Pickleball beginners need to know how to accurately keep score. Here are simplified scoring rules for pickleball and how to call the score.
Pickleball can be played in singles and doubles formats, each having slightly different rules.
Scoring in pickleball goes to 11 points. It can sometimes go to 15 points in tournaments. You can only score a point when your team is serving and when you do, you switch positions with your partner. Also, you have to win the game by 2 points.
Explaining Doubles Rules in Pickleball:
Only when a team is serving can it score points. Points cannot be scored by the receiving team. Serve is held or continued by the serving team until the serving team commits a fault. When the pickleball touches any part of the non-volley zone of the court on the serve a fault is recorded. A fault also includes the line, out of bounds, or when the ball does not clear the net or is volleyed from the non-volley zone before a bounce has occurred on each side of the net.
Positions of Players at the Start of a Doubles Game
The player on the right side serves to the diagonally opposite court at the start of a pickleball game.
After scoring a point the server moves to the court's left side and diagonally serves to the opposite side. Each time a point is scored players move to the other side for the next serve. If a serving team fails to make a point, the players do not alternate side moves. The receiving team does not alternate sides whether or not a point is scored. Only when a fault occurs does the serve switch to the second server. Serve is relinquished to the receiving team when a second fault occurs and the players stay in the same position. Throughout the game, the player on the right serves first.
Calling the Score:
Three numbers are called in pickleball when playing doubles. The proper way is to call the server score then the receiver score and only in doubles the number of which serve is being played, one or two. At the beginning of a pickleball match, the score is called "zero, zero, two” meaning that as soon as the serving team commits a fault the opposition gets to serve.
One or two—the server number—applies only for that service turn. When the serve turns to the opposing team, whoever is on the right side depending on the score becomes the first server.
New pickleball players sometimes erroneously assume the players keep the same serving number throughout the game. The serving number goes to the player on the right when the fault-changing serve occurs.
There exists a first server exception and it is designed to minimize the advantage of the game's first serving team. Only one player—the one on the right—may serve on the first service turn of the game. Since the serve goes to the receiving team that player is designated as the second service when that player loses serve. 0-0-2 is the call that is made at the beginning of the game. The two indicates the second server and indicates that when the serve is lost the serve move to the receiving team. An even score dictates that the player who served first in the game must be on the right or even side of the pickleball court and the odd or left side when the score is odd.
Explaining Singles Scoring
Scoring a singles pickleball game is similar to doubles scoring except there is no second server on the serving team. If the server score is an even number, the serve should come from the right service court, and if it is an odd score from the left service court. The server’s call is called before the receiver’s score.