SECTION 6 – LINE CALL RULES

6.A.     A served ball that clears the non-volley zone and lands in the correct service court or on any correct service court line is in.

6.B.     Except the serve, any ball in play that lands in the court or touches any court line is in.

6.C:     A ball contacting the playing surface completely outside of the court is “out”.

6.D.      Code of Ethics for Line Calling. Pickleball is played according to specific rules. It also requires a code of ethics for line-calling responsibilities when performed by players.

The line-calling responsibilities of players are different from those assigned to referees or line judges. The officials make impartial judgment calls with all players’ interests in mind. The player, when assigned line-calling duties, must strive for accuracy and operate under the principle that all questionable calls must be resolved in favor of the opponent.

The basic elements are:

6.D.1.    Players are responsible for calling the lines on their end of the court (excluding short serves, service foot faults and all non-volley-zone faults, if being called by a referee). If a player makes an initial line call, and then asks for either the opponent(s) or the referee’s opinion, if the opponent or referee can make a clear “in” or “out” call, the clear call will stand. If no clear call can be made, the initial line call by the player will stand. A call made by the opponent can be appealed to the referee for a final “in” or “out” decision.

6.D.2.   Players’ only line call is the centerline on the serve in matches that have line judges.

6.D.3.  The opponent gets the benefit of the doubt on line calls made. Any ball that cannot be called “out” will be considered “in.” A player cannot claim a replay because the ball was not seen or there is uncertainty. A player who does not make a call may appeal to the referee to make the call if they did not clearly see the ball land. If the referee is unable to make the call, the ball is “in.” The moment the receiving player/team appeals to the referee, they lose their right to make any subsequent “in” or “out” call for that rally.

6.D.4.   Spectators should not be consulted on any line call.

6.D.5.  A player should not question an opponent’s call, although any player may appeal a call to the referee before the next serve occurs.

6.D.6.   A player/team may ask the opponent’s opinion to make the line call on the player’s side of the court. If requested and the opponent makes a clear “in” or “out” call, it must be accepted. If the opponents cannot make a clear “in” or “out” call, then the ball is ruled as being “in” on the receiving team. The moment the receiving player/team asks for the opponent’s opinion, they lose their right to make any subsequent “in” or “out” call for that rally. The receiving team/player may also appeal to the referee to make a clear call. If the referee cannot make a clear call, the outcome of the opponent’s ruling will stand.

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.

6.D.8.  All “out” calls must be made “promptly”; otherwise, the ball is presumed to still be in play. “Promptly” is defined as calling “out” prior to the ball being hit by the opponent or before the ball becomes dead.

6.D.9.   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.” Any player may appeal a call to the referee. If the referee did not see the ball, the ball is considered in.

6.D.10.  “Out” line calls should be promptly signaled by voice and/or hand signal (as described in Rule 13.E.2).

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.

6.D.12.   An “out” call made after the ball bounces is a line call. The ball is dead and play shall stop. If, upon appeal, the referee overrules any type of “out” call, it is a fault against the player or team that made the “out” call. Exception: If the match has line judges, the baseline and sideline judges are responsible for the call. (See Rule 13.E.)

6.D.13.  After the completion of a rally, players may overrule a partner’s line call, an officiating team’s line call, or an opponent’s “in” call to their own disadvantage.

6 thoughts on “SECTION 6 – LINE CALL RULES

  • Rule 6.D.9. says, “ 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” .” This happens when we received a serve. My partner returned the serve good but called the serve out. The opponents stopped playing. I disagreed with the call since I had a clear view that the serve was in. One of the opponents immediately claimed the point but I begged to differ. I thought since the return of the serve was good, we should play a let. Otherwise, they should be awarded the point. Who is right?

  • After playing several different sports for some 60+ years and that line calling is a major part of these games, I can’t believe that you can’t tell if a ball is out unless you see a gap. I have gotten on my knees more then once to show where the ball is, regarding the line, by moving the ball and seeing that gap. I look at it from all the different angles after each time the ball is moved, so I can make a call, without seeing a gap and being sure that I am making the right call. I have had cataract surgery on both eyes and are both 20/15, so vision is not a problem. I think the rule should take this into account and say if you can the ball is out without seeing a gap, and laying on the court to do that, then it would advance the quality of the game. There are aspects of this game that need to be changed to make it a better and equal game.

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