Who Serves First In Pickleball in Singles & Doubles?

  • Date: January 24, 2023
  • Time to read: 4 min.

In pickleball, the serving order is an important element of the game. Knowing which player serves first and when they will switch off can help players develop their strategies and techniques. The following guide explains the rules for serving in pickleball, as well as how to choose a server and keep track of scoring.

How to Choose a Server

In pickleball, the choice of who serves first is determined by either a coin toss or a paddle spin. If a coin toss is used, one player calls out “heads” or “tails” and flips the coin. Whichever side it lands on determines who will serve first. When using a paddle spin, each player spins their paddle on the court. Whoever’s paddle stops closest to the net will be chosen to serve first.

Serving Order

The server then gets two serves in a row before switching off with the other players on their side (the side opposite them). This means that if Player A serves first, Player B will serve second, followed by Player C, and then back to Player A again before switching off with Player D (their partner). During each round, players must alternate between serving left-handed and right-handed every other time they get up to serve. For example, Player A may serve right-handed on their first serve but would then have to switch to left-handed for their second serve before switching with Player B, who would then take over serving duties.


When it comes to scoring in pickleball, it is important that both teams know who served, when, and where so that points can be properly counted and tallied up at the end of each game or match. After each point is scored, it is important for both teams to make sure that they record which team was serving so that no points are forgotten when tallying up at the end of each game or match. Players should also remember that if someone misses two consecutive serves, then they lose possession of service for the remainder of that game or match until it’s time for them to get up again according to their original serving order.

How to Determine Who Serves First in Pickleball Doubles

The rules for serving in pickleball doubles are quite straightforward. Before the start of a match, each team will draw either a square or circle on the court surface using their feet. This indicates where the server should stand while they deliver their serve. After each side has drawn its serving square/circle on opposite sides of the court, teams will then decide who serves first based on a coin toss. The winner of the coin toss then decides which side their team will serve from (i.e., left or right).

Once the two teams have decided who will serve first and from which side, each player must stand within their respective square/circle prior to delivering the serve. During play, servers must alternate between sides every two points until one team reaches 11 points and wins the game. If both teams reach 10 points before either has won 11 points, then there is a tiebreaker round where teams continue to alternate sides after every point until one team reaches 15 points and wins the game.

Serving Rules in Pickleball Doubles

It is important to note that only one member of each team may enter their respective square/circle when it is time to serve. Additionally, all services must be delivered diagonally across the net such that they cross over into both service courts (the left and right courts directly opposite each other). If a server sends a ball straight down or otherwise fails to make it across both service courts, then it is considered an illegal serve and does not count as part of the play.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any downsides to serving first in pickleball?

Serving first can be an advantage in pickleball since the server gets to dictate the pace and flow of the game. However, it can also lead to some disadvantages for the server, such as having to overcome their opponent’s response to the serve, which may limit the range of serves they can do depending on their opponent’s experience. Also, if a player isn’t familiar with the rules around serving, they may end up committing a fault and losing points which can alter the overall result of the game. All things considered, it is important for players serving first to have finesse when serving in order to avoid any possible disadvantage that may come along with it.

What is the difference between serving in pickleball singles and doubles?

The main difference between serving in pickleball singles and doubles is that in singles, only one player serves while in doubles, two players serve. Additionally, when playing doubles, both players must alternate sides after every two points, whereas when playing singles, only one player has to do so after every point. Finally, when playing doubles, each team must send the ball diagonally over the net so as to cross into both serve courts (left and right), whereas, in singles, only one court needs to be served into.


Serving in pickleball can make all the difference in terms of winning or losing games or matches! By knowing which player should serve first, as well as how often they should switch sides while serving, players can better plan out their strategies accordingly in order to maximize their chances of winning! It has never been easier than now—with this guide—to understand how pickleball scoring works and what you need to do in order to win your next match!

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