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Pickleball Rules to Know – Pickleball Equipment Malfunction

News Stacie Townsend 04-06-2020

Have you ever seen a pickleball player break a paddle mid-point? Or, lose a hat or a shoe? What is the official rule on a pickleball equipment malfunction – keep playing or rally over?

Rule 11.G of the 2020 Official Rulebook for USA Pickleball provides that a rally continues even if a pickleball player breaks a paddle or loses an item, like a hat or shoe, on the pickleball court, UNLESS the action results in a fault.

There are a variety of ways that a broken paddle or lost item could result in a fault. Some common ways a fault could arise include:

  • A fault could occur if the broken paddle or other lost item lands in the Non-Volley Zone or Kitchen and the pickleball did not bounce – in other words, in connection with a volley. As a result, a Non-Volley Zone or Kitchen fault would result similar to a foot fault.
  • A fault could also occur if the broken paddle or other lost item touches the pickleball net (or any other part of the net system, like a net post) or lands on the opponents’ side of the pickleball court.
  • The broken paddle or other lost item could even distract the opponents as they are about to strike the pickleball, which would also result in a fault.

So, if you have a pickleball equipment malfunction during a point, stay focused and keep playing, unless a fault has occurred.


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