Decoding the Pickleball Scoreboard: A Simple Guide to Keeping Score in the Game


Understanding the scoring system in any new game can be a bit tricky, and pickleball is no exception. Even seasoned pickleball players can sometimes find themselves confused on the court. But fear not! We have put together a simple and comprehensive explanation to help you keep score in pickleball with ease.

Basic Scoring Rules

Pickleball is typically played in a best-of-three games format, with each game played to 11 points. However, there are a few key rules to keep in mind:

  1. Only the serving team can score points.
  2. The serving team must win a rally to earn a point.
  3. The first team to reach 11 points with a two-point lead wins the game.

Serving and Receiving Teams

Before we dive into the scoring process, let’s quickly go over the serving and receiving teams:

  • The serving team is the team that starts the rally by serving the ball.
  • The receiving team is the team that receives the serve and attempts to return it.

Scoring Process

Now, let’s break down the scoring process step by step:

  1. The serving team starts the game with the score at 0-0 and serves from the right-hand side of the court.
  2. The server must stand behind the baseline and make an underhand serve diagonally across the net to the opponent’s service court.
  3. If the server successfully serves the ball into the opponent’s service court without committing a fault, the receiving team must return the ball before it bounces twice.
  4. If the receiving team fails to return the serve successfully, commits a fault, or hits the ball out of bounds, the serving team earns a point.
  5. If the receiving team successfully returns the serve, the rally continues until one team fails to return the ball, commits a fault, or hits the ball out of bounds.
  6. The serving team continues to score points as long as they win rallies.
  7. If the receiving team wins a rally, they earn the right to serve and have the opportunity to score points.
  8. The serving team alternates sides of the court after every point scored.
  9. The game continues until one team reaches 11 points with a two-point lead.
  10. If the score reaches 10-10, a “win by two” rule applies, meaning the game continues until one team achieves a two-point lead.

Keeping Track of the Score

To keep track of the score effectively, it’s important to follow these guidelines:

  • Use a scorecard or scoreboard to write down the score and keep it visible to both teams.
  • Announce the score before each serve to ensure everyone is aware of the current score.
  • Communicate with your partner to avoid confusion and prevent any scoring errors.


Keeping score in pickleball doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By understanding the basic scoring rules, following the step-by-step process, and implementing effective scorekeeping techniques, you can confidently navigate the scoring system and enjoy your pickleball matches without any confusion.

So, the next time you step onto the pickleball court, you’ll have the knowledge and confidence to keep score like a pro.

What do you think?

Written by Billy Pickles

Leave a Reply

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

Unleash Your Pickleball Potential: The Surprising Path to Game Improvement Beyond Just Playing More Matches

Forehand vs. Backhand in Pickleball: Mastering the Shots