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Wrong Number?

Rules Refresh Stacie Townsend 02-07-2022

During a rally in a pro women’s doubles match at the first PPA pickleball tournament of 2022, the well-known iPhone default ring tone played over the loud speaker. Pro player, Jessie Irvine, immediately grabbed the pickleball, stopped play, and walked back to the baseline. Why?

Because of a hinder…

A hinder is defined by the rules of pickleball (promulgated by USA Pickleball) to be “any transient element or occurrence not caused by a player that adversely impacts play, not including permanent objects. Examples include, but are not limited to, balls, flying insects, foreign material, players or officials on another court that, in the opinion of the referee, impacted a player’s ability to make a play on the ball. A valid hinder will result in a replay of a point.”

Since the ringer was an element that was not caused by a player, and certainly could have impacted the intense play on court, the referee agreed. The iPhone call caused a hinder on court. And, the players quickly called the hinder and replayed the point.

However, beware of calling a hinder too late or improperly. Prompt calls are strongly encouraged by the rules of pickleball to avoid any “second chances.” As the USA Pickleball Rulebook puts it, “a player cannot claim a hinder from a ball rolling on the court after they hit a ball ‘out’; they gave up their ability to call the hinder by choosing instead to hit the ball.” Also, if you call a hinder incorrectly (as determined by a referee in competitive play), you will commit a fault and will lose the rally.

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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