How Is Pickleball Scored?

Pickleball scoring can be confusing for beginners, but with a bit of practice, it becomes straightforward. Here’s a detailed explanation of how pickleball is scored:

Basic rules:
a. Pickleball is usually played to 11 points, but sometimes to 15 or 21 points, depending on the tournament or players’ preferences.
b. You must win by at least 2 points to secure a victory.
c. Points can only be scored by the serving team.
d. In doubles, both players on a team have an opportunity to serve before the serve switches to the opposing team, except for the first service rotation of the game, which has only one player serving.

Serving and scoring in doubles:
a. At the beginning of the game, the player on the right side of the court (from the serving team’s perspective) serves first.
b. If the serving team wins the rally, they score a point, and the server moves to the left side of the court to serve again.
c. If the serving team loses the rally, no points are scored, and the second player on the team (if it is not the first service rotation of the game) serves from their current position (left or right side).
d. When both players on the serving team have lost their serve, it is called a “side-out,” and the opposing team takes over serving.

Announcing the score:
a. Before each serve, the server should announce the score loudly and clearly.
b. The score announcement consists of three numbers: the serving team’s score, the receiving team’s score, and the server number (either 1 or 2, indicating which server of the team is currently serving).
c. For example, if the serving team has 4 points, the receiving team has 6 points, and it is the first server, the server should announce “4-6-1.”

Switching sides:
a. In games played to 11 points, teams switch sides when one team reaches 6 points.
b. In games played to 15 points, teams switch sides when one team reaches 8 points.
c. In games played to 21 points, teams switch sides when one team reaches 11 points.
d. During a tiebreaker game, sides are switched more frequently, typically after every multiple of 5 points (e.g., 5, 10, 15, etc.).

By understanding these basic principles of pickleball scoring, you will be able to keep track of the score and enjoy the game.