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Introducing the Surrain Pickleball Scoring System (SPSS)

I played Pickleball for the first time two days ago and thought the scoring system was aesthetically clumsy. I propose the following.

The Surrain Pickleball Scoring System

Only in doubles on the second server’s serve, say, “the,” then…

Once both sides have at least nine points, stop accumulating points and…

  • if tied: say “deuce”
  • if winning: say “sun”
  • if losing: say “moon”


  • Find a word from the following table by choosing the row that matches the higher score and the column that matches the lower score.
  • Say “back” if you’re losing.
table of words

Winning? Next is down. Losing? Next is right, with “back.”


0-0-2“the valentine’s”
5-2-2“the apple”
2-5-2“the apple back”
10-9-2“the sun”

The Short Version

["the" if 2nd server]
if both players have 9
  tied: "deuce"
  winning: "sun"
  losing: "moon"  
  [word from table] ["back" if losing]

Bonus for Winners!

Use the losing player’s score to determine how to refer to the game. For example, if you shut out your opponent, congratulations on a diamond game.

9 or morecosmic

An All-Scores Version of the Words Table

Note that when you’re winning, the class of word stays the same but the first letter of the word is different. During a comeback, the class of word changes but the first letter of the word is the same until you’re tied again.

To read this table, choose the row that matches your score and the column that matches your opponent’s score.

0valentinesemerald backivory backruby backopal backamber backtopaz backcrystal backpearl backbloodstone backsapphire back
1emeraldflowersiris backrose backorchid backazalea backtulip backclover backpansy backbluebell backsnapdragon back
2ivoryirisfruitrasperry backorange backapple backtangerine backcherry backpeach backbanana backstrawberry back
3rubyroseraspberrytreesoak backaspen backteak backcedar backpine backbirch backsequoia back
4opalorchidorangeoakpredatorsalligator backtiger backcobra backpirhana backbear backshark back
5amberazaleaappleaspenalligatorspicesthyme backcumin backpepper backbasil backsaffron back
6topaztuliptangerineteaktigerthymelinenscotton backpolyester backbamboo backsatin back
7crystalclovercherrycedarcobracumincottondancepolka backballet backsalsa back
8pearlpansypeachpinepirhanapepperpolyesterpolkametalbronze backsilver back
10sapphiresnapdragostrawberrysequoiasharksaffronsatinsalsasilversun(impossible score)
table of words
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  1. Sylvester Finkelstein

    Aaron, thank you for posting this.
    Yesterday I played in my over 70 league, and introduced this new scoring method to the other players.

    At first, we all had a difficult time remembering the names of the scores, so we had the club print and laminate a card for us each to wrap around our forearms, like a quarterback’s playbook. That seemed like a good solve, until we all realized we’d continually need to use our reading glasses between each point.

    Shortly there after, after toddling with this new system, one player, Marge, came across a vial of LSD in her workout bag while she was fishing out a fresh headband. Since we have nothing to do all day, because we’re all over 70, we figured we’d each take a few drops.

    30 minutes later, this scoring system really came to life. It was so intuitive, and required zero thinking what so ever. The only issue we had was after one point Janet was sure the score was peach back, while Henry was certain it was banana back. But the beautiful thing about this method was that a compromise was easily reached as both Janet and Henry agree to the score of dragonfruit.

    Coincidentally, shortly after this agreement was reached, a dragonfruit shaped portal opened up on the right service square floor of the south facing side of the court. Again, since we have nothing to do, because we’re over 70, all four player jumped in.

    At this point nothing made sense. The new scoring method, the old scoring method, while we spent time hitting wiffle balls with paddles…. It all seemed just so silly. So, we summoned the god of the underworld to return us to the Earth land, so we could gather around the TV to watch Cocoon.

    Thanks again.

    • aaron

      That’s great to hear! Do you mind if I print out your comment and nominate it for my city council? Our community is planning an outdoor music venue and I think this comment would make good decisions about capacity and scheduling—especially if I print it on a nice 22# ivory, pearl, ivory back, or pearl back stock.

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