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How to Keep Score In Pickleball (Knowing the Rules)

How to Keep Score In Pickleball (Knowing the Rules)

Are you new to Pickleball and need to learn how to keep score? Or you’re a seasoned player looking for a refresher on scoring rules. Understanding how to keep score in pickleball is crucial to fully enjoy this thrilling sport. By familiarizing yourself with the rules you can avoid any potential confusion and ensure that points are allocated accurately. Additionally, it guarantees that the game’s final result is fair and reliable. So, get your paddle, and let’s dive in.

Basic Pickleball Scoring Rules in a new tab)

Understanding the basic pickleball scoring rules is pivotal to experiencing maximum enjoyment and fun. Here’s a breakdown of the three main scoring rules for pickleball:

Points: The points are awarded to the serving player/team when they win a rally and the receiving player/team fails to return the ball or commits a fault.

Serving and Receiving: Serving in Pickleball refers to the act of starting a point by hitting the ball with an underhand stroke diagonally into the opponent’s service court. Receiving in Pickleball refers to the front of returning the serve hit by the opponent. The receiver’s goal is to return the ball to the opponent’s court in a way that makes it difficult for them to make a successful shot.

Faults: A fault is any violation of the rules, such as hitting the ball out of bounds, stepping into the non-volley zone, or touching the net. Faults result in a point for the opposing team.

Understanding Pickleball Scoring System

Knowing the Pickleball scoring system is an important part of playing the game successfully and having enjoyment on the court. The game starts with a serve, which is hit underhand from the right-hand side of the court to the opponent’s service court. If the serving team wins the point, they continue to serve, and if they lose the point, the serve passes to the other team. Each time a team wins a rally, they are awarded a point, and the first team to reach 11 points, with a two-point lead, wins the game. There are a few key rules to keep in mind; for example, the ball must land in the opponent’s court to count as a point, and players cannot touch the net or cross the centerline during play.

How Points Are Earned

Now you are completely aware of the pickleball scoring rules and system. So, let’s dive into more details of how points and scores are earned in pickleball.

In Pickleball, scores are earned by winning a rally, which occurs when the ball is hit back and forth over the net until one team fails to return the ball. It is important to note that only the serving team can score points. If the receiving team wins the rally, they do not score a point but earn the opportunity to serve, also known as a side-out. The game continues until one team reaches 11 points with a two-point lead; at that stage, they are declared the winner. If the game is tied at 10 points, play continues until one team achieves a two-point lead to win.

Pickleball Singles Scoring Method

The scoring system for singles is the same as it is for doubles, with a few minor differences. In pickleball singles, only one player serves on each side of the court, unlike in doubles, where two players serve together.

A coin toss or other agreed-upon method determines the player who serves first in each game. The player accumulating 11 points with a two-point lead is declared the winner. In singles play, players earn points by successfully hitting the ball over the net and landing it within the boundaries of their opponent’s court.

Pickleball Doubles Scoring Method

Keeping score in pickleball doubles is a bit different than in singles, but the basic rules are the same. So, let’s get a quick dive into it and find out how to keep score in pickleball doubles.

To begin a pickleball game, one team initiates the game by serving the ball from the right-hand side of the court. The opposing team must then return the ball and ensure that it lands within the boundaries of the court to continue play. In doubles, the serve rotates between the two players on the serving team. 

The first serve is always made from the right-hand court, and subsequently, serves alternate between the left and right-hand courts. The receiving team gets to choose which player receives the serve. If the serving team wins the point, they continue to serve. Teams earn points by winning rallies; the score is announced after every point. To keep score in pickleball, players or a designated scorekeeper use a scoreboard or simply keep track of the score by calling it out loud.

Ways to Track the Score

Keeping track of the score in Pickleball is essential to ensure the game is played fairly and accurately. There are several methods to keep track of the score, and it’s up to the players to decide which method works best for them. One standard method is to use a scoreboard hung on the fence or placed near the court. The scoreboard typically displays the names of the teams or players and their scores. Another method is to use paper and a pen to keep the score manually. In this method, players can keep track of the score by writing it down on a piece of paper or notepad.

Pro Tips for Scoring in Pickleball

  • A well-placed serve can help you win a point right off the bat. Mix up your serves to keep your opponents guessing, and try to serve to their weaker side.
  • Communication is critical in doubles pickleball. Call out who will take the ball and who will cover the court to avoid confusion and missed shots.
  • When returning a serve, it is important to avoid stepping on or over the baseline to ensure the return is considered in play and eligible for points.
  • Keep the ball in play as long as possible. Focus on making consistent shots and waiting for an opportunity to attack.
  • Stay calm if you’re down on points. Stay patient and wait for your opponents to make mistakes – they will eventually.

So, How Do You Keep Score in Pickleball?

A good understanding of Pickleball scoring system enables you to focus on your gameplay and strive to earn points. With your acquired knowledge of how to keep score in Pickleball, you can thoroughly enjoy the thrill of the game. Step onto the court with confidence, play your game, and compete fearlessly.


In Pickleball, what is known as the “golden” rule?

The Activation of the entire body to move around the court. This means employing a split step and quick recovery footwork between every hit of the ball.

What is the most challenging thing in Pickleball?

Players may find executing effective third-shot drops or hitting consistent overheads particularly challenging.

Which action is illegal in Pickleball?

It is illegal to hit the ball above your waist, including on the serve. 


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