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Pickleball Scoring

Pickleball is a fun and engaging sport that has become increasingly popular in recent years. As with any sport, score keeping is essential to the game. This article will discuss the basics of scorekeeping in pickleball, including the rules, terminology, and strategies involved.

The Basics

Pickleball is typically played to 11 points, with a win by two points. The game can be played as singles or doubles, with each side alternating serves after each point. In the scoring system of pickleball, each point is counted as one.

Scoring is based on the side serving the ball. If the serving side wins the point, they get a point and continue serving. If the receiving side wins a point, they do not get a point. If they win the next point (two in a row) they do not get a point but instead take over serving. This is called a Side Out. The serving team must also alternate the player who serves, with the first serve typically determined by a coin toss or rally for serve.

Score Keeping Terminology

Several terms used in pickleball score keeping are important to know. Here are some of the most common terms you will encounter:

Server: The person who is serving the ball.
Receiver: The person who is receiving the serve.
Side Out: When the serving side loses two points (except the first point of the match) and the other side takes over serving.
First Server: The player who serves the first point of the game.
Second Server: The player who serves the second point of the game and every other point thereafter until the side out occurs.
Game Point: When one side is one point away from winning the game.
Match Point: When one side is one point away from winning the match.

Strategies for Score Keeping

In addition to knowing the rules and terminology of score keeping, there are some strategies that players can use to gain an advantage. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Keep track of the score: It may sound obvious, but it is essential in pickleball. Make sure to call out the score after each point to avoid confusion and ensure that both sides are on the same page.

Serve strategically: Serving is a crucial aspect of pickleball, and players can use it to gain an advantage. For example, players can try to serve to the weaker side of their opponent or use a certain type of serve to throw off their opponent’s rhythm.

Play to your strengths: Each player has their strengths and weaknesses, and playing to those strengths can increase the chances of winning. For example, if a player has a strong backhand, they may want to focus on hitting shots that utilize that skill.

Stay focused: In pickleball, momentum can shift quickly, and players must stay focused to avoid losing concentration. Taking deep breaths between points, staying positive, and focusing on the present moment can help players stay in the game.


Score keeping is essential to pickleball, and understanding the rules, terminology, and strategies involved can help players improve their game. Remember to keep track of the score, serve strategically, play to your strengths, and stay focused. By following these tips, players can increase their chances of winning and have more fun on the court. So grab a paddle, find a partner, and enjoy the game of pickleball!

Written by
Everett Teague

Everett is a USPTA Professional Tennis Instructor/Coach (Elite Rated) in Tallahassee, FL. He has over 30 years of teaching and coaching experience with all levels and ages of players. In addition to specializing in sound, sport science-based stroke fundamentals, he specializes in efficient contact movement (footwork) skills, fitness training, and mental toughness strategies. He is also the founder of Racket Sports Media, a digital consulting company that helps racket sports clubs differentiate and thrive through tailored content. www.racketsportsmedia.com

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