Pickleball scoring guide
Whether you play pickleball for fun or as part of a tournament, it's helpful to know about scoring in pickleball. The counting rules can be confusing, especially if you're new to the game. Here is some useful information to get you started.
Basics of scoring in pickleball
The first thing you should know about scoring in pickleball is that only the serving team can score points. If the receiving team fails to return the serve or commits an error, the serving team is awarded a point. A fault occurs when a rule, such as the double stroke rule, is violated. Play is then stopped and the serving team is awarded a point. Some other examples of common errors that, if committed by the receiving team, would result in the serving team receiving a point:
- Hitting the ball after more than one bounce.
- Hitting the ball out of the air before it has bounced once
- Catching or interfering with the ball in the air before it bounces
- Being hit by the ball before it bounces
- Hitting the ball while it is in the non-volley zone or touching the line
The serving team can also commit the same errors as the receiving team. In this case, the serving team loses the serve.
Most games end when a team reaches 11 points. Also, the score must be at least two points higher than the opposing team. In other games, especially tournaments, play can continue until one team reaches 15 or 21 points, again winning by at least two points.
Doubles scoring for pickleball
The most popular way to play pickleball is doubles, meaning four people play, two per team. Except for the first serve of the game, each team has two serves, one for each player. Before serving, the team member must announce the score, which consists of three numbers:
- The first number is the current score of the serving team.
- The second number is the current score of the receiving team.
- The third number is the serving team's number, which will always be either a one or a two.
Each pickleball game begins with a score of 0-0-2 or 0-0 start, as no team has scored points yet and the serving team receives only one serve. Once a point is scored, the serving team's players switch sides, with the same player continuing to serve. The receiving team's players do not switch sides.
Single game scoring for Pickleball
Scoring for pickleball singles is similar to doubles, except that only two numbers are called before each serve: the serving team's score and the receiving team's score. Since there is only one player on each team, the serving player's number is not relevant and is therefore omitted from a singles match.
Once you start playing pickleball, you will have a better understanding of how pickleball is scored. If you have any questions or need further explanation, Pickleball Corner will be happy to help!