You Make the Call!
Here’s the Scenario:
You attempt the serve, but swing and miss. Try again? What’s the call?
In both tennis and ping-pong if you swing at the serve and completely miss the ball, it’s a point for the receiving player or team. In ping-pong, even the act of tossing the ball and letting it harmlessly fall to the table without swinging at it results in a point for the receiving player or team. But what about in pickleball? Does a swing-and-a-miss constitute a fault when playing pickleball? A replay? What about letting the pickleball bounce to the court without attempting the swing?
It’s a scenario that will occur with some regularity for beginning pickleball players. According to the “International Federation of Pickleball Official Tournament Rulebook,” a swing-and-a-miss on the serve will result in a fault. However, if the server does not attempt the swing, it is not a fault. Now keep in mind this is according to the 2019 “Official Tournament Rulebook.” My guess is in rec play, you may just want to give this beginning server another chance. 🙂 Afterall, we were all beginners at one time! 😉
2019 International Federation of Pickleball — Official Tournament Rulebook
Service Faults. During the service, it is a fault if:
4.M.3. The server misses the ball when trying to hit it. If the ball lands on the ground without the server swinging at the ball, it is not a fault.
2020 Rule Change
According to the 2020 Rules Change Document, “The 2019 Rule 4.M.3 (server misses the ball when trying to hit it) was removed due to inconsistency in determining precisely when the ball passed the front plane of the paddle.”
Need More Pickleball Rules Clarifications & Interpretations?
Please reference our pickleball rules page and make sure to subscribe to our newsletter so that you receive additional pickleball rules clarifications and interpretations for many of the common — and not-so-common — scenarios that happen on the pickleball courts. By subscribing to the newsletter you will also receive pickleball tips, strategies, tournament recaps and more.