How To Keep Score in Pickleball

Pickleball is a highly enjoyable game, characterized by vibrant and active players. The use of paddles adds excitement and has attracted a large player base, with most players striving to win their games. When stepping onto the court, thoughts immediately turn to strategies for securing victory and scoring points to become the leading team.

Understanding the scoring rules in pickleball can be challenging, particularly for beginners. Therefore, I have compiled some valuable tips and strategies to help you keep score effectively in pickleball.

Basics Of Pickleball Scoring

In pickleball games especially doubles the scores are recorded in three numbers. The game usually starts at 0-0-2 which represents, the first zero being the serving team, the second zero being the receiving team and the third number being the server’s number that is always one or two.  An example of a score is 9-7-2 meaning the serving team has 9 points the receiving team has 7 points. Then the third number which is number two means that the serving team is on server number two.

In singles, scores are recorded in two numbers.  Example 0-0 where the first zero is for the serving team and the second zero is for the receiving team.

Tips On How to Win a Pickleball Game

The scoring process begins by counting scores on the serving team. These scores are tallied until the team makes a mistake, and this rule is applicable to both doubles and singles matches. In order to earn a point, the serving team must emerge victorious in the rally. Moreover, to secure a game win, a team must be the first to score a point, establishing a stronghold for themselves. Specifically, the leading team must reach a total of 11 points, maintaining a lead of at least two points over the serving team. However, it’s worth noting that games can also conclude at either 15 points or 21 points, as long as there exists a two-point margin.

Player Positioning for Doubles Pickleball.

In doubles, each team is made up of two players and they serve in turn. But when the game is starting, the serving team is given a chance where only one player gets to serve the ball. This makes the game to always start at 0-0-2. The serving team partners will switch sides upon every point they score. Keep note that the serving team is the only team that the players switch sides but the receiving team remains constant.

After the first serve, as the game continues, the teams get two chances to serve, for server number one and server number two. When a team makes a fault or the receiving side wins the rally the chance of serving goes to server number two. Again, if they commit another fault now the ball goes to their opponent.

Player positioning matters very much in a pickleball game. The server should stand on the correct side of the court which is the even side of the court, failure to do this will be counted as a fault. Also, the receiver of the ball should stand on the correct side of the pickleball court.

These faults can be avoided because the scores help one to know the correct side one should be. That is if the scores are even example 2,4,6,8 the player that started to serve on the right side should be on the right side during these scores. And vise-verser happens when the scores are odd example 1,3,5,7, the player that served the ball first on the right side should be on the left side of the court during these scores.

Strategy On Scoring in Pickleball.

Player positioning is one of the rules in pickleball. So, it is very important to be on the correct side of the court at a certain time. But there is a strategy that can be used to manipulate this rule. This strategy is called stacking. Stacking is mostly used by advanced players. This strategy is used to keep each partner on his side throughout the game. Although stacking is a strategy not all the time is permitted. Some rules that permit stacking are:

· Always the server should be on the correct side of the court but his partner can be anywhere on their side of the court including the same side as the server and on or off the court.

·This also happens to the receiver’s side, as long as the receiver is on the correct side of the court his partner can be anywhere else on the pickleball court on their side including the same side as the receiver and on or off the court.

· The serving team is allowed to switch sides during the rally after they have served the ball. And after the rally, they go back to the correct position according to the scores.

· Similarly, to the reserving side when the ball is on the rally they are allowed to switch sides but at the end of the rally, they go back to their correct positions.

Circumstances That Make Stacking Necessary

·  If you players of the same team play with opposite hands of each other. You will use a stacking strategy so that the hand that you use to play can be at the center of the pickleball court.

·  If one player is stronger than the other you may want to stack so that the stronger player can be in the middle of the court or on the right-hand side of the court.

Player Positioning for Singles Pickleball.

Single pickleball has the same rules as double pickleball. Except that in singles, there is only one player on each side of the court. Also, in calling the scores the third number is not there. They only use two numbers for the serving team and the receiving team.


Every player will be happy once he/she wins the game. Once you have understood the strategies and the tips on how to win the game it will be easy for you to win. Also, with a lot of practice, one will be able to emerge as the winner.  I hope you enjoy playing pickleball.

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