The Ultimate Guide to Pickleball Scoring: Singles vs Doubles

If you’re new to the game of pickleball, understanding the scoring system can be a bit overwhelming. But fear not! In this ultimate guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about pickleball scoring for both singles and doubles. From the basics of how to read the scoreboard to the nuances of serving and receiving sides, we’ve got you covered. We’ll delve into faults and sideouts, as well as the double bounce rule and moving servers throughout the court in doubles play. For singles play, we’ll discuss how it differs from doubles and provide examples of scoring scenarios. Finally, we’ll share tips on keeping score accurately and explain why understanding pickleball scoring is crucial to enjoying the game fully. So, let’s get started!

Pickleball Scoring Basics

Starting a game of pickleball can be confusing if you’re not familiar with the scoring rules. In both singles and doubles, only the serving team can score points. Players score points when their opponent is unable to return the ball properly within the court boundaries. For singles, the first player to reach 11 points and lead by at least two points wins the game. On the other hand, in doubles, a team must reach 11 points and lead by at least two points to win the game.

If both teams are tied at 10-10, players must win by two points until they reach a maximum of 15 points. It’s essential to understand how to keep track of scores accurately and call them out loud while playing. In pickleball, understanding scoring rules is crucial to enjoy the game fully and avoid any confusion or disputes during playtime.

Understanding the Numbers on the Scoreboard

In pickleball, understanding the numbers on the scoreboard is crucial to keep track of the game’s progress. The game is typically played to 11 points, but the winning team must win by two points. Each player or team serves for one point at a time, and if they win the point, they continue to serve; otherwise, the other team gets to serve. In doubles play, each player gets a chance to serve before their partner takes over. It is essential to note that the score is usually displayed as “server’s score” – “receiver’s score.” Keeping track of these numbers can help players understand who needs to serve and stay on top of the game’s overall progress.

Serving and Receiving Sides in Singles vs Doubles

Understanding the basics of serving and receiving sides is crucial for scoring correctly in both singles and doubles pickleball. In singles play, the server always starts on the right-hand side of the court and serves diagonally to their opponent. On the other hand, in doubles, both players on the serving team get a chance to serve, and they must switch sides after each point.

Additionally, the receiving team in both singles and doubles can choose which side of the court they want to receive from. Communication between partners is crucial in doubles play as players need to determine who will take the forehand and backhand sides during play. By understanding these serving and receiving basics, players can avoid confusion and keep track of scores accurately.

Scoring in Doubles Pickleball

Understanding the scoring system in doubles pickleball is essential to keep track of points accurately during a game. Unlike singles, each team has two players, and the scoring system is slightly different. The serving team starts with winning the first point, followed by alternate serves until one team reaches 11 points and leads by at least two points. If the score reaches 10-10, teams will play to win by two points. A server may only serve once before their partner takes over, and they continue to alternate until a point is lost or won.

Knowing these rules is important for both players and spectators alike as it eliminates confusion about who is serving next and helps understand where the teams stand in terms of the score. Correctly keeping track of scores makes the game more enjoyable for everyone involved, so having a good understanding of the basics will enhance your pickleball experience.

Double Bounce Rule and the First Server Exception

In doubles pickleball, the double bounce rule is an essential aspect of scoring. This rule requires that each team must hit the ball once before it can be hit across the net on the third shot. Not adhering to this rule results in losing a serve and awarding a point to the opposing team. However, there is an exception to this rule called “the first server exception.” This exception allows the serving team to choose which player serves first in the game or after a side out. It’s important to understand this exception as it affects both serving and scoring in doubles pickleball games.

Moving Servers Throughout the Court

In doubles pickleball, servers must switch sides after each point is scored. This rotation ensures that both teams have the opportunity to serve from either the left or right side of the court. The player who served first in the game will continue to serve from the opposite court, and if their team wins the point, their partner takes over for the next serve. However, if the receiving team wins the point, they become the new serving team and must switch sides accordingly. It’s important to keep track of which player should be serving from which side to avoid confusion and ensure an accurate score. By understanding this crucial aspect of doubles pickleball scoring, players can maintain a fair and enjoyable game for all involved.

Faults and Sideouts – What You Need to Know

In pickleball, faults and sideouts are crucial aspects of the game that players need to understand. A fault occurs when a player makes an error while hitting the ball, such as stepping into the non-volley zone or hitting the ball out of bounds. It results in a sideout, which gives the other team a chance to serve. To avoid faults, players must be aware of their positioning on the court and ensure that they hit the ball within the boundaries.

Sideouts also play a significant role in pickleball scoring. When one team earns a point, they have to switch sides and serve from the opposite court. If they lose the point, their opponents get to serve from the right-hand side of the court. Keeping track of scores and sides is crucial to avoid confusion and ensure fair gameplay. Remembering these key rules will help you stay on top of your game and enjoy playing pickleball!

