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Who Is At Fault?

Rules Refresh Stacie Townsend 09-05-2023

By Mark Peifer, USA Pickleball Certified Referee; Past Chairman, USA Pickleball Rules Committee

Let’s consider the non-officiated scenario where you hit the ball to your opponent across the net and you are convinced the ball bounced twice before your opponent hit the ball. They hit the ball back to you, whereupon you catch the ball and call a fault on your opponent for the double bounce. What is the rule that governs this situation?

This situation highlights one of the fundamental rules of pickleball that all players must know to eliminate on court disputes. The rule is 13.D.1.d; “For non-officiated matches, if a player believes an opponent has committed any type of fault other than a service or non-volley zone foot fault as noted in Section 7 – Fault Rules, they may mention the specific fault to the opponent(s), but they have no authority to enforce the fault. The final decision on fault resolution belongs to the player that allegedly committed the fault.

Therefore, in the scenario above, the fault would be on you for stopping play. See Rule 7.I.

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