How To Keep Score In Pickleball? – Fundamental Rules And Helpful Tips!

Pickleball is a mix of badminton, table tennis, and tennis features. With the rise of the game comes the need to know how to keep score in pickleball. We have compiled a list of helpful tips for scoring and keeping track in pickleball games below!

What Are The Basics of Pickleball Scoring Rules?

The USAPA rule book for pickleball (now updated for this year – 2021) contains all of the detailed rules for any specific circumstance that may happen. If you would like to dig into the scoring of the game, I recommend heading over there!

Yet, for now, let’s start with some basic guidelines for keeping score in the game that apply regardless of the situation!

The serving team is the only team to score points. Each team receives at least two serves, one per player, except for the initial serve of the game, which is limited to one serve.

The scoring is done in order (1,2,3,4 etc.) and goes to 11 points. In some tournaments, the score climbs to 15 or 21. A winning margin must be at least 2 points more than their opponent. For example, if the point is 10-10, the winning side must get at least 12 points.

You score a point when your opponent does not successfully return the ball. You then switch sides with one of your partners and serve again. Continuing the process every time your team scores until you or your partner miss a shot.

Before serving, the server must always state the score. After announcing the point, the serving player has to serve in 10 seconds. Otherwise, they make a serve error.

If the point is wrongly called for any reason, anyone in the court at that time can request a reversal BEFORE the third attempt. It is a mistake to announce the wrong point after the 3rd attempt.

How To Keep Score In Pickleball?

There is a slight difference in scoring between doubles and single pickleball games.

Doubles Pickleball

Doubles Pickleball

How To Score?

At the beginning of each game, the score was 0-0-2. People might also call it 0-0-start or 0-0-second. They do so to confine the first serve set of a single server to reduce the benefit of serving first.

The player standing on the right always takes the first serve. When players serve and win a point, they swap positions with their teammates and keep serving until making a fault.

If the first player who serves loses a point, the opposing team has the right to serve. It is “lost your serve.” At this stage, the receiving doubles team does not change sides.

Calling out three numbers each time you go back over serves is crucial for everyone to know what will happen next. If the first player who serves loses a point, the second server takes over. If the second server serves and loses the point, the other side receives the serve right.


We have Team A (with Player 1A and 2A) and Team B (with Player 1B and 2B).

Example 1: New Game, the first serve of the game.

Assume that Team A is the first serving team. Then, Player 1A stands on the court’s right side and announces the point (0-0-2, 0-0-second, or 0-0-start).

Team B returns the ball effectively while Team A makes a mistake.

As a result of being the starting team, Team A is now ‘side out,’ as just one player (the starter player) gets to serve. Team B gets the serve now since Team A missed the ball.

Example 2: Play until there is an error.

Assume the following scenario:

The game is now in progress, with Team A leading 5-3-1. Player 1A serves the ball well, while Team B (the opponent) misses the ball.

So, in this case, Team A gets one point. As a result of scoring, Player 1A will change positions with Player 2A and announce the revised score: 6 – 3 – 1.

Player 1A serves the ball and continues until Team A makes a mistake or receives 11 points, which is 2 more points than Team B. 

  • If Team A “sides out” when they make a mistake, and Team B Player 1B serves plays and scores. The above process repeats the same as with Team A.
  • If Team A reaches 11 points, Team A will win the game.

Singles Pickleball

A singles pickleball match

The way to keep score in a singles match is the same as in doubles. All of the tricks for keeping score that I have mentioned will function the same, except when someone shouts “side out.”

During a singles match, only one person serves on each court’s side instead of two people. So, you do not need to say who is serving, just call the score out. When you are ready to serve, call out your point first and then your opponent’s point.

To return the serve, the receiver must exchange sides after the server scores any point. Like in double, the server plays until they make a mistake. In singles, just one fault can cause one “side out” instead of two.

When a player loses their serve, the ball goes to the opponent. If you are serving, you will go from one court’s side to another. That depends on your score. If your point is even, you will serve on the right side, and if it is odd, you will serve on the left.

How To Keep Track Of The Score?

Do you know what is even harder than playing a game of pickleball? Keeping score. 

A pickleball game can be difficult enough for beginners. However, things get too hectic when you add in all the other aspects, such as focusing on your opponent and paying attention to how much time remains or making sure there are no errors! 

Thankfully, I have found these nifty little tricks, so every time we play at home, my mom always knows who wins!

How to keep track of the score

Call Out The Score When You Serve!

Pickleball is a great game because it requires both skill and strategy. There is one important rule, though sometimes overlooked or ignored by players focused on their match at hand. 

The rule is that when serving, you must announce what score your team has before proceeding with any other actions like hitting the ball back across the court, for example. 

This way, everyone knows where they stand regarding winning points and helps avoid confusion over conflicting claims as to whose turn it may be next!

Not announcing the score is against the regulations. It is not a major concern in leisure play, but it is a significant deal in competitions if you do not have a referee. So, remember, it is a mistake if you fail to call out the point before hitting the ball.

It is, nonetheless, ordinary courtesy. The other three individuals on the court can keep track of where things are by calling out the serve. 

This ordinary courtesy is especially true when the game is nearing its conclusion. If the opposing team is about to win, your plan may need to shift substantially. It could be a drawback if you do not know about it.

So, keep in mind, every time you serve, do the proper thing and scream out that score!

Call out the score when you serve

Getting Tricky

The key to keeping track of the score in pickleball is to remember that the players who begin the game on the court’s right side are always the “even” players. Being the even player means that the score will always be even while they are on the right court’s side.

Keep Track Of The Score Playing Singles

Scoring in singles is the same as it in doubles. You use the same strategies, like serving and keeping score. When someone loses their serve right, they give it to their opponent.

When a person is serving in a game of singles, they say the score before they serve. If the server has an even number of points, the player serves from the right side. If the server has an odd number of points, he or she serves from the left side. 

For example, the player serving has 5 points, and the opponent has 8 points. The server will say 5 – 8 before he or she serves.

What Happens If the Wrong Score Is Called in Pickleball?

Kokopelli klassic pickleball tournament

In a game of pickleball, there is the potential for scores being called incorrectly. Any player can stop playing to ask about the right score during a match before the 3rd attempt is struck if the referee or server calls the wrong point.

If the play is called off before the 3rd attempt, and the point was called wrongly, the referee or server will recall the correct point. In this case, players can re-serve without any penalty.

If any player pauses play after the 3rd attempt is done, the player stopping play has made a mistake and lost the rally. 

To put it another way, you can not question the wrong point being stated after the 3rd attempt has been fired. You have to challenge the incorrect point before the 3rd attempt has been fired.

Furthermore, if the game is interrupted after the point has been announced, but the point was correctly called, the player interrupting play to question the calling score has made a mistake. As a result, that team will lose the game. 

Any declaration that a player made to the game’s referee that the point is incorrect is considered a stoppage of play. “Referee, it’s 8 that we have, not 7,” for example.


The best answer to how to keep score in pickleball is by counting the number of points scored. If you are new to pickleball, it is easy to get the score wrong. The good news is that there are plenty of helpful tips for those who need assistance keeping track of scores during a game!

When playing a double game, ask your partner to help you. This help will ensure there is no confusion about who won at the end of the game! 

If somebody calls out an incorrect score during play, it is important not to be too hard on them! It is easy enough to make a mistake without realizing it while paying attention so closely during such an intense sport as pickleball. Just ask if they need help.

Further reading:

Basics – Scoring & Position – USA Pickleball Association

Pickleball Rules | Graduate & Professional Intramurals

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