Ask the Pickleball Refs by David Hoel

During our annual Palmetto Doubles tournaments our referees always run into some interesting rule questions and our tournament in September was no exception.  We thought we’d pass on some of the more unusual issues for everyone to learn from.

Below is an example:

SITUATION: During a non-refereed doubles match, Player #1 on Team A struck a volley from outside the non-volley zone (commonly called “the kitchen”). Player #2 on Team A tried to hit the same volley but missed. After Player #1 struck the ball, his paddle hit Player #2’s paddle, knocking it out of Player #2’s hand and it landed in the non-volley zone. Team B claimed Player #2’s paddle constituted a non-volley zone fault because Player #1 had contacted Player #2 in the act of volleying.

QUESTION: Under USAPA Rules, was Team B’s claim of a non-volley zone fault valid?

ANSWER: Yes. Team B obviously knows the momentum rule or has been reading the “Ask the Pickleball Refs” Facebook page where this exact scenario has been discussed several times.  USAPA Rule 9.B governs. If it’s part of the volley momentum, the point at which Player #1 contacts Player #2, the two become one so it’s no different than if Player #1s paddle fell into the non-volley zone.