In doubles pickleball, keeping score involves understanding the unique scoring system used in the game. Points are only earned by the serving team, and each player on the serving team gets a turn to serve before the service switches to the opposing team (except for the very first service of the game). Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to keep score in doubles pickleball:
Starting the game: To determine which team serves first, you can use a coin toss or another agreed-upon method. At the beginning of the game, only one player from the starting team gets to serve. The player on the right side of the court (even side) serves first.
Scoring: Points are only earned by the serving team when their opponents commit a fault. Faults can occur due to various reasons, such as hitting the ball out of bounds, failing to clear the net, volleying from within the non-volley zone (the “kitchen”), or hitting a serve that lands in the wrong service box.
Serving order: After the first server on the starting team loses their serve (by committing a fault), the serve switches to the opposing team. From this point forward, each team will have both players serve consecutively before the serve switches to the other team.
Serving positions: Each time a team scores a point, the server and their partner switch sides on their side of the court. This continues until the serving team commits a fault, and the serve passes to their partner or the opposing team (if both players have already served).
Announcing the score: Before each serve, the server should announce the score in the following order: the serving team’s score, the receiving team’s score, and the server’s number (either 1 or 2, depending on which server they are). For example, if the serving team has 3 points, the receiving team has 4 points, and the player serving is the second server, the score should be announced as “3-4-2.”
Winning the game: A doubles pickleball game is typically played to 11 points, and a team must win by at least 2 points. However, some matches may be played to 15 or 21 points, depending on the specific tournament or event rules.
Side-out: When both players on the serving team have lost their serve (committed faults), a “side-out” occurs, and the serve switches to the opposing team. The first server on the new serving team will always start their serve from the right side of the court (even side).
It’s essential to pay close attention to the score, serving order, and positions throughout the game. Properly announcing the score before each serve helps to keep everyone on the same page and minimizes confusion during the match.