What Is Server Number In Pickleball?

What is Server number in Pickleball?

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Pickleball is a fun sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. One important part of pickleball is keeping track of the server number. This tells you which player on each team gets to serve.

Knowing the server number is key for keeping score and following the rules. This article will explain what the server number is and how it works in pickleball scoring.

The quick answer is:

The server number shows which player on the serving team gets to serve during that turn. It can be either 1 or 2. The server number changes each time that team gets the serve back.

Now let’s look at server numbers in more detail!

Server Numbers in Doubles Pickleball

In doubles pickleball, each team has 2 players. The score has 3 numbers:

  • Serving team’s score
  • Receiving team’s score
  • Server number (1 or 2)

For example, a score could be:


This means:

  • Serving team has 10 points
  • Receiving team has 8 points
  • Serving team is on server number 2

So server number 2 on the serving team will serve this turn.

The server number only applies for that single serve. It can change each time that team gets the ball back.

How the Server Number Changes

  • The starting server is player 1 on the right side.
  • After the first serve, the server switches to player 2.
  • When the serving team wins a point, the same server continues.
  • When the serving team loses a point, the server number switches.

This rotation ensures that both players on a team get to serve!

Server Numbers in Singles Pickleball

In singles pickleball, there are no teams. It’s 1 player vs 1 player.

The score only has 2 numbers:

  • Server’s score
  • Receiver’s score

For example:


There is no 3rd server number. This is because each side only has 1 player who serves the entire game.

The server stays the same until they lose a point. Then the serve switches to the other player.

Keeping Track of the Server Number

Here are some tips for remembering the server number:

  • Listen carefully when the score is called. The server number will be given last.
  • Look at which opponent is holding the ball – that’s the current server.
  • Keep a pickleball scoresheet. Write down the score each time it changes.
  • Ask the server to remind you if you forget. Good sportsmanship is important!

With practice, you’ll get used to tracking the server numbers automatically. It just takes some time and experience playing pickleball matches.

Why the Server Number Matters

Getting the server number right is important for several reasons:

  • It ensures both teams follow the official rules.
  • It makes sure the correct player serves each turn.
  • It prevents confusion and disputes about the score.

If the wrong player serves, it’s a fault. The server number helps avoid this.

Keeping track of the server number is part of the mental skill and strategy of pickleball. Observing when your opponent is due to serve can give you an advantage.

Server Number FAQs

Here are answers to some common questions about server numbers:

How do you determine starting server?

The starting server is the player on the right side when their team first earns the serve.

This puts server number 1 on the right and server number 2 on the left at the start.

When does the server number change?

The server number changes when the serving team loses a point.

This rotates the server from 1 to 2 or 2 to 1 after each fault.

What if you serve out of order?

If the wrong player serves, it is a fault. No points are lost, but the serve immediately goes to the other team.

Can you request the server number?

You can ask the server to remind you of the number. But you cannot make them change it if they call out the correct number.

Keeping track is part of the game!


Knowing the server number is an important pickleball skill. Here are some final reminders:

  • It indicates which player serves each turn.
  • In doubles, it’s part of the 3-number score.
  • It switches from 1 to 2 when the serving team loses a point.
  • Listening carefully and tracking it prevents faults.

With this knowledge, you’ll ace the server number part of pickleball scoring!

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