pickleball rules

6 Lesser Known Pickleball Rules That You Must Know

Barrett Kincheloearticle, Basics, beginner, Rules 377 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.

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 kitchen line. If the ball hits the kitchen or the kitchen line, it’s a fault. Even if it hits the net beforehand. Also, it used to be that grazing the net then landing in the serving box was a let, but that is no longer the case!

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 377

  1. I didn’t get a chance to play pickleball yet but with these lesser-known rules, I hope I’ll be in advance of my opponent.


  2. The United States of America Pickleball Association’s website has a complete list of the rules. But here we discuss the five basic Pickleball rules. And after learning these rules, you can play and enjoy the game. These rules are as follow:
    Serve must be underhand.
    Two bounce Ball rule.
    Non-volley zone rule.
    Scoring rule.
    The game is over at 11 or 15 points.

  3. Regarding this statement:

    “In general, judgment should be left to those who can look straight down the line, instead of looking at it perpendicularly.”

    Why should the person with the worse view of the line be assigned to judge? They are focusing on the ball, not the line. And they do not have an angle to see court space between the ball and the line.

    1. I agree! One viewing from above, cannot tell as easily whether the ball touched the outer edge of the sideline on a close call, whereas his/her partner can.

  4. Question–If you are standing outside the court and your opponent hits you with the pickleball and it’s not first touched the court, is that a “fault or point” for the person hitting the ball or the person being hit by the ball? The person hit is standing outside the court.

    1. So the offensive team gets the point even if you are out of bounds when you get hit with a ball in the air which would have been out of bounds anyway?

  5. Pingback: My Site

  6. An opponent sliced a shot from right to left that forced me to go after it. As I started my stroke to hit a back hand, I saw the spinning motion that was still going away from me and that I would not be able to reach it. With no other choice, I followed through and let me paddle go and made super nice light contact to drop it in the kitchen on the far right earning the point. Both opponents mentioned it was a great shot and a good point. However, since then, others have said you can’t let your paddle go so I would have lost the rally. I can’t find that in the rules. What is correct?

    1. Our tennis pro told us that a legal shot in tennis is only made when racquet is in your hand. He assumes it would be the same in Pickleball but I can’t find a specific rule covering that.

      1. Found the rule – 11.O.Paddle Possession. A player must have possession of the paddle when it makes contact with the ball. A violation of this rule is a fault.

    2. If a pickleball hits just over net on receivers side bounces against net from spin on receivers side is it still in play? It bounced once hit net can you still get it if it doesn’t bounce again?

      1. As long as the ball does not touch the ground again and you do not touch the net when attempting to return it, the ball is still in play. If the ball lands on your side, spins backwards into the net, bounces OFF OF THE NET and you hit it before it in the air before it hits the ground again (bounces twice), it is still in play . Just don’t let your paddle hit the net when trying to hit it back.

  7. My post here is in reference to the opening statement where it states that a ball must be struck below the belly button (waist) and then goes on to say it also applies to the serve. That implies that all shots must be hit underhand and contract of the paddle with the ball must be below the BB. Now, I just want to clarify that that only applies to the volley serve (conventional) serve. There is also the ‘drop serve’ which does not have those requirements. Although it must be struck below the BB there are none of the other constraints that apply to the volley serve. Like upward swing going from low to high, and the wrist being below the lowest part of the paddle face on contact w/ the ball.
    That was posted under the Q that asked if there are any overheads in Pickleball. The answer ought to have been, YES!
    When a player is lobbed, it can be hit w/ and overhead smash/volley or it can be run down for a shot after it bounces.
    Now I trust that it an be corrected, unless of course you choose not to, for whatever reason. TIA!

  8. Thanks for explaining that proper communication is important when playing in a pickleball tournament. My brother is trying to convince me to join him in a local pickleball tournament next year. I’ll consider this article as I shop for pickleball gear.

  9. I do not beleive the concept of a ‘let’ serve exists as you write “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. ” What I see in the book is as follows [Page 18, USA Pickleball & IFP Official Rulebook (2021)] – https://usapickleball.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/2021-Rulebook-Indexed-FINAL-01-22-21.pdf Can you clarify please?

    ” 4.A.6. Placement. The server must serve to the correct
    service court (the court diagonally opposite the
    server). The serve may clear or touch the net and
    must clear the NVZ and the NVZ lines. The serve
    may land on any other service court line.”

