This post has been updated in 2024 according to the USA Pickleball Official Rulebook (2024).
Here’s the Scenario. You Make the Call.
You attempt a volley. However, the ball hits you just above the wrist while you’re holding the paddle. The ball goes in. Your opponents stop playing and claim they win the rally because you didn’t hit the ball with your paddle. What’s the call?
Luckily, this scenario is explicitly addressed in Rule #7.H of the 2024 USA Pickleball Official Rulebook. In the above scenario, you were hit above the wrist on your paddle hand. Because you were hit above the wrist — and not below the wrist —a fault should be declared. Unfortunately for you, in this case, your opponents were correct.
Likewise, had the pickleball hit you in any place other than below your wrist on your paddle hand, a fault should be declared — even if the ball goes back over the net and into the opponent’s court from being hit. Let’s look at the official rule applicable to this scenario.
USA Pickleball Official Rulebook (2024)
[A Fault will be Declared for the Following:] After the serve, the ball contacts a player or anything the player is wearing or carrying, except the paddle or the player’s hand(s) in contact with the paddle and below the wrist. If the player is in the process of changing hands with both hands on the paddle or is attempting a two-handed stroke and either hand is hit below the wrist, as long as a player’s hand is in contact with the paddle, the ball is still in play. The fault is on the player who was hit by the ball.
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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.