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How to Score Pickleball Doubles (The Simple Way)


Pickleball is a fast-growing sport that is enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels. Doubles play is a popular variation of the game, featuring two players on each side of the court. 

The objective of pickleball doubles is to score points by hitting the ball over the net and into the opponent’s court. While the basics of the game are relatively simple, mastering the skills required to score can be a challenge. 

This guide will provide a step-by-step explanation of how to score in pickleball doubles, including tips on serving, returning, rallying, court positioning, and more. Whether you’re a seasoned player or a beginner, this guide will help you improve your pickleball doubles game and have even more fun on the court.

How to Score Pickleball Doubles

Scoring in pickleball doubles requires a combination of strategy, skill, and teamwork. The objective of the game is to reach 11 points before your opponent by hitting the ball over the net and into their court. 

score pickleball double

If you’re new to pickleball doubles or looking to improve your scoring skills, this guide will provide a step-by-step explanation of how to score in the game.

1.  Understanding the Basics of Scoring in Pickleball Doubles

In pickleball doubles, the first team to reach 11 points wins the game. A match is usually played to the best of three or five games. In order to score a point, the ball must land in the opponent’s court and cannot be returned over the net. It is important to keep track of the score and to be aware of when you or your opponent needs to win just one more point to win the game.

2. Serving the Ball

The game begins with a serve. One player from the serving team starts the game by serving the ball over the net to the opponent’s court. If the serve is successful, the serving team earns a point. 

serving pickleball

It is important to have a good serve to start the game and set the tone for the rally. The serve should be accurate and place the ball in an area of the opponent’s court where they are less likely to return it successfully.

Tips for Effective Serving in Pickleball Doubles

An effective serve in pickleball doubles can set the tone for the entire rally and give your team the advantage. Here are a few tips for serving effectively in pickleball doubles:

  • Practice your serve regularly to improve accuracy and power
  • Experiment with different serve styles to see what works best for you
  • Focus on serving to open areas of the court that are difficult for the opponent to reach
  • Vary the pace and spin of your serves to keep your opponent guessing
  • Work on serving consistently, both in practice and in games.

3. Returning the Serve

The receiving team must return the serve by hitting the ball back over the net and into the opponent’s court. If the return is successful, the receiving team earns a point. If the return is not successful, the serving team earns a point. 

return serving pickleball

The return should be strategic and aim to put the serving team on the defensive. A good return puts pressure on the serving team to make a good shot and can lead to an opportunity to score a point.

Strategies for Returning the Serve

Returning the serve is a critical part of the game in pickleball doubles, as it can determine the outcome of the rally. Here are some strategies for successfully returning the serve:

  • Watch the server’s motion to predict where the ball will go
  • Try to return the ball to the middle of the court, where it is more difficult for the opponent to hit
  • Communicate with your partner and coordinate your movements
  • Practice your footwork to get to the ball quickly and set up for a good return
  • Keep your eyes on the ball and make contact with it as close to the center of the paddle as possible.

4. Rallying the Ball

Once the ball has been returned, the players on both teams engage in a rally, a series of shots back and forth over the net. The objective of the rally is to keep the ball in play until one of the teams is unable to return the ball. 

rallying pickleball

During the rally, players should aim to hit the ball in a way that makes it difficult for the opponent to return it, and be prepared to move quickly to any part of the court to make a successful return. 

5. Scoring a Point

When a team is unable to return the ball, the opponent team earns a point. The team that scores the point will then serve the ball to start the next rally. It is important to focus on good shot placement and teamwork during the rally to maximize the chances of scoring a point. Players should communicate with each other and work together to set up scoring opportunities.

Importance of Communication and Teamwork in Pickleball Doubles

Communication and teamwork are essential in pickleball doubles, as they help players coordinate their movements and set up scoring opportunities. Here are some ways communication and teamwork can improve your game:

  • Talk to your partner during the game to coordinate your movements and discuss strategy
  • Work together to create open areas of the court to hit the ball into
  • Communicate clearly and consistently to avoid misunderstandings and mistakes
  • Encourage each other and offer support during the game
  • Celebrate each other’s successes and learn from your mistakes together.

6. Understanding Pickleball Doubles Court Positioning

In pickleball doubles, players are assigned specific court positions. The right-side player serves and returns the ball on the right side of the court, while the left-side player serves and returns the ball on the left side of the court.

positioning pickleball

Understanding court positioning is important because it helps players understand their responsibilities on the court and work together as a team.

Improving Your Court Positioning for Optimal Scoring

In pickleball doubles, court positioning is critical to maximizing your scoring opportunities. Here are some ways to improve your court positioning:

  • Know your court positioning responsibilities and stick to them
  • Move quickly to the center of the court to be in the best position for returns
  • Watch your opponent’s movements and adjust your position accordingly
  • Stay low and balanced to be ready for quick reactions
  • Work with your partner to cover the court effectively.

7. Switching Court Positions

After each rally, the players on each team switch court positions, allowing each player to play in different parts of the court and develop different skills. Switching court positions can also help to keep the game fresh and prevent players from becoming fatigued in one specific part of the court.

switching position pickleball

It is important for players to be flexible and adaptable when switching positions, as this can help to improve their overall game.

Benefits of Switching Court Positions in Pickleball Doubles

Switching court positions in pickleball doubles provides many benefits for players. Here are a few reasons why switching court positions is important:

  • Allows each player to experience different parts of the court and develop different skills
  • Keeps the game fresh and challenging
  • Encourages players to adapt to new situations quickly
  • Promotes teamwork and communication as players must coordinate their movements
  • Provides players with new perspectives and helps to prevent boredom.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Scoring in Pickleball Doubles

common mistakes to avoid

Scoring in pickleball doubles can be challenging, but there are a few common mistakes that players often make. Here are some mistakes to avoid when scoring in pickleball doubles:

  • Hitting the ball too hard and making errors
  • Not communicating with your partner effectively
  • Failing to move quickly to the center of the court
  • Not covering the court effectively with your partner
  • Not watching your opponent’s movements and adjusting your position accordingly.

Ways to Practice and Improve Your Pickleball Doubles Scoring Skills

Improving your pickleball doubles scoring skills takes time, dedication, and practice. Here are some ways to practice and improve your scoring skills:

  • Play pickleball doubles regularly and consistently
  • Work on improving your serving and returning skills
  • Practice your footwork and court positioning
  • Experiment with different shots and strategies
  • Play with different partners to experience different playing styles and improve your adaptability.

In addition, you can also attend pickleball clinics and lessons, watch pickleball doubles matches to learn from top players and use technology such as video analysis to identify areas for improvement. 

Remember, the key to success in pickleball doubles scoring is to focus on the fundamentals, practice regularly, and have fun!


Scoring in Pickleball doubles requires a combination of serving, returning, rallying, and scoring points. Court positioning also plays a crucial role in the game with each player having specific responsibilities. Understanding these basics, along with switching court positions, helps players develop different skills and improve their game. 

The objective of the game is to reach 11 points before the opponent, with a match being typically played to the best of three or five games. With the right strategy and teamwork, scoring in pickleball doubles can be a thrilling and enjoyable experience.