    1. Pickleball rules can change. In this case, “let” serves no longer exists, and the served ball may tip the net, and if it lands in the proper part of the receiver’s court (outside of the kitchen and in the proper half), the serve is considered valid.

      Note: Another recent change is that the server may bounce the ball behind the base line prior to hitting an otherwise valid serve.

  10. Partner calls out as the other partner continues their swing because they are already in motion to hit. The ball is in fact out. Just because the partner hits the ball, the ball is still out, correct?

    I have on two occasions have people say, no, if your partner hits the ball, then it is played as in, that they can’t hit it after the call and it still be considered out.

    I can’t believe that is the rule and wouldn’t even question it but have heard it come from people in two different states. I think they are just confused. Certainly not like that in tennis and it would be a stupid rule if it were true in Pickleball.

    1. The line call ended the rally. The partner would be hitting a dead ball.
      The opponents might be confused or uneducated about the rules.

      1. It’s not a line call if the call is made before the ball has landed. If your partner calls a ball in the air “out” that is considered partner communication and is not a line call. Therefore, if the ball is hit prior to landing it is a live ball.
        If the partner waits until the ball lands and hits the ball that has landed out that would not count as a stroke, because the ball is dead on an “out” call made after the ball has hit the ground.

    2. Simple answer for you: if you hit or otherwise touch the ball before it bounces out, it’s their point. You can’t just catch the ball with your hand or body and say: “oh well in my opinion it was going out so its ok” yeah, no.

  11. If the server hits the non-receiving player who is standing in the non receiving square at the kitchen line does the server’s team score?

    1. Yes, if the served ball hits the (either) opponent on the fly, it is a point for the server. If the ball bounces out prior to hitting the opponent, the ball is considered dead and is considered a fault on the serve.

  12. If the server hits the non-receiving player who is standing in the non receiving square at the kitchen line does the server’s team score?

  13. What is the rule if while playing doubles recreational pickleball (no referee), one of the players insists their team has a point higher than their partner called during last serve. Who decides the score? Opposing team or majority?

  14. When a receiving team player tells their team mate the ball is out before lt hits the ground and it stays in is this a rule violation or a distraction violation.

    1. During a rally, my partner struck a ball that hit the net post and then fell onto our opponents side of the net (it was not a serve). Am I correct to assume that we win the point (our opponents did not return the ball)?

      1. The Opponents win any rally that a player on the opposite Team hits out of bounds. The Post – unlike the rest of the netting or top cable/strapping – is considered out of bounds (also a ceiling, lighting or Overhanging basketball net, or even a Referee…are considered out of bounds, regardless of where the ball lands afterwards!)
        So, in the scenario you described, Your team loses the Rally because your partner hit the ball into the post; that is out of bounds).

    2. A call before the ball lands is considered partner communication and may be wrong. It is not recognized as a distraction. A call after the ball lands is considered a line call. Hopefully, such a line call would be correct.

  15. If a player is wearing running shoes with a curved toe ,must the shoe sole touch the kitchen line for a fault or is it a fault if the toe is over the kitchen line?

    1. Post

      It’s only a fault if the physical shoe itself touches the line. What happens above doesn’t matter.

    2. Just think about your question for a second. Basically, you are asking if a part of a player, his clothing or his shoe hangs OVER the kitchen line but does not touch the kitchen line nor touch the ground inside the kitchen line, is he committing an infraction?. NOW, ask yourself this: ” If a player reaches his arm into the kitchen to swing at a volley or to catch a dink in mid-air before it bounces, is it an infraction?” I think you have your answer. Most swing volleys at the kitchen line extend about a foot over the line, so, NO! No infraction.b

  16. During a doubles rally my opponent hit a shot that bounced off his partner’s head and then landed in our court. I called a fault. My opponents said this was a let and should have been replayed. Was I right? What rule applies?

    1. Post
    2. Fault. The ball can only be returned by the paddle or the hand holding the paddle (from the wrist downwards).


    1. Your racket can hit the court without penalty. Your opponent was trying to get an unfair advantage. That’s no different than a tennis racket hitting the ground. There is no advantage to either player for a racket hitting the ground, unless it is done purposely to distract.

