Our last post on pickleball rules prompted a lot of comments. And many of the comments were, in fact, questions about other rules. So today, we answer more reader’s pickleball rules questions.
Reader’s Question: If you are playing a match to 11 and change sides at 6, and the match continues past 12-11 or even 18-17, do you change sides again?
The short answer is “no”. Once you have changed sides whether it be at 6 in the third game to 11, or at 8 points in the consolation bracket during a game to 15, or at 11 in a game to 21; you do not change sides again. The pickleball rule book states the following:
5.C.3. Sides will be switched in a third game (if the match is 2 out of 3 games) after the first team reaches a score of 6 points. Serve remains with the player holding serve.
5.C.4. In games to 15, sides will be switched after the first team reaches a score of 8 points. Serve remains with the player holding serve.
5.C.5. In games to 21, sides will be switched after the first team reaches a score of 11 points. Serve remains with the player holding serve.
This is one of the reasons choosing side vs. serve is an important consideration if you win the “coin flip” at the beginning of any match. If weather conditions are a factor, you want to select the most favorable side for the final points of the match. So in a game to 11 or 21, you would begin on the “bad” side. In a match with 3 games, you also pick the “bad side” as you will end up on the favorable side after switching sides in the third game. You can read more about whether to select side or serve in Sarah Ansboury’s post.
Reader’s Question: If a return ball hits on top of the net pole & lands inside is it considered a good return?
Again, the short answer is that a ball that touches the net pole is a fault. But let’s be certain we understand exactly how the Pickleball Rule Book discusses this. In Section 3.S it defines Permanent Objects:
3.S. Permanent Object – Any object near the court or hanging over the court that interferes with the flight of the ball. Permanent objects include the ceiling, walls, fencing, lighting fixtures, net posts, the stands and seats for spectators, the referee, line judges, spectators (when in their recognized positions) and all other objects around and above the court. (revised July 1, 2013)
Section 4.E.2 lists the ways in which a fault can occur when a ball is served:
4.E.2. The served ball touches any permanent object before it hits the ground. (revised July 1, 2013)
Section 7, Fault Rules, lists additional ways a fault can occur:
7.G. A ball in play strikes any permanent object before bouncing on the court.
IFP Comment: If the ball in play hits a permanent object after it has bounced on the court, the player who hit the ball wins the rally. If the ball in play hits a permanent object before it bounces on the court, it is a fault. (revised April 1, 2011)
As you read the IFP comment keep in mind it refers to permanent objects (spectators, the referee, etc). I have a hard time imaging a scenario whereby someone could cause the ball to bounce in the court and then hit the net post. The great news is that if there is any question remaining, they answer this question rather succinctly in Section 12.I:
12.I. The Net Posts. The net posts are positioned out of bounds. If a ball strikes the net post or anything attached to the net post, it is a fault and a dead ball is declared. This rule does not include the net, the net cable, or rope between the net posts.
Reader’s Question: If I see my partner hit a volley shot and about to fall forward (with momentum) into the kitchen, can I legally push or pull him/her back? If so, can I enter the kitchen to do it?
To be totally honest, this question made me think twice. I was certain there was not an issue with one partner assisting the other from falling into the non-volley zone. In fact, I have done this and had this done to me in tournament play. In all these cases, however, my partner was standing outside the non-volley zone.
So to answer the question of his position when assisting his partner, I again read the Rule Book. Specifically, Rule 9.C which says
9.C. A fault will be declared if, in the act of volleying the ball, the player’s momentum causes the player or anything the player is wearing or carrying to touch the non-volley zone or touch any non-volley line. It is a fault if the player’s momentum causes the player to touch anything that is touching the non-volley zone, including the player’s partner. It is a fault even if the ball is declared dead before the player touches the non-volley zone.
So there you have it…three more pickleball rule questions for all to read. If you have a question, please let us know. We will get back to you by email promptly, and then in a month or so you might just find your question and others in a new post.