Pickleball Scoring

Teaching someone about pickleball scoring is more difficult than teaching them how to play pickleball. But it is worth the effort to understand how points are scored in pickleball so you can keep track of the game. At first, I was confused about how points score works. But after playing for a while, I figured out the system.

Pickleball is played to 11 points but must be won by two points. If the score is tied at 10-10, play continues until one team has a two-point lead. So, below we’ll go into detail about scoring, but we will start from the basics, so you understand it better.

Pickleball Scoring Terms

Before learning how to score pickleball points, you must understand some basic scoring terms. Here are common scoring terms you need to know:

Fault: A player commits a fault when they break the game’s rules. For example, if a player hits the ball out of bounds, it is considered a fault.

Side-out: A side-out occurs when the serving team makes a fault, and the receiving team becomes the serving team.

Non-volley zone: The non-volley zone is an area 7 feet from the net on either side. This area is also called the “kitchen.” Players cannot hit the ball while it is in this zone. If they do, it is considered a fault.

Volley: A volley is a shot that is hit before the ball bounces on the ground.

So above are some major terms that help you understand pickleball’s scoring system. If you are new, we recommend you check out our guide about Pickleball Terms & Definitions, in which we cover almost all the terms used in this sport.

Pickleball Scoring Rules

Now let’s talk about how points are scored; like any other game, there are some basic rules you need to know. Pickleball is played in singles and doubles formats; we will explain both formats below.

Singles Scoring Rules

According to the Official Pickleball Tournament Rulebook, scoring in singles games is slightly different than in doubles.

  • In singles, the server always serves from the right side of the court and must alternate serving after every 2 points. Unlike in doubles, there is no second service chance in singles. Your opponent gets the point if you serve into the net or out of bounds on your first try.
  • The game is played to 11 points but must be won by 2 points. So, if the score is 10-10, the next point will win the game. If both players reach 11 points, then play will continue until one player has a 2-point lead over their opponent.
  • When serving, players can choose to serve from anywhere behind the baseline as long as one foot remains behind it until the ball is struck- when returning service, players must stand behind the non-volley line until after their opponent has hit the ball.

Doubles Scoring Rules

The basic scoring rules for doubles are the same as in singles, with a few exceptions.

  • In double, each player on the team has a chance to serve, so the serving order is not always the same. Also, both players on a team can serve from the same side of the court.
  • You can score only when the team is serving, like in singles. When returning service, your opponents get the point if you or your partner hits the ball into the net or out of bounds.
  • At the start, the players on the right side of the court start serving, and the first player to serve will be the one standing behind the right line.
  • If the point is served, the server moves to another side of the court. The team’s first player who is standing behind the right line now becomes the server, and the second player becomes a partner, and they will stand.
  • In doubles, you will call the score in three numbers, such as 0-0-2.

Final Thoughts

Learning the right pickleball scoring system is important because it will ensure that you and your opponents are on the same page and playing by the same rules. By understanding the scoring system, you can keep track of the game and know when one team is ahead or behind.

We hope our guide on pickleball scoring was helpful, and you are now ready to get out on the court and start playing!

Tyson McGuffin
Tyson McGuffin is the top-ranked Pickleball player in the world. He has won numerous tournaments, and his athleticism and competitive spirit have made him a force to be reckoned with on the court. He loves to write about his sport, and he hopes to inspire other Pickleball players to reach their potential. Tyson McGuffin's love for Pickleball began when he was just a child. His father introduced him to the game, and Tyson quickly fell in love with it.