Other rules in pickleball game
While it’s true that that rules for pickleball were designed to make the game easy to play, competition has become serious business around the globe, which means there are some frequently asked questions about the minutiae of the sport that require an “other” category to the rules. This includes things like “can I switch my racquet from one hand to the other?” or, “what happens if the ball becomes broken/cracks during a volley?” Read on to see all the little things that aren’t so little when a game is on the line and you want to play fair.
8.1. Double hits
Balls can be hit twice, but this must occur during an unintentional, continuous, single-direction stroke. If the stroke is not continuous or not in a single direction, the hit is not allowed and a fault will be declared.
8.2. Switching hands
A paddle may be switched from hand to hand at any time.
8.3. Two-handed shots
8.4. Missed shot
A player completely missing the ball when attempting to strike it does not create a dead ball. The ball remains in play until it bounces twice or until any other fault has occurred.
8.5. Broken or cracked ball
Play continues until the end of the rally. Players may appeal to the referee to determine if a broken or cracked ball impacted the rally. If, in the judgment of the referee, a broken or cracked ball impacted the outcome of the rally, the referee will call for a replay with a replacement ball. In non-officiated sanctioned play, if the players do not agree, the rally stands as played.
8.6. Injury during game
The rally continues to its conclusion despite an injury to any of the players.
8.7. Player equipment problem
A rally will not be stopped if a player loses or breaks a paddle or loses an item, unless the action results in a fault.
8.8. Items on the court
If any item a player is/was wearing or carrying lands on his/her side of the court, unless the item lands in the non-volley zone as a result of a volley, the ball remains in play even if it hits the item.
8.9. Plane of the net
8.9.1. After striking the ball, a player or anything the player is/was wearing or carrying may cross the plane of the net or the imaginary extension line of the net beyond the posts but may not touch any part of the net system or the opponent’s court.
8.9.2. Exception. If the ball bounces into a player’s non-volley zone with enough backspin as to cause it to return over the net, the player may reach over or around the net to hit the ball but may not touch the net system or the opponent’s court. If the player does not touch the ball, the team that last struck the ball wins the rally.
8.10.1. Players may not distract an opponent when the opponent is about to play the ball. (Examples: making loud noises, stomping feet, intentionally waving the paddle around in a distracting manner, physically interfering with your opponent’s ability to hit the ball.)
8.10.2. A player may ask the referee to determine if a distraction occurred at the time the opponent was about to strike the ball. If, in the judgment of the referee, a distraction did occur, a fault will be declared against the offending player or team and will result in a loss of the rally. In non-officiated sanctioned play, if players do not agree that a distraction occurred, any player may request a decision by a referee or the tournament director.
8.10.3. In doubles play, team communication before the opponent strikes the ball shall not be considered a fault.
8.11. The net posts
8.11.1. The net posts (including connected wheels, arms, or other support construction) are positioned out of bounds. If a ball or player contacts the net post, it is a fault and a dead ball is declared.
8.11.2. A ball contacting the net, the net cable, or rope between the net posts remains in play.
8.12. The net
8.12.1. The net and the wires or strings holding up the net are positioned (mostly) on the court. Therefore, if the ball strikes the top of the net or strikes the top net wire or string and lands inbounds, then it remains in play.
8.12.2. The ball may not travel between the net and the net post.
8.12.3. The player is allowed to go around the net post and cross the imaginary extension line of the net after the ball is hit, so long as the player or any item he or she is/was wearing or carrying does not touch the opponent’s court. If the player goes around the net post and crosses the imaginary extension line of the net but does not make contact with the ball, a fault will be declared.
8.12.4. 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.
8.12.5. When net systems have a horizontal bar that includes a center base:
- If the ball hits the horizontal bar or the center base before going over the net, it is a fault.
- If the ball goes over the net and hits the center base or any part of the horizontal bar or the ball gets caught between the net and the horizontal bar before touching the court, it is a let and will be replayed.
- On the serve, if the ball hits the horizontal bar or the center base after going over the net, it is a fault.
8.13. Shots around the net post
8.13.1. A player may return the ball around the outside of the net post.
8.13.2. The ball does not need to travel back over the net.
8.13.3. There is no restriction on the height of the return, so a player may return the ball around the net post below the height of the net.
During play, except from their partner, players may only receive coaching during time-outs and between games. Once play has begun, any communication between a player and any person not on the court, if determined by the referee to be coaching, shall result in a technical warning to the offending player or team. If the communication occurs a second time, it shall result in a technical foul and a point will be awarded to the opponent.
8.14. One Paddle
A player shall not use or carry more than one paddle while playing.
8.15. Paddle possession
A player must have possession of the paddle when it makes contact with the ball.