  18. Distraction Rule
    As I prepare to serve, my non receiving apponent stands still at the kitchen line 2 feet off center line. As I begin my serving motion he raises up abruptly and moves two feet to the center line. As a server, I find this motion distracting.
    Am I correct this is a violation of the Distraction Rule.

    1. If intention is to distract it is distraction. I will consider questioning the strategy behind the move. If there is no logical strategy other then distraction he looses the argument. If he did not do that in the points prior to that one and in key, important points he started to do that…yap distraction, case closed.

      1. intentional distraction ? non receiving opponent stands at the kitchen line, straddles the centerline (one foot in each side) sways back and forth leaning strongly into receivers side, server hits ball and player moves in time not to take a body hit. This is in league play competitive no judges. Intentionally I could hit player with my serve thus gaining a point but chose not to. Never played before with such a low life strategy. Thoughts ?

        1. The non-return partner and the server partner, by rule, are specifically allowed to stand anywhere on their side of the court.
          No ref would ever call it a distraction no matter where someone stood.
          Now if they start waving their arms or shouting or jumping around, that’s different.

          Just because it’s funny or silly or pointless or risky, or even DISTRACTING, does not make it a distraction. Some people can focus better than others. that’s why Rule 11.J says REFS (not opponents) must judge if it was intentionally distracting. For instance, an unintentional sneeze while someone is trying to dink a short ball … not a distraction. if a fake-sneeze keeps happening, a Ref will call it a distraction fault.

          1. NOPE! Receiving partner cannot stand in kitchen on side of serve to be received and jump out of the way at the last second.

  19. I have a question on a point being played.A ball is hit and it hits the top of the net and it goes over and drops down and gets hung on the cross bar and the net.How is the point ruled?

    1. It is replayed.

      13.D Replay–Ball Affected by Net. When a returned ball that crosses the net gets caught in the net or contacts the net lying on the court, the rally must be replayed.

      13.E Replay – Ball Affected by Net Support System. When a returned ball crosses the net and contacts any part of a crossbar or any other part of the net support system within the court boundaries, before or after the ball bounces, the rally must be replayed.

  20. In tournament play, without referees, when a server serves the ball without calling score or doesn’t look to see if the receiver is ready the serve how would you handle the call?

  21. If pulled wide off the court when trying to return an opponent’s ball, can you hit the ball into opponent’s court without the ball passing over the net?

      1. John is correct on the Around the Post shot, however, the ball CANNOT pas between the net post and the net. (Fault Rules 7.C. Hitting the ball under the net or between the net and the net post. )

        1. …As well as, “The Net Rule # 11.L.2. If the ball travels between the net and the net post, it is a fault against the striking player.”

        2. No, you are misunderstanding the rule or quoting it incorrectly when you say that a ball may even travel “under the net”. The rule states that the ball may travel around the net post and into the opponent’s court and my do so at a level below the height of the top of the net. In other words, if you are pulled wide for a shot, you can hit the ball around the net post at a height of even one or two inches off of the ground, as long as it lands into the court on your opponent’s side and does not touch the ground after striking your paddle until it touches the ground on your opponent’s side. You MAY NOT hit the ball INSIDE the net posts “under the net”, even if it remains airborne and doesn’t touch the ground. It also cannot go between the post and the net. It must travel OVER THE NET in all cases except when going AROUND the posts and net.

      1. ERIC,
        No, you are misunderstanding the rule or quoting it incorrectly when you say that a ball may even travel “under the net”. The rule states that the ball may travel around the net post and into the opponent’s court and my do so at a level below the height of the top of the net. In other words, if you are pulled wide for a shot, you can hit the ball around the net post at a height of even one or two inches off of the ground, as long as it lands into the court on your opponent’s side and does not touch the ground after striking your paddle until it touches the ground on your opponent’s side. You MAY NOT hit the ball INSIDE the net posts “under the net”, even if it remains airborne and doesn’t touch the ground. It also cannot go between the post and the net. It must travel OVER THE NET in all cases except when going AROUND the posts and net.

    1. Yes! The pickleball does not have to travel over the pickleball net. Rather, the pickleball may travel around the net post to the other side of the pickleball court. The pickleball may be below the height of the pickleball net when hitting an ATP (“around the post”).

