Pickleball scoring can be a bit confusing for beginners, but with practice, it becomes easier to understand. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how scoring works in a doubles pickleball match:
Only the serving team can score points: Points are awarded only to the serving team when they win a rally. If the receiving team wins a rally, they don’t get a point, but they gain the serve.
Starting the game: One team is designated as the first-serving team. The even-numbered player (2) on that team serves first. In the first service sequence, only one player from the first-serving team has a chance to serve.
Serve rotation: After the first service sequence, the serve switches to the other team. From this point on, both players on each team will serve (one after the other) before the serve changes to the opposing team. When the serving team wins a point, the server’s partner becomes the new server. Players on the serving team do not switch sides. The receiving team players switch sides only after they win the serve back and score a point.
Announcing the score: The score is announced before each serve in the following order: serving team’s score, receiving team’s score, and the server’s number (1 or 2). For example, “5-3-1” means the serving team has 5 points, the receiving team has 3 points, and the current server is the odd-numbered player.
Game points: Each game is played to 11 points, and a team must win by at least 2 points. In some cases, games may be played to 15 or 21 points, depending on the specific tournament or league rules.
Win by two points: If a game reaches a score of 10-10 (or 14-14, or 20-20, depending on the game length), a team must win by 2 points to win the game. The play continues until a two-point lead is achieved by one of the teams.
By following these rules and practicing them during gameplay, scoring in pickleball will become more manageable and eventually become second nature.