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Ball is Called Out Before it Bounces and Lands In — What’s the Call?

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

Here’s the Scenario. You Make the Call.

The ball is in the air. Your partner yells “out.” The ball lands in. However, your opponents stop playing because of the “out” call. What’s the call?

This scenario plays out seemingly all the time on the pickleball courts. Luckily it is explicitly addressed in the pickleball rulebook where it states that calling the ball out before it bounces is considered partner communication. Therefore, the ball can still be played if it lands in.

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Yelling “out” after the ball bounces, on the other hand, is considered a line call that ends the rally.  In this case, the “out” call was made before it bounced. Therefore, the rally continues. If your opponents claim “hindrance” and a replay of the point, direct them to Rule #6.C.10 in the 2024 USA Pickleball Official Rulebook.

USA Pickleball Official Rulebook (2024)

Rule #6.C.10

While the ball is in the air, if a player yells “out,” “no,” “bounce it,” or any other words to communicate to their partner that the ball may be out, it shall be considered player communication only and not considered a line call.

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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. Has there been a rule change in line calls? If a ball is going deep and player is at the back line and ready to swing if the ball falls in but instead the ball lands out. The player shouts “out” but because he was ready to swing in case it landed in swings and hits the ball after yelling it was out. Is it illegal to have hit the ball and play goes to next server? Or, did the shout “out” end play no penalty?

    1. No change in line calls. Yelling out immediately after the ball bounces is a line-call made. It does not matter that the player swung and hit the ball as long as the line call was made.

  2. A ball is not ‘out’ until it actually hits the ground outside the line(s). That is, if you see a space between it and the line from your perspective. If, however, it’s still in the air it should be considered ‘partner communication’. Simple! I like to use an expression, ‘Just as ‘in’nocent until proven otherwise or guilty. It’s always in until it is properly deemed as being out.

  3. So who’s point is it or side out? If you yell out after bounce…but its in and the other player or u play it….so after nine if they call it out..its just out???? Even if it was in?

    1. Hi Kym, An “out” call made after the ball bounces is a line call. The ball is dead and play shall stop. If the ball was actually in, however, it would be a fault on you for having called it “out.” Hope that helps.

  4. I have a question related to this. Person playing the ball yells “out”at the bounce. Then realizes it was not. Yells ” no it’s good ” returns the ball. Other team stops.

    Is what that person did a distraction? Was not communicating to partner. More like hoping difficult ball was going to be out. Same person had already been calling balls out and partner over ruling the calls earlier.

    Or is it the team that stopped playing when ball called out,but then played?
    Thank you,

    1. Hi Ed, Great question. This scenario is clarified in Rule #6.D.12.: “If an “out” call is made after the ball bounces, it will be considered a line call. The ball will be considered dead and play shall stop.” Hope that helps!

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