Picking up pickleball can be daunting at first, but it doesn’t have to leave you feeling lost. The rules are quite simple and easy to understand with our “Pickleball Scoring For Dummies” guide! This article covers all aspects of the game, plus some tips for beginners who want their game down pat as quickly as possible.
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 you are serving
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 returns it to Player 1, who misses it. No points are scored, and player two 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 goes into the net. The ball is dead, and player 2 gets the point.
No partner to practice with? Read our Pickleball drills for beginners post!
How To Keep Score - Doubles
Double scoring: Like in singles, opponents cannot score any points until they serve. When the game begins, the right-hand side player will serve the ball to the receiving court diagonally. 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. Team B’s turn to serve from the right side of the court is now, 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.
Read our more detailed post: The Easy Pickleball Scoring Guide.
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. 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?
What Is The Serving Order Position In Pickleball?
Have you ever been lost out on the court, wondering if you are in the correct player position? Pickleball is a straightforward sport with 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 serve from the left.
Just so you know, your opponent doesn’t switch sides when they’re not serving. Here are the official rules from the USAPA
(Do you know the difference between indoor and outdoor pickleballs? Read our post now)
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 service 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 service 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 to 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 service that can easily take the opponent off-guard. Learn all the line rules here!
What a service without a good paddle! Read our full review of Selkirk’s Pickleball Paddles
To Wrap It Up
Pickleball is easy to learn but needs to be clarified with all the small rules. Hopefully, we have shed 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!
Want to learn more? Read All of our posts here.
Read our full post on calculating calories burned while playing pickleball.
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