Provisional Approval of Rally Scoring For Singles


Provisional Approval of Rally Scoring: Provisional rules for rally scoring for singles have been approved by the USA Pickleball Board of Directors, effective May 1, 2024. Please see below for more information on rally scoring:

What is Singles Rally Scoring?

Rally Scoring is an alternative scoring system that can be used during singles play. Rally scoring has been gaining in popularity due the risk reward style of play.  Conventional side out scoring is still in effect.  By USA Pickleball granting provisional approval for Rally Scoring, it simply gives players and tournaments the option of its use.  The difference between Rally Scoring and Conventional Side Out scoring is that, in Rally Scoring, a point is awarded at the completion of each rally. Either to the server or the receiver.   In conventional side out scoring, if the server does not win the rally, a side out occurs, and the opponent serves the next rally at the same score they started the previous rally with.

How does this work?

The game begins with the first serve of the game starting from the right or even side of the court. (Unless a Technical Foul has been issued by an official).  The score is 0 – 0.  The rally is played.  If the server wins the rally the new score will be 1 – 0 and the server will serve the next rally from the odd or left court. This pattern will continue throughout the game.  Even score means the serve is from the right and odd score means the serve from the left.

When the receiver wins a rally, it is side out – point – to the receiver. The receiver now receives a point.  That person will serve from where the score dictates.  Even is right, odd is left. Please pay attention that, on the first serve of the game, if the receiver wins the rally, they will begin their serve from the left court on a score of one (1).

After each rally a point is assigned, and the players move to the positions dictated by the servers score and the ball is served to the diagonal receiver.

Does this apply to Mini Singles too?

Yes, Rally Scoring may be used in Mini Singles.  In Mini Singles the players align themselves to their score. This still applies.  As in traditional singles, when a rally is finished, the players will move to their new positions before the next serve.  Example… start of the game and the serve is made diagonally at 0 – 0.  If the server wins the rally the next serve will be from the odd court straightaway to the opponent.  If at 0 – 0 the opponent wins the rally the next serve will be straight away as the server now has one point and the receiver has zero.

What is Win on Your Serve?

This simply means that a game cannot end unless the server wins the rally. Example, if the game is to 11 and the server is serving at 10 and wins the rally, they win the game provided their opponent has 9 or less.  If the player with 10 is receiving a serve and the server that has 9 or less loses the rally, it is side out and the new server remains at 10 and will serve for 11. A player cannot win the game on the opponent’s service loss.

What is Win by Two Points?

The winner of the game must have a two-point margin over the opponent to win the game or match.  Just as is in current conventional side out scoring in sanctioned play today.  In Rally Scoring if players are tied at game point, a point is still awarded at the end of the rally however the server must win the next rally to win the game by two.  If the receiver wins the rally, the receiver will gain a point and serve.  Example… it is 9 – 9.  Server wins the rally, and it is now 10 – 9.  If the server wins the next rally, they win the game 11-9. If they lose the rally their opponent gains a point, and the new score is 10 – 10. If the new server wins the next point, it is 11- 10, and they serve at game point. If they lose the serve it is side out – point and the new score is 11 -11.  This continues until the server is able to win a rally and gain a two-point margin.


The following revisions to the 2024 Official Rulebook reflect the Board’s action:

12.B.1 (Provisional Rule) Rally Scoring Option – Singles. The Tournament Director shall have the option to use rally scoring for singles brackets only. Rally scoring singles shall be played according to the same rules as singles except as otherwise provided herein.

12.B.1.a Game Scoring Format. Game scoring shall be to 11, 15, or 21 points. Matches may consist of one game, best two of three games, or best three of five games. For inclement weather considerations, the Tournament Director may approve game scoring to 7 points, with an end change at 4 points in a single-game match or in the tiebreaker game of a multiple-game match.

12.B.1.b Point Scoring. A point is scored by the player that wins a rally, except as provided for in 12.B.1.c.

12.B.1.c Scoring the Game-Winning Point. The game-winning point can only be scored by the serving player.  When a player is at game point and the opponent serves and loses the rally, it is a side out and no point is awarded.


Section 1 – The Game. Change the 3rd paragraph to read:

Points are scored only by the serving side when the server or the server’s team wins the rally, or the opposing side commits a fault. The server continues to serve, alternating service courts, until the serving side loses the rally or commits a fault. For singles matches that use the provisional rally scoring option, a point is scored by the side that wins each rally except game point can only be scored when serving.

4.F Scoring. A singles player or doubles team scores points only when serving. Points may also be awarded when technical fouls are called against the opposing side and their score is 0.

4.F.1 (Provisional Rule) Rally Scoring Option. A singles player scores a point for each rally won except game point is scored only when serving.

4.G Points. A point is scored by serving the ball and winning the rally.

4.G.1 (Provisional Rule) Rally Scoring Option. A point is scored by winning the rally except game point is scored only when serving.


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