How to Keep Track of the Score and Who’s Serving in Pickleball


Tonight, as I gathered with my regular group of picklers for a spirited game of Pickleball, I found myself in a moment of confusion. After a grueling 14-shot rally, I turned to my partner and admitted, “I have no idea who just served.” It was a simple event that occurred only 45 seconds ago, yet it slipped my mind. Surprisingly, this lapse in memory has happened to me before, and I’ve witnessed it occur in other groups as well, leading to heated discussions. Determined to find a solution to this common problem, I embarked on a quest to discover the best methods for keeping score and tracking the server in Pickleball.

Understanding Pickleball Scoring

At first glance, scoring in Pickleball may seem complicated, but it is actually quite straightforward. Most players are able to recall the score, and it is customary to call out the score before every point. However, for those who find themselves caught up in the intensity of a rally or simply forgot to drink their morning coffee, there are alternative methods to keep track of the score.

Pickleball Score Keeper Apps

For tech-savvy players who own an Apple Watch, the Apple Watch Scorekeeper App is a valuable tool. Integrated with Apple Health, this app allows you to track matches, unforced errors, and even player strengths and weaknesses. It simplifies the process of keeping score and records the score over multiple sets, ensuring accuracy and convenience.

Pickleball Scoring Bracelets

If you prefer a more fashionable solution, a pickleball beaded bracelet can serve as a scorekeeper. These bracelets feature tiny numbered beads that are manually moved as the score changes. Some people liken them to a wearable “abacus.” Pickleball bracelets are affordable and can be purchased on websites like Etsy, adding a touch of style to your game.

Pickleball Scorebands

Another option is a scoreband, a device worn on the wrist similar to a watch. Scorebands have two buttons that allow you to keep score by pressing them accordingly. One button controls your team’s score, while the other controls your opponent’s score. With a maximum score limit of 99, scorebands are perfect for epic pickleball showdowns, enabling you to easily keep track of the points scored.

Courtside Score Keeper Options

For those who prefer a more traditional approach, manual scorekeepers and LED digital display options are available. Manual scorekeepers are typically boards with numbers printed on plastic cards that can be flipped to indicate the score. They are reliable, portable, and do not require batteries or an energy source. On the other hand, digital LED display scoreboards are visually appealing and suitable for low-light conditions. Some even come with sound effects, timers, or the ability to call out the score. It is important to test your chosen device before playing in an area with noise restrictions or find one with adjustable settings and volume.

Scoring Based on Position

In the event that you forget your scorekeeping device, there is a simple method to track the score based on who is currently serving and their service court area. The first server in a pickleball game always starts on the right side of the court. Whenever this person serves from the right side, the score will always be even. Conversely, the second server, positioned on the left side of the court, will result in an odd score when serving. By using this rule, you can determine the score based on who is serving and their service court area. While this technique does not provide the exact score, it helps identify the serving team’s score as even or odd, and with collaboration between partners and opponents, the overall score can be deduced.

Sleuthing: Who Served the Last Point?

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we may forget who served the last point. In such cases, it is helpful to retrace the point, starting with either the return of serve or the delivery of the third shot. Asking yourself the following questions can jog your memory and lead you to the correct server:

  • Do you remember the placement of the serve or how it was returned?
  • Did the service returning team poach?
  • Was the third shot a dink or a drive? Who returned it?

By analyzing these aspects of the point, you can piece together the sequence of events and identify the server.

Final Tips for Keeping Track of the Server

In addition to the aforementioned methods, here are a few more tips to help you keep track of the server during your games:

  • Attach a clothespin to the top of the net and flip it to the server’s side after every side out.
  • Wear a wristband or sweatband to indicate the server.
  • Keep a small towel in the pocket of the current server or place it in the backpocket of the serving team.
  • Use a designated server paddle with a unique design or color to easily identify the server.
  • Communicate with your partner and opponents to confirm the server after each point.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I use a regular wristwatch to keep track of the score in Pickleball?

While a regular wristwatch can be used to keep track of time during a game, it is not the most efficient method for tracking the score. It is recommended to use specialized scorekeeping devices or techniques specifically designed for Pickleball.

Q: Are there any smartphone apps available for Pickleball scorekeeping?

Yes, there are several smartphone apps available for Pickleball scorekeeping. These apps offer features such as score tracking, player statistics, and match history. Some popular apps include “Pickleball Scorekeeper” and “Pickleball Score Tracker.”

Q: Can I use a whiteboard or chalkboard to keep score in Pickleball?

While a whiteboard or chalkboard can be used to keep score, they may not be the most practical options for outdoor Pickleball games. These methods can be affected by weather conditions and may require frequent erasing and rewriting of the score.

Q: What is the advantage of using a Pickleball scoreband over other scorekeeping methods?

Pickleball scorebands offer the advantage of being worn on the wrist, allowing for easy access and visibility during gameplay. They are specifically designed for Pickleball scoring and provide a convenient way to keep track of the score without the need for additional equipment.

Q: Is it necessary to keep track of the server in Pickleball?

Yes, it is essential to keep track of the server in Pickleball. The server is responsible for initiating each point, and knowing who is serving ensures fair play and accurate scorekeeping. It also helps maintain the proper rotation of serving teams.

In conclusion, keeping track of the score and the server in Pickleball is crucial for a smooth and enjoyable game. Whether you prefer using scorekeeping devices, following positional cues, or relying on your memory, there are various methods available to suit your preferences. By implementing these techniques and utilizing the suggested tools, you can avoid confusion and focus on the exhilarating gameplay that Pickleball offers. So, grab your paddle, gather your friends, and let the games begin!

What do you think?

Written by Billy Pickles

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  1. I don’t understand the the righthand court position diagram. The server is shown serving from the even court but the server’s score is odd. Am I missing something?

  2. Terrible explanation. The reason why this explanation is terrible is that the explanation does not solve how to remember the score, the explanation only deals with determining if the score is be odd or even, depending on which side the beginning server or beginning receivers are standing. So if the person who started the game is standing in the odd side, then the score has to be an odd number for his side. The same logic goes for the opponent’s score: which ever side the person who started receiving the first serve is standing, dictates if the score is odd or even.
    2. The explanation does not cover how to remember if ou are the number 1 server or number two server.
    3. The blue green dots are confusing.

    There are a number of details that one has to remember:
    1. Who started serving the game (zero -zero – 2) and who received the first serve.
    2. Use a rubber band for each person around the wrist to signify who started serving and who started receiving the first serve.

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