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Fault With This Paddle Drop?

Rules Refresh Stacie Townsend 01-24-2022

The general rule on the pickleball court is that if you drop your paddle into the Kitchen while in the act of volleying, then you commit a fault (i.e. a Non-Volley Zone violation). This is true even if the ball becomes dead (e.g., sails out of bounds) before you drop your paddle into the Kitchen while in the act of volleying. But, when does the act of volleying start and finish? For instance, in the video below from the APP Mesa Open’s gold medal match in the pro mixed doubles division, did Dekel Bar commit a fault when dropping his paddle into the Kitchen after he hit the volley?

The ruling on the court was “no fault.” Here’s why…

  • The act of volley is defined by the rules of pickleball to include the swing, the follow through, and the momentum from the action. Also, the momentum from the action ends when a player regains balance and control of his or her motion.
  • So, once a player finishes a volley and regains balance and control of his or her motion, then that player may enter into the Non-Volley Zone (or even drop his or her paddle into the Kitchen). However, exactly when this moment occurs may be a judgment call.
  • In the video above, the ruling was that pro pickleball player Dekel Bar had reached that moment. He finished his volley, had balance and control, and was simply switching paddle hands to give his partner a high-five after his winning shot. So, when he dropped his paddle into the Kitchen, Dekel was not in the act of volleying and, as a result, no fault occurred.

Do you agree?

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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