In pickleball, keeping score can be a bit confusing for beginners, but with practice, it becomes second nature. Here’s a detailed explanation of how to keep score in pickleball:
Format: The score is called out in a three-number format: [server’s team score] – [receiver’s team score] – [server number]. For example, “4-3-1” means the serving team has 4 points, the receiving team has 3 points, and the server is the first server of the team.
Starting the game: At the beginning of the game, the team that serves first has only one server, referred to as “1.” The score is called as “0-0-1.”
Scoring: In pickleball, you can only score points when your team is serving. Points are awarded when the opposing team commits a fault, such as hitting the ball out of bounds, into the net, or if they volley the ball from within the non-volley zone (kitchen).
Serving rotation: After the first server loses their serve, the serve moves to the second server on the same team (if playing doubles). The score is called as “0-0-2.” Once the second server loses their serve, it’s considered a side-out, and the opposing team gets to serve. In singles, there’s no serving rotation; the server simply continues to serve until a side-out occurs.
Two servers per team (doubles): In doubles, each player on a team gets a turn to serve before the serve passes to the other team. The first server starts as “1,” and when they lose their serve, their partner becomes server “2.” When the second server loses their serve, it’s a side-out, and the opposing team starts serving.
Switching sides: After a side-out, the receiving team becomes the serving team. The player on the right side of the court will be the first server and will serve diagonally to the receiver on the opposite side.
Incrementing the score: If the serving team wins a point, they add one to their score and continue to serve. The server moves to the opposite side of the court, and their partner becomes the new receiver.
Winning the game: A game is usually played to 11 points, but it can also be played to 15 or 21 points, depending on the tournament or agreed-upon rules. A team must win by at least two points to secure the victory.
Remember to call out the score loudly and clearly before each serve to ensure all players are aware of the current score and server number. With practice, keeping score in pickleball will become a natural part of your gameplay.