What Is A Fault In Pickleball?

If you want to learn how to play pickleball, you need to learn all the rules so you can play the game correctly. One part of the rulebook that trips up a lot of new players is faults – but what are they and how do they affect your game? 

What Is A Fault In Pickleball

Here, we are going to be taking a look at faults in pickleball. This way, you can find out everything you need to know about faults in the pickleball (see also: How Is Pickleball Scored? (What You Need To Know))rule book so next time you step onto the court, you can play with confidence and aim toward success! 

What Is A Fault In Pickleball?

First, let’s define what a fault actually is in pickleball(see also: What Is Sandbagging In Pickleball?). 

A fault in pickleball is the same as a fault in pretty much any other sport – it’s any kind of action or movement that violates the rules of the game. Basically, if you break any of the rules in a pickleball (see also: When Do New Pickleball Rules Take Effect?)game, you are committing a fault. 

Faults in pickleball can stop the game and sometimes rewards your opponent with a point.

This is why it’s so important to know about the faults in pickleball before you even step out onto the court – otherwise, you could end up with an embarrassing defeat! 

What Are The Faults In Pickleball? 

What Are The Faults In Pickleball 

There are many faults you can commit in pickleball but some are definitely more common than others.

Here, we have listed the most common faults and explained how they affect your game. So, check them out below to learn about all the faults in pickleball so you can play a nice clean game in the future. 

1. Hitting The Ball Out Of Bounds

This is a very basic rule that is seen in a lot of other sports like tennis, and it also appears in pickleball. 

If you hit the ball and it first lands beyond the boundary lines of the court, then that ball is no longer in play and you will have committed a fault.

The ball needs to bounce by first hitting the ground within the court’s boundaries to stay in play. If the ball hits the line itself, then it is still considered in play. 

There Is One Exception To This Rule

The part of the court closest to the net is known as the no-volley zone or kitchen zone of the court.

You cannot hit the ball into this area (not even touching the line) otherwise you will be hitting the ball out of bounds and committing a fault. 

So, pay close attention to where you are aiming the ball. 

2. Hitting The Ball Into The Net 

If you hit the ball into the net in pickleball, that is a fault. You can try and save the ball but the moment it hits the ground, you will have committed a fault and lose the rally. 

However, if the ball just clips the net as it bounces over into the opponent’s side of the court, it remains in play. It needs to clear the net but if it hits it and drops immediately to the ground, then that’s a fault. 

3. Hitting The Ball Before It Bounces Twice 

When playing the return team (this means that your opponent is serving) you need to let the ball bounce before returning. If you are playing as the serving team, you need to let the return of the ball bounce too.

This is known as the two-bounce rule. Basically, the ball must bounce during the first serve and return. Hitting the ball before it has a chance to bounce during this point in the rally will cost you the point. 

This rule is a difficult one for many players to follow because both teams will try to hit the ball deep into the court and make it more difficult to return.

This is because by serving deep, their opposing team has less room to make their move. This is why this fault is so common, even with seasoned players. 

4. The Ball Strikes An Object

It’s important that you play pickleball responsibly but a lot of new pickleball players will struggle to learn how to aim the ball.

Because of this, it’s common that the ball is struck and hits an object – a post, or a tree, but sometimes, it can hit a person. 

Striking the ball at a player on purpose is an aggressive act that is not allowed in pickleball. Of course, it can sometimes happen by accident, but to deter players from being tempted to act aggressively, it is a fault whenever the ball strikes a person. 

This also includes striking a permanent object like a post or tree. It’s not a fault if the ball strikes the object after first bouncing within the opponent’s court because then, it’s unlikely you aimed to hit the object. 

5. Zone Faults

Earlier, we mentioned the no-volley zone or the kitchen zone (the 14-foot area nearest the net on either side) and here, it plays into another possible fault you can commit during pickleball. 

Players can commit