Pickleball is a game that was invented in 1965. It once started out as a favorite summertime activity among kids, but it is now evolving into a legitimate sport. If you plan on learning this sport or playing it professionally, one of the most basic aspects of the game you need to master is the scoring. Learn the basics of scoring in the game of pickleball so you know how to win.

An overview of pickleball scoring (Image Source: NBC News)

General Overview of Points and Scoring

The game of pickleball is essentially a race to score 11 points. Whichever player or duo reaches 11 points first will win. You must lead your opponent by two points in order to win (just like in tennis or volleyball). For example, your opponent must not score more than nine points in order for you to be declared the winner when you get to 11 points.

But unlike tennis or volleyball, the only way you can score a point in pickleball is when you serve the ball. If you win a rally that was served by the opponent, no point is added to your total score. This will only happen if you win a point in your own service. The goal is, therefore, to win a rally to secure a serve and have the chance to win a point. It is still important to win the rally because as long as you do so, you have the chance to score and keep your opponent from doing the same.

Pickleball Singles Scoring

The scoring concept for the singles game of pickleball is similar to the doubles game (which you will know more about later). But the main difference is that there are only two players in a singles game (one on each side of the court).

The score of the server at the time of service will determine on which side of the court they need to serve. If the score is an even number, they will serve on the right side of the court. But if the score is an odd number, the service will be done on the left side of the court.

The score for each player is called out before each serve. The scoring method can be confusing or intimidating at first, but it becomes easy once you get the hang of it. 

Pickleball Doubles Scoring

The scoring for a doubles game of pickleball is the same as the singles game. Before each serve, the server must vocalize the score. Another similarity to the singles scoring is that you only earn a point once you do the serving. The receiving side is unable to score a point, even if they win a rally. 

When serving, you must position yourself diagonally to the opposite side of the court. Once you score a point, you move to the other side of the court on your next service attempt. Only the players who win a point must move to the other side when serving. But the player/s on the receiving side should stay on the same side.

The scores in the game of pickleball are called out as three numbers. It is called out in the following sequence: server’s score, receiver’s score, and server number (one or two). 

How is the game of pickleball scored? (Image Source: NPR)