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Disagreement Over a NVZ Infraction in a Non-Officiated Match — 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.

In a non-officiated pickleball match, (and from the other side of the net) you notice your opponent has their foot on the NVZ Line during execution of the volley. You call them on the fault. Both players on the other team disagree. What’s the call?

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Who Has the Authority to Call Faults on the Opponents?

This is a scenario that frequently sparks confusion about who has the authority to call faults on whom in non-officiated, sanctioned play. Can your opponents call you (and it be subsequently enforced) for non-volley zone infractions? What about service foot faults? Double bounces? Illegal serves? Illegal contact above the wrist? Distractions? What does your opponent across the net have the authority to call and enforce if there is disagreement?

These are all examples of calls in which at least one of the players from the “offending” team must “admit” the fault. If both players from the “offending” team deny a non-volley zone infraction or service foot fault, a replay occurs. However, all other supposed infractions (faults) called by your opponents are unenforceable if there is, indeed, disagreement.

Shown below are relevant rule excerpts from the 2024 USA Pickleball Official Rulebook.

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USA Pickleball Official Rulebook (2024)

Rule #13.D.1.c

Players may call non-volley zone and service foot faults on the opponent’s end of the court. If there is any disagreement among players about the called foot fault, a replay shall occur.

Rule #13.D.1.d

For non-officiated matches, if a player believes an opponent has committed any type of fault other than a service or non-volley zone foot fault as noted in Section 7 – Fault Rules, they may mention the specific fault to the opponent(s) but they have no authority to enforce the fault. The final decision on fault resolution belongs to the player that allegedly committed the fault.

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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. Hi Al, I’m going to reference a couple of rules for you in the official rulebook to help clarify:

      4.A.1. The entire score must be called before the server begins his or her service motion.
      4.M. Service Faults. During the service, it is a fault against the server resulting in loss of serve if:
      4.M.10. The server begins the service motion before the entire score is called.

      Hope this helps.

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