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Pickleball Rules: Our Readers Ask More Questions — 20 Comments

  1. Question: During a single referee game, the players normally do line calls (except the NVZ line) including the service line during returns. If a serve is long or wide, and the referee clearly sees it, but, neither the receiver nor his partner call it, IS the referee allowed to call it out? I guess the point is this: The referee can call the server on foot faults, why not also serve faults no matter where they occur?

    • The referee is not to provide information related to line calls unless asked. Technically calling a foot fault on a serve is a ‘foot fault’, not a line call. Not trying to justify the rules…just reporting the facts.

  2. can you tell me the ruling if a player drops a paddle while attempting to return a volley even if the ball lands out of bounds

    • Assuming the ball is not touched by the paddle or the player, the ball is out of bounds. Though whiffs are faults when serving, they are not when volleying or hitting a ground stroke…and as a volley did NOT occur, dropping the paddle (even in the NVZ) would not result in a fault.

  3. In causal games, can players call a service fault, when 1. They really don’t know where the server’s bellybutton is, 2. Cannot ascertain the height of the ball at the point of contact. 3. Do not know whether the paddle face is actually below or above the line formed by the wrist joint. 4. Is a spinning ball proof that the ball was hit by a sideways or downward slice ?

    • In social play, we don’t. As we travel, we encounter many new players and/or players that have not played in tournaments. In these cases, we may talk to a player one on one if their serve is clearly illegal. 90% of the time, the player thanks us. Regarding spin, the existence of spine does not necessary indicate an illegal serve. Nancy has a legal backhand serve which from time to time can cause the ball to spin away from the player.

  4. If a player in returning a shot that has bounced outside the no volley zone his momentum has carried him into the NVZ is this a fault?

    • It is not a fault if the ball bounces. The only issues with stepping into the NVZ (before, during or after hitting a shot) relates to when a volley is hit.

  5. I am at the NVZ line and hit the ball, my momentum carrying me forward. But I’m teetering and don’t actually fall into the NVZ until after the opponent has returned the ball. Was it a fault?

  6. As per section 7.e, I ran up to the net to return a bouncing ball. My return successfully bounced 2x on the opponents’ side, after which I finally lost my balance enough to graze the net. I did not call a fault on myself, as it did not happen “when the ball is in play.” (Unlike volleys and the NVZ). Correct?

    • As I read the rules you are correct. Rule 8.B. “A ball is not declared dead until it has bounced twice or has violated one of the fault rules (See Section 7).” If the ball had already bounced twice the ball was dead, the point was over. Rule 7.E limited the fault to while is in play. “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.”

  7. I stepped into the NVZ to hit the ball over to my opponent and thought I had a good shot. However, I accidentally hit the net with my paddle. Is it illegal to hit the net with the paddle? My opponent called it an illegal shot and my partner and I lost serve.

    • You may not make contact with the net or net post (paddle, clothing, body) while the point is being played. If you hit the net after the ball was dead (had bounced twice on your opponent’s side) it would be okay. Most often contact with the net is made in the course of making the shot or immediately after….as such it was likely a fault and your opponent made the correct call. See rule 7.E [It is a fault if]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.

    • I had a similar experience, but my return happened to bounce quickly 2x on my opponent’s side before I touched the net. A certified ref on our local FB page insists it was a fault but refuses to cite a section overruling 7.e.

        • I would be interested if a ref has had the occasion to call such a shot “good” in a game situation. But even if folks read that, it is kind of unusual for some folks on FB to simply admit they were wrong. Not sure why someone defends their opinion so strongly in spite of the facts. Not that big of a deal.