How do you keep score in pickleball? Is it different in singles vs doubles? What do you play to?

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Pickleball is a sport enjoyed by people across the world because of the smaller court when compared to tennis and the simple equipment and rules. The sport can be played by either two players facing off against each other or by doubles partners in a similar way to tennis. Unlike tennis, the pickleball court and scoring system do not change when doubles os preferred over singles. All pickleball games are played to 11 points with the winner having to win by two clear points from their opponents, a rule which can see each game extended as the two-point rule keeps many games alive.

The rules and scoring system of Pickleball were created by the Washington politician Joel Pritchard, who created the game during the Summer of 1965 to keep his family entertained during the long months of the school vacation. The politician was attempting to create a game all the members of his family could enjoy together, which including creating a simple to understand scoring system.

There are four basic ways of scoring in pickleball, which is the same as those seen in tennis. Players score points when their opponent fails to clear the net with a shot or when the opponent hits the ball out of bounds. Other ways a player can score include their opponent volleying the ball when they have at least one foot in the “no-volley” zone. One of the unique rules of pickleball is the need for each player to allow the ball to bounce once before they can hit a volley, meaning the serve and first return must bounce before a scoring shot can be played.

Each scoring shot gives one point to a player or a doubles team which they use to try and reach the target score of 11. Unlike tennis, the rules of pickleball only allow a player or doubles team to score points when they are serving and must be leading by two clear points for the game to be concluded. It may seem difficult for a team to score but after a single fault, the service is rotated to the other team.

The recreational play sees games played to 11, but some tournaments have attempted to extend games further to 15 or 21 points. The general rule of thumb for pickleball is for players to rotate to the other side of the net following eight or 11 points being scored.

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