pickleball rules

6 Lesser Known Pickleball Rules That You Must Know

Barrett Kincheloe article, Basics, beginner, Rules 245 Comments

If you’ve been playing for awhile, you probably know how simple pickleball rules are. But even with it being so simple, there are some rules that you may not know which could bite you if you’re not careful. We all know about the general rules that apply in pickleball such as the rules in the kitchen and the double bounce rule. But there are some other, lesser-known rules that are crucial to know especially if you’re playing in tournaments. I’ll be using excerpts from the IFP Officially Tournament Rulebook which is the official rulebook of the game.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive breakdown of the rules of pickleball, please go here.

Serving motion rules

People aren’t too stingy about serving rules in recreational pickleball as long as the serve is made within reason. But there are some serving rules that you may not know specifically about the motion.

From the IFP Official Tournament Rulebook:

“4.A. Serve Motion. The serve must be made with an underhand stroke so that contact with the ball is made below waist level (waist is defined as the navel level). (revised Feb. 1, 2013)”

We all know that you can’t serve like they do in tennis, but it’s not just the overhand part. In pickleball, the point of contact must be below the navel. If the paddle head strikes the ball above the navel, then it’s a fault. It also must be an underhand serve.

But what constitutes an underhand serve? Check out this rule:

“4.A.1. Underhand Defined. The arm must be moving in an upward arc and the paddle head shall be below the wrist when it strikes the ball (paddle head is that part of the paddle excluding handle. The highest point of the paddle head cannot be above any part of line formed where the wrist joint bends). (revised Feb. 1, 2013)”

This is the rule that absolutely defines what an underhand serve is. The phrase, “moving in an upward arc” is really important to understand. You’ve probably seen people who not only hit the ball above their navel but also slice down on the ball or something similar. If you’re going to play in tournaments, you can’t do any of these things.

This is probably why you see professional players using a simple underhand serve, instead of anything too complicated. They don’t want to risk getting a fault.

Never touch the net

This one is important because it’s easy as pie to touch the net without realizing it. But this is especially true if you’re playing high-level games at the net. When you’re playing at the kitchen, sometimes you will have to return dinks that hit the top of the net, then fall straight down to the bottom of the net. These are extremely difficult shots to get, but you have to be careful that you don’t touch the net! If you do, you will lose the rally! It’s a fault if:

“7.E. A player, player’s clothing, or any part of a player’s paddle touches the net or the net post when the ball is in play.”

Pretty simple. But not so simple if you’re returning balls near the net. Don’t let yourself touch it for any reason!

The 10-second rule

Unlike the 5-second rule, the 10-second rule has nothing to do with dropping food on the court. But it has everything to do with how long you can take to serve or be ready to receive the serve.

Here’s the 10-second rule right from the rulebook:

“4.J. The 10-Second Rule. The “10-second rule” applies to both server and receiver, each of whom is allowed up to 10 seconds after the score is called to serve or be ready to receive. It is the server’s responsibility to look and be certain that the receiver is ready to receive serve.”

Basically, when the referee calls out the score, you have 10 seconds to serve. This is almost never an issue, but it’s important to know in case you need to tie your shoes or attend to any other urgent task on the court. However, if those 10 seconds go by and you haven’t served, the referee can issue you a technical warning. If you continue to delay, they can award the opposing team a point.

This can also happen to the receiving team. You have to be ready to receive the serve once the score has been called by the referee. If you’re not facing the server, or if you’re walking around aimlessly, then once the 10 seconds is up the referee can issue you a technical warming. And like I explained above, if you keep doing it then they can award a point to the opposing team. The biggest reason why this rule exists is to keep people from recuperating and restoring their energy after a tough rally. If there was no rule, then you could just pace around indefinitely as you recuperate.

But If you need to take some time before you serve or receive, call a timeout to be safe. Here’s what the rulebook says about timeouts.

“11.A. Normal Time-Outs. A player or team is entitled to 2 time-outs per game; each time-out period shall last only 1 minute. Then play must be resumed or another timeout must be called by either side. Time-outs may never be called once the ball is in play or the server has started the serving motion. For games to 21 points, each team is allowed 3 time-outs per game.”

Distraction rules

This one is huge for competitive play. Proper communication in tournaments is essential for success. But if you communicate too loudly…

“12.H. Distractions. Players may not yell, stamp their feet, or otherwise try to distract an opponent when the opponent is about to play the ball. A player, or anything the player is wearing or carrying, may not cross the plane of the net (or the extension of the net beyond the posts) except when striking the ball. Note: In Doubles, team communication shall not normally be considered a distraction. However, loud communication at the time the opponent is about to strike the ball may be considered a distraction. If, in the judgment of the referee, a distraction has occurred, it shall result in the loss of the rally. (revised January 15, 2013)”

Things like stomping your feet, yelling at an opponent during their stroke and things of that nature are obviously wrong things to do. But what if you’re simply communicating to your partner about something and the opponent is swinging in the process. If it’s too loud, and the referee thinks that it was distracting for the opponent, then he may call the rally early, but not in your favor.

There’s one situation in particular where I could see this occurring often. If I’m playing in an evenly matched game with skilled opponents, I will oftentimes tell my partner what kind of shot is coming their way. I don’t do this for all shots, but I especially do it for spin shots because they can be the trickiest ones to deal with. However, by observing my opponent’s body language, I can tell if they’re about to do a sneaky spin shot. I will then shout to my partner, “spin!”. This is all before my opponent has hit the ball.

No one is ever going to call you out on something like this in casual pickleball. But in competitive play, be aware!

Balls hitting lines are always good except…

I know we talked about serving rules at the beginning of the article, but I need to go back to one rule in particular. When you are serving, the ball must clear the net, and the kitchen line. If the ball hits the net, then lands in the opponent’s court, it will called a “let” and you will be able to re-serve. However, if the ball hits the net (or not), then lands in the kitchen or hits the kitchen line, it is a serving fault, and you will lose the point.

This is the only time in the game where hitting the ball on the line will result in a fault. Your serve will be good if it hits the baseline, centerline or sideline, but not the kitchen line.

Once the serve has been successfully made, the ball can land on any court line, and will always be good.

That brings up our next talking point, line-calling!

Line-calling ethics

I won’t go into a huge philosophical monologue about ethics, but there are a few rules to keep in mind when it comes to line-calling that are important.

No matter how widespread technology becomes for line-calling in pickleball, there will always be times where the players have to make the call. However, there is a code of ethics involved. Let me give you a simple bullet list that goes over the code. You can read more inside the rulebook.

