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How to Keep Score in Pickleball

A group of young people playing pickleball in court.

Scorekeeping in pickleball proves just as simple as playing it. Once you know how to score a singles game, you simply double it for doubles, essentially.

Singles Scoring in Pickleball

Pickleball cartoon ball character with dead face because a player made a mistake.

In pickleball, the server keeps serving until the other party scores a point. No point scored by the opponent? No change of ball control.

This sometimes results in lopsided scores but makes scorekeeping simpler. Serving starts from the right side with an even score, which means play begins with a serve from the right side, since the score sits at 0 to 0 then. When the score becomes odd, the serving player serves from the left side.

When a player either faults or misses the ball, the opposition scores. When calling the score, state it as server score and receiver score. Most commonly, a player commits a fault when he or she steps into the non-volley zone accidentally.

This seven-foot zone from the net to seven feet back onto the court. This makes it different from tennis or badminton, where you can rush the net.

Doubles Scoring in Pickleball

Pickleball mixed doubles action of colorful court.

Doubles scoring works the same way but with a second server. In doubles, you can only score a point on the serve. The receiving side can’t score.

Just as with singles, play starts on the right side, serving diagonally to the opposite court. When the server scores, the play rotates. The server moves to the left side of the court and serves diagonally.

If they score a point, the play rotates again. The receiving side does not alternate their sides. The original server continues serving until the serving team commits a fault.

The serve then moves to the second server on the doubles team. The opposing team doesn’t get to serve until the second server’s service turn ends by the serving team committing a fault. The opposing side also serves first from the right side and continues through the same rotation.

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This makes it pretty simple to tally the score. Only the first side will score for an extended period of time.

Calling the Score

Active senior playing pickleball.

The simplest method of keeping score remains to have a third person who serves as scorekeeper when playing singles or a fifth person when playing doubles. Otherwise, the players themselves must try to track the score and remember it while they play. This individual should tally the score as it occurs.

This provides a simpler method than either player stopping play to write it down. Plus, no matter how fancy the fields and courts where you play, they won’t have an artificial intelligence system with sensors on the ball that keeps score for you. Maybe someday.

Call the score as two numbers in singles, but three numbers in doubles. To properly sequence the score calling in singles, call “server score [insert number], receiver score [insert number]”, but in a doubles game, call “server score [insert number], receiver score [insert number], server number [insert number].” This means that for a singles game where the server scored 5 and the receiver scored 4, you’d say “5, 4” but in a doubles game with the same score with the play about to pass to the second server on the team that originally received, you’d say “5, 4, 2.”

When you don’t have another party along to call the scores, the person serving the ball calls it. If you have the ball in your hand, ready to serve it, you must call the serve first by calling the score. That makes it important for each person playing to familiarize themselves with the scorekeeping rules and method of calling.

How to Easily Tell if You’re in the Wrong Places?

Young man and woman playing pickleball in court.

Since an even score always means service from the right and an odd score mean service from the left, in a game with an even score, the server who initially served in the game would stand on the right side of the court. It makes a simple double-check for the score since moving from right to left only occurs when the serving side scores. Of course, in tournament play, you get a scorekeeper who takes care of all of this for you.

You also probably can glance up at a scoreboard to check the score.