Pickleball is a fast-paced game that requires quick reflexes and speedy hand movements. One of the challenges players face is keeping track of the score. Although it may seem simple, there's actually more to it than meets the eye
Similar to tennis, scoring and serving rotations in pickleball can be a bit confusing at first. However, don't let that discourage you from playing this fun and popular game. Pickleball is easy to learn and even easier to start playing. To help you out, we've put together a user-friendly guide on keeping score in pickleball so you can confidently jump into the game. Let's get started!
|How to Keep Score in Pickleball
Keeping Score in Pickleball
So you want to play pickleball with your friends, family, or coworkers. That's fantastic! Keeping score in pickleball is not complicated at all; there's a method to it, so you can relax.
In singles play, only two numbers are called out: the server's score first, followed by the receiver's score. However, in doubles play, three numbers are used to keep score in pickleball. These three numbers form a sequence, such as 2-4-1, 1-2-1, etc. The first digit represents the serving team's score, while the second digit represents the receiving team's score. The third number indicates the server's position, either one or two, representing which player from the serving team is serving.
Calling out the score each time the serving team is about to serve is important. This helps prevent confusion and ensures that players don't lose track of the score, especially during long and intense matches.
Additionally, it's worth noting that pickleball has a unique way of scoring called "rally scoring." This means that points can be scored by both the serving and receiving teams. In traditional scoring systems, only the serving team could score. Rally scoring adds an exciting element to the game, as every point matters and can potentially change the outcome.
Who Serves First in Pickleball?
In pickleball, the serving team is chosen through a simple method like flipping a coin or any other fair rule that gives each team an equal chance. If your team wins the toss, you have the advantage of deciding whether you want to serve first or choose which side of the court you prefer to start on.
The first server is always the person positioned on the right side of the serving team. This is an important rule that must be followed. When you serve for the first time, the score will always be an even number when you are on the right side of the court. Conversely, when you are on the left side of the court, the score will always be an odd number.
Number of Serves in Pickleball:
In a doubles pickleball game, each team has the opportunity to serve twice, except at the beginning of the game, where there is an exception for the first server. The serving player on the right side continues to serve until they lose a point. If the serving team loses a point, the serve switches to the opposing team. From that point on, the serving player on the team will continue serving until their team loses a point. Once that happens, the second player on the serving team takes over the serve and continues until their team loses a point. This cycle repeats, with the serve alternating between the teams.
To clarify further, if the serving team loses a point at the start of the game (their first loss), the opposing team gets the chance to serve, and each player on the team gets to serve before the opposing team makes their serve. If the serving team wins a point during their serve, the player who served successfully continues to serve until they lose a point while also switching their position on the court from right to left or left to right. This is because the scores increase by one and alternate between even and odd. However, in a singles pickleball game, each player gets to serve only once. The serving player will keep serving until they lose the rally or commit a fault. After that, a side-out occurs, and the other player gets the opportunity to serve.
Let's use an example to illustrate the scoring system: Suppose your team has a score of 2-4-1. This means that your team is currently serving, and your score is two, while the opposing team has four points. As the serving team, you serve and initiate the game.
If your team scores a point, the score becomes 3-4-1, and you switch positions with your partner. You continue to switch positions between right and left. However, the person on the right side of the court always serves the ball, except if the ball is hit into the net or your team commits a fault. In that case, the second player on the left side of the court takes over the serve, and the score becomes 3-4-2. If your team makes another mistake, it results in a side out, and there is no switch in positions. Instead, the player on the right side of the opposing team gets to serve, and the score is announced as 4-3-1.
How to Keep Score at the beginning of a Pickleball Game
When a pickleball match begins, the rules for serving are slightly different. The serving team is allowed only one serve. So, at the start of the game, the player on the right-hand side of the serving team serves the ball diagonally across the court, and the score is either 0-0-2 or 0-0-start. The third number represents two, indicating that the serving team has just one chance to serve.
As the game progresses, if the serving team wins a point, the players on the team switch positions and the score becomes 1-0-2 or 1-0-start. The serving team continues to serve from the right side of the court if they keep winning points! However, a side-out is declared if they make a mistake and the ball hits the net. Now, it's the opposing team's turn to serve, and the score is set to 0-1-1.
If the opposing team hits the pickleball into the net, the next player on the left side of the court gets to serve, and the score becomes 0-1-2. If they score a point because the other team fails to return the ball, the score becomes 1-1-2. Now, it's the opposing team's turn to serve again. But if they miss another point, the score will be 1-1-1! Don't worry, it simply means that both teams have one point each, and the serving team is on their first serve.
You can enhance your understanding of the game by imagining different scenarios and working out the possible scores. This practice can greatly help you in mastering the scoring system.
How to Earn Points in Pickleball
In pickleball, your team can score a point only when you are the serving team. This rule applies to both singles and doubles pickleball. The serving team can earn a point only if they win the rally.
Typically, the winning point total is 11 points, with a requirement to win by 2 points. However, some pickleball tournaments use different point totals, such as 15 or 22 points, with the same win-by-2 rule. It is essential to note that the winning team's score must be at least two points higher than the opponent's score in order to win.
In singles pickleball games, when the server loses their serve, the opposing player gets to serve while the server moves to the appropriate side based on their score. For instance, if the server had 2 points, they would move to the right side, which is the even side. On the other hand, if the server had an odd point, such as 3, they would move to the left side of the court.
Pickleball provides an excellent opportunity to socialize and engage in competitive gameplay. However, keeping score adds an extra level of excitement to the game. Once you understand how to keep score in pickleball, the game becomes even more interesting! So, read up on the rules now, play later, and enhance your skills through practice. Remember, practice makes perfect!