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Rules you should know

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Rules

The 2024 USA Pickleball rules booklet can be found HERE

Below, I'm going to provide some of the most asked about rules as well as ones we violate without knowing it.

Here are some of the good ones to know.

R.I.P. to the spin serve. 4.A.5

Manipulating the ball to add spin during the release of the ball is not allowed. Some natural rotation of the ball when it is released is allowable but the server must not impart manipulation or spin prior to striking the ball to serve. This applies to the volley serve and the drop serve.

Don't catch the ball because it looks like it's going out.  That's a violation of 7.I. - A fault occurs when 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 playing surface.) 

Out means "really out".  6.D.7. Players shall not call a ball “out” unless they can clearly see a space between the line and the ball as it hits the ground.

And if in doubt, the ball is "in".  There are a few rules on this.  A player cannot claim a replay because the ball was not seen or there is uncertainty 6.D.3.  Similarly, rule 6.D.9. states: In doubles play, if one player calls the ball “out” and the partner calls it “in,” then doubt exists and the team’s call will be “in.”

Do not question an opponent's call. 6.D.6.  This is one that's likely inadvertent, but violated frequently.  Responses like, "Really?"  or "Looked in to me" are often said by pickleballers.  Let it go and move to the next rally.

Yelling to your partner not to touch a ball in the air is OK.  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.

Say the entire score before serving the ball. 4.M.11. A fault occurs when the server hits the ball to make the serve while the score is being called.

If you "think" the score was called wrong, it's best to play the point out and ask for clarification after - because if you stop play after the serve and you're right, the rally will be played over.  But if you're wrong, the serving team gets the point.  See below for details.

If the wrong score is called, the referee or any player may stop play before the return of serve to correct the score. It is a fault to stop play after the return of serve to identify or ask for a score correction. It is a fault to stop play to identify or ask for a score correction when the score was correctly called. 

When the ball spins or blows back over the net -  11.I. Plane of the Net. Crossing the plane of the net prior to striking the ball is a fault. After striking the ball, a player or anything the player is/was wearing or carrying may cross the plane of the net. The player may not touch any part of the net system, the opponent’s court, or the opponent while the ball is still in play.

11.I.1. Exception: If the ball bounces into a receiving player’s court with enough backspin or wind aid to cause it to return back over the net, the receiving player may cross the plane of the net (over, under or around the net post) to hit the ball. It is a fault if the receiving player (or anything the receiving player is wearing or carrying) crosses the plane of the net before the ball has first crossed back over the plane of the net to the opponent’s side. It is a fault if the player touches the net system, the opponent’s court, or the opponent while the ball is still in play.

Falling or stepping into the Kitchen (non-volley zone) while hitting the ball out of the air (volley).  -  9. B. It is a fault if the volleying player or anything that has contact with the volleying player while in the act of volleying, touches the non-volley zone.
9.B.1. The act of volleying the ball includes the swing, the follow-through, and the momentum from the action.
9.B.2. If the paddle touches the non-volley zone during the volley motion, before or after contacting the ball, it is a fault. 

Here is a bit more on what the rules say about "momentum"

3.A.20 Momentum – Momentum is a property of a body in motion, such as a player executing a volley, that causes the player to continue in motion after contacting the ball.
The act of volleying produces momentum that ends when the player regains balance and control of their motion or stops moving toward the non-volley zone.

Realizing your opponents are in the wrong position - 

This is a rule correction made mid-2023.  If a player stops a rally to correctly identify that a player is in the wrong position, it is a replay.  However, if wrong, it's a fault on the player who stopped the rally.   If the mistake is identified after the rally has played out, the rally shall stand.

4.B.9. The referee will confirm and correct, if necessary, that all players are in the correct position and the correct server has the ball before calling the score.

4.B.9.a. If the referee or a player stops a rally in progress to correctly identify a player/position error, the rally shall be replayed. If a player stops a rally and incorrectly identifies a player/position error, it is a fault on the player who stopped the rally. If the referee stops a rally in progress and incorrectly identifies a player/position error, the rally shall be replayed.

4.B.9.b. If a player/position error is identified after the rally has played out, the rally shall stand.

Don't let the serve hit you, nor catch it just because you think it's going out -

4.A.3. If the serve clears the net or contacts the net in crossing and then touches the receiver or the receiver’s partner, it is a point for the serving team.

Double hits - 

11.A.Double Hits. Balls can be hit twice, but this must occur during an unintentional, continuous, single-direction stroke, by one player. If the stroke made while performing the serve or during a rally is deliberately not continuous, or not in a single direction, or the ball is struck by a second player, it is a fault.

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