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Pickleball Scoring Guide

We totally get it. Pickleball scoring can be confusing. We have broken down the basics, but the best way to really learn is grab a friend that knows the rules and get out there! You got this!



The Basics

  • Pickleball is played to 11 points, and you must win by 2 points.

  • The player on the right service court will always serve first for a team.

  • You can only win points when it is your team’s serve.

Doubles Scoring

  • You can only score a point when your team is serving. If you are on the receiving side, you can’t score a point.

  • The first serve is served by the player on the right side of the court, or what we call the even court. The server serves underhand, diagonally to the opposite court.

  • If the serving side wins the point, the server moves to the left court, the odd court, and serves diagonally again.

  • The server continues to serve from right to left each time that they score a point.

  • Players on the serving side are the only players who alternate right to left, and you only alternate when you score a point. The receiving side does not alternate sides.

  • When the first server loses the rally, the serve passes to the second server on the team.

  • When server two loses the serve, it is the other team’s turn to serve and try to win some points. The player on the right serves first. This same pattern continues throughout the game.

  • The server number (1 or 2) applies for that service turn only. Whoever is on the right side when the team gets the serve back is the first server for that service turn only. The next time that the team gets the serve back, it might be the other player that is on the right and is therefore the first server for that service turn only. Beginning players often mistakenly assume that the player keeps the same server number throughout the game.

  • For the very first serve of the game, only one person from that team serves. The first score that is called in pickleball is 0-0-2. The “2” means that the second server starts the game, and when the serving team loses a point, the serve goes to the other team. This minimizes the advantage of being the first team to serve in a game.

How to Call the Score

The score is always called by the person serving, saying three numbers.

  • Number One: Serving Score

  • Number Two: Receiving Score

  • Number Three: Server Number (either 1 or 2)

  • We like to remember it as: me, you, who

Singles Scoring

  • You can only win points when you are serving.

  • When the servers score is even, you serve from the right side. When the servers score is odd, you serve from the left side.

  • If you are serving, you call your score first: server score, receiver score.

  • The first person to 11 wins the game. You must still win by two!

Pickleball Necessities

Two Pickleball Paddles + Three Pickleballs + 1 Court Bag

Recess has everything you need to get started with pickleball. Grab a Recess Set today!