Pickleball Scoring For Dummies – Everything You Need To Know

Pickleball Paddle

Pickleball Scoring For Dummies

Feeling a little lost on the scoring rules for pickleball? Although it is a simple game, scoring can be a little tricky to understand right away. Well, not to worry because we’ve made it easy in a “Pickleball Scoring For Dummies” guide. I’ve included a bonus of the 5 best pickleball serves for beginners to master down below.

Here is the quick scoring guide for singles:

  • Choose how many points you’re playing to – 11, 15, or 21 (15/21 is usually in tournament play) 
  • You must win by 2 points
  • Always start serving from the right side of the court.
  • Call out the score before you serve (the person serving calls their points first)
  • You can only score if your serving
Read further if you want the full breakdown on scoring and doubles rules

How To Keep Score in Pickleball - Singles vs Doubles

Single scoring: Its serve is done from the right side of the court when the server’s score is even and on the left side when the score is odd. Depending on the server’s score, the opponent stands either on the right or left side. 

Once the player or opponent commits a fault it’s considered a dead ball and the person who didn’t commit the fault gets the point.

Example: Player 1 is serving player 2. Player 1 has 2 points so they serve from the right side. Player 1 serves the ball over the net and player 2 hits it back to player 1 who misses the ball. No points are scored and player 2 now gets to serve. 

Example 2: Player 2 is now serving player 1. Player 2 has 5 points so they serve from the left side of their court. Player 2 serves the ball over the net to player 1, who hits the ball but it goes into the net. The ball is dead and player 2 gets the point. 

How To Keep Score - Doubles

Double scoring: Just like in singles, the opponents’ side cannot score any points until they serve. When beginning the game, the right-hand side player will serve the ball to the diagonally receiving court. If this server scores a point, they move to the left side to serve the ball to the diagonally opposite court. The first server keeps on serving until its team commits a fault. 

Only on the first service of the game does that team only serve once. (After the first service of the game each person on either team gets to serve before it goes to the opposing team)

Example: Team A starts the game serving Team B. Team A serves from the right side of the court diagonally to Team B. Team B returns the ball and Team A commits a fault. It’s now Team B’s turn to serve from the right side of the court and the score is 0-0-1.

Let’s say team Team B commits a fault the next player on Team B now gets to serve and the score is 0-0-2.  

Pickleball Scoring For Dummies - Calling Out The Score

When calling out the score for singles it’s very straightforward. Call out your score followed by your opponents. Remember to keep track, this will help inform you on what side to stand on. (Even Score = Right. Odd Score = Left)

While calling the score in doubles involves a little more it’s still very easy. It is done as three numbers: the server score, the opponent’s score, and the team server number (ME – YOU & WHO)

When starting the game, the score is called zero-zero-two. The number 1 or 2 applies to that service turn. The player on the right side of the court is the first server for the service turn only. The next time the team gets the service back, whoever is on the right side at the time is for the service turn only, even if it is the other player.

What sets this game apart from other racquet games is that the only team that attains points is the serving team. This means that if you master serving you have a great chance of winning the game.

Hopefully that all make sense. So what is the serving order in pickleball?

Pickleball Scoring for doubles

What Is The Serving Order Position In Pickleball?


Have you ever been lost out on the court wondering if you and in the right player position?  Pickleball is a straightforward sport, but has some unusual rules (Check our full article on Pickleball: How to Play.) 

Rule 4.B.1 States: The correct server and receiver and their positions are determined by the score and the players’ starting position in the game.

This makes it easy in terms of figuring out where to be on the court. Make a mental note of who you are serving to at the beginning of the game. 

Rule 6.B.6.b. States: When the team’s score is even, the team starting server should be on the right side. When the team’s score is odd the team’s starting server should be serving from the left.

Note that your opponent doesn’t switch sides when they’re not serving.

Scoring Pickleball for dummies

The Best Pickleball Serves For Begginers

• Power serve

Hitting a power service can be tricky, but it doesn’t mean it is impossible. The key to achieving this serve is ensuring you use a full swing. This help leverage your core and rotates your hips. The power comes from your legs, hips, and core, not from hitting the ball harder. It is a serve worth learning.

• Lob serve

This is relatively easy to learn. It is a serve that goes high and lands deep in the opponent’s service court. To hit this successfully, the paddle should connect well towards the ball’s underside and follow through toward the sky. It is also known as a high soft serve.

• Centerline serve

This takes a lot of practice to learn. However, the trick is to stand behind the service court baseline, serve as usual, and aim the ball to land inside the centerline of the opponent’s court. It is a serve that can easily take the opponent off-guard.

• Kitchen corner serve

This service is done as you normally would but with less power. The aim is for the ball to land on the sideline of the opponent’s service court but outside the non-volley zone.

To Wrap It Up

Pickleball is easy to learn but can get confusing with all the small rules. Hopefully, we have shed a little more light in this pickleball scoring for dummies guide. Well, what are you waiting for? Get out there on the court and have some fun!

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