You Make the Call!
Here’s the Scenario:
You hit a ball with so much backspin that, upon going over the net, the ball comes back on your side without it ever being touched by your opponents. Who wins the rally?
It tends to spark confusion, laughter and bewilderment about what to do — particularly for those new to the sport of pickleball. You hit a shot with so much backspin that the ball goes over the net, lands in your opponent’s court and then, because of the excessive backspin imparted on the ball — or, perhaps because of the wind — comes back over onto your side of the net without it ever being touched by your opponents. Who wins the rally?
According to Rule #11.L.4 from the 2019 International Federation of Pickleball Official Tournament Rulebook, you do! The striking player wins the rally. Your opponents, in this case, must hit the ball before it bounces back on your side. Your opponents can, however, reach across the net and — without touching the net — hit the ball. If they touch the net, however, it would be a fault. Here’s what the official pickleball tournament rulebook has to say about this scenario.
2019 International Federation of Pickleball — Official Tournament Rulebook
If a player hits the ball over the net into the opponent’s court, and then the ball bounces back over the net without being touched by the opponent, the striking player wins the rally.
If the ball bounces into a player’s non-volley zone with enough backspin as to cause it to return over the net, the player may reach over or around the net to hit the ball but may not touch the net system or the opponent’s court. If the player does not touch the ball, the team that last struck the ball wins the rally.
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