    • If players are to be on line-calling duty, they must work to resolve all calls in favor of their opponent. The opponent gets the benefit of the doubt.
    • A play can only make a line call on their section of the court.
    • Spectators may never participate in line calls. They have had issues with this in the past at high level, championship games.
    • Players should not question an opponent’s call unless they ask, or unless the player appeals to the referee.
    • In general, judgment should be left to those who can look straight down the line, instead of looking at it perpendicularly.
  • Calls must be made instantly, else the ball is considered still in play.

Having a code of ethics in a competitive sport is always going to be a sticky situation. Pickleball can be a fast and frantic game, and it can be extremely difficult to judge a line call. But if you keep these points in mind, then it will be a lot of easier for you when that time comes.

I hope that I’ve explained these rules well! If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment.

Comments 245

  1. I understand on your return of (a fair) serve that you must first let the ball bounce. And I know that after you return, the serving side has to allow the ball to bounce before they can hit it. But is a ball returned and landing in the kitchen fair or must it land outside the kitchen for the point to continue.

  2. Hi Bob:

    I was playing a spirited doubles match and the opponent hit a shot that I thought was going long, so I yelled “out.” Turns out the ball was in and my partner kept playing. However, our opponent stopped the point and insisted it was their point. We thought we should just replay the point as it was an honest mistake but technically, shouldn’t it have been out point since they stopped play?

    1. My understanding is that play is not stopped on an out call until the ball lands. If it lands in play and your partner returns in play, the game continues. Lands in play after you call it out and partner does not return in play, opponents point.

  3. Love your video’s Thank you. I have a question about the statement you made “Calls must be made instantly, else the ball is considered still in play.”

    I was told and have played that you always play the ball, if it is questionable in or out. After hitting or pushing the ball you realize it is out and call the ball out. This occurs only after you have played the ball, actually not knowing if the ball is in play or not until after the fact. In this case, is that “instantly enough.” Thanks

  4. I just read somewhere on a pickleball website (I can’t find it now, of course) that a player may bounce the ball as part of a pre-serve routine only if they then stop the ball and hold it with the other hand before proceeding to actually serving the ball with the original hand that was bouncing it. But then I was on the actual official pickleball rules website and they were showing a famous women’s pre-serve routine. She bounced the ball three times and then immediately proceeded to serve it. I’m confused. As a former tennis player, this is confusing me. Help!!

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      Yes, people may bounce the ball before serving. You can’t bounce the ball then hit it. You do have to hold the ball then go from there. But yeah, bouncing the ball is fine as long as you end up holding it in your hand to do the toss. The rule most likely in question is that you can’t engage in the service motion before the score has been completely called. I don’t think that includes the bounce. Hope that helps!

    2. I usually bounce the ball a couple of times as would a tennis player (I’m not one). I want to make sure everyone set and ensure where I want to serve the ball. Then I’ll say the score and then serve.

  5. I prefer not to stand at the kitchen line while my partner is receiving a serve. Being ADHD, I know that a person standing at the kitchen line while I am receiving the serve can distract me. (Hate being ADHD, lol) So, when I am the non-receiver, I choose to stand at the baseline and only begin to move to the kitchen line the moment that my partner is about to hit the serve. I was a very fast tennis player (and sprinter) so I am at the kitchen line almost immediately.
    I am being told that is not right, not correct, not kosher. It upsets people, but I am always at the line before the serving team even receives the return shot. I am a new player, but have no problem being there for a dink, or for a quick volley. I am winning most of my games. Can you help me on this issue? As a coach in other sports, I learned not to stifle people who play a little differently, especially if they are effective.
    Can you shed some insight as to whether I am doing anything illegal, or improper.

    1. Actually, I said that wrong. I don’t actually start moving until my partner connects with the ball so that I don’t interfere with her connecting with the ball. Sorry that it didn’t come out right.

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      Hmmm, this is very interesting. First and foremost, there’s nothing illegal about it. But there are a few things that I can say.

      -If you’re playing with a long-time pickleball player, then this is going to be very, very awkward for them. We’re not used to seeing our partner at the baseline. It’s a normal and expected thing for them to be at the kitchen line waiting to see what the serving team does with the 3rd. So is it improper? Yeah, sure. Is it devastatingly bad? Not really, but against higher-level opponents it probably would be.
      -Having said that, 99.99% of pickleball players don’t care that their partner is standing at the kitchen line. It’s not distracting at all. But having a partner standing at the baseline with them on the return is very distracting.
      -Strategically, what you’re doing is not the best move. The reason being is that first, you’re wasting energy when it’s not needed. And second, you could be hurting yourself if your partner makes a very short return. If you don’t make it to the kitchen in time, that’s an easy passing shot of some kind against you. Also, by being at the kitchen line, you’re forcing the opponent in front of you to do a cross-court 3rd, which is more difficult than doing a straightaway third. But if you’re not at the line, they’ll feel more comfortable hitting straightaway even if you get there quickly.
      -Also, the first few shots of a point are predictable. There’s a certain flow at the beginning of a point that your partner will be used to and again, can make them feel awkward if it doesn’t go that way.
      -The other point is that if you’re standing at the kitchen, then you’ll have a clear look at kitchen faults on the serve. If you’re not standing there, then you won’t be able to see if your opponents serve lands in the kitchen or not.

      I’m not sure what level opponents you’re facing, so keep that in mind.

      So overall, you’re probably doing more work than you actually need to. I wouldn’t worry about the distraction issue. I hope that helps.!

  6. If a ball hits a persons hand and goes over the net, is that a good hit or a fault?? The ball never hit the paddle at all, just the receivers hand, but the ball went over the net.

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  7. I was just told by someone in charge of a Rec center in AZ that orange balls are only used for lobbing? Is that correct?? I have never heard of a certain colored ball being used only for lobs, I mean lobs are used as a certain strategy of a game, no matter what color ball is used.

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      No, this is not true. I’ve heard this before and most of the times it’s because people are trying to avoid playing with lobbers.

  8. I was playing doubles yesterday and one of my opponents hit the ball deep to the baseline. I then returned the ball in which my opponent dinked it over the net, by then I was about mid court. As a joke, I tossed my paddle across the floor and actually hit the ball over the net in which it hit my opponent! We all were surprised and laughed about it. Having said that, someone asked if it was legal to do that. We all agreed “No”, but would like some validation. We don’t want people tossing paddles around! Please advise. Thanks.

