Mastering Pickleball: A Beginner's Guide to Keeping Score

Pickleball has gained immense popularity in recent years, captivating players of all ages and skill levels. As you dive into this exciting sport, understanding how to keep score is essential for a smooth and enjoyable game. In this beginner's guide, we'll walk you through the simple scoring system of pickleball and equip you with the knowledge to keep score like a pro.


  1. Scoring Basics:


Pickleball follows a straightforward scoring system, primarily based on the server's points. Here are the key elements to keep in mind:


  • The game begins with one team serving and the opposing team receiving.
  • Points are only awarded to the serving team.
  • A point is scored when the receiving team fails to return the ball successfully within the designated boundaries.
  • The first team to reach 11 points (or 15 in some cases) and leading by at least two points wins the game.


  1. Serving Rotation:


Understanding the serving rotation is crucial to keep the game fair and balanced. The serving team must maintain a specific order of rotation throughout the game. Here's how it works:


  • The serving team's first server starts from the right side of the court, serving diagonally to the opposite court.
  • After each successful point, the serving team's server switches sides but continues to serve from the same right side.
  • If the serving team loses a point, the serve transfers to the opposing team, and their server starts from the right side.
  • The serving rotation continues, with each team serving from the right side when it's their turn.


  1. Keeping Score:


Now, let's dive into the actual scoring process. Here's a step-by-step breakdown:


  • The serving team's score is announced first, followed by the receiving team's score.
  • At the start of the game, the serving team's score is always zero.
  • Each time the serving team wins a point, their score increases by one.
  • The serving team continues to accumulate points as long as they win rallies.
  • If the receiving team wins a rally and gains the serve, their score remains the same until they win a point while serving.
  • The score is announced before each serve, ensuring everyone is aware of the current standing.
  • The first team to reach the designated number of points (11 or 15) with a two-point lead wins the game.


  1. Switching Sides:


In competitive pickleball, players switch sides of the court when the leading team reaches a certain number of points (usually 6 or 8). This ensures fairness by accounting for any potential court advantages due to wind or other factors. The switch occurs during a timeout or when the leading team reaches the predetermined score, and it applies to both teams.


Keeping score in pickleball is a relatively straightforward process once you grasp the fundamentals. By understanding the scoring basics, serving rotation, and the switch sides rule, you can confidently navigate the game and enjoy pickleball to the fullest.

So, gather your friends, hit the court, and put your newfound knowledge to the test. May your serves be powerful, your rallies thrilling, and your scoreboards filled with points as you embark on an exciting pickleball journey!