‌What is Rally Scoring in Pickleball?

What is Rally Scoring in Pickleball

Rally scoring in pickleball means that the serving or receiving team can score a point during a game. Many sports use rally scoring already, like tennis, table tennis, badminton, and volleyball, so this game type isn’t new. Pickleball rally scoring is different from traditional scoring because, in traditional scoring, only the serving team can score a point.


So, what is a rally in pickleball? How is pickleball rally scoring different from traditional scoring? What are some of the pros and cons of playing with rally scoring? Finally, will the rulebook ever put rally scoring in for official use?


Here is the complete breakdown of what rally point scoring is in pickleball.


What is a Rally in Pickleball Games?

What is a Rally in Pickleball Games

A pickleball rally means continuous ball hits with the racquet (pickleball paddle) by both sides after a serve and before a point occurs. A rally can be as little as a few back-and-forth shots to numerous minutes of action between both sides. The rally continues as long as there is no violation of the double bounce rule during a rally and the ball stays in bounds.


Essentially, you and your opponent keep the ball in play without committing any faults, which becomes exciting to watch as a spectator and a participant when playing. A rally also showcases the evenness of players on the pickleball court since neither player has an apparent advantage during play.


How is Pickleball Rally Scoring Different from Traditional Pickleball Scoring?

How is Pickleball Rally Scoring Different from Traditional Pickleball Scoring

Rally scoring differs from traditional scoring by allowing either team to score on a serve. The rally part of “rally scoring” means that the point goes to the individual or team that won the back-and-forth during a game.


Meanwhile, traditional scoring in pickleball only rewards points to a team when they are serving. The traditional game of pickleball favors standard scoring, so purists tend to see this as the accurate point system of the game.


What are the Pros of Rally Scoring in Pickleball?

What are the Pros of Rally Scoring in Pickleball

One of the most noticeable pros of the rally scoring system is that the entire game ends much faster than traditional scoring. Since both the serving and receiving teams can score points, getting to fifteen points (or whatever you agree upon) becomes much quicker since points always occur. Also, scoring on every serve makes the game more marketable to a TV audience and crowd since every sequence matters. For example, on Reddit, you can see the discussion of how Major League Pickleball (MLP) brought rally scoring into their match.


Another pro to using the rally scoring system is for new players or those with vastly different skill levels playing the game for the first time. If you are familiar with tennis that has rally scoring, then playing with that format with pickleball will be easy to understand. Playing with rally scoring also makes remembering the score easier since there is always a score after a play, so there is no confusion, especially after a long rally.


Finally, another benefit to playing rally scoring is it rewards players on every serve. For example, you get the point if your opponent starts the serve, and you win the rally after a minute of constant back-and-forth action. If you were playing traditional scoring, then that rally you had would only result in you getting to serve next, not obtaining a point.


What are the Cons of Rally Scoring in Pickleball?

What are the Cons of Rally Scoring in Pickleball

One of the cons of rally scoring is that it diminishes the serve. Since either the serving or receiving team can score points in rally scoring, it doesn’t matter who serves to start the game.


Another con of rally scoring is that it might take away the strategy of an individual or team when they play. For example, stacking is a popular strategy a team can utilize on the pickleball court to form a defensive wall. Removing the fact that you aren’t only playing “defense” on the receiving side can change formations quickly.


Finally, another con of rally scoring is that it removes what makes pickleball different from tennis, volleyball, badminton, and ping pong. In those sports, either side can score on a serve, but the traditional pickleball rules only allow the serving team to get the point. Going to a rally scoring method takes away a part of the game that differs from tennis.


Will Pickleball Change to Rally Scoring?

Will Pickleball Change to Rally Scoring

According to the official pickleball rulebook of 2022, points only occur for the serving team. That means that the official way to play games and in tournaments is with a side-out-scoring method. That means only the team or side serving can score points.

However, while the official rulebook doesn’t have rally-scoring pickleball yet, that doesn’t mean that can change at a later time.


Conclusion: What is Rally Scoring in Pickleball?

In summary, rally scoring in the sport of pickleball means that either side can score during a game. In traditional games, the only side that can achieve a point is the one who scores. The receiving team playing traditional scoring can only play defense.


There are numerous pros to using rally scoring in pickleball. Some reasons include that the game is faster, easier for new players to understand, and it rewards each sequence with a point.


While there are pros to using this format, there are also cons to consider. First, the official 2022 rulebook does not recognize rally scoring in pickleball. Some might argue that changing the rules of the traditional game takes away one of the unique aspects of pickleball matches. Second, using rally scoring takes away from defensive format strategies and diminishes the serve’s importance during matches.


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