5 Common Pickleball Scoring Mistakes to Avoid (Beginners, Intermediate, Advanced) | Tips 2024

Pickleball is a fun and lively sport, but the scoring system can be quite baffling to learn. Unlike other sports, the score is not just based on how many times a player gets the ball past the opponent's net - the pickleball scoring system has more rules than that.

5 Common Pickleball Scoring Mistakes to Avoid
5 Common Pickleball Scoring Mistakes to Avoid (Beginners, Intermediate, Advanced)
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So, to make things simpler, we will look at five of the most common pickleball scoring Mistakes and give you some Tips on how to avoid them. With these tips, you can have a blast playing this awesome sport!

Types of Pickleball Scoring (Traditional vs Rally)

Let’s start by going over the two kinds of pickleball scoring, traditional and rally.

Traditional Pickleball Scoring 

In traditional pickleball scoring, only the team that serves can get a point by winning a rally. And every time this happens, the pickleball player who serves changes court positions with their partner (or, if it’s a singles game, they just move to the other side themselves).

For instance, if the player who serves does so from the right side of the court and their team wins that point, they would then swap places with their partner and serve from the left side on their next turn.

This means that if the team that receives wins a rally, they do not get a point. Instead, the serve either goes to the other pickleball player on the serving team or they cause a side-out.

The game goes on like this until one side reaches 11 points - with at least a 2-point difference - for the win.

Rally Pickleball Scoring

Rally scoring is similar to traditional scoring in that the player who serves moves positions with their partner after getting a point. However, this is where the similarities end.

In rally scoring, the team that wins the rally gets the point. This can be either the team that serves or the team that receives.

Also, unlike traditional scoring, rally pickleball has no second service. If your team loses the rally, you lose both the point and the serve to the other team. This is shown in the score announcement, where you only say your score followed by the other team’s score (in traditional, you also have to say the number of the player who serves, 1 or 2).

Lastly, instead of playing to 11 points, rally games are usually played to 15 or 21.

5 Common Pickleball Scoring Mistakes

The different scoring systems make it easy to see how pickleball players can make blunders when keeping track of the score! Let’s see some of the most common mistakes to watch out for below.


When playing a traditional doubles game, some players forget whose turn it is to serve on their team. Serving out of turn can lead to losing points and creating confusion, which can be a pricey mistake.


The player who serves must switch sides after each point, whether it’s a singles or doubles pickleball game. Not doing so can result in a fault.


Unless you’re fortunate enough to have a great pickleball scorekeeper during your game, keeping track of everyone’s points correctly with such a complex scoring system can be difficult. This makes saying the wrong score a frequent mistake - and a frustrating one at that!


This one can be especially hard to remember for beginners. In pickleball, the two-bounce or double-bounce rule states that each team needs to play the first shot off the bounce.

This means that the team that receives needs to let the ball bounce one time on their side before hitting it, and then the team that serves needs to do the same on their side. After that, they can either volley the ball (hit it in the air) or continue to play off the bounce.

By ignoring the double-bounce rule, players can slow down the game and lose points in the process.


You may think that “the other team or referee has got the score covered! I don’t need to keep track of it myself”. But here’s the thing: pickleball is a fast-paced sport with a tricky scoring system to boot.

That other person you’re relying on can easily miss something, so if you’re after an accurate score, you better try and help them out. Winning isn’t as fun when you’re not 100% sure you’ve earned it.

3 Tips to Avoid Pickleball Scoring Mistakes

It may be easy to make scoring blunders during a pickleball game, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to dodge them! Try these tips to help keep your pickleball score accurate.


This is the most important thing you can do to dodge scoring blunders. When playing pickleball, you and your partner must be on the same page - whether you’re on the same team or not.

Check with your doubles or singles partner after each point to ensure you agree on who should be serving and receiving and that the server is switching positions correctly after each point. Use visual cues if you have to! And if you have a referee, you can always check in with them too.


If you often lose track of the score during a pickleball game, start calling it out before you serve the ball. Not only will this help remind everyone of the score, but it’s actually a rule!

And in traditional scoring, don’t forget to include the server number. This should help you keep track of the order too.


You don’t want to miss out on a point over this rule! The best thing you can do if you’re having trouble with the double-bounce rule is to practice it over and over again until it becomes second nature. You shouldn’t even have to think about it - it should be an automatic reflex.


It’s easy to make pickleball scoring blunders, but there are some things you can do to dodge them! So, grab your pickleball paddle, ball, and a good pair of shoes, and use these tips out on the court to ensure that your next win is as accurate as possible. Good luck!

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