Scoring in Singles Pickleball

In singles pickleball, scoring is a bit different than in doubles. The game is played to 11 points, and players take turns serving. The first serve is determined by a coin toss or rally. A point is scored when the server wins the rally or if their opponent faults. If the score reaches 10-10, players must win by two points to win the game. It’s important to note that the server’s score is always called first when announcing the score. Understanding how scoring works in singles pickleball provides a solid foundation for enjoying the game fully.

How it Differs from Doubles Pickleball

While the scoring system in singles and doubles pickleball may seem similar, there are a few key differences that players should be aware of. For one, games in singles are played to 11 points, while games in doubles are played to 15 points. Additionally, serving positions differ between the two variations of the game. In singles, players serve from the right-hand side of the court for odd-numbered points and from the left-hand side for even-numbered points. In contrast, players alternate serving every two points in doubles.

These differences may seem small but can have a significant impact on gameplay. Knowing them can help players adjust their strategies accordingly and improve their chances of winning matches.

Scoring Examples for Singles Pickleball

When it comes to scoring in singles pickleball, there are a few key rules to keep in mind. Games are typically played to 11 points, with players taking turns serving. The first serve is determined either by a coin toss or a rally. Points are earned when the server wins the rally or if their opponent faults. If the score becomes tied at 10-10, play continues until one player has a two-point lead. It’s important to remember that the server’s score is always called first, followed by the receiver’s score. Keeping track of the score can be critical in determining who serves and from which side of the court they serve, so it’s essential to stay on top of it throughout the game.

Tips for Keeping Score Accurately

Accurately keeping score is essential to enjoying pickleball, whether playing singles or doubles. One of the first tips for keeping score accurately is understanding the basic rules for scoring in both formats. Additionally, using a scorekeeper or electronic scoring device can help ensure accuracy by removing the chance of human error. Clear communication with your partner or opponent is also crucial to avoid confusion and potential conflicts over the score. Finally, it’s important to keep track of who is serving and when to switch sides of the court. By following these tips, you can make sure that you’re always on top of the game’s score and ready to focus on making strategic plays to win!

Calling Scores Aloud and Keeping Track of Correct Sides

In pickleball, calling scores aloud and keeping track of the correct sides is crucial for smooth gameplay. It’s easy to lose track of the score and which side is serving when caught up in the excitement of the game. Calling out scores loudly can prevent confusion and misunderstandings between teams. It’s equally important to keep track of who is serving and which side of the court they are on. In doubles play, the serving team always starts on the right side of the court, so it’s essential to keep this in mind when calling out scores.

Players must also ensure that they are using the correct scoring system based on whether they are playing singles or doubles. Using an incorrect scoring system can lead to disagreements and disputes during gameplay. Therefore, it’s recommended that players communicate clearly with their partner or opponent and use an electronic scoring device or scorekeeper to ensure accuracy. By following these tips for calling out scores correctly, players can enjoy a smooth and uninterrupted game of pickleball.

Final Thoughts on Pickleball Scoring

Understanding the intricacies of pickleball scoring is essential for any player looking to excel in the game. From determining serving and receiving sides to keeping track of scores, mastering the basics of scoring can help players stay focused and competitive throughout the match. While it may seem daunting at first, taking the time to learn the rules and communicate effectively with your partner or opponent can make all the difference. So whether you’re playing singles or doubles, embrace the challenge of keeping score and enjoy the game to its fullest potential!

Importance of Understanding Pickleball Scoring to Enjoy the Game Fully

Mastering pickleball scoring is essential to fully enjoy the game and play competitively. Understanding the scoring system can be challenging, particularly for beginners. However, keeping track of the score during a game and communicating with your partner in doubles matches can significantly enhance your gameplay.

To avoid confusion and ensure that both teams are aware of the current score, it’s helpful to call out scores aloud. Moreover, players should keep track of which side is serving and receiving, as this can impact the scoring process. Overall, mastering pickleball scoring takes practice and patience, but it ultimately enhances the fun of playing the game.


In conclusion, understanding pickleball scoring is crucial to enjoy the game fully. Whether you are playing singles or doubles, it’s essential to know the rules and keep track of the score accurately. Always communicate with your partner or opponent about the score and ensure that you are serving from the correct side of the court. Remember, pickleball is a fun and exciting sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels. So, grab your paddle, hit the court, and have a blast! For more information on mastering pickleball, check out our comprehensive guide on pickleball tactics and techniques.


Categories: Pickleball


  • Tom Eddy

    Tom Eddy is the founder and CEO of Poll Position, a leading sports news and opinion website. Eddy founded Poll Position driven by a vision of creating an innovative digital media brand focused exclusively on sports journalism. Under Eddy's leadership, Poll Position has grown from a solo blog into one of the most visited online destinations for sports coverage.


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