Ask the Pickleball Ref by David Hoel

As we get closer to our Super Senior Round Robin next Saturday January 18th,  here are a few more situations with the correct ruling that you might find helpful.  

SITUATION: A player’s diamond earring falls off onto the court after she serves.  

QUESTION: Can she legally stop play to retrieve her heirloom earrings or should the rally continue?

ANSWER:  Play should continue; stopping the rally would be a fault (Rule 11.G and H).


SITUATION: During a rally, Team A’s ball strikes the center net spine and goes over the net. Team B claims the ball was dead upon striking the spine because it is "other support construction" as mentioned Rule 11.K –“The Net Posts. The net posts (including connected wheels, arms, or other support construction) are positioned out of bounds. If a ball or player contacts the net post, it is a fault and a dead ball is declared.”

QUESTION: Is Team B’s claim valid?

ANSWER: No.  The center net spine is not part of the net posts – it is part of the net. A ball contacting the net, the net cable, or rope between the net posts remains in play (Rule 11.K.1).


SITUATION: During a non-refereed tournament match, the players on Team A complained that a player on Team B was using an illegal serve.  The Team B player denied it.

QUESTION: Can Team A request a referee?

ANSWER: Yes. Any player may request a referee or tournament director, if the player reasonably believes that a rule is being consistently and intentionally violated by his or her opponent. (Rule 13.K.1). Accordingly, Team A requested that a referee observe play and provide an opinion on the legality of the Team B player’s serve.  Upon arrival of a referee, the Team B player apparently modified her serve as no illegal serves were observed for the remainder of the match.


SITUATION: In a non-refereed match, a player on Team A called a Non-Volley Zone foot-fault on a Team B player.  Team B disputed the call by asserting only they may call faults on their side of the court.

QUESTION: Can Team A call a Non-Volley Zone foot-fault on Team B?

ANSWER: Yes. Players will call the lines (in or out) on their side of the court (Rule 6.D.1).  However, Non-Volley-Zone faults may be called by any player on either team. Benefit of the doubt goes to the player who makes such a call (Rule 9.I).