1 point. This is how to keep score in pickleball. 

What scoring method is used in pickleball?

Pickleball is a game that uses the same scoring method as tennis. Points are scored when one team fails to return the ball over the net or commits a fault, and each point starts with a serve from one side of the pickleball court. A game is clinched by either attaining 11 points with a minimum of two more than the other team (or 15 for tournament play) or possessing greater points when the time expires.

What is the golden rule of pickleball?

Players should aim to strike shots that their adversaries can reach and return while avoiding any shots they cannot possibly make contact with. This means that players should strive to hit shots that their opponents can return and avoid hitting shots that are impossible for them to reach or return.

Additionally, all players should respect each other’s space on the pickleball court by avoiding contact with one another while playing. By following these simple rules, pickleball can be an enjoyable sport for everyone involved.


Keeping score in pickleball is an important part of the game and can be a great way to track progress. It adds fun and competition, encourages players to improve their skills, helps keep pickleball games fair, and makes it easier for teams or opponents to settle disputes over points.

Keeping track of points can help you assess your game, enabling you to enhance your skills. Whether playing with friends or competing at tournaments, ensure you know how to keep score in pickleball. 

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