  22. The side hitting the ball clearly sees the ball bounce twice before being returned by an opponent. Both partners on the hitting side call the double bounce and the opponent claims there was only one bounce. I do not find in the rules who can/should call a double bounce. What say you?

  23. if you are standing outside the court and get hit by the ball from an opponents shot. who gets the point.

    1. Post
      1. If the shot he made lands on the receivers side thats the end of his “shot”,once it is returned the previous play is dead, no way should u penalise for previous shots when the ball remained in play for another return before he landed in the zone. Different if he landed there before the ball was still in the air and before it bounces and was restruck.

      2. Hi Barrett,

        I’m a fairly new player transitioning from racquetball to pickleball.. I returned a volley that hit my opponent, who was stationed near the net, in the chest.. while his partner didn’t comment on it he claimed my shot was dirty pool. Is this shot considered unethical?

        1. Post

          No it’s not. It’s only bad if it’s way overboard and it’s obvious that you’re trying to hurt them. 99% of pickleball players know that it’s normal to get hit.

          1. can you really get hurt with a whiffle(pickle) ball? Maybe a full swing overhead to the eye? Coming from a tennis background, it’s not considered “ethical” to smash a ball at an opponent who is very close, but hitting at an opponent from a ground stroke is generally thought as “fair game”. A tennis ball at 130mph can leave a mark. Not sure how hard a pickleball can be hit, but it seems like 70mph would be pushing it.

          2. Can a player, standing at the kitchen line, jump in the air and do an overhead smash?

        2. I will consider level of the player that is being hit. If he/she is lower level, lower physical ability and if you are winning anyway…slow down, otherwise go for it. Tennis court is much bigger and it is much easier to win the point without hitting someone. In pickleball players at the net can cover 90% of the court and trying to avoid them will cause you to make a mistake. I heard that there is more eye injuries in pickleball (retina displacement) in comparison to tennis. In pickleball we are always in close range, ball is slower but firmer, with no deflection. Wear eye protection!

      3. Barrett in a rally yesterday we had a very unusual situation. Both players of the striking team saw the ball go over the net. Both players on the receiving team saw the ball go under the net. No referee. Receiving team makes the call? Team hitting a ball and making the call sounds wrong. Thanks John

        1. Post

          Calls are almost never made by the striking team. Having said that, it’s pretty rare when something like this happens. But yes, receiving team makes the call.

        2. How in the world could two people see a ball go “UNDER A NET” and two others see it go “OVER THE NET???? TBJHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE OF SEVERAL FEET AND ONE IS AIRBORNE AND ANOTHER IS BASICALLY ROLLING…PLEASE CLARIFY.

  24. I have 2 questions. If a right-hand player (on left) and a left-hand partner (on right) both swing at the same ball down the middle:

    1. What happens if both players make contact with the ball and it lands for a win?
    2. What happens if the player on the left (right-hander) is the only one that hits the ball, but at the same time he strikes his left-handed partner’s paddle causing it to fly out of his hand and land in the kitchen? The ball landed for a win, but the left-hander never actually touched the ball.

    Each of these has happened, I took the point on both occasions.

    1. 1. If both players hit the ball, it is a fault.
      2. If only you hit the ball, there is no fault. Your partner (or their paddle) can be in the kitchen. There is no violation.

      1. #1 – There is very little likelihood that both players contacted the ball. In most instances, one of the two players’ paddle will actually make contact with the ball while the second player’s paddle is striking the first players paddle; therefore no fault.

        #2 – Whether or not the stroke was a volley (before a bounce) versus a groundstroke may determine whether or not its a fault. If you strike the ball as a volley and your partner’s paddle strikes your paddle in the same stroke, knocks your paddle out of your hand and it lands in the kitchen, it is an NVZ fault.

  25. Barrett wrote about serving “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 [the server] will lose the point.”. I think he meant to say “lose the rally” as the server never loses a point in this manner.

  26. I think your comments about receiver readiness are in error. The scorekeeper calls the score when everyone is ready or “should be” ready. The receiver has a chance to indicate “not ready” before the score is called. But once the score is called if the receiver isn’t around to return the ball, their penalty is losing that point. They could be not ready if the server sends the ball their way 1 sec after call of score or not ready after 10 sec. Still tough luck if you don’t return the ball.

