Unraveling the Scoring System in Pickleball: A Comprehensive Guide

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Whether you’re a seasoned player or a newbie to the sport, understanding the scoring system is a critical aspect of pickleball. Unlike traditional scoring systems in other sports, pickleball has its unique points system, which can be a bit overwhelming at first.

But worry not! In this blog post, we’ll dive deep into the world of pickleball scoring, explaining everything you need to know to dominate on the court.

Let’s get started!

Scoring System in Pickleball

The scoring system in pickleball is similar to that of volleyball. In pickleball, only the serving team can score points. The first team to reach 11 points and have a lead of at least 2 points wins the game. If the score is tied at 10-10, the game continues until one team gains a 2-point lead and wins. In tournament play, matches are often best-of-three games.

Understanding the Basics

what is the scoring system in pickleball

As one of the fastest-growing sports worldwide, pickleball has managed to dazzle sports enthusiasts with its simplicity and convenience in recent years. It’s almost an amalgamation of badminton, tennis, and ping pong, but what makes it unique is its scoring system. The scoring system in pickleball is a bit different from most sports.

The game is typically played to 11 points, and the first team to get to 11 points wins, but you must win by two clear points. If the score is tied at 10-10, the first team to establish a lead of two points becomes the winner. Another unique feature of the scoring system is the use of side outs.

A team scores a point when the opposing team faults. When the serving team faults, the point goes to the receiver, and the receiver becomes the serving team. This process goes on until one team emerges victorious.

So, in essence, you have to win by two clear points to claim the win and must understand the norms of side outs, which add some spice to the game.

Points Per Serve

Points per serve is a crucial aspect of any tennis match. The rules regarding points per serve can seem complex, but they’re actually quite simple once you get the hang of them. Each player has two chances to serve the ball into the opposite service box.

If the serve is successful, the player earns one point. However, if the serve is unsuccessful, the player loses the point. The server must serve from behind the baseline on their side of the court and must hit the ball over the net and into the opposite service box.

Points per serve are essential to understand because they determine the flow of the game and can often decide the outcome of the match. Keep in mind that a good serve can lead to an immediate point, whereas a poor serve can quickly lose a player the point. So, focus on perfecting your serve, and you’ll improve your chances of winning more points per serve.

what is the scoring system in pickleball

Win by Two Rule

The “Win by Two Rule” is a commonly used scoring system in sports that requires a player or team to win by at least two points or goals. This rule is often used in games where a tie is not desirable, such as tennis or volleyball, to ensure that there is a clear winner. In these sports, if the score is tied at the end of a set or match, the players or teams will continue to play until one side has gained a two-point lead.

While some people may find this rule confusing or frustrating, it adds an extra level of excitement to the game and can make for some thrilling moments. Overall, the “Win by Two Rule” is a simple but effective way to ensure that there is a clear winner in a competitive match.

Scoring Formats

If you’re new to pickleball, you may be wondering what the scoring system is. Pickleball uses rally scoring, which means every time there’s a serve, a point is scored. The first team to reach 11 points (and be ahead by at least 2 points) wins the game.

However, there are a few different scoring formats you may encounter. In singles play, it’s usually best of three games to 11, while in doubles play, it’s often best of three games to 1 Some players may also use a win-by-2 rule, which means play continues until one team has a 2-point lead.

It’s important to clarify which scoring format will be used before you start playing, so everyone is on the same page. Ultimately, the scoring system in pickleball is simple and straightforward, making it easy for beginners to jump right in and start playing.

11-Point Game

Scoring Formats Scoring is everything in sports! It can make or break a game, determine the winners and losers, and even impact an entire season. When it comes to the 11-point game, the scoring format is slightly different than other games. In this game format, players must reach 11 points to win.

The game can be played in various ways, such as best of three or five sets, but the essential scoring rules remain the same. In an 11-point game, players can only win a point while serving. This means that if a player is receiving, they do not get a point even if they win the rally.

The first player to reach 11 points and lead by two points wins the game. It may seem simple, but 11-point games can be highly competitive and intense, with each point carrying significant weight. This scoring format is frequently used in table tennis competitions, but it has also become popular among casual players as a faster and more exciting option.

Some players even prefer 11-point games over traditional games with higher point requirements because they offer more opportunities for unexpected comebacks and dramatic finishes. Overall, understanding the scoring format of an 11-point game is crucial if you intend to play competitively. It’s also essential to remember that winning a point while serving is the only way to score, adding an extra layer of strategy and intensity to the game.

So, get ready to sweat and sharpen your skills, if you want to win an 11-point game!

15-Point Game

When it comes to the 15-Point Game, there are various scoring formats that one can follow. One of the most common formats is the traditional format, where the game is played until one player reaches 15 points. However, there are also variations of this format that include playing until 11 or 21 points.

Another scoring format is the rally scoring format, where a point is scored on every serve, regardless of which player served. This format is often used in professional beach volleyball games. Additionally, there is the point-per-rally scoring format, where a point is scored for every rally won, regardless of who served first.

Whichever scoring format you choose to play in, make sure to establish the rules before the game begins to avoid confusion and ensure fair play.

