The beginner's guide to pickleball scoring

The beginner's guide to pickleball scoring

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If you're struggling to understand how pickleball scoring works, you're not alone. Pickleball is unique from tennis or any other racquet sport because the score is called out on every point and starts at zero-zero-two. The first point called out is your score, the second, your opponents, and the final number represents the server. Because of this unique scoring, many players new to pickleball often feel confused by it. This guide will help you understand everything you need to know to master pickleball scoring.


Sometimes, you're going to hit a really good serve, and other times you're going to miss badly. Make the effort into hitting serves that are going to make you a better player. The only rule is that you need to send it over the net to the other player. A high-level player is never going to drop this, but for those earlier games,
this can be a little bit of a concern.

Make sure you do the right drills to make yourself better at this part of the game. It's a basic that may decide whether you win or lose some games in the future. It's not something that you should be bad at. It's the equivalent of being a bad free-throw shooter in Basketball. Make a real effort into improving yourself and your opponent will respect you more. When the other person respects you, they will play more honestly and Pickleball will become more skill-based.


  • Score easy points to win on players that are better than you
  • Get points when the opponent isn't as skilled


  • Lose points and the serve when you could've hit it

Win by 2

In the game of pickleball, the winner has to win by 2. When you do, the win itself seems more convincing to both players. In most games, you want the better player to win. Winning by multiple points is going to make sure that the audience and the competing players are going to have a better understanding of who was better when they end the game. If the game was only decided by one point, you would see more flukes and player with less skill would end up winning more often.

This is ultimately the best thing for both players. In other sports like Tennis, you need to end up winning by 2 points to end the set. The score of Pickleball isn't that decisive, so this makes it even better for both of the players involved. Winning by a higher number would limit the number of comebacks the underdog could possibly achieve. Overall, most people agree that this is good for the health of the game.


  • Make a players win more convincing
  • Potentially play less to score a win from the opponent


  • Limit the amount of comebacks that the opponent could do.

Only the right service court

This rule in pickleball makes one of the most defining parts of the sport. On the player on the right side of their court is allowed to serve. The player serving can only earn the point for that round, while the opposing player can only stop them from earning that point. This forces the opposition to be better than the server and make them earn their points more. This rule even applies for doubles. It forces both of the players who are receiving the ball to be good at taking it.

After the serve, the serving team has to switch positions and the other player has to serve. This also means that both players have to be qualified servers in order to not have a weakness exposed. This ultimately helps to improve the game by making it more exciting. In doubles one of the players is going to be better at serving than the other. It also means there aren't as many people as good at taking the serve as others.


  • Makes the game more exciting by requiring involvement from both players.


  • This weakness of not being good at serving will be exposed by other players in Doubles.


Sideouts happen when both people on the team fail to serve properly. Generally, the rules for serving in Pickleball are very forgiving for people who are serving. Even if the two of you happen to fail the serve, the opposing team won't actually gain any points. This just means that your pair won't gain points because you failed to serve properly. The opposing team will gain the opportunity of serving the ball to try to score. Just like you, they have to work within the same rules.

This means that even if the team is up by a point, a side out could potentially change the tide of the game for the opposition. It's very exciting because it forces both teams to still try their hardest, even if they are up on their opponents. It keeps the game tense and is blowouts of any pair is really rare for just about anyone to see. The level of skill has to be so big to be able to be a blowout.


  • Make a more interesting round so the opponent can comeback


  • Be bad and not succeed in scoring

Calling out score

Many times when playing casually a lot of people aren't going to agree on the score. With you friends a lot of you aren't going to agree on when a score actually happened. This mainly happens due to personal opinion and that is why most sports have referees. Pickleball is a sport which forces the player to take accountability. There aren't any penalties for not doing this, but players are supposed to call out the score at the beginning of each play.

Generally, you say your score first and then follow it up with the score of your opponent. Keeping track of this is important for consistency of the game. This makes the final result a lot more agreeable. Even at the highest level in sports, professionals will often not agree with the final number that the players scored. This is ultimately a good thing and lets everyone acknowledge what has happened leading up to that point in the game. It ultimately gives everyone peace of mind and people accept the wins and losses.


  • Consistency for the people involved


  • Can be a lot of effort for the people counting

Joan Hoagland

February 7, 2023

played tennis from 8 yrs to 6yrs, now at 93, watch! I just cannot get the scoring. Where can I get a printout. No one i know, not interest !

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