    If a receiver frequently calls “not ready” when everyone else has had ample time to get set, and are essentially delaying the game, you can issue a technical warning. A second such warning essentially is a technical fault, and the team forfeits the match.

  27. If on a serve the ball hits the center line but bounces on the non diagonal side of the court (not where it’s supposed to bounce on a serve) is that still a good serve?

    1. If the serve lands on the center line, it is a good serve. If after bouncing on the center line, the ball (due to wind or spin on the ball) then moves toward the side of the court away from the receiver, it is still a good serve.

  28. Ok if a player hits the ball with backspin it bounce to the other side but inside the kitchen, then bounces back into my side of the court without anyone touching it is it my point or the other teams? MyWife and I have been disagreeing on this and I can’t find it anywhere in the rule book. Thanks!!!

        1. Ladonna is correct. The receiving team is required to contact the ball before it strikes the surface of the opponent’s court. (The Net Rume #11.L.4. If a player hits the ball over the net into the opponent’s court, and then the ball bounces back over the net without being touched by the opponent, the striking player wins the rally.

    1. It is your point if the opponent does not hit the ball. See Rule 11.I.1. FYI, in such case, as indicated per the rule, the opponent may break the plane of the net onto your side in order to hit the ball.

  29. Q: Righthanded server, serving from their left side of court has feet left of the centre line extension as per rules. leans over the center line extension and their paddle strikes the ball well right of the center line extension, fault or legal? Thanks

  30. Playing doubles, I rush in to volley a short shot. My momentum takes me right to the edge of the kitchen, and I struggle to stay out. I am swinging my arms, tiptoeing, and trying everything possible to stay out of the kitchen. In the meantime, my shot clears the net, is vollied back to my partner, and my partner volleys the ball back for a winner. All this happens in just a couple of seconds. All the while, I have been gyrating wildly in an effort to remain out of the kitchen. After the ball has bounced twice on the opponents side for the winner, I lose my struggle and step in to the kitchen. What is the call?

    1. Post

      That’s a kitchen fault. Your struggling to calm down your momentum is still considered your “shot” that had happened a few shots ago. Therefore, if you fall in, it would be like stepping in and volleying at the same time. I hope that made sense!

      1. Since Mark didn’t step into the Kitchen until “after” the point had been won, why would that be a kitchen fault?

      2. How about this one?…I hit the ball and I am trying to keep out of the kitchen, swinging my arms, in the mean time my opponents hit back, then my partner hits back and that is match point…I am still flying trying to stay out of the kitchen…My opponents and my partner are talking about my lack of skill, I am thinking about calling for the distraction, but my pride prevails…I am still trying to stay out of the kitchen…those three decide to go home and I am still trying to stay out of the kitchen. I know I should be home by 9pm, I still have 15 minutes, but it is getting tight. My partner is probably home already. Two hours later my calf muscles are cramping, it is too dark to see and even if I step in the kitchen it is difficult to determine for sure. My wife came and handed me my phone and I am asking this question…please hurry up with the answer I am still on the kitchen line trying to stay out…question is: “if my partner and my opponents come back in the morning are we keep playing the same match or we should start new one?”

  31. I only began playing pickleball in February 2019. The only place I play is in Punta Gorda, Florida where we are blessed with five facilities with a total of 40-courts. I play about 50-games a week (maybe I am an addict?) and typically will have at least 20-different players as opponents or partners during each day’s session. At PicklePlex (16-new outdoor courts) we typically have over 200-players in the morning session and another 50 to 75 different players in an evening session.

    My point is that I play with a wide variety of players from all over the country and Canada (snowbirds make our economy go!)

    I play mainly 3.5 to 4.0 matches but do play at least 10-games a week with 2.5 or 3.0 players as I try to get more and more people excited.

    I am surprised at the number of folks here who have opponents or partners bringing up obscure or “nitpicky” rules. In a 50-game week I almost never encounter a single rule disagreement or discussion. Everyone here is of the “OH – oh well – if that is what you think – then let’s go with that” attitude. No one ever disputes line calls, no matter how outrageous, feet in the kitchen is a misdemeanor unless the offender makes the call, illegal serves are smiled at, and body shots are encouraged, followed quickly by an apology.

    Do we not care enough to enforce the rules or are we having too much fun to care about the details?

    Asking all the questions is great, and I learn some interesting details, but I’m not sure I’d want to play at some of the venues I hear described. They seem way too serious.

