Who makes the call during a pickleball tournament without referees? For instance, who is responsible for calling Kitchen foot faults? Or, a fault where a player hits the pickleball before it crosses over to his/her side of the net? The answer is that it depends.
According to the rules of pickleball, in circumstances without a referee:
- Players call line calls on their own respective side of the court;
- Players may call Kitchen and service foot faults on their opponents, but if there is a disagreement, then there will be replay; and
- Players may call any other type of fault against their opponents (e.g., an opponent touched the net or made contact with the pickleball before it entirely crossed the net), but they have no authority to enforce the fault. Rather, the final decision of the fault belongs to the opponent that allegedly committed the fault.
The rules of pickleball also go on to state that, “[i]n the spirit of good sportsmanship, players are expected to call any type of fault on themselves as soon as the fault is committed or detected.” So, practice good sportsmanship out there—even in circumstances where you may need to call a fault on yourself in a tight game!