How To Score In Pickleball

Learning how to score for doubles in pickleball probably is the most challenging part of understanding the game which many beginners struggle with. Some well-meaning people have made how to score videos however they miss the crucial part of scoring, which is where you need to stand when the score is called. In a tournament, if you are standing on the incorrect side once your side’s serve has commenced, a fault will be called against your side. The umpire will NOT tell you which side you should be standing on so you need to learn about scores and where to stand.

You also should know how to score correctly and not rely on others to do it for you. You or your partner MUST call the score before you commence your serve or a fault will also be called against your side in a tournament. Call the score loudly so everyone can hear it.

The Score

With pickleball you only earn a point when your side is serving and win the serve or rally. If you are the first server and lose the rally, your partner, the second server then serves. Your partner keeps serving until your side loses the serve or rally , then side over is called and both of your opponents have turns serving. The exception to this rule is for the player that serves first at START (see point 5 below).

What the score means

Scenario of part way through a game and this is the score . . .

4 – 3 – 1

4 = The serving team’s current score
3 = The receiving team’s current score
1 = First server

4 – 3 – 2

4 = The serving team’s current score
3 = The receiving team’s current score
2 = Second server

At side over if the serving team does not win the point, the score would become 3 – 4 – 1

Where to stand to serve or to receive

  1. At the beginning of the game the score is called 0-0-2 or 0-0-START so remember which side you are standing on and who is standing diagonally opposite you, no-one else. This is important; it will help you to remember which side you need to stand on for the even or odd score and if your opponents are on the correct sides. If they are not, you are able to tell them to change positions in social play.

    TIP: To help you remember, place an elastic band on your right wrist if you start on the right side, or left wrist if you start on the left side.

  2. If you start on the right side, you will always stand on the right side when your score is even – 0,2,4,6,8,10,12 and you will stand on the left side when your score is odd – 1,3,5,7,9,11.

  3. If you start on the left side, you will always stand on the left side when your score is even – 0,2,4,6,8,10,12 and you will stand on the right side when your score is odd – 1,3,5,7,9,11

    N.B: Where you need to stand is ONLY at the time of the serve, you can move all over the court during play, swapping sides anytime with your partner.

  4. For the change of side, server 1 always serves from the right side first. The score will determine who serves first for side over. See point 2 and point 3 above.

    Unfortunately many people believe where you were standing at the end of the rally, is where you stand to serve or receive. This is not correct.

  5. At 0-0-START when the side that serves first, only one player will get to serve, hence 0-0-2 is called. If the serving side loses the rally, then it is side over. The score would then be called 0-0-1 before the other side serves. Both players will then get to serve from then on. This is confusing I know and the reason is because the START serving side has an advantage.

Download a hand written pdf here to print out

You are even, your partner is odd . . .

This will often be said to you and other players. Ignore it as it is not helpful. Just remember this:

  1. If you start on the right side, you will always stand on the right side when your score is even – 0,2,4,6,8,10,12 and you will stand on the left side when your score is odd – 1,3,5,7,9,11.

  2. If you start on the left side, you will always stand on the left side when your score is even – 0,2,4,6,8,10,12 and you will stand on the right side when your score is odd – 1,3,5,7,9,11.

What do you think? Has this helped you? Please leave a comment below.

WARNING: This content is subject to copyright. You do not have permission to copy the text and use on your own website or social media platforms.

2 thoughts on “How To Score In Pickleball”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.