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The Pickleball Around-the-Post Shot — Adrenaline Producing! But Legal?

This post has been updated in 2024 according to the USA Pickleball Official Rulebook (2024).

Here’s the Scenario. You Make the Call.

You’re dinking with your opponents and they swing you out wide. You hit a shot that goes around the post (not over the net) and is just 2 inches above the ground. The ball lands in and your opponents cannot hit it. What’s the call?

If you’re an avid pickleball player, you likely remember the adrenaline rush from your first successful ATP — “Around the Post” shot.  When properly executed, the average rec player without comprehensive knowledge of the pickleball rules would likely deem it illegal.  After all, the ball doesn’t travel over the net and — because the ball is often hit low to the ground — is more-often-than-not unreturnable.

pickleball around the post shot
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However, similar to tennis, a shot around the net post is, indeed, legal.

The Around-the-Post Shot is Surprisingly Simple to Execute!

The “around-the-post” opportunity frequently presents itself in pickleball primarily during sharp-angle dink rallies when the ball can be struck beyond the sideline. Look for those opportunities.  You’ll likely be surprised how easy it can be executed during these sharp angle dink rallies.

It’s not only an effective shot, but it’s also a fist-pumping shot when properly executed.  Please let me know in the comments below if you have successfully made an around-the-post shot. In the meantime, here is the official ruling from the 2024 USA Pickleball Official Rulebook with respect to pickleball shots around the net post.

USA Pickeball Official Rulebook (2024)

Rule #11.M:

Shots Around the Net Post. A player may return the ball around the outside of the net post.

Rule #11.M.1:

The ball does not need to travel back over the net.

Rule #11.M.2:

There is no restriction on the height of the return, meaning a player may return the ball around the net post below the height of the net.

Need More Pickleball Rules Clarifications & Interpretations?

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Coach Todd
About Todd

Todd is the talent behind PickleballMAX. He knows pickleball and demonstrates it on the court as a 4.5 – 5.0 player. In addition to creating content and running the PickleballMAX business, Todd is IPTPA Level II certified. As an instructor at the Ohio Pickleball Academy, he instructs students and runs adult and youth clinics. He also manages tournament desks throughout the tri state for tournaments ranging from 100-500 participants.

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  1. My question is regarding a shot if its legal or not if the ball bounces twice on your paddle as you hit it in one stroke and lands inbound.

    1. Hi Elvie, The following rule answers this question:

      11.A. Double Hits. Balls can be hit twice, but this must occur during an unintentional, continuous, single-direction stroke, by one player. If the stroke is deliberate, or not continuous or not in a single direction, or the ball is struck by a second player, it is a fault.

  2. Hi, the other day I had the opportunity to play an ATP shot, and the return hit the wire that was holding the net and still managed to land in play. Our gym uses volleyball posts to secure the net, so there are approx 6 ft of open space between the posts and the net. Was my shot good? Thanks

    1. Hi Roger, Nice shot! It appears your shot was good based on the following section of the rulebook. Hope this helps.

      11.L.1. The net and the wires or strings holding up the net are positioned (mostly) on the court. Therefore, if the ball strikes the top of the net or strikes the top net wire or string and lands inbounds, then it remains in play.

  3. I was playing the other day in quite windy conditions and our opponents hit a shot with a lot of height and huge back and sideways spin that landed near the next post about 2′ into the kitchen, then traveled obliquely back toward their side but into the gap between our court and the one parallel to it. I did manage to reach the ball before it landed and hit it back into their side of the court, but I may have actually been on their side of the court (but out of bounds) when I hit it. Is it still a legal shot if I was on their side of the court when executing?

  4. We are confused about the “around the post” shot. What if you hit the ball over the net but as it’s heading out of bounds, without bouncing in bounds, the opponent hits it on the fly “around the post”? Our question is – does the kitchen line extend beyond the sidelines? If a person volleys an “around the post” shot from the area to the side of the kitchen, without the ball first landing in the court, and he/she is standing in front of the kitchen line – if it were extended beyond the court – is that shot legal? Normally they shouldn’t bother hitting the ball as it is going to be out, but what if they do? Do they lose the point because they volleyed it while standing in the extended kitchen area? Or is the shot legal and still in play? Thanks for any help you can give us. We just can’t figure this one out.

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