Often some of the rules that would absolutely apply in a tournament setting, are applied much less often in a recreational play setting.
As an example, a common tournament rule that you see pop up often are rules surrounding incorrect receivers or servers. A referee will keep track of who the correct server or receiver is. But in recreational play, no one typically cares and it’s not a big deal. You’ll be fine as long as you’re making a conscious effort to keep things within the rules.
Where a ball can and cannot land is different for the serve compared to other shots in pickleball. But luckily, it’s pretty easy to understand. If the ball hits the net on your serve, bounces over to your opponent’s court and lands in the service box, it’s a good serve. Keep in mind that the service box includes the centerline, the baseline, and the sideline. But it does not include the kitchen line! Also, if it lands outside the service box of your opponent, then it would be a fault just like it would be if you hadn’t hit the net. If the ball hits the kitchen or the kitchen line this is a fault. It doesn’t matter if the ball hits the net or not, the serve cannot land in the kitchen or hit the kitchen line.
Any serve that hits the kitchen line or kitchen zone is a fault.
Double hits happen somewhat frequently in pickleball. They can be hilarious when done by accident, but the rules surrounding them can be confusing. Double hits are allowed in pickleball if they are done by accident and within one stroke that’s going in the same direction. Basically, it has to be done unintentionally. If you hit the ball, then change your stroke or do another stroke afterward, it’s also a fault.
Line calls are one of the most common areas of debate in pickleball. More arguments on the court surround this topic than anything else in the sport.
Here’s what you need to know. The physical material that the ball is made of has to touch the paint that the line is comprised of. Both of those elements have to touch in order for the ball to be considered in.
It doesn’t matter if the ball is hovering over the line or not while not touching the paint.
1. If a ball lands near one of your lines and it’s close, you have to call it in.
2. Line calls must be made quickly after the ball lands.
3. You only call shots that are on your side of the court.
4. If you disagree with your opponent’s line call, you can ask them or the referee.
5. If you call a shot out, but your partner calls it in, the call is in.
6. If you express any kind of doubt about whether the ball is in or out, the call is automatically in.
In short, no. Let’s say that you drop your paddle and in your state of panic you smack the ball with your hand, it is a fault.However, if you make an inaccurate swing and you end up hitting the ball with your hand while holding your paddle, then this is legal.
Technically yes, you do have to call the score before you serve. However, in recreational rules, some people won’t or they talk so quietly that you can’t hear them. It’s a good idea to know what the score is at all times. If you’re a beginner, this will take some time to get used to. But it’s a useful thing to get good at.
If you’re playing in a tournament, you must wait until the referee calls the score in its entirety before beginning your service motion.
If a ball with a tremendous amount of spin bounces on your side of the court then bounces back over, the ball is still in play and you can still hit it. And yes, you can hit it even though it’s on the other side of the court. Keep in mind though that if the ball bounces on their side of the court this is a fault since the first bounce happened on your side. As it goes over the net, you’ll need to hit it quickly.
Yes, in fact, it’s encouraged! Pre-serve routines are extremely important because it gets your muscle memory and your body into the flow of the game. They give you confidence in your serve and most importantly, pre-serve routines keep you away from the yips! You can do anything you want essentially.
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