Pickleball Line Calls Hand Signals
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Pickleball Line Calls Hand Signals

As pickleball aficionados, we may laugh and/or snicker at those who erroneously refer to the pickleball paddle as a racket [gasp] or who think foot fault calls are made by the umpire and not the referee.  We will likely roll our eyes at those who have no idea what stacking, ATP’s, or Ernes are.
However, pickleball players are not without critique – particularly when it comes to making in/out line calls and communicating such calls to their opponents.

The Wild West of Line Call Hand Signals

I tend to chuckle watching shots that land on-or-near the line during rec play. Frequently, the team on whose side the ball landed makes no call whatsoever. Was the shot in? Out? Who knows? Deafening silence. You’re relegated to wandering around confused on your side of the court wondering if you should get ready to serve or to receive serve!

Others are much more demonstrative when making line calls. For shots that are good and land in, my favorite (said tongue-in-cheek) is the safe signal – extending both arms outward and crossing one-on-top-and-across-the-other – as if someone just legged out a double in the National League Championship Series.

I’ve also seen the “thumbs up” signal given on a shot that is deemed in by the opponent – as well as pointing and shaking the index finger downward to indicate a ball that lands in.

For shots that are out, I’ve seen just as many made-up signals to indicate such – limited only to one’s imagination.

Learn these Two Hand Signals When Making Line Calls

So what is the correct method of making calls that are on-the-line or close-to-the-line? When no call is made, the ball is, indeed, presumed to be in. But your opponent is looking for something more – some sort of indication that you are confident with your call.

The answer is quite simple and comes from our tennis-playing friends. Extending the hand with the palm downward is the traditional indication that the ball was in (or good) and pointing the index finger up and out (and in the direction in which the ball was out) indicates the ball was “out.”

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Final Thoughts

These two hand signals should certainly help clear up confusion when balls land close to the line. They are a bit more universal in nature and will result in all players on the court knowing what call was made.

What about you? How do you indicate to your opponents if the ball is in/out?

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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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