Just like the game of Tennis, keeping the score in Pickleball can cause a lot of confusion as well for beginners. This puzzling scoring system might discourage the newcomers to play this game at first. But after playing a couple of matches one can get the idea of how easy it actually is to keep track of points. In order to make things easier for our awesome pickle people, we have devised this article on how to keep score in pickleball. Along with all the rules and regulations that one might be aware of while playing pickleball.
Playing Pickleball is not all about skills and finesse. It is just as important to keep a record of all the points you or your team has scored. Not only your points but at the same time, it is viable to know the scores of your opponents too. Since this scoring system is quite complex, a lot of people have a perception that learning how to keep the track of the score is much more difficult than the game itself. Well, you’re in luck because we are here to save the day.
How to Keep Score in Pickleball?
In a pickleball game, the score limit is 11 with 2 extra points to win the game. Before each serve, the score is called by the serving player in the sequence – serving team point – returning team point – server number.
In the case of singles matches, the game is started by stating the scores only. As there is no other server than the two players going against each other. Although in doubles, before start serving, the score is 0-0-2 or Zero-Zero-Start.
Getting Started with the Basics:
Before we jump into all the complicated details on how to keep scores, there exist a few things that one must keep in mind. These are the basics of pickleball scoring.
A pickleball game is played for up to 11 points. After 11 points, the game is won by further scoring 2 points. Only the serving team is awarded a score. All the members of a team are required to serve the ball once. Except for the team that is serving the ball at the beginning of the game. Only one member of that team serves is allowed to serve. A score is awarded to the team if the opponent fails to return the ball. The serving team continues to serve the ball until and unless the team fails to return the ball successfully. The scores are verbally expressed before each serve.
Pickleball Doubles Scoring:
When playing two-on-two, the team that is serving the ball gets a point. Meaning that the team which is returning the ball (also called the receiving team) is not going to get any points. In addition to that, the team that is serving the ball continues to serve the ball until a fault occurs by either of the teammates of the serving team.
Formation & Positioning of Players:
When the game is starting, the player standing on the right side of the court serves the ball always. The player on the right side is strikes the ball in such a way that it finds its way all the way back to the opponent standing on the other side of the net. Not only that, but the player must smash the ball diagonally and with enough force that the ball must touch the ground on the opponent’s side of the net.
In case the serving team wins the point. Both the members of that team now exchange their places. The one that was playing on the right side is now playing on the left side and vice versa. Along with changing their sides, the player that was serving the ball before still continues to serve it. The side switching takes place over and over again until the serving team fails to score a point.
The receiving team, on the other hand, does not swap their places. Whether the serving team scores or not, the members of the receiving team remain in their designated places.
Serving & Taking Turns:
The serving team does not stop serving the ball up to the point the team fails to serve the ball correctly. Or in other words, a fault occurs. But here’s the catch! During the game, when one player of the serving team is held accountable for making a fault, the second member of that team now starts serving the ball. But after the second teammate faults the ball, the players do not change their positions. Plus the serve is now passed over to the opposing team. So the team that was receiving the ball is now serving while the serving team is supposed to receive the ball.
Scoring – The Three Numbers:
In a pickleball team match, the score is declared before serving the ball every single time. And the appropriate way that is acceptable is to announce the server team’s score first, then the receiving team’s, and finally the server number (either 1 or 2).
For example, the score of the serving team is 4 and that of receiving team is 7, while the number of server is 2 so the point will be mentioned as 4-7-2. When the game is starting, the standard score is 0-0-2. The 2 indicates that if the server makes a fault, the opposing team will get to serve the ball next. Another way to announce the points when serving for the very first time is to say zero-zero-start.
In pickleball, there are only two server numbers which are 1 and 2. The player that is starting the game or serving the ball first, is positioned on the right side of the court and is labeled as server number one. One thing that a lot of pickleball players get mixed is that the server number of the player is for that turn only.
When the team gets the ball back for serving, it does not matter if the player that was standing on the right side of the court was server number one before. He or she might be playing their role as the second server now.
In order to lessen the confusion regarding which player is serving to which player – and to what side of the court. It is much easier and more efficient to remember one thing only – that is, which player served the ball first. That player can wear a colored wristband. By doing this, you can observe that whenever that player is performing on the right side of the court, the score is even (0,2,4,6,8, or 10). While the score is odd (1,3,5,7, or 9) in case the player is positioned on the left side of the court.
When both the players of the serving team fault and are no more allowed to serve the pickleball. The ball is passed over to the opponent in order for them to serve. This situation is called Sideout. Here is a quick example in order to fully understand how sideout works.
The score is here 4-3 with the serving team in the lead. The first server is still serving. The score is called out as 4-3-1. The serving team loses the rally, so now the second server will serve and call out the score as 4-3-2. The serving team wins the rally so the serving team will switch the places. The second server will call out the score as 5-3-2 and serve. The serving team loses the rally this time so it is sideout. Now the opposing team has two chances to serve. The first server on the opposing team will call out the score as 3-5-1 before serving.
Pickleball Singles Scoring:
The method of calling out points in a singles game is exactly the same as the doubles. The only exception here is that the score is called out in the sequence of the server’s points first and then the receiver’s score. For example, the score of the server is 5 and that of the receiver is 2. So the score is called out as 5-2
When the server is serving the ball from the right side of the court. It means that a score is an even number. Likewise, if the score is odd, the server has to serve the ball from the left side of the court.
Wrapping Things Up:
Getting hold of your scores during a pickleball game is no easy feat. Especially for the new pickleball players. Because it is pretty common to get the points wrong. Now that you are aware of how to keep score in pickleball, we surely hope that keeping track of your points is no longer the tricky part.
Although if you are still facing problems remembering what score you or your opponent was, just ask your teammate to wear a colored wristband as we suggested above. Not only this but you can also find your own ways to remember the points.
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