Mastering the scoring system is essential for any aspiring pickleball player. We understand that learning the Rules and Regulations can be a daunting task, but we’re here to help. 

Our expert guide will walk you through the ins and outs of pickleball’s unique scoring system, covering everything from basic point allocation to more complex strategies. 

You’ll soon be well-versed in all aspects of doubles and singles play, giving you the edge needed to dominate the court. Let’s dive into the crucial details that will elevate your game.

Pickleball Game and Match Scoring System – Complete Guide

Singles Scoring

Singles scoring in pickleball is an essential aspect of understanding the game’s scoring system. By learning the nuances of singles scoring within the broader context of Rules and Regulations, you’ll be better prepared to excel on the court. 

Point Allocation

In singles play, points are scored only by the serving player. As observed in various matches, the server earns a point if they win the rally, and the score increases by one point.

Keep in mind that the first side to reach 11 points with a minimum 2-point lead wins the game.

Serving Rotation

Based on numerous tests and gameplay observations, it’s important to note that the serving player switches sides after each point. This ensures a fair and balanced game.

Here’s a quick overview of pickleball serving rotation in singles play:

  1. The player on the right side serves first.
  2. The server switches sides after each point, alternating between the left and right service courts.

Score Calling

Proper score calling is a vital part of singles scoring. According to player feedback, remembering to call out the score before each serve can prevent confusion during the game. The score should be called as follows:

Server’s ScoreReceiver’s Score

When calling the score, always announce the server’s score first, followed by the receiver’s score.

Game and Match Scoring

Typically, a pickleball match consists of the best two out of three games. The player who wins two games first is declared the winner of the match. 

In summary, mastering the singles scoring process will give you a competitive edge and help you excel in pickleball. By understanding

you’ll be well-equipped to succeed on the court.

Discover everything you need to know about pickleball, from its basic rules to advanced strategies, with this complete guide to pickleball.

Doubles Scoring

Doubles scoring in pickleball is a unique aspect of the scoring system that can be tricky to grasp at first. However, once you become familiar with the Rules and Regulations of the game, you’ll find that it adds an engaging layer of strategy to the sport.

Serving Rotation

One crucial element of doubles scoring is the serving rotation. In pickleball, only the serving team can score points. Each player on the serving team has the opportunity to serve before the other team gets a chance. The sequence of serving typically follows this order:

  1. Player 1 from Team A serves
  2. Player 1 from Team B serves
  3. Player 2 from Team A serves
  4. Player 2 from Team B serves

This rotation continues until one team reaches the winning score, usually 11 points, and wins by at least a 2-point margin.

To ensure your serves are legal and effective, familiarize yourself with pickleball’s serving regulations

Score Calling

Another important aspect of doubles scoring is score-calling. Before each serve, the server should call out three numbers in the following order: the serving team’s score, receiving team’s score, and the server’s position (1 or 2) within the team.

For example, a score call might sound like this: “4-3-1.”

Rally Scoring vs. Side-Out Scoring

In pickleball, there are two primary scoring methods: rally scoring and side-out scoring.

Rally scoring awards a point to the winning team after every rally, while side-out scoring only grants points to the serving team when they win a rally.

Most pickleball games follow the side-out scoring system.

Scoring MethodPoints Awarded To
Rally ScoringWinning Team
Side-Out ScoringServing Team

Game and Match Scoring

Understanding how games and matches are scored in doubles play is essential. A typical game is played to 11 points, but some tournaments or leagues may require 15 or 21 points to win. It’s crucial to win by at least a 2-point margin. Matches usually consist of the best two out of three games.

By becoming proficient in the doubles scoring system and the associated rules and regulations in pickleball, you’ll have a competitive edge and a better understanding of the strategic elements that come into play.

rally scoring

Rally Scoring

Rally scoring is an alternative method of point allocation in the pickleball scoring system. While not as common as the traditional side-out scoring, it has been tested and observed in various competitions and recreational games. This approach can make for a more dynamic experience and affect the overall rules and regulations of the game.

Understanding Rally Scoring

In contrast to side-out scoring, rally scoring awards a point to the winner of each rally, regardless of which team is serving. This leads to faster-paced games and can significantly impact the strategies used in both singles and doubles play.

Rally scoring can encourage more aggressive gameplay, as every point won directly contributes to the final score.

