How To Score Pickleball

Pickleball, a fast-paced and exciting sport, has been gaining popularity worldwide. To fully enjoy and engage in pickleball, it’s essential to understand how scoring works. Similar to tennis, pickleball scoring involves earning points through rallies and serves. The game is played to a specific point threshold, usually 11 or 15, and teams must win by at least two points. Additionally, understanding the terms such as dinking, volleying, and third-shot drop is crucial to strategize and score effectively. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of scoring in pickleball and provide useful tips to help you maximise your points on the court.

How Scoring Works in Doubles Pickleball

A score is counted first from the serving team. The serving team serves until they make a mistake. Some of these faults are, when the ball does not cross the non-volley zone, including the lines of the non-volley zone, when the ball falls into the net, when the ball falls out of bound, when the ball is volleyed in the non-volley zone or the ball is hit before it can bounce. When the serving team scores a point the partners switch sides.

Scores in pickleball are counted up to 11 points to determine the winner. But, for one to win the winners scores should be ahead of the losers score by two. This rule makes the game go up to 15 points or even more.

To be able to score in pickleball you should know the basics of serving since scores are counted from the serving team.

Serving In Pickleball

The player on the right side of the court will always start to serve. This makes it easy to determine who will serve first. Automatically the player on the right side will serve first and the player on the left will be second to serve.

Serving is an excellent opportunity to gain an advantage in pickleball. Mastering different serving techniques can help you earn points more efficiently. The underhand and the overhand serve are the main types of serves. The underhand serve is the most common and is executed by holding the ball in the non-dominant hand and swinging the paddle underhand to strike the ball. The overhand serve, similar to a tennis serve, involves a more powerful swing motion. It is essential to practise both serves to keep your opponent’s guessing and to maintain a varied approach to scoring.

Returning The Serve Accurately to Score a Point

Returning the serve effectively is crucial for scoring in pickleball. When receiving the serve, try to position yourself near the centre of the court to have the best chance of reaching any type of serve. Your goal should be to return the ball low and close to the net, making it challenging for your opponents to execute aggressive shots. Aim for consistency and accuracy rather than attempting overly aggressive returns, especially against skilled opponents who can easily counterattack.

Techniques To Use While Playing Pickleball

There are ways that you can play pickleball and help you emerge as the winner. Though you should be careful while using them so as not to break the rules of pickleball and commit a fault.

Third Shot Drop

The third shot drop is a crucial technique in pickleball that can significantly impact your scoring potential. It involves hitting a soft, shallow shot that lands just beyond the net, forcing your opponents to move forward and limiting their offensive options. By executing a well-placed third shot drop, you can control the pace of the game and position yourself closer to the net, making it easier to score on subsequent shots.

Dinking Technique

Dinking refers to the act of hitting the ball softly over the net, usually from a close range. This technique is often employed during the non-volley zone exchanges, where players are prohibited from hitting the ball out of the air (known as a volley). By dinking strategically and placing the ball in challenging spots for your opponents, you can force them into making errors or weak returns, creating opportunities for you to score.

How Does Scoring Works in Singles Pickleball

There is no major difference in single scoring to that in doubles.  The only difference is that there is no third number in calling of scores. Meaning there is no second server. Also, when the score is even the server should stand on the right service court similarly, when the score is odd the server should stand on the left service court.

Calling The Scores in Pickleball.

The scores are called in three numbers. They are arranged in a manner that the first number represents the serving team, the second number represents the receiving team and the third number represents the server number one or two. When a pickleball match starts the score is zero, zero, two. Meaning when the team commits a fault their opponent will be given a chance to serve.

The third number which is the server’s number applies for that one turn only.  When the team gets the serve back whoever is on the right side becomes server number one during that turn only. New players to this game assume that servers retain their number throughout the game which is not the case.

The first serving team is given a rule to reduce their advantage. The rule says that only one player, especially the player on the right side gets to serve. When they commit a fault, the service will go to their opponent. So, this player who gets to serve the ball is designated as the second server. Hence, the game will start as zero, zero, two. (0-0-2). Also, these scores usually have a pattern, when the score of the team is even, the first serve when the game starts should be on the right side or even side of the court. Similarly, when the score is odd, the same server should be on the left or odd side of the court..


Mastering the art of scoring in pickleball requires a combination of skill, strategy, and practice. In doubles pickleball, effective communication and teamwork between partners are crucial for scoring consistently. By coordinating your movements, strategically placing shots, and covering the court efficiently, you can exploit gaps in your opponents’ defence and create scoring opportunities.

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