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Beware Of Bugs

Rules Refresh Stacie Townsend 04-17-2023

Imagine a bee or other insect suddenly flies on the court and lands on a player, who is scrambling on defense with his partner at the baseline. The player immediately calls a hinder, as he swats at the bug and as his opponents are about to strike the pickleball for another aggressive shot. What is the call? Can a bug result in a hinder (and, as a result, a replay of the point)?

According to the rules, a hinder is “[a]ny transient element or occurrence not caused by a player that adversely impacts play, not including permanent objects. Examples include, but are not limited to, balls, flying insects, foreign material, players or officials on another court that, in the opinion of the referee, impacted a player’s ability to make a play on the ball.” In other words, under the rules, a hinder specifically includes an insect that adversely impacts play. So, the promptly called hinder will result in a replay of the rally (even though the opponents seemed to have had favorable court positioning on the rally).

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