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Learn How to Keep Score in Pickleball: A Comprehensive Guide

Pickleball is a fun and exciting sport, but understanding its unique scoring system can be challenging for new players. Notably, the game employs a special three-number scoring mechanism that adds to its uniqueness yet can confuse beginners.

This blog post will demystify pickleball’s complex scorekeeping and provide you with clear, easy-to-grasp techniques to keep track of your scores like a pro. Read on to conquer pickleball scoring once and for all!

Key Takeaways

  • Pickleball scoring involves a three-number system, including the serving team’s points, the receiving team’s points, and the server number.
  • Doubles and singles pickleball has a slightly different scoring system, with doubles using the three-number system and singles using a two-number system.
  • Calling out the score is essential in pickleball to maintain fairness.

The Basics of Pickleball Scoring

In pickleball, scoring is important to keep track of the points and determine the winner of a game.

Scoring Overview

Pickleball scoring varies depending on whether you’re competing in doubles or singles play. In a doubles match, the score consists of three components: the serving team’s points, the receiving team’s points and the server number.

This system helps track not only which side is leading in terms of score but also indicates who on the team is currently serving. On the other hand, in singles play, players simply announce their own scores followed by their opponent’s score before each serve – no server number is needed here since there aren’t any teammates to rotate with for serving duties.

No matter what format you’re playing – be it doubles or singles—you can only score a point while your side is serving.

Whoever reaches 11 first—while leading by at least two points—wins the game; however, some competitive matches might set winning point targets as high as 15 or even 21!

The Third Number in Scoring

In doubles pickleball, the third number in scoring stands for the server number. This special detail plays a crucial role in defining which player on the serving team has control of the serve.

Say, for example, Team A consists of two players: a first server and a second server. If it’s their turn to serve and they have scored three points while their opponents have four points, and server 1 is serving, the score would typically be called “3 – 4 – 1”.

Here “3” represents Team A’s score and “4” signifies their opponent’s total points. Meanwhile, “1” denotes that Server 1 on Team A is currently holding serve.

Understanding how to effectively keep track of this numerical trio—your team’s score followed by your opponent’s tally and finally your server digit—is crucial to managing your game plan in competitive pickleball matches.

The Starting Score in a Game

Each pickleball game begins with a unique starting score: 0-0-2. This score implies that both the serving team and receiving team have zero points. The number ‘2’ indicates that it’s the second server’s turn to serve, although no one has actually served before in this game.

It might sound quirky, but this unusual rule is followed to ensure fairness and balance in all games from beginning to end.

Differences in Scoring: Doubles Pickleball vs. Singles Pickleball

Scoring in doubles pickleball is slightly different from scoring in singles.

How Scoring Works in Doubles

Scoring in doubles pickleball is based on a three-number system. The serving team’s score is announced first, followed by the receiving team’s score. The third number represents the server number. Each team takes turns serving, and points can only be scored while serving. The first team to reach the winning point wins the game, which is typically played to 11 points, although it may vary in tournament settings.

How Scoring Works in Singles

Scoring in singles pickleball is straightforward and consists of only two numbers: the server’s score and the receiver’s score. The server will continue serving until they commit a fault or lose a rally, at which point the serve switches to the opponent. The first player or team to reach 11 points (or another predetermined number) wins the game.

Understanding Player Positioning

In doubles pickleball, players need to understand proper positioning on the court.

Managing the Score in Pickleball

Calling out the score is an essential part of managing the game in pickleball.

Calling Out the Score

According to the official pickleball rules, you call the score before each serve. This helps both teams stay on track and know who is winning. The score consists of the serving team’s score, the receiving team’s score, and the server number.

By announcing the score after each point, it ensures that everyone is aware of where they stand in the game. If the wrong score is called, it can lead to confusion and disputes between players.

It is crucial to accurately keep track of the score to maintain fairness and sportsmanship throughout the match.

What Happens If the Wrong Score Is Called

If the wrong score is called in pickleball, there’s no need to panic. The server or referee will simply re-call the correct score and continue the game without any penalties. It’s important to ensure that the score is accurately communicated to avoid confusion and maintain fair play.

Asking questions about the score before a serve is struck is allowed, but it’s best to clarify any doubts beforehand as asking questions after a serve will be ignored by the referee.

So, if a mistake happens, it can easily be rectified and the game can proceed smoothly.

Winning a Pickleball Match

To win a pickleball match, players must reach the predetermined winning score before their opponents. They must also secure a two-point lead to ensure victory.

Points Needed to Win

To win a pickleball game, a team must score the winning point. In most games, this means reaching 11 points first. However, in tournament settings, games may be played to 15 or 21 points.

Whether you’re playing doubles or singles pickleball, the goal is always the same – reach the required number of points needed for victory.

Winning by Two Points Rule

The winning team in pickleball must secure victory by two clear points. This means that if the score reaches the target point (usually 11), but there is only a one-point difference between the teams, play continues until one team establishes a two-point lead.

Tournament settings may have different point targets, like 15 or 21, but the same “winning by two” rule applies. It adds an exciting element to the game as teams strive to pull ahead and claim victory with a decisive margin.


Mastering the scoring in pickleball is essential to enjoying and competing in the game. Understanding how points are earned and keeping track of the score ensures fair play and a fun experience for everyone involved.

By learning the basics of pickleball scoring, the differences between doubles and singles, managing the score, and winning a match, you’ll be well-equipped to take on any pickleball court with confidence.!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Keep Track of the Score in Pickleball?

The score is called out before each serve. The serving team calls out three numbers; their score, the opponent’s score, and the server number (1 or 2). An Example score would be 3, 1, 1.

Can You Only Score When Serving in Pickleball?

Only the serving team can score points in pickleball. If the receiving team wins, the serve is passed to the next server and they do not receive a point.

What Does “002” Mean in Pickleball?

The term “002” in pickleball signifies the score of the game. The first number represents the serving team’s score (in this case, 0), the second number represents the opposing team’s score (in this case, 0), and the third number indicates the serving player number (in this case, 2).

How Many Points Are Scored With Each Serve in Pickleball?

One point is scored with each successful serve if the serving team wins the rally. If the serving team loses the rally, no point is scored and the serve shifts to the other team (or to the second player on the same team in doubles).

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