Keeping score in pickleball can seem confusing at first, but with a little practice, it becomes straightforward. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to keep score in a doubles pickleball match:
Each team has two players: one even-numbered player (2) and one odd-numbered player (1).
To start the game, one team is designated as the first-serving team. The even-numbered player on that team serves first. In the first service sequence, only one player from the first-serving team has a chance to serve.
After the first service sequence, the serve switches to the other team. From this point on, each team will have both players serve (one after the other) before the serve changes to the opposing team.
The serving team can only score points. If the serving team wins a rally, they get a point. If the receiving team wins a rally, they don’t get a point, but they do gain the serve.
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.
When the serving team wins a point, the server’s partner becomes the new server. The 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.
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.
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.
Remembering these rules and practicing them during gameplay will make keeping score in pickleball much more manageable. Over time, it will become second nature.