What Is Rally In Pickleball? – Pickleball Rally Scoring

A rally is a continuous game that is played as soon as the ball is served and goes on till the play in ended in a fault. Now, the rally scoring system hasn’t been permanently implemented in pickleball.

What Is Rally in Pickleball

The Badminton court and some badminton rules were initially used for pickleball. Hence, it does make sense if we said when the rally scoring was introduced for badminton in 2006, it would have been added to pickleball.

The rally scoring system is not adopted for the pickleball game though. It has become a burning question whether rally scoring should be included in pickleball games or not.

So, what is a rally in pickleball, and compared to traditional scoring, how is it different?

In this post, we will discuss what is rally scoring in pickleball and the differences between new and old rules. You can learn all about rally scoring here.

What are the traditional pickleball scoring methods?

Pickleball scoring is based on what is known as a side-out system. The player/team serving will be the only one allowed to score points in side-out scoring.

The game of pickleball generally ends after 11 points. However, the game is decided by a two-point margin.

Hence, to become the actual winner of the game, the score needs to be 11-9. But if there isn’t a 2-point margin, the game should continue at 11 points.

Suppose the score of the pickleball game is 10-10 even after playing till 11. In that case, the team must score two more points to win the game while keeping the score 12-10.

Whenever a server earns a point, he will exchange his side and serve from that side. For example, if you earned a point by serving from the ODD side, you will shift to the EVEN side for the next serve.

The server team will continue serving until they make any mistake. After that, they will hand over the opposite team for serving, and the game continues like this until a team wins.

Any pickleball game that uses traditional scoring follows these general rules. Nevertheless, the rules differ a little bit based on whether it is a double or a singles match.

What Is Rally In Pickleball?

Scores in rallies differ from normal scores. Whoever dominates the serve for every rally will earn a point according to rally scoring rules. Hence, not only the serving team but also the opponent team has a chance to earn points from a rally.  

·       The basics of rally scoring for pickleball game:

·       One point is awarded for each rally during a game.

·       Don’t bother with server one or two. One person will serve each team until they lose a rally (point), and then the opposite team will serve.

·       Each player will serve throughout the game.

·       Keep in mind that the EVEN side of the game is the right side of the court.

·       On the other hand, a player’s ODD side is on the left.

·       Pickleball singles are played similarly to serving.

·   A player needs to serve the ball from the left side of the court if he/she has an ODD score digit.

·   Similarly, a player needs to serve the ball from the Even side of the court if their score is Even in number.

Like the traditional score, both servers will not get the chance to serve for a rally. Hence, only one member from each will have the opportunity to serve for a rally. As there is not more than one server, its number is not mentioned.

The server will serve the ball from the left side if they have an ODD score digit and the right side if they have an EVEN score digit. So, the person who will serve the ball depends on the score.

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Pickleball Rally Scoring:  Is It Good Or Bad?

In pickleball, rally scoring has raised a lot of controversies. Many players oppose the idea. What are some of the benefits and drawbacks of rally scoring? Let’s see!

The Positive Sides

Rally scoring provides a significant benefit to making the pickleball game faster.

Crowded courts benefit significantly from this because more people can play as the games get rotated out faster.

For instance, if pickleball is played in community centers, more people will likely wait to play if the event is busy.

Apart from that, faster-paced games may be more appealing to crowds. More audiences are like to watch the game on television.

By making the game accessible and enjoyable to watch on television, the game’s popularity will increase faster.

Another positive side of rally scoring is that games have a predictable and unfluctuating duration.

In a typical pickleball match, you will spend around 20 minutes of the play session. Using rally scoring in pickleball games will shorten the play session by around 20%. Hence, you will save 5 minutes for each tournament game you play.

Practically, rally scoring helps simplify the process for performers to keep an eye on their performances. Because of this, players don’t forget from which side should serve next.

The number of the server would no longer have to be kept in mind by players because one server is on each side at a time. All they would need to do is remembering the score.

Due to this rule, consistency becomes even more vital. Because your opponent is earning points whenever you are making mistakes even though you are serving the shot.

Players may also find it more entertaining when playing pickleball with rally scoring. If it is a close match, they can continue playing rally scoring for few more minutes, which creates excitement.

In a traditional pickleball game, it sometimes takes a lot of time to end the match since players waste serves without scoring any point. It lengthens the actual duration of the game.

But, when you play with rally scoring, both teams have the probability of earning points if opponents make mistakes. That’s why it makes the game more exciting and enjoyable.

The Negative Sides

Some people are not happy with the rally scoring rules. They believe the rally scoring has nothing to do with the game’s rules as designed by the founders. Because of this, they don’t want to implement the rally scoring for pickleball games.

Rally scoring isn’t always considered beneficial, according to some. Because players will have to adjust their game strategy.

For instance, a regular scoring game could feature a third shot by the serving team, where they would drop the ball into the non-volley zone. By doing this, they prevent opponents from hitting back the ball easily.

Traditional scoring does not pose too much risk like rally scoring. Because if the team makes a mistake in serving the ball, they will only lose their serve at worst.

On the other hand, if the serving team makes a mistake while serving the ball, they will lose a point apart from losing the serve.

Many believe that beginners and intermediates will be negatively affected. As a result, they will have trouble improving their skills.

As each rally could result in a loss of a point for the player or team, less skilled players won’t have much scope to learn from their mistakes during a match.

Traditional scoring provides an opportunity to practice new shots or skills without too much risk because there is no risk of losing a point.

On the other hand, there is always a risk associated with rally scoring and losing a point.

Apart from them, there are other issues associated with rally scoring. Here are they:

·       Tracking the correct server or receiver is more complicated.

·       The mass-market appeal is not likely for this sport because TV viewers already play pickleball and are familiar with the format.

·       It makes it more difficult for a comeback win, reducing the enjoyment of the game.

·       Compared to traditional games, it hampers socialization, which was the reason behind joining the game.

Some Crucial Points to Be Noted

·       Even though you or your team is earning a point, you cannot exchange the side unless you or your partner is serving.

·       The serving team’s score will determine a ball’s side of service.

·       The scores can be extended to 15 or 21 if the gameplay is happening too quickly.

Which communities are following Pickleball rally scoring?

Many clubs have adopted rally scoring as an efficient strategy to solve the problem of crowded courts. It’s possible you will visit one.

Some tournaments wherein the participants are not USATT members are also following rally scoring. There was a recent local tournament where singles were played with rally scoring while doubles were played with traditional scoring.

As the concept of rally scoring has caused so much controversy, the USAPA still doesn’t feature the rally scoring rule on the game officially. But as we mentioned above, some people are still practicing the rule occasionally in different tournaments.

Wrapping Up

There is a chance you will like it or not. So, wouldn’t it be better to try before you decide?

Every rally awards a point, so some strategies are going to change. If the other team will score a point if you miss that big, perhaps not so reliable serve, would you go after it?

Both types of scoring have their upsides and downsides. Do you think pickleball’s official scoring changes in the future will be intriguing to watch?

So, what is a rally in pickleball? Hopefully, we got you covered with many important details on pickleball rally scoring. Thanks for reading!