Just like the sports, it takes inspiration from (which includes a few sports, from badminton to table tennis to tennis), it can be easy to forget to keep track of the score while you’re playing a game of pickleball.
This can be especially true following a long rally, after which it’s possible that none of the players will have any idea what the score was before the rally started.
Luckily this can be easily avoided by simply calling out the score before you make your serve.
Not only will this greatly decrease the chances of everyone on the court forgetting the score (and there are usually four people on the court because pickleball is most commonly played as a doubles match), but it’s also required by the official rules.
Even if you’re not playing competitively, it’s just best practice to call out the score every time you serve. But what else is there to say about keeping score in pickleball, and scoring in general?
The following article will answer any query you may have regarding scoring in this rather niche sport.
Calling Out The Score In A Pickleball Game
The best way to keep track of the score when you’re playing pickleball is by calling out the score every time it’s your serve.
Not only will this make it far less likely that everyone on the court will forget the score, but it’s also required by the rules. If you’re playing pickleball in a competitive setting and there’s no referee to call out the scores for you, failing to call out your serve will result in a fault.
Calling out the score is also just common courtesy.
It benefits every player on the court, including yourself. A team’s strategy can be very different if they know that the other team is on the verge of winning the game, so any doubt as to the state of the game will give that team the disadvantage.
It’s worth noting that the score you call out is a little different from similar sports.
Instead of simply calling both your team’s score and the opposing team’s score, you’ll also need to call out the server number- meaning either 1 or 2, depending on which player on your team is the one serving.
The order in which you call the score is the following: the score of the serving team first, then the score of the non-serving team, and then the server number.
The only exception would be when you’re playing with rally scoring rules, in which case you’d only be calling the serving team’s score and the non-serving team’s score.
The first player to serve at the start of a game will call the score ‘0-0-0’. The reason there’s no server number the first time is that, for the first serve of a game, only one of the players on the team that’s serving gets to serve before the serve is switched to the opposing team.
This differs from the rest of the game, where both members of the serving team get a chance to serve before the serve is switched to the opposition.
Keeping Track Of The Score In Pickleball
Calling out the score when you serve isn’t the only way to keep track. It’s also important that you understand the fundamentals of pickleball positioning.
The trick is to remember that the member of a team that starts the game on the right hand side of the court will be the ‘even’ player of that team for the length of the game.
So, if you’re on the right of the court, it means that your score is even. Whether or not you’re the one serving doesn’t matter.
So, before the first serve of a game, take note of which player is on which side. Bear in mind that for the opposing team, the ‘even’ player will be on the side that’s on your left.
Pickleball: Serving Rules
As well as knowing how to keep track of the score in a game of pickleball, you also need to know all the rules regarding serving, of which there are several.
Reading up on all of these rules before your first game of pickleball will ensure that you’re always in the right position, and making minimal mistakes when it comes to your serve.
The most important thing to remember is that the first serve has to be taken on the right side of the court (meaning, the player on the right side of the court). When the first server wins a point, they will switch sides with their teammate.
As stated in the official rules, the score must be called out by the server before they make their serve, and they also must be behind the line at the back of the court. The serve has to be an underhand shot, so you can’t hit the ball from above your waist.
You also need to remember that when you’re serving, you need to hit the ball while it’s in the air. Letting the ball bounce before you hit it is not a legal move. Also, the ball must land (or rather, bounce) in the side of the opponent’s court that’s diagonal to the side you served from.
You’re only allowed one attempt at a serve, unlike in tennis. If you commit a fault while you’re serving, the serve goes to your teammate. If you’re playing a game of singles, though, a serving fault will mean your opponent gets the serve.
Conclusion: How To Keep Score In Pickleball
The easiest way to keep track of the score in a pickleball match is to call out the score before you make a serve.
The score must be called in the order which pertains to the 3-part pickleball scoring system: your team’s score, then the score of the non-serving team, and then the server number. This is actually required by the official rules and benefits every player on the court.
The other important thing to remember in regards to keeping score is that whichever player (of either team) started on the right hand side of the court will always be the ‘even’ player for the length of the game, meaning that when they’re on the right side, the score of their team is an even number.