The One Fault You Can Call On Your Opponent

Rulebook: The One Fault You Can Call On Your Opponent

I came across this interesting rules article from USA Pickleball and thought I would share it with you, as I am sure we have all wondered what we can or cannot call on our opposition in a pickleball game.

"Did you know that there is only one type of fault you can call on your opponent? This doesn't apply to tournament matches. In that case, only the referee may call faults. In all other cases, the only fault you may call on your opponent are foot faults (service and non-volley zone).

There is a catch! Those are only enforceable as a fault if the person allegedly committing the foot fault agrees with your call; otherwise, it's a replay.

Let's look at rule 13.D.1.c:

'Players may call non-volley zone and service foot faults on the opponent's end of the court. If there is any disagreement among players about the called foot fault, a replay shall occur.'

In non-officiated matches, you can certainly mention other faults (like double bounces on the other side of the net) you think your opponent committed, but you have no authority to enforce them. The rule of note here is the very next rule in the Rulebook, 13.D.1.d:

'For non-officiated matches, if a player believes an opponent has committed any type of fault other than a service or non-volley zone foot fault as noted in section 7—Fault Rules, they may mention the specific fault to the opponent(s) but they have no authority to enforce the fault. The final decision on fault resolution belongs to the player that allegedly committed the fault.'

The bolded sentence is key. That exists to limit arguments by players over rules where teams or players may disagree on what happened."

Enjoy playing pickleball!!

Rick Folk
Head Referee, Pickleball BC

Source: Pickleball BC Newsletter, August 2023

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