A fault (and resulting dead ball) will be declared for the following:

7.A.        If the serve or service return does not bounce before the ball is struck.

7.B.        Hitting the ball into the player’s side of the net without the ball crossing over to
the opponent’s side. Note: The ball is dead and the fault occurs the moment the ball hits
the ground.

7.C.        Hitting the ball under the net or between the net and the net post.

7.D.        A player hitting a ball that first lands out of bounds or onto their own side of the court.

7.E.         Failure of a standing player to hit the ball before it bounces twice on the receiving player’s court and failure of a wheelchair player to return a ball before it bounces three times.

7.F.         Violation of Section 4, Section 9 and Section 11 rules.

7.G.        A player, a player’s apparel, or a player’s paddle contacting the net system, the net posts, or the opponent’s court, when the ball is in play.

7.H.      After the serve, the ball contacts a player or anything the player is wearing or carrying, except the paddle or the player’s hand(s) in contact with the paddle and below the wrist. If the player is in the process of changing hands with both hands on the paddle or is attempting a two-handed stroke and either hand is hit below the wrist, as long as the player’s hands are in contact with the paddle, the ball is still in play.

7.I.        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.)

7.J.      New: After the serve, a ball contacting any permanent object before bouncing on the

Reason: This small change clarifies that after the score had been called (the ball is
“live”) but before the serve occurs, if the ball happened to slip out of the server’s hand
and rolled and touched a permanent object, such as a bleacher or fence, this is not a
fault as long as the server served within the 10-second count.

Old: A ball in play contacting any permanent object before bouncing on the court.

7.K.      Once the ball is in play, a player hitting the ball before it passes the plane of the net.

7.L.    New: A player deliberately carrying or catching the ball on the paddle while performing
the serve or during a rally.

Reason: The unintended consequence in 2021 for allowing a player to “sling” the ball
on the paddle face allowed for tremendous spin to be applied to the ball on the serve.
This change simply puts the rule back to previous years of how the serve was to be
performed. This rule eliminates the colloquial ‘Covid serve’ and the ‘Chainsaw serve’.
The change also allows for a player to “balance” a ball on their paddle before, during or
after the score call as long as they don’t sling the ball off the paddle face to perform the

Old: After the serve, a player deliberately carrying or catching the ball on the
paddle while the ball is live/in-play.

7.M.     A hinder called by a player that is determined by the referee to be invalid.

7.N.    New Rule: In non-officiated matches, players may carry additional pickleball(s) as long
as the ball(s) are carried in a way that the ball(s) are not visible to their opponent during
play. If an additional ball that a player was carrying falls on the playing surface during
play, a fault shall be declared.

Reason and Intent: The intent of this rule is to allow players to carry balls on their
person in non-officiated matches with some limitations. Many times, carrying an extra
ball is more efficient if the ball in play has been hit beyond the playing area. While this
rule allows for the carrying of an extra ball (or balls), the rule should not be used as a
“get out of jail free” card as listed in Scenario C below. While the rule allows for extra
balls to be carried, it applies a fault if the ball falls on the court during play. This rule is
only for non-officiated matches because referees are responsible for removing any extra
balls from the court for officiated matches. In matches with a referee, any dropped ball
will result in a referee correction and replay. This rule pertains specifically to pickleballs
only. If anything other than a pickleball falls from a player’s person, the normal rules
governing these conditions shall apply.

Scenario A: In a non-officiated match, a player is carrying an extra ball in their pocket.
During a rally, the ball falls out of their pocket but lands out of bounds. The opponents
claim a distraction fault but the player who dropped the ball states that since the ball
landed out of bounds and not on the actual court, it is not a fault. The opponents are
correct that a distraction fault has occurred.

Scenario B: During a rally, a ball falls out of a player’s pocket and lands out of bounds.
The opponents claim a distraction fault has occurred. The referee calls a “referee
correction” and calls for a replay. In this scenario, the referee should have ensured that
all other balls were removed from play, even if the referee didn’t notice the extra ball
prior to the start of the game.

Scenario C: The referee does not notice that a player is carrying an extra ball. During
a live rally, the opponents are about to hit a hard shot to potentially end the rally. The
referee then notices that a player deliberately reaches in their pocket and takes out a
ball and lets it fall on the ground just prior to the opponents hitting their shot. The
opponent’s shot is a winner, but the player who dropped the ball claims that this is a
“referee correction” and a replay should occur. The referee determines that the player
deliberately removed the ball and dropped it in an effort to cause a replay and prevent
the loss of the rally. (A) The referee denies the request for a replay and calls a
distraction fault on the player who dropped the ball; or, (B) The referee denies the
request and lets the rally stand and issues a verbal or technical warning for
unsportsmanlike conduct.

One thought on “SECTION 7 – FAULT RULES”

  • If a ball hits the vertical stantion in the middle of a portable net system and bounces off in bounds or out of bounds is it a replay.

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