By Mark Peifer, USA Pickleball Certified Referee; Past Chairman, USA Pickleball Rules Committee
Your opponent attempts an around the post (ATP) shot, but they mistakenly hit the referee in the leg with the ball. The referee is standing in their normal position near the net post. What is the call?
The answer here requires the knowledge of two rules. The first is the definition of permanent object in Rule 3.A.24; “Permanent objects include …seats for spectators, the referee, line judges, spectators when in their recognized positions, and all other objects around and above the court.”
Now that we know the referee is considered a permanent object, what is the right call for getting hit? For that we need to see Rule 7.J. under the heading Fault Rules. “Rule 7.J: After the serve, a ball contacting any permanent object before bouncing on the court.”
Therefore, in the scenario above, this would be a fault on the person attempting the ATP because they hit a permanent object (the referee).