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Right =even, Left = odd. But does it?

Sometimes writing articles for pickleball can be tough.  Trying to paint a picture with words to explain a concept can be a challenge.   

I was recently editing an article on stacking for another blog site.  In the article, the author, while attempting to verbally describe where players in a doubles game should be positioned, used the terms, “even court” and “odd court.”  It was implied that the even court was the right court, and the odd court was the left court. 

Technically, he’s not wrong.  If you refer to the current  2023 USA Pickleball rulebook, you will see references to “right/even” and “left/odd” throughout.  At the very beginning of the rulebook, in Section 1 – THE GAME, it says, “….. The court is divided into right/even and left/odd service courts.”

I don’t understand how pairing right with even, and left with odd is necessary.  In fact, it can lead to confusion when trying to describe where all players should be positioned.  

Let’s start by agreeing that “even” and “odd” refer to the score.  Even numbers are 0,2,4, etc.  Odd numbers are 1,3,5, etc.  Knowing your score, and whether it’s an even or odd number, helps you to know which side of the court you should be on.   

Here’s the problem.  The rules book always refers to the right service court as even and the left service court as odd.  But that only applies to the starting server.  It doesn’t apply to both players. 

Think about it.  The non-serving partner starts the game in the left service court.  The score is zero (0).  Doesn’t that make the left side court his even court? 

They win the rally, and now have one (1) point.  They switch sides putting the server on the left and the non-server on the right.  Doesn’t that make the right court the non-server’s odd court?  See what I mean? The terminology only applies to the starting server and receiver!

As I see it, whichever court you start the game in is your even court, whether it be left or right.   

Here’s a few examples that speak to my point from the 2023 USA Pickleball rulebook:

            Section 2.B – lines and areas

  • Rule 2.B.6 – Right/Even Court.  The service area on the right side of the court when facing the net. 
  • Rule 2.B.7 – Left/Odd Court – The service area on the left side of the court when facing the net. 

How can that make sense to the non-server or non-receiver? Why not just, “right court” and “left court”?  It’s important to note that this section is referencing doubles play. Also important to note that YES, even and odd courts DO apply to singles play.

Throughout the rule book there is continued reference to the right/even court, all pertaining to the first server or receiver’s position.  No where is there any reference to the non-server or non-receiver. 

Perhaps the rules committee thought that any player with a brain could reverse what they were saying and figure it out.  I find it to be a blatant and wrong assumption.    

There’s an easy solution.  Call the right court the “right court”, and the left court the “left court”!   And explain simply that whichever court you start in is your even court, making the opposite court your odd court!

It’s really that simple.  But, I’ve been told many times, “Betsy, not everyone thinks like you!”

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5 thoughts on “Right =even, Left = odd. But does it?”

  1. Oh geez!! It can be simple if you just say, ” I’ll always be even whenever I’m on the right side of the court! ” Sometimes, too much information can be very confusing.


    1. Hi Jean! But does that apply to both players? What if I’m the non-starting server or non-receiver, and start on the left? See my point? The left side is their even side!!


  2. To simplify things, I think lefty’s should be banned from pickleball! Case in point, I bought a new paddle last week, !$220! Couldn’t play with it worth a – – – -, Upon further examination, I saw a little stenciled L on the handle. Seeing how I’m a righty and had already used it , no return allowed, – – – – lefties,,,


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