21-Point Game

Scoring Formats for 21-Point Game The 21-Point Game, also known as “21,” is a popular basketball scoring game that’s played by two or more players. The goal of the game is to be the first player to reach 21 points, or more if agreed upon before the game starts. There are several different scoring formats that can be used to play 2

The most common scoring format for 21 is the traditional format, where players have to make consecutive shots to add to their score. Each made basket counts as one point, and if a player misses a shot, they have to retrieve the ball and continue their turn from where they left off. The game ends once a player reaches 21 points.

Another scoring format for 21 is the “win by two” format. In this format, players have to win by at least two points. So, if a player reaches 21 points but their opponent has 19 points, they have to continue playing until they have at least a two-point lead.

This format makes for longer and more challenging games but can also be more exciting. There’s also the “timed” format, where players have a set amount of time to reach 21 points. For example, players might have five minutes to play, and the highest-scoring player at the end of the time limit wins.

Regardless of which scoring format you choose, 21 is a fun and challenging game that can be played by players of all ages and skill levels. It’s an excellent way to improve your shooting skills while having fun with friends or family members. So grab a ball, choose your scoring format, and see who can be the first to score 21 points!

Double Bounce Rule

The scoring system in pickleball is pretty straightforward. Points can be scored only by the serving team, and matches are typically played to 11 points, with a two-point winning margin. However, there is one critical rule players must keep in mind – the double bounce rule.

Essentially, if a team fails to return the ball on the first bounce, they lose the point. This means that for a team to successfully win a point, they must catch the ball on the first bounce and return it to their opponents’ side of the court. It’s an important rule to remember and one that can significantly impact the outcome of a game.

So, if you’re just starting to play pickleball, be sure to familiarize yourself with this rule as it can be a game changer.

Explanation of Double Bounce Rule

As you venture into the world of trampolining, you may come across the term “Double Bounce Rule” and wonder what it means. Simply put, the Double Bounce Rule is a rule enforced by trampoline centers or gyms to regulate the use of the trampoline. This rule states that after one person has landed on the trampoline, the next person should wait for them to bounce at least twice before climbing on.

This rule aims to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries caused by multiple people jumping on the trampoline simultaneously. The Double Bounce Rule is a crucial safety measure that helps prevent sprains, fractures, and other injuries. Always adhere to this rule when using a trampoline, and have fun while staying safe!

How it Affects Scoring

When it comes to scoring in pickleball, the double bounce rule plays a significant role. This rule is simple yet crucial in the game. The double bounce rule means that a player should let the ball bounce twice before hitting it back.

This rule ensures that both players have a fair chance to get to the ball and prevents any advantage from an early hit. If a player fails to abide by this rule, they lose their serve, and the opposing player gets a point. Therefore, knowing and implementing the double bounce rule is essential in gaining points and winning the game.

It’s a great way to keep the game fair and fun for everyone. Using the double bounce rule is like waiting in line at a popular restaurant. You must wait your turn and ensure everyone else has had a chance to get their meal before you go.

It’s frustrating when someone rushes ahead and skips the line, just as it’s frustrating when someone hits the ball early without waiting for it to bounce twice. The double bounce rule evens the playing field and keeps everyone happy and satisfied. So, the next time you play a game of pickleball, remember to follow the double bounce rule and enjoy the game!


In the delightful world of pickleball, the scoring system is as unique and nuanced as the sport itself. With a blend of traditional tennis rules and a touch of badminton finesse, players earn points not just for skillful serves and returns, but also for clever strategizing and quick reflexes. So, while the scoring may seem like a simple 1-2-3, the true magic of pickleball lies in the unexpected twists and turns that make each point a thrilling adventure.

It’s no wonder this game has become a beloved pastime for players of all ages and skill levels – there’s never a dull moment when you’re battling it out on the pickleball court!”


What are the basic rules of pickleball?
Pickleball is played on a court with dimensions of 20 feet by 44 feet. The game starts with a serve and players must let the ball bounce once before hitting it. The ball must stay inbounds and if it goes out, the point goes to the other team. Each game is played to 11 points, with a team needing to win by 2.

How is scoring done in pickleball?
Points are won in pickleball when the opposing team makes a mistake, such as hitting the ball out of bounds or into the net. Only the serving team can score points, and a team must win by 2 points.

What is the “kitchen” in pickleball?
The “kitchen” is a 7-foot area on either side of the net where players are not permitted to enter to hit the ball. This area is designated to prevent players from smashing the ball immediately after the serve.

Can you hit the ball out of the air in pickleball?
Yes, hitting the ball out of the air, or “volleying,” is allowed in pickleball, but only if you’re not in the “kitchen” area and the ball has bounced at least once on your side of the court. Volleying the ball before it has bounced on your side of the court is not allowed.

I'm Dave Ogden, a professional pickleball player from Ogden, Utah. When I'm not dominating the court, I pour my passion into writing a blog, sharing pickleball trips and tricks. Join me as I take you on an exciting journey through the world of pickleball. Let's improve our game together!

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