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The Art of Keeping Score in Pickleball

The Art of Keeping Score in Pickleball

The Art of Keeping Score in Pickleball

Ever wondered how to keep score in pickleball without losing track or getting confused? You're not alone! Many beginners find pickleball scoring a bit tricky at first. Our mission in this blog post is to break down the scoring system of this addictive and rapidly growing sport so you can focus on improving your game and having fun on the court!



Back to Basics

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of pickleball scoring, let's first establish some basics. In pickleball, points can only be scored by the serving team. Each team has two players, and both players serve consecutively. A game is played up to 11 points, but a team must win by a 2-point margin.


A pickleball score consists of three numbers: the serving team's score, the receiving team's score, and the server number (either 1 or 2). The score is announced before each serve, with the server calling out the entire score. For example, a score may be announced as "4-3-1", with 4 being the server's score, 3 being the opponent's score, and 1 indicating that the first server of the team is on the serve.

Keeping Track of Your Server Number

In order to keep track of your server number, it is helpful to designate a specific area on the court for the first and second servers. One common practice is to have the first server stand on the even side of the court (right side as you face the net) and the second server on the odd side of the court (left side as you face the net). When the server loses a rally, they switch sides to serve to the other player.

Who Serves When?

The serve changes when the serving team loses a rally or commits a fault. When the first server loses the serve, the second server takes over. When the second server loses the serve, the other team takes over as the serving team, and their first server begins the serve. It is important to remember that the first serve of each side-out (when the serve changes to the other team) should always be made by the first server, and only one serve is allowed before the serve changes to the second server.

Tips for Keeping Up

Keeping score in pickleball can be potentially confusing, especially at the beginning. But practice makes perfect! Some tips for keeping track:

- Call the score before each serve to keep both teams on the same page

- When in doubt, ask your opponents for their understanding of the score. If neither one knows the score, you always have the option to replay critical points!

-Use some sort of visual to keep track of your score when starting out. As you practice, this will become second nature!

Our Foolproof Tip for Keeping Score in Pickleball:

Take note of which player starts the game on the right side of the court for each team. That person will be the “even” player, meaning that whenever they are on the right side of the court, the score will be even, every single time! On the other hand, the teammate who serves on the left side of the court first will always have an odd score when on the right side.

Although keeping score in pickleball may seem daunting at first glance, with practice and patience, you'll quickly find your groove on the court. Remember, the key to understanding pickleball scoring is understanding the basics, keeping track of your team's server number, and knowing when the serve changes. So, get out there, practice these techniques, and elevate your pickleball game to the next level! Let’s play!


For more on how to keep score, please see our Pickleball Scoring Guide.

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