Pickleball continues to grow in popularity. While similar to tennis, the rules aren’t quite the same. One of the most frequently asked questions we get from new players is how to score the game. Here is how pickleball is scored.
Pickleball Scoring Rules
Below are the rules from the USA Pickleball official website.
- Singles scoring is similar to doubles except that there is no second server.
- When the server’s score is even the serve is taken from the right side, and when the server’s score is odd the serve is taken from the left side.
- It is the server’s score that determines serving position, not the receiver’s score. The receiver lines up diagonally from the server according to the server’s score.
- The score is called with server score first, then receiver score.
- Points are scored only on the serve; the receiving side cannot score a point as they would in rally scoring.
- At the start of the game, the player on the right side (even court) serves to the diagonally opposite court.
- If a point is scored, the server moves to the left side (odd court) and serves to the diagonally opposite court.
- Players on the serving side continue to move from the right to left or left to right each time a point is scored.
- Players on the serving team do not alternate sides unless a point is scored. The receiving side never alternates sides.
- The first server continues to serve until the serving team loses a rally by committing a fault. The serve then passes to the second server on the team. [See * below for an exception]
- When the second server loses the serve, the serve goes to the other team and the player on the right serves first. That pattern continues throughout the game.
- Calling the Score:
- The score should be called as three numbers: server score, receiver score, then, for doubles only, the server number: 1 or 2.
- To start a match, the score will be called as: zero – zero – two*
- The server number (1 or 2) applies for that service turn only. Whoever is on the right side (depending on the score) when the team gets the serve back is the first server for that service turn only. The next time that the team gets the serve back, it might be the other player that is on the right and is therefore the first server for that service turn only. Beginning players often mistakenly assume that the player keeps the same server number throughout the game.
- *First Server Exception: To minimize the advantage of being the first team to serve in the game, only one player, the one on the right side, gets to serve on the first service turn of the game. Since the serve goes to the other side when that player loses the serve, that player is designated as the second server. Therefore, at the start of the game, the score should be called, “0-0-2.” The “2” indicates the second server and means that the serve goes to the other side when the serve is lost.
- When a team’s score is even, the player who served first in that game must be on the right (even) side of the court and on the left (odd) side when the score is odd. Or, expressed alternately, when the first server of that game is on the right side of the court, that team’s score should be even. If this is not the case, then either the players are positioned on the wrong side of the court or the called score is inaccurate.
Want to learn more about pickleball? We have plenty of introductory lessons and socials at the clubs for new players to join in at any time! Our community of pickleball players is growing rapidly at Elite Sports Clubs. You’ll have opportunities to play with other amazing members that love the game.Pickleball Programs