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    2. Just played a doubles game todaywhere the opposing player was standing partially in his playing partners service court right at the centreline. One foot was in each court and he would move back into his side of the court as soon as the serve was made. This is definitely a distraction to the person serving but l think this is OK if he is standing wholly inside his side of the service court. Is the doubles partner allowed to stand into his playing partners side of the court on a serve????

      1. Rule 4.B.7. Partner Positions. In doubles, there is no restriction on the position of the partners of the correct server and receiver as long as they are on their respective
        team’s side of the net. They can be positioned on or off the court.

        However, and to your point, this could be considered a distraction and an appeal can be made to a referee in tournament play. In rec play, I’d just try hitting the partner with the serve; if he’s in the receiver’s half court, odds are it will still go in if he dodges it. If he doesn’t dodge it, it’s your point.

  9. Great discussions here. Really interesting to hear all the situations that arise about line calls and general etiquette. I recently had a situation where a group of us started playing at a new indoor venue with really deep and unprotected backstops that would allow the passed balls to roll 30 or more feet to the back walls. Rather that spend valuable time chasing them all down, we just developed a local court “rule” that would allow the opponent to “knock down” any balls that were clearly flying out of bounds. And it is very easy to judge this…such as a ball flying chest high while you are standing behind the baseline would just get swatted down and called out.

    Of course, close shots, or anything remotely likely to be questionable was allowed to land as normal and be called as at any other time. Just something to think about for new recreational players. There are hard and fast rules, but also some areas that “house rules” can be established that improve the play experience for everyone.

    1. While playing, the server served to my partner. My partner called the ball out. (in the kitchen) My partner hit the ball over and the other side caught the ball. But, before all this I called the ball good. (standing where I was I has the better view. What is the rule here? I thought the server should re-serve, however there was disagreement and the other side said we we at fault. I know that once the ball is called out the play is dead, but with a clarification that the ball was good is should be replayed. ( my thought was “let’s not penalize the honest effort”) Is there an actual rule on this?

      1. Any out calls made AFTER the ball has bounced causes a dead ball instantly, no matter how quickly the correction is made. In your case, that would have resulted in a point for the opposing team. The only exception is when there are line judges, in which case you can only make line calls that disadvantage you (i.e. the line judge calls a ball hit to you out but you saw it in, you can override the line judge). It’s rule 6.D.12.

  10. During a doubles match, my opponent – server #1 – hit the ball into the wrong service box. The ball bounced next to me just beyond the kitchen line. I picked the ball up , called a fault, and returned the ball to my opponent…server #2. My opponent insisted on taking the point claiming that I touched the ball while I was standing in the court.

    1. Not sure how well you know server #1, but you could explain that once the ball touched the ground in the wrong service box, the play is dead. Where would he/she ever get the idea that only the receiver is allowed to touch a dead ball? That defies any kind of common sense.

      Server #1 may be confused by a scenario whereby you had made contact with the ball in the air prior to landing on the court (either in or out). Then clearly it is his point.

  11. I respectively disagree with “A play can only make a line call on their section of the court.”

    Rule 6.D.7 allows me to make the call if I “can clearly see a space
    between the line and the ball as it hits” even if my partner is closer.

    We can agree that it is preferred to have the player closer to the ball make the call, but to imply that their partner can never make the call seems inconsistent with the rules.

    1. David
      I think you misinterpreted what was meant by the comment that you can only make line calls on your side of the net. You should not be making line calls when the ball is on your opponents side, not that you can’t call it on your side. You can make a line call anywhere on your half of the court regardless if it’s in yours or your partners side. Just not on the other side of the net on your opponents side.

  12. I am here for that rule…and nothing yet. Rule should be similar to table tennis, ball should fly at least 6″ before strike. I don’t see need for the open palm.

  13. Pingback: Rules To Live By… | Brockville Pickleball Club

  14. As a relative newcomer to playing Pickleball, I would like to see the following rule reversed. Currently when the ball hits a player above shoulder level, that player looses a point. This rule seems to me to be a double penalty, especially when such play can result in serious injury (detached retinas). Perhaps such a rule change might also include the awarding of two or more points to the victim, as a deterrent.

    1. What happens when a ball with back spin hits the opponent side of the net, then bounces back over to the hitter side. Preventing the opponent from hitting the ball. Who gets the point

        1. What if the ball goes out on the second bounce when it comes back over the net? Does the point still hold?

    2. get over it. We do not intentionally hit players to cause injury. It does happen though. I suggest you get safety glasses or quit playing.

    3. Not necessary. Often, a ball is slightly misfit and may contact an opponent above the shoulder or you may be playing against a shorter opponent and slightly misjudge the trajectory, especially in lesser skilled matches.
      Too many rules spoil the game

  15. I return the ball in a legal fashion, while quickly moving toward the net/post. The opponent QUICKLY volleys my shot back toward my partner. AFTER my opponent has hit the return to my partner, but before my partner makes their return, MY momentum from my initial LEGAL return causes me to lightly brush the net or post. Play continues but eventually opponent stops play to claim the point because I touched the net.

    At what point AFTER I make a legal return but am not continuing to play the ball does my obligation to not touch the net end?

    OR – is any touching of the net, no matter who is hitting toward who, a fault?

    1. I believe touching the net when ball is “alive” is not permitted. Are you talking about hitting the ball back or return? If your return is volleyed you win the point. Assuming that you did not touch the net before he volleyed.

    2. After a rally has been initiated, you, your paddle or your apparel may not touch the net under any circumstances. If it happens, it is a fault and results in the opponents winning the rally. Rule 7.G.

  16. Are uprights on a portable net out of bounds. If a ball hits the uprights and lands in the court, is it a fault or a point for the person hit the ball?

    1. If uprights are posts they should be part of the net. In tennis is good shoot. It should be the same here.

  17. Can the non receiving player place her foot or any part of her body in her receiving partner’s service box while server serves the ball?

    1. Yes, but if her foot gets hit by the ball she looses the point. The other rule can come into the play…destructing the opponent during the serve.

  18. Barrett,
    In a tournament match, at game point the serving opponent looked straight at my receiving partner and loudly asked him “are you nervous” before hitting the serve. I consider this extreme gamesmanship, but it is forbidden by the pickleball rules.

  19. In a game today my opponent stated that it was illegal to quietly walk from side to side when one is outside of the receiving court waiting for the servers serve. I ‘ve never heard of such a thing and responded that tennis players do it all the time to keep their adrenaline going. She responded “this is not tennis” Please clarify. Thanks

    1. Tina you can walk anywhere on your side. In or outside the court. If you can play siting down that should be your choice too. As long as you don’t stump your feet or try to destruct your opponent during the hitting.