    Just my thoughts as a fairly new player coming from 30+ years of deadly serious tournament racquetball.

    1. Post
      1. Well, the rules are the rules. If we don’t want to play by some of the rules in friendly play and while playing with strangers, then there would have to be a discussion and agreement as to which rules we don’t want to play by BEFORE the games begin. This opens up a pandora box though. When possible, I think we really need to play by the rules, or when you change venues you may meet resistance and problems. Note too, though, the rule violator has desecration as to whether he/she broke a rule called on him/her by an opponent. That’s another sticky area. It can get hard to have a friendly game at times. Basically, take it easy on each other. Be kind. Try to agree and play on. Don’t worry, be happy thing. It all pays the same.

      2. I agree with everything that was listed except for the line calling ethics. Many times the partner at the sideline sees the ball as “in” because his angle doesn’t allow him to see the space between the line and the ball. However, the partner that is perpendicular to the line has a clear view of the space and should call it out.

        I teach the exact opposite. I tell the line player to defer to the perpendicular player because they have a better angle of view. Just because the line player cannot call it “out”, does not mean it is “in”.

        I tell my students don’t overrule your partner’s out call. Just understand that he has the better angle.

    2. For someone who claims to play at a high level (3.5-4.0) I’m surprised you would regard any of the rules as nitpicky. I’m about a 2.5 and can’t get enough of this stuff. You are better acquainted with the rules than i am, and seem quite willing to disregard them. C’mon man.

  32. Service hit net and bounced into the proper service receiving court and all players agreed it was a net ball. The subsequent Second service, after the net serve, also hit the net and bounced into the proper court for what I thought was another net serve.

    One of the players claimed the 2nd consecutive net serve was a fault. None of the other three players were aware of this rule and and I cannot find any doucmentation.

    Is a server limited to only ONE net serve?

    1. Unlimited net serves is in the rule book. How many let serves can you have in one round? Two? Four? Answer: As many as it takes to get it right before faulting.

        1. Yes – let serves which fall into the proper portion of the court play as per normal, and let serves which fall into the kitchen or travel out of play or into the incorrect half of the court are faults. In those cases serve moves to your partner or the other team, as appropriate.

  33. Sometimes a player will double hit the ball. You can actually hear the double click. Is this a legal shot?

    1. Post
  34. We had a situation in an indoor game last month. I ball was hit onto the opponents court. Instead of bouncing, the ball hit the floor and rolled several inches. the opponent was able to scoop the ball from the floor and return the ball over the net. The ball did not bounce twice but instead hit the floor and rolled. Is this considered a double bounce and thus a dead ball or was the opponent legally able to return the ball since it technically did not bounce twice?

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

    2. Yes same question, if you call ball out and your partner is already in motion and hits it. Who gets it the point

      1. My understanding is, the word “out” is reserved, and means play is over. Regardless of which side called it and regardless of any hits *after* it is called. If you want to communicate to your partner, use “let!” or similar.
        Get out of the habit of using “out” unless you are intentionally calling off play.

    3. See Rule 6.D. 11. “while the ball is in the air, if a player yells “out”, “no” or “bounce it”…it should be considered player communication only and not considered a line call”.

    4. A ball is not dead (out) until it contacts a surface outside the regulation court. A partner calling “out” is normally considered player communication, not a fault call, nor is it legal until the ball actually contacts the out-of-bounds surface. It IS a good habit to not use the term “out”, but rather “bounce it”, “watch”, “wait” or something along those lines.

      (Line Call Rule #6.D.11. While the ball is in the air, if a player yells “out,” “no,” “bounce it,” or any other words to communicate to their partner that the ball may be out, it shall be considered player communication only and not considered a line call.)

      Actually, the team which stopped the play is at fault, per Fault Rule #7.I. A live ball that is stopped by a player before it becomes dead. (e.g., catching or stopping a ball in flight before it makes contact with the court.)

  37. 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

  38. 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!!

    1. Post

      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.

  39. 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.

    2. Post

      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.!

      1. An instructor once advised standing midway between kitchen and baseline as the non-receiving partner. This way you have the best view of where the serve lands. Your partner relies on you to call short, long and out serves on all four borders of the service zone, so they can concentrate on hitting the ball. Once hit, you just have a few steps to the kitchen line.

