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Indent To Replay

Rules Refresh Stacie Townsend 05-30-2022

In the video below, pickleball pro, Ben Johns, hits such a strong overhead that he indents the pickleball so that it is un-returnable by his opponent, AJ Koller. What happens when the pickleball becomes indented, cracked, or broken during a rally?

If this happens to you, the rules of pickleball state that you should continue play until the end of the rally. After the rally has ended, and before the next serve, then you may appeal the rally to the referee (or the opposing player(s)) to determine if the pickleball is in fact indented, cracked, or broken. Upon appeal:

  • If the pickleball is indented, cracked, or broken and there is a referee, then the referee will determine whether the indent/crack/break affected the outcome of the rally. If so, then the rally will be replayed with a new pickleball (which is what happened in the video above, the referee determined that the indented pickleball affected the outcome and the pros replayed the point). If not, then the rally will stand, and the referee will give the players a new pickleball.
  • If the pickleball is indented, cracked, or broken and there is no referee, then the players on both sides of the pickleball net must agree to replay the rally; if there is a disagreement, then the rally will stand.
  • If the pickleball is not indented, cracked, or broken, then the rally will stand and the players will continue play.

One key takeaway is that, if you suspect an indented, cracked, or broken pickleball, focus on your play and finish the rally to the best of your ability. Then, consider whether to appeal.

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, so we can share with the rest of the pickleball community in a future newsletter.


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