  20. I’ve only played a few times so far and really enjoy it. I was playing doubles yesterday and had a disagreement on rules with another player. When I was serving, the individual that was not the receiver was standing right in the corner where the kitchen and the area I have to serve it in meets. So when I would serve and try to keep it close to the line it would hit him sometimes and he would say that is a fault, but to me he is not giving the ball the chance to come down in play. I think that should be my point and not a fault. Hope I made that clear. Can someone help with the rule on this. Thanks

    1. You are correct.

      If your serve hits an opponent the rally ends and you win the point. Even if a serve will clearly land out of bounds, if a player touches the ball prior to the ball hitting the floor (in bounds or out of bounds) you win the serve.

      Go online and search for pickleball tournament rules and load them on a cell phone or print them. Keep them with you if you get an argument and want to verify the rule.

    2. You are correct, if a ball hits a player before bouncing (in or out of bounds) or after bouncing (if in bounds) the rally is dead and the player that was hit has committed a fault (thus losing the rally).

    3. It is your point and not a fault. If the ball strikes the non recieving player it is a point for the serving team.

      1. If the ball strikes either opponent it is a point for the serving team. On the other hand if you strike the third guy (your partner) you loose the point.

  21. Is it legal to switch the paddle to the opposite hand and strike the ball? I am ambidextrous and often switch my paddle instead of hitting a backhand. I heard someone on another court saying this was “illegal”

    1. It is totally legal to switch hands. You are only allowed to play with one paddle (not one in each hand)

  22. You just confused me. Earlier you said you could be in the kitchen before the ball bounces (as when it’s dinked over very close to the net). Here it seems you’re saying it had to bounce first

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      Hey Trish, thanks for stopping by. Can you tell me what part of the article you’re reading? Let me know where “here” is and I’ll be more than happy to help out! Thanks!

    2. If I return the ball even though it bounced outside the line, is it still considered in play, whether or not my return was successful?

      1. You can make a play on a ball that hits out of bounds. However, you need to proclaim “OUT” after it hits out of bounds and before the opposing side returns your shot. Your opponents may disagree with your call, but it is your responsibility to make the call, and they have no basis to refute it (unless their is a referee to whom they can appeal).

    3. You can be in the kitchen any time (before or after the bounce), but you can not volley when in there.

  23. A ball is in if the center of the ball hits the outside edge of the line. If the center of the ball hits beyond the outside edge, then it is out. Is this correct?

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  24. Hi Barrett, excellent work you are doing to promote the sport, thank you for that. I have a question about player positioning prior to the serve, specifically the receivers partner. The USAPA section 11.J talks about distractions: Players may not distract an opponent when the opponent is about to play the ball.

    Is it considered ‘poor sportsmanship’ or bad etiquette for the receivers partner to position themselves as far as they possibly can in the uppermost corner of their own court, so as to present an obstacle to the server? I was in a game where this was happening and wanted to be able to tell the player that this was poor sportsmanship however, I cannot find anything that specifically addresses this particular situation so I am turning to you for your opinion.

    Thanks!

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      My pleasure, Mark.

      So while it’s technically not against the rules, it’s pretty crummy. I’ve never seen someone do this on purpose, and especially not on purpose during a tournament game. It’s certainly bad etiquette. However, if they get hit by the ball, you still get the point. So keep that in mind!

      1. Yeah, it’s crummy sportsmanship. But like Barrett said, if it hits the non-receiver, it’s your point. However, if the ball passes him closely, it can block his partner from seeing the ball or distract him for a proper return. But still crummy nonetheless.

  25. Tennis has THE CODE….one of the items is in an unreferred (or fun match) IF YOU SEE a shot made by you or your partner is OUT on the opponent’s court and they are not sure, YOU SHOULD call it out. This from a sportmanship perspective and the objective is to call the play ACCURATELY. This is the ONLY time I know where you can make a call about an activity on the opponent’s side of the court. Certainly you do not call a ball in on their side ESPECIALLY if hey have called it out unless they ask you.

    IS THERE A PARALLEL TO THE CODE IN PICKLEBALL? I called a partner shot out that I had the best angle and the 2 opponents made opposing calls…….my partner was furious that I HELPED the opponents….

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  26. Hi Barrett. I understand that getting hit by a ball while in bounds would result in losing the point. But how can it be fair to give a point to the opposition when hit while out of bounds? A ball that is hit out of bounds is out of bounds. Whether or not an opposing player is hit impresses me as being an incredibly unfair technicality. Being hit while out of bounds should not make the ball inbounds.
    If this is so, as I am being told, that is a bad rule. That’s my story and I’ m sticking to it. Balls can be hit pretty fast at times in pickleball. Literally impossible to avoid.
    Maybe someone should revisit that rule.

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      Yeah, I understand that for sure. It has to be a rule though because what if the ball would have bounced close to the lines? What if a sudden burst of wind blew the ball back and hit the corner of the court? There are too many variables with this kind of stuff and so therefore they just have to make it a solid rule so there’s no slippery slope. I understand your frustration though.

      1. I’ve been trying to tell another player this and he doesn’t believe me. How can I send this message to him?

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      2. Nice answer. Solid rule is needed to prevent close calls. And in some cases bad sportsmanship…like catching the ball.

    2. A ball is not a fault until it lands outside the court. A ball striking an opponent is still in play regardless if the player is inbounds or out.

      1. That’s not correct. The rules state that the ball may be struck only once before going over the net and the ball may only touch the paddle or paddle hand at the wrist or hand. Therefore anytime a ball strikes a player anywhere else his team loses the rally.

  27. Played for the 1st time tonight. It was so fun. I was serving and I thought I said the score. We gained a point and I was ready to serve again so I said the new score. One of our opponents said my score was 1 point less as I didn’t announce the score the time before. So, she took a point away from me because she said I failed to say the score before serving. I didn’t find that rule anywhere so was wondering if that is true? Thanks!

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      That’s awesome! Welcome to pickleball! Be prepared to get totally addicted!

      That ruling is incorrect. You don’t take points away from people. The only time that happens is if in a serious match, a player does something destructive to someone or something, then the referee can dock points. Also, in rec play people shouldn’t be taking it that seriously. Sometimes people forget to call the score, and most of the times it’s not that big of a deal. Thanks for stopping by!

  28. Barrett,

    Rules 4.B.1 and 4.B.9 refer to “correct receiver position”, but I can’t find where “correct receiver position” is specifically defined. Is it the same as for the server (4.A.3) ?

    Thanks,
    Layne

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      Oh I see what you’re saying. Don’t look at is as having the right position. It’s just that you have to be the correct receiver. If you start the game on the right side of the court, your partner can’t come over and receive the ball for you. Thus, your “position” is on the right side of the court to receive the ball. This also means that whenever your score is even, you will ALWAYS be receiving the ball on the right side of the court. Hopefully, that made sense.

      1. But, going along the same lines, if the correct server is serving from the correct position AND the correct receiver is on the wrong side, can the legal receiver walk into the side of the court his partner is standing and, after the serve bounces in the correct service area, return the ball?

        1. You can not return the ball if you are not the correct receiver. Server is limited with position rule, receiver can be anywhere on their side of the court.

  29. A player makes an attempt to return a shot and completely misses the ball that then bounces out of bounds. Is that considered a missed return, or is it out and dead regardless of the attempt to play the ball.

    1. The person serving has a pre serve routine of swinging his arm forward and then back once. Then without stopping at all, he moves his arm forward, for the second time, at which point he serves the ball with an upward forward motion. Is this legal?

      1. While in a rally, I dropped my sweaty racquet from my right hand then proceeded to hit the ball with the palm of my left hand for a winner (like handball). Is this a legal play?

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          1. Are you certain? I can’t find anything in the rules except that I can hit a ball with parts of my hand below wrist. (Which I did when I dropped my paddle. I used my hand). Do I need to be holding a paddle in one of my hands at least?

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            Actually, I don’t think this is allowed. I think you have to have possession of the paddle in the hand that you’re hitting with in order for it to be OK. So it’s a question of paddle possession. Since you didn’t have possession, then it’s a fault. Thanks for all of your great questions!

        2. You just confused me. Earlier you said you could be in the kitchen before the ball bounces (as when it’s dinked over very close to the net). Here it seems you’re saying it had to bounce first before stepping into the kitchen. Which is correct?

          1. I want the answer to this question as well…. if we knows it’s coming into the kitchen does it have to bounce first and THEN how long do we have in the kitchen to get back out of the kitchen… with points going fast it’s hard to get back out… what’s the time limit in the kitchen???

          2. This is a great question and a common misconception. You technically could pull up a chair, crack open a beer and spend all game in the kitchen if you wanted. The rule only prohibits you from volleying the ball when in the kitchen. If it bounces first, and you play it, that’s fine even if you’ve been in there for the last 10 shots (tequila of course).

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  30. my partner, while returning a shot from the kitchen, hit the ball cross court with spin. the ball bounced in the opponents kitchen and back up over the net without either opponent touching it. but! before the ball hit the ground the opponent reached over the net [crossed the plane] and hit the ball. is this legal? he says yes, I say no

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      1. Hi,
        I was wondering if there was a rule against using two paddles for playing Pickleball? One on each hand.

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  31. before i serve i like to bounce the ball 3 times on ground then i stop and serve this helps me with my concentration i been told not allowed but i have not seen this rule in any rule book is there a rule on this

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  32. I hit a ball that was going out of bounds on the opposing team’s court, but before the ball hit the ground, it hit a player from an adjoining court. Normally, I know that would be the other team’s point, but in this case the person the ball hit had one foot in the opposing team’s court. What’s the ruling?

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    2. Jeffrey, it should be simple, most of the time we go by tennis rules, but in your case it is more NBA rule…If your ball hits someone that is not part of your game and that person is not inside or very close to your court the ball is out. If player from the other court runs into your court and gets hit it is let.

  33. My partner hits all balls back even ones that are clearly going to go out. These are balls that are in the air and have not bounced. Can I call it out if she hits it when it was obviously going out?

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      You can tell her “No” or “out” or something like that to let her know that the ball is going out. But if she hits it before it bounces, then it’s in play.

      1. There is problem (like in tennis) if you call out and ball hits the line then she hits it back, opponents can stop playing…And even with refs. opponents can stop playing with excuse that they heard out call…”NO” is better option.

  34. If a player executes a legal smash, but the ball, at very high speed hits the opponent, is this a fault? Should the ‘smasher’ be more careful and not aim at an opponent?

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      It’s a fault on the person that gets hit, not on the person doing the smash. You can hit at your opponent as much as you want. But hitting towards the face is considered poor etiquette for the most part. And it’s annoying.

      1. In play server hits non receiving player with served ball.Server says she gets a point even though ball never went to the correct part of court. I know this does not happen in almost all types of playing pickleball. However this player does not have good direction while serving

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          The server gets the point. You have to be watching where the ball goes. If you get hit, it’s their point.

      2. I was told today by an opponent after the game , which my team won 11-5, that I must stop smashing his female partner because she is not “that”good. She and I are both 2.5/3.0 players, but I think you said you can smash no limit as long as you don’t deliberately aim for the face. The person talking was abusive and made threatening remarks. I apologised to the lady and left to keep away from “the other threatening opponent”, who is a better player and angry because his team lost. Nothing about smashing was mentioned during the game and when he lost his temper went out of control. What do you say? Jack R.

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          Yes, you can smash as much as you want. Just ignore that stuff. People can get mad all they want when they lose. That’s their lack of priorities and problem, not yours.

    2. It is tough to avoid hitting someone who is right in front of you. Most people cover 20-25% of the bulls eye. You have several options: play your level, don’t lob, turn your back, cover your face, protection glasses…run…

  35. If a ball is dinked over the net, lands in bounds with side-spin, can you return the ball to the other side without the ball going over the net but landing in the opponents court in bounds?

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  36. Hi Just started playing and wondering about a ball that has been returned 3 times and then hits the net and starts to dribble down my side of net. I can’t enter kitchen until ball has hit the ground and bounced? It seems nearly impossible to return ball in this instance. thanks al

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      You can be in the kitchen all you want as long as you don’t volley the ball. You can go in, wait for the ball to bounce, then dink the ball back over.

      1. What if the server hits the non recieving opponent but after it hits the net. Is that a point for the server or a let because it hit the net?

        1. I read since last or the year before, the new ruling was if the server hit the net and then hit the receiver’s partner before the ball hit the ground, it is a point for the server.

  37. My opponent hits the ball to me and I run to return the ball and after I make contact my momentum carries me into the net in the court adjacent to the court where we are playing. We are not playing with portable nets, we are playing in a gym with 4 courts and continuous nets (badminton nets lowered to play pickleball). Is it a fault because I touched the wire supporting the net? The rules state I can not touch the net system but it does not specifically refer to the net system on the adjacent court.
    Thanks.

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      Interesting. I’ve never seen a situation like this before. I don’t think that would be a fault, but I’m not 100% certain. Probably not, and no one would call this in rec play.

    2. If it is same net it is fault. If is different net and the court it could be let for the other court players if they are in the middle of the point. (picture of the continuous net could help)

  38. If a player has a ball that could be questionable about being in or out, but they hit it and then they call it out. Is it considered out or since they hit it is the ball still considered in play? To me if it is that close to call and you hit it I would think it should still be considered in play And play should go on.

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      The moment they call “out”, the ball is dead and the ball is considered out. It doesn’t matter what happens after the ball was called out since the ball is dead from that point.

      1. What if they hit it first and then call it out, is it considered out or in play? Seems like it’s still in play if they hit it first.

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          Think of it this way. If a ball bounces out of bounds, then the ball is immediately declared dead. You are then responsible for calling “out” as quickly as possible. Whatever happens after the ball has bounced doesn’t matter because the point is over.

          But obviously, if the ball hasn’t bounced yet then it’s still in play. Hopefully, that answers your question!

      2. I am confused by your answer, and I think maybe you didn’t answer the question? I get that if someone call a ball out, then it is considered out and dead. But, if somebody plays the ball first, hits it, and then calls it out, I would think it’s too late to call out AFTER you hit it. Isn’t it now in play? Or are you saying, you can hit a ball, then don’t like how you hit it, and you can then call out? That doesn’t see right…

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          Hey Debbie! I see what you’re talking about. This is why line calls have to be made instantly. You indeed cannot have a ball bounce out, hit it, wait a second, then call it out. That’s a late call and those are not allowed. If you call it too late, then the ball is considered in. There’s some grey area there though.

          The type of situation that I’m referring to is when a ball lands out, you hit the ball naturally while at the same time calling it out. As long as the call is made very quickly, it’s out. So the question is around late calls. Does this make sense? Please let me know if that helps and if not I’ll try to clarify.

          1. Please refer to Section 6.D.8 and clarify if a player can return a ball and then call it out. Is the ball still in play once they hit it back over the net?

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            Well like I said, it’s a grey area. When the ball bounces out of bounds, you have to call it instantly. If you hit the ball very shortly after that, it’s fine. No one is going to mind and no one expects that of anyone. Just make your calls instantly and you’ll be good to go! Where it gets tricky is when a ball bounces out, then you wait 3 seconds before calling it out. That’s a late call and is not allowed.

          3. This is happening quite often, ther
            receiver hit the ball by reflex and then call it out, because it was out. The delay to call it out is the timr that your opponent hit it back. If the opponent had the time to hit it back, it is too late to call it out. Hope this is helping.

      3. Yes, but does it matter what happened before they call it out? i.e. they hit it back first then call it out. Too much gray area in this ruling.

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          There is. Watch out for Ep. 79 of my podcast. I’ll be talking about this in detail with an expert on rules.

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          2. what if the opponent hits the ball & after his return hits the net he calls your serve out

    2. That is one of the most difficult ones in tennis too. Challenges on tournaments help a lot. If you try to return and then (quickly) you figure out that you are better off calling out you should loose the point. Your return was no good, easy ball for the opponent…intention is important…and how quickly you call it. And most important is it out or not…Honest players usually don’t have problem with opponents, cheaters do.

  39. When serving in a doubles game. If the partner of the receiving player gets hit by the ball – before the receiver can hit it and before it hits the ground. Is this a foul?
    I assume in one case that the partner is obstructing by standing between the server and receiving court at the T. However, how can one judge this and does it matter where the non-receiving partner is standing if he gets hit by a service ball i.e. not necessarily obstructing the serve?

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      That is a fault, yes. Doesn’t matter where he’s standing. If he gets hit, it’s an automatic fault.

      1. When about to serve and the non-receiving opponent is standing off to the side and dancing, is this considered a distraction.

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        2. That should be the newest addition to the rules. “During the serve two players not involved must dance”. I think popularity of the pickleball would skyrocket…

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  40. In pickleball, if the opponent calls a ball out then immediately plays it and says it was in, I was wrong, then we miss the ball because we thought is was dead. Who’s point is it? What is the rule?

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      Once the opponent calls the ball out, then the ball is dead and the point is over. The only way to not make the ball out is if his partner disagrees or if the referee overrules.

      1. What is the rule? Should the ball be replayed? or is it a fault for the team who made the evential right call to call the ball in?

  41. Volley lands in kitchen and spins back into net. If I get the ball without touching the net and hit it back over net, is the ball still in play?

    I had an opponent who thought the ball was dead when it bounced back into the net.

    1. My partner hit a high shot across the net. The opponent Screamed ” swing” and faked a swing. He then ran back and hit the ball over the net off of the bounce.

      I believe this is a violation of the distraction rule.

      I wouldn’t have any problem with faking the swing and going to get the ball and return it. But feel to Scream “Swing” is wrong.

      I feel like it was obnoxious and a violation.

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        I’m not sure if that’s technically illegal in a game, but it’s certainly not a nice way to play. Especially in a casual game or in rec play.

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  42. When we were playing today, a ball was hit high by our opponent and dropped into our kitchen, close to the net and bouncing high. My partner went to hit it overhand but stopped as the opponent was right there at the net and he didn’t want to hit/hurt him.
    I do not believe the opponent’s intention was to distract but are there any rules on this situation?

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      Everything was going fine as usual. Of course, it would have been pretty bad to hit the ball hard at someone right at the net. But just a simple tap directly at the person is fine. This way it would be an automatic fault without intentionally hurting someone. I have heard many stories about people with detached retinas from hitting hard shots too close!

    1. Serve first, but only because it gives you an opportunity to win the game with your opponents never having a chance to score a point. The receive first team never has an opportunity to do that.

    2. The serving team is at a disadvantage because they cannot get to the kitchen line until the third shot (due to the two bounce rule). The receiving team starts with one player at the kitchen and can advance the second player to the line after the second shot. Also, at the start of the game the serving side only has once chance to fault before losing their chance to score. The receiving will get two fault opportunities before losing their chance to score. Advantage goes to the receiving side at the start of the game.

  43. What if the receiver’s partner calls the ball out, but, the person hitting it (and closer to the ball) doesn’t think so and continues play? Is the ball dead or still in play?

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  44. I play at a rec center which has been honoring volleys that are returned outside of the net poles. Or re-stated, return of balls from a side angle that doesn’t cross over the net but on the court. I felt that is outside the plane of the net, thus a fault. They’re cAlling it good. What your ruling?

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  45. Someone wrote: “If my partner is receiving, can I stand outside the court beside the kitchen on my side then move to my side position to receive, not going through the kitchen of course.”
    Why do they say, “not going through the kitchen of course?”
    Where do the rules say that you can’t run through the kitchen?

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      Oh I see. There’s nothing in the rules that says you can’t do this, but you don’t want to. If you don’t have to, stay out of the kitchen. Reason being that if someone hits a fast shot at you, then you’re toast!

  46. So, what is the rule for going in and out of the kitchen when the ball is in play? That is, my partner is hitting the ball back and forth, and I’m watching while NOT hitting the ball, and standing in the kitchen. Allowed? From everything that I’ve read, it is allowed.

    1. You can spend the entire game in the kitchen as long as you don’t hit a ball out of the air (volley). To legally hit a volley after being in the kitchen, you must first make contact with both feet outside of the kitchen.

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        You can communicate to your partner that the ball is going out, but you cannot make the call until the ball lands.

  47. So while serving, the ball hits the net and ends up in the kitchen….this is a fault, but if it hits the net and lands beyond the kitchen it is a let and serve can be redone. If it lands correctly why wouldn’t it be in play? We have been serving over if ball hits net and drops to the kitchen. Guess we have been doing it incorrectly.

    1. “Voice let” is type of destruction, in pickleball if opponents do that it is up to the ref. to determine if is used as a destruction or not. Good people will apologize if you say something, bad will argue…you can maybe get a let. Any other destruction is point for you…

  48. Hey when a server is serving the ball & it hits his opponent on the left & the ball lands in the left side of the court, does the serving team get the point? & What if it done intentionally?

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      They get the point yes. You can’t let the ball contact you on the way over. If it’s coming for you, dodge it!

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    2. It seams that younger players and tennis players that switched recently like to drive the ball from the back. Also last few tournaments it seams that hard hitting is on the raise. Whatever wins you points…Good mix is always the best.

  49. If the server calls the score, but the receiving team can’t hear it, how is that handled? Often, even with the new rule, the serve comes immediately after the score is called. I’ve a few kerfuffles on this issue!

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  50. Can I bounce ball, before serve, as in tennis, then properly/legally serve?
    If not, what’s the penalty?
    Thanks.

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      You can bounce the ball if you want to. But you can’t bounce the ball, then serve it. You have to remove the ball from your hand, then serve it. It can’t hit the ground first.

  51. If my partner is receiving, can I stand outside the court beside the kitchen on my side then move to my side position to receive, not going through the kitchen of course.

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    2. Why do you say “not going through the kitchen of course?”
      It’s my understanding that I can run in and out of the kitchen whenevr I want.

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        Hey Steve,

        I read both of your comments. I can’t find where I wrote that in the article. Can you direct me to it?

        Here’s the thing about the kitchen. You always want to remain outside of the kitchen unless you’re returning a short ball near the net. The reason is that if you’re standing in the kitchen and your opponent hits a hard ball at you, if you hit it then it’s an automatic fault, since the ball hasn’t bounced and you’re in the kitchen. The other problem is that if you can remove your foot from the kitchen before hitting the volley, that can sometimes not be enough. You have to completely reset your stance first.

        Let me know if that helps.

  52. How about a return that is tipped by one player and then hit (and returned successfully) by the partner. Is a double hit in this case legal?

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  53. Hi Bob,

    This regards the Erne shot. Let’s assume the receiver is on the left side and hits the Erne shot. Where can that person’s left foot be before, during and after the shot with regard to the imaginary net line to the left of the net? In other words, assuming the player hits the ball on his/her side of the net, but the left foot is out of bounds but on the other side of the net, does it matter? If s/he has the left foot on the other side before the shot different from after the shot after follow through?

    As an aside, let’s say you are back and your opponent hits a shallow angled dink in bounds. You run up to get it and hit it while you are outside the court, not uncommon. Your momentum takes you over the imaginary net line. You scramble back to get on the court. Are you out because your foot went over the out of bounds net line? If you are not out, it seems that that informs the answer to the Erne question regarding after the ball is hit. But if your left foot is over the imaginary net line before the ball is hit, we are unsure.

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      When you do any kind of Erne shot like that, your feet can be anywhere while also respecting the kitchen rules. However, if you have to cross the plane of the net, then you have to have already made contact with the ball. If you don’t make contact with the ball and cross the plane of the net with your foot or paddle, then it’s a fault.

      Your second instance should be a fault as well. It’s basically the same thing. Any crossing of the net line has to be met with legal ball contact.

  54. I wish I could put this in a few words, but oh well….

    Line call issue: As a ball lands near the outside line of the receiving team, the receiving partner on the far side of the court calls “out” while the partner near the ball plays the shot, but does not make a call. The opposing team returns the ball which falls on the receiving team’s court without any attempt to return. The player who originally called “out” after the ball struck the ground near the line, claimed that the ball was dead the instant that he called “out” so therefore he did not attempt to continue the point and therefore his team won the point. It seems to be common practice for the non-hitting player to call baseline calls that are out, but I think a player on the far side of the court should not be calling sideline calls across court. What say ye? Is the ball instantly dead if a receiving player calls “out” after a bounce?

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      Hey Wanye,

      If I understand you correctly, the receiver’s partner is calling a shot that’s on his side of the court that his partner is about to return? If so, then this is perfectly acceptable. When it comes to line calls, it’s always up to the team who has the ball bouncing on their side. The moment it is called out, a dead ball is enacted and the game moves on. Does that answer your question?

  55. Can I without a fault return a ball that hits my paddle hand as I grip the paddle? Also, the rule reference above about striking below the paddle hand wrist–does this mean the ball can be played after it hits my paddle hand forearm (for example) or does it mean I can legally return the ball over the net off my paddle hand forearm…or both?

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      Any ball that hits above your wrist is fine. But if it hits below your wrist it’s a dead ball.

      Whoops, I said that the wrong way. Any ball that hits below your wrist (meaning towards your paddle) is fine. But if it hits above your wrist (meaning towards your arm) it’s a dead ball.

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      1. Exactly opposite of what you said. Any ball that hits the paddle hand from the wrist down to the fingers is legal. Any ball contacting above the wrist, ie: the forearm, is illegal.

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  56. Bob,
    New to the game and have a question: if a ball comes over the net, lands in the kitchen and has a high bounce, is it legal to smash it from the kitchen?
    Thanks
    Sharon

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      That’s perfectly fine.

      Think of the kitchen rule this way: if the ball bounces, the kitchen rule no longer applies.

      1. Looks like there are lots of nitpicking rules. Players should not be expecting points when serving wrong or to wrong part of court.

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          Yeah there are a lot of details to the rules. If we serve wrong, even in a serious private game, we typically just let them redo it. It’s not a big deal.

  57. Do you have to release the ball before striking it when serving or may you hit it off of your fingers to create spin?

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      1. Are you sure that the server’s fingers are allowed to push the ball against the paddle when serving? This is illegal in Table Tennis due to the massive spin that can be put on the ball. I have seen one person serve in pickleball by pushing against the ball on the serve and the spin is absolutely tremendous.

        1. I am here for that rule…and nothing yet. Rule should be similar to table tennis, ball should fly at least 6″ before strike. I don’t see need for the open palm.

  58. Question: Is a side-arm serve hit below the waist with the racket head below the wrist legal?

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  59. playing ball to opposite in double in midair the other site partner called ^OUT^ but ball actual was returned by the partner and landed outside our court? I understood calling a ball out during play before actual it is out and ALSO is returned by their playing partner is a FAULT. Calling out but returning ball in continuation of game is fault? Right or WRONG, pls.

    1. Any call before the ball bounces is partner communication and is not a line call. Any call of out AFTER the ball bounces results in the ball being dead and the play is immediately over.

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  60. When someone on a neighboring court calls “Ball in court”, are we required to call a let or can we choose to keep playing?

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  61. Can a distraction call be made if a player jumps around the court in an attempt to distract the opposition just before they strike the ball? ie: running up to the net on a service return then jumping towards the Centre line then back into the middle of the court just prior to the opposition player striking the ball.

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      I’m not 100% sure about something like this, but in general, this is not considered a distraction call since the movements are not directly designed to hinder with the player’s swing and execution of the shot. A distraction call would be something like waving your arms in the arm, yelling during the swing, stuff like that.

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  62. I play pickleball at a rec center with portable nets. What is the rule when the ball hits the net and rolls over and hits the cross bar that supports the net or the foot supporting the net in play?

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      According to what I’ve read in the rulebook, it is considered a let, and should be replayed.

  63. If the opponent’s ball accidentally hit my paddle as i am standing behind the service line and the ball was called out, whose point is this?

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  64. Ted Jeffery
    I was playing doubles when my opponent was serving to me. The ball hit the net and fell well within the
    kitchen (not a close call) . My partner, who was behind me, initially thought the ball was a good serve but I told him that it was definitely in the kitchen and he then agreed with me. My opponent said it was their point because we initially did not agree on the call. What should the call be? Ted

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      Hey Ted, this is correct. Since you called it out and your partner called it in, this creates doubt and thus is “in”. Good call on your opponent.

      To avoid this in the future, make sure that only your side of the court is being called for. So if your partner is being served to, only let him make the line calls. This makes it to where only one person is making the call and thus avoids this “doubt” scenario. Hope that helps, thanks for commenting!

      1. Assuming of course that the disputed call was that it both hit the net and fell in the kitchen. If the net part was not in dispute, then it would be a let.

  65. I have a question about a return of serve rule that I have never heard before or read about. I was told that when I am returning a serve I must return it past the kitchen line. Is this correct?

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      Hey Linda, good to hear from you again. This is incorrect. A return-serve follows the same rules as any other shot.

  66. I just discovered Pickleball Kitchen and am reading past blog posts – lots of good stuff here! One comment about the ethics section of this post. While it is correct to say that all calls musts be made instantly, I think it’s important to add that “instantly” is defined as “calling “let” or “out” prior to the ball being hit by the OPPONENT or before a dead ball is declared.” Rule 6.d.8. Some folks think that once the ball crosses the plane of the net it’s too late to make a call but that’s incorrect.
    Thanks, Barrett, for all your good work!

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      Thank you so much! Your comment came at the perfect time because I’m going back to this article soon to revise a few things. I’ll be taking your comment into consideration. Thanks again!

      1. My opponent hit a shot into the net then the ball went straight down, hit a metal net support, never hit the ground, then bounced over the neinto my court. What is the csll?
        Terry

  67. There’s one situation in particular where I could see this occurring often. If I’m playing in an evenly matched game with skilled opponents, I will oftentimes tell my partner what kind of shot is coming their way. I don’t do this for all shots, but I especially do it for spin shots because they can be the trickiest ones to deal with. However, by observing my opponent’s body language, I can tell if they’re about to do a sneaky spin shot. I will then shout to my partner, “spin!”. This is all before my opponent has hit the ball.

    No one is ever going to call you out on something like this in casual pickleball. But in competitive play, be aware!

    11.J.2. In doubles play, team communication before the opponent strikes the ball shall not be considered a fault.
    This rule will allow you to forewarn your partner without being called for a distraction.

  68. If a receiver is standing with one foot in the court and the other outside the court and a served ball hits the ankle of the Outside leg on a fly (outside the court) is this a fault on the server or is the ball concidered live because the receiver had a leg in the court.

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      The ball is still live regardless of where the receiver had his leg. That’s a fault on the receiver because it struck his leg. The only striking area of the body that won’t be called a fault is anything below the wrist of your paddle hand. Hope that clears it up for you!

      1. When you say, it’s a fault on the receiver, that means the server gets a point. Am I understanding that correctly?

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  69. Bob,
    I was taught that if you stand behind the kitchen line while returning a shot , that your arm and paddle cannot cross over the kitchen line on the return shot. That your paddle is supposed to stop as close to the line without crossing it. The only time you can is on dink shot when you have to go into the kitchen to retrieve it .
    Does this sound right ? If a player is say 7 foot tall and his reach can almost touch the net , then it wouldn’t seem fair on those shots even though his feet are behind the kitchen line.
    Thanks for any advice you can give me !!
    We have a lot of controversy with this one .

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      Hey Jim,

      This is incorrect. Your arm and paddle can hover over the kitchen as much as you want. You cannot be making physical contact with the kitchen line or the kitchen while you are volleying a ball (hitting it out of mid-air.) This includes if your momentum makes you step into the kitchen after a volley.

      You can step into the kitchen to make a dink if you want, but the ball has to bounce first.

      Remember it this way: the kitchen is the physical ground, not the space above it. Check out my article on the kitchen rules for more.

      Hope that clears things up.

      -Barrett

    2. You might want to consider the legal ernie shot were you can stand beside the kitchen reach in an hit the ball as soon as it crosses the plane of the net. It is a fault if your paddle crosses the net without making contact with the ball.

  70. Thanks Bob, we can all learn from this.
    Would like to add that if you deem a serve to be going out you cannot interfere with said serve….touch the ball before it lands results in loss of point.
    A tennis rule that says it all……..
    A ball that is 99% out is 100% in.

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