        1. Most of the time I do the same. I start in the middle of the no-man’s land and as the ball bounces on my opponents side I am split stepping and ready to play. I find my self more alert when doing this.

  40. 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.

    1. Post
  41. 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.

    1. Post

      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.

  42. 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.

    1. Post
    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.

  43. 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.

      2. If you overrule your partner you loose the point. (from tennis rules) If I am playing with friends that overrule each other I offer them let.

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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.

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

  48. 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?

          1. first bounce is important, ball can bounce back into the net, post, over the net in/out it does not make any difference…after the ball hits your court you must play it before it bounces second time or touches any other object … fence, bench, backpack, water bottle etc. included.

    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

  49. 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.

  50. 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.

        1. You are right, tennis rule is different. One situation comes to mind…what if ball hits the net wire that is on top of the post?

  51. 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.

  52. 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.

  53. 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.

  54. 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.

  55. 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)

  56. 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

    1. Post

      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.

      1. what? what about the video where you can’t follow through into the kitchen, you can’t go into the kitchen at all unless a ball gas bounced in there and you have to step in to get it.

        1. You can go into the kitchen any time you want, you just can’t VOLLEY in the kitchen. And if you hit a volley and fall into the kitchen, that is a fault. But you can go into the kitchen any time you want.

  57. 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?

    1. Post
  58. 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.


    1. Post

      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.

  59. 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….

    1. Post
  60. 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.

    1. Post

      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?

        1. Post
      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.

  61. 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!

    1. Post

      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!

  62. 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) ?


    1. Post

      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.

  63. 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?

        1. Post
          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?

          2. Post

            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).

    2. Post
    3. Did the person trying to receive touch the ball? If they did, then it’s their fault. If they didn’t, and it landed out, then it’s a dead ball and it was out and the person who missed it did not fault.

  64. 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

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

        1. Post
  65. 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

    1. Post
  66. 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?

    1. Post
    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.

  67. 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?

    1. Post

      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.

  68. 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?

    1. Post

      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

        1. Post

          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.

        1. Post

          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…

  69. 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?

    1. Post
  70. 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

    1. Post

      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.

  71. 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.

    1. Post

      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)

  72. 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.

    1. Post

      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.

        1. Post

          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…

        1. Post

          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?

          2. Post

            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.

        1. Post

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

          1. Post
          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.

  73. 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?

    1. Post

      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.

        1. Post
        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…

        1. Post
          1. Post
  74. 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?

    1. Post

      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?

  75. 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.

      1. Post

        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.

    2. Post
  76. 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?

    1. Post

      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.

  77. 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?

    1. Post
  78. 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?

    1. Post
      1. What probably throws people is if they know the sport of volleyball which has the antennae, thin red and white stripped vertical fiberglass poles which at each end of the net. They represent the bottom of imaginary lines extending vertically to the ceiling. The ball, when returned, must always pass between these imaginary lines (like a field goal between the uprights in football) in order to be considered legal, There is no ATP (around the pole) in volleyball.

        I’m not sure how this is handled in other net sports like tennis or badminton, but It seems odd to me that someone could drive a very low ball outside the pole below the height of the net and have it be legal just because it lands inbounds on the opponents’ side, but rules are rules until they are changed!

  79. 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?

    1. Post

      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!

  80. 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.

      1. Post

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

  81. 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…

  82. 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?

    1. Post

      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!

    1. Post
    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.

  83. 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!

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

    1. Post

      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.

  85. 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.

    1. Post
    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.

      1. Post

        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.

  86. 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?

    1. Post
  87. 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.

    1. Post

      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.

  88. 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?

    1. Post

      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?

  89. 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?

    1. Post

      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.

        1. Post
      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.

        1. Post
  90. 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?

    1. Post

      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.

        1. Post

          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.

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

    1. Post
      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.

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

    1. Post
    1. Post
  93. 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.

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

    1. Post
  95. 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.

    1. Post

      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.

    1. Post
  96. 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?

    1. Post

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

  97. 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?

    1. Post
  98. 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

    1. Post

      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.

  99. 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?

    1. Post

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

  100. 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!

    1. Post

      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?

  101. 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.

  102. 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.

    1. Post

      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?

        1. Post
  103. 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 .

    1. Post

      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.


    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.

  104. 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *