What is a Fault in Pickleball?

what is a fault in pickleball

Faults are, in simplest terms, any play that violates the official rules and therefore forces the game to stop. After all, you can’t score points or stop the other team from scoring points if you don’t know the faults of the game. 

There are several faults that can happen in pickleball so let’s dive in. 

Pickleball Foot Fault

Foot fault!
Photo Credit: thepickler.com

A pickleball foot fault will be called if when a player is volleying the ball, they or anything on their person touches the non-volley zone or the non-volley line. The non-volley line marks an area on the pickleball court called the kitchen, where players must allow the ball to bounce once if they plan on hitting it from within that zone. 

The tricky part about the pickleball foot fault is that this rule applies even if any part of your person touches the service line or passes over it without the served ball contacting the court in a bounce. It’s difficult to avoid faults like this because sometimes the sheer momentum carries you to or over the line when you hit the ball. 

Pickleball Fault Line

Pickleball Fault Line

There are a few fault lines in pickleball, depending on what fault you are considering. For instance, the sideline can be a fault line if you hit the ball over it, or the non-volley line can be a fault line if a player’s feet touch the line in the act of volleying the pickleball ball. 

In Pickleball, Is It A Fault If You Touch The Ball?

The only place you can touch a pickleball ball is on your paddle hand below the wrist. If you catch the ball or it touches you while in the air any other place than that mentioned above, it is a fault in pickleball. 

If I Serve In Pickleball, Does It Count As A Fault If I Hit It In The Kitchen

The term kitchen in pickleball refers to the non-volley zone. Regarding serving, it does count as a fault if a player serves it into the kitchen or non-volley zone, and this situation would be called a service fault. By definition, the kitchen refers to any part of the non-volley zone or any part of the kitchen line. 

Are There Service Faults In Pickleball

Are There Service Faults In Pickleball

Yes, there are service faults in pickleball. In fact, there are several things that are considered a service fault or a service foot fault, including allowing the ball to hit a permanent object before they serve if the player misses the ball while serving, and more. 

Pickleball Service Faults & Service Foot Faults

Here are some other service faults: 

  • The ball touches the server’s partner or anything on the partner, such as clothing
  • The ball that is served lands in the no volley zone or on the non-volley zone line
  • The ball hits the net, lands in the kitchen, or on the kitchen lines
  • The ball lands outside of the service area or hits the court and lands outside of the service boundaries
  • The server’s feet touch any area outside the sideline plane or the centerline plane

Volley Fault In Pickleball

Volley Fault In Pickleball
Photo Credit: thepickler.com

The volley fault is another term for describing a fault that occurs in violation of the kitchen rules. This occurs when the team receiving the shot makes any type of contact from inside the kitchen area of the pickleball court. Whenever a player volleys the ball wither from the kitchen or touches the kitchen line, it’s considered a fault in the pickleball game. 

In Pickleball, Who Can Call Kitchen Faults

In Pickleball, Who Can Call Kitchen Faults

Anyone can call kitchen faults on the court in non-officiated play. But of course, if the game or tournament is officiated, then the officiants are the ones who would call all faults. 

In Pickleball, How Many Faults Can You Make Before Giving The Ball Up

In pickleball, two faults per team are allowed before giving up the ball, which can come from the same person or one from each. The serving team will continue their service sequence until the two faults occur, and then it will then be the service of the receiving team. 

In Pickleball, Who Calls Non-Volley Fault

In unofficial pickleball play, any player on either team may call a non-volley fault. The benefit of the doubt is given to the team that calls the fault. In an officiated pickleball game, all calls and any rule violation will go through the officials. 

Pickleball: Number Of Bounces Before Fault

A player should not allow the ball to bounce more than once before hitting it. Otherwise, it’s considered a fault. You might have heard about the two-bounce rule, and many beginners mistake that for meaning the ball is allowed to bounce twice. This isn’t exactly the case. 

The double bounce rule applies to how the ball is initially played after the serving team puts it into action. When the serving team first hits the ball, it must first bounce once in the service court of the receiving team. If the receiving team volleys the ball rather than letting it bounce, that’s considered a fault. 

The second bounce of the two bounce rules comes when the receiving team hits the ball back to the serving team. The serving team must then make sure that the ball hits the court before returning it. Only after this point can either team begin to volley the ball. Not adhering to the two bounce rules is an automatic fault. 

The reason for this pickleball rule is that it allows for more fair play and extends the pickleball match. Hitting the ball before it bounces off of a serve is also one of the most common faults for new pickleball players because the instinct is just to jump right in there and start volleying. 

In Pickleball, If You Hit A Volley And Your Overrun Takes You Into The Kitchen, Is That A Fault?

Yes, if you hit a volley shot and you accidentally overrun into the kitchen, that is considered a foot fault in pickleball. 

If You Play A Ball That Is Out Of Bounds, Is It A Fault In Pickleball

When you play a ball out of bounds, the ball is already dead, so it is a fault on the offending team that originally hit the ball out of bounds. Any ball hit out of bounds is a dead ball and is a fault in pickleball. 

Paddle Touches Floor In Pickleball Fault?

Paddle Touches Floor In Pickleball Fault?

Your paddle cannot touch the floor in pickleball within the non-volley zone while the player hits a volley. No part of the paddle can touch any part of the net, including the net post, as well. 

Doubles Pickleball Faults To Start

Doubles Pickleball Faults To Start

Things are a little different when you’re playing doubles pickleball. Not only are you sharing your side of the court with your partner, but there are rules that apply to doubles play, especially at the point of the serve. 

In pickleball, the serving team is allowed two faults before they hand the ball over. Each time that a fault occurs or the serving team loses the ball, the players re-position to the other side of the court (switch sides with each other), and the player who didn’t serve last has the chance to serve the ball. 

This method of alternating servers carries on throughout the game and applies to both sides. The tricky part that sometimes causes a fault to occur is when the wrong team member serves the ball. This fault rule applies whether the wrong player intentionally hit the ball or not. From a defense standpoint, you also want to keep an eye on the other team to make sure the wrong server isn’t handling the ball.

One more rule to make a note of is that the serve must always happen from behind the baseline point on the pickleball court. 

Pickleball Kitchen Faults

Pickleball Kitchen Faults

Within the kitchen or non-volley zone, the most common fault is not to let the ball bounce before hitting it. The non-volley line is, of course, a part of the pickleball kitchen, so a player’s feet or anything you are wearing can cross or touch the non-volley zone line. In order to keep a player’s momentum from carrying over the line, the partner may hold back the player. 

A note About Scoring In Pickleball 

While both the serving team and receiving team can commit a fault in pickleball, it’s only the serving team that can actually score points. If the serving team commits a fault, the ball is passed onto the other team member or passed to the other team to serve. However, the receiving team never receives any point for the fault. Instead, they just get one step closer to earning back control of the ball. 

Remember These Pickleball Faults in Your Next Game

Pickleball is a fun game, but it is important to understand what a fault in pickleball is so that you do not commit a fault and ruin the fun. Additionally, there is one further rule that stops play, and that is an intentional distraction of the opposing team. Play nice and don’t stomp the pickleball court, clap your hands or do anything that would distract an opponent pickleball player. Remember all of these pickleball faults to score points and win your next game!

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