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Broken Ball, What Now?

Rules Refresh Stacie Townsend 10-18-2021

Have you ever suspected that a pickleball is cracked or broken during a rally and you weren’t sure what to do? We have you covered…

If a pickleball is cracked or broken during a rally , then the players on the pickleball court should continue play until the end of the rally. After the rally has ended, and before the next serve, any player on the pickleball court may appeal the rally to the referee (or the opposing player(s)) to determine if the pickleball is in fact broken or cracked. Upon appeal:

  • If the pickleball is broken or cracked and there is a referee, then the referee will determine whether the broken or cracked pickleball affected the outcome of the rally. If so, then the rally will be replayed with a new pickleball. If not, then the rally will stand, and the referee will give the players a new pickleball.
  • If the pickleball is broken or cracked and there is no referee, then the players on both sides of the pickleball net must agree that the broken or cracked pickleball affected the outcome of the rally. If so, then the rally will be replayed with a new pickleball. If there is a disagreement, then the rally will stand.
  • If the pickleball is not broken or cracked, then the rally will stand and the players will continue play.

Key takeaway: If you suspect a broken or cracked pickleball, focus on your play and finish the rally to the best of your ability. Then, consider whether to appeal to the referee or opposing pickleball player(s).

For a deeper breakdown on all of the rules of pickleball, check out Pickler’s Ultimate Guide to the Rules of Pickleball.

Have you had an interesting rules issue on the pickleball court? Send it to us at stacie@thepickler.com, so we can share with the rest of the pickleball community in a future newsletter.

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