To avoid any confusion on the court and ensure a fair game, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the complete rules and regulations of pickleball.

Rally Scoring vs. Side-Out Scoring

Scoring TypePoint AllocationGame Pace
Rally ScoringBoth serving and receiving team can scoreFaster
Side-Out ScoringOnly serving team can scoreSlower

Key Differences

  1. Scoring Opportunities: Rally scoring offers more scoring opportunities for both teams, as points can be earned whether serving or receiving.
  2. Game Length: With more points being scored, rally scoring games tend to be shorter in duration compared to side-out scoring games.
  3. Strategies and Tactics: Players may employ different strategies, such as focusing on aggressive shots or minimizing unforced errors, due to the scoring method.

Adapting to Rally Scoring

If you find yourself participating in a game that uses rally scoring, it’s essential to adapt your approach to the game. Some suggestions based on player feedback include:

Check out this comprehensive guide on what constitutes a fault in pickleball to stay ahead in your games.

Side-Out Scoring

Side-Out Scoring is an integral part of the pickleball scoring system that adds a unique challenge to the game. It’s crucial to understand this aspect of the rules and regulations to become a more strategic player. 

Point Allocation

Pickleball follows a side-out scoring system, which means that only the serving team can score points. This method has been observed to enhance the competitive nature of the game.

When you’re serving, it’s essential to capitalize on your opportunities and secure points before the serve changes hands.

If you’re planning to set up your own pickleball court or want to understand the game’s layout better, explore pickleball court dimensions for a detailed guide.

Serving Rotation

In doubles play, serving rotation plays a significant role in side-out scoring. The initial server starts from the right-hand side of the court, and if their team scores a point, they continue serving until they lose the rally. Once this occurs, the serve switches to the other player on the same team.

When both players have served and lost a rally, a side-out occurs, and the opposing team gains the serve. Understanding this rotation will help you strategize and optimize your gameplay.

Here’s a thorough guide on pickleball’s let-serve rules, which could be crucial for your next game.

Score Calling

In pickleball, it’s vital to call out the score before each serve. The score consists of three components: the serving team’s score, the receiving team’s score, and the server number (1 or 2).

Knowing how to call the score correctly will help you maintain focus and track the game’s progress accurately.

Game and Match Scoring

To win a game in pickleball, a team or player must reach 11 points, leading by at least 2 points. However, some tournaments may have different scoring requirements, such as playing up to 15 or 21 points. It’s essential to be aware of the specific rules for each competition.

Differences Between Singles and Doubles

While side-out scoring is common in both singles and doubles play, there are some key differences:

Play StyleServing RotationSide Switching
SinglesNo rotationOn scoring
DoublesBoth playersOn side-out

Pickleball Scorekeeping

Pickleball scorekeeping is an essential aspect of the game, as it helps track the progress and outcome of a match. 

Point Allocation

In pickleball, points are earned by the serving team when the opposing team commits a fault. It’s important to understand how points are allocated in both singles and doubles play:

Serving Rotation

A critical aspect of pickleball scorekeeping is the serving rotation. In doubles play, both players on a team get the opportunity to serve before the serve is turned over to the opposing team.

The first server of the game is designated as the “1” server, while their partner is the “2” server. After the first side out, both players on each team will serve in rotation.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, familiarize yourself with the standard dimensions of a pickleball court to improve your strategic play.

Score Calling

Proper score calling is essential for clear communication and smooth gameplay. The server must announce the score before each serve, following this order:

  1. Server’s score
  2. Receiver’s score
  3. Server number (only in doubles play)

For example, in doubles play, the score call could be “4-2-1,” with the server’s score being 4, the receiver’s score 2, and the server number 1.

Game and Match Scoring

Understanding game and match scoring is vital for pickleball scorekeeping. Here’s a breakdown of the standard scoring rules:

Game TypePoints to WinWin Margin


In conclusion, grasping the intricacies of the scoring system is vital for any pickleball player looking to excel in the game. As you become more familiar with the scoring system, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the game’s structure and develop a stronger foundation in the overall Pickleball experience. 

By incorporating this knowledge into your gameplay, you can make more informed decisions, strategize better, and enjoy a heightened sense of engagement on the court.

Always remember that a solid comprehension of the rules and regulations, including the scoring system, is key to unlocking your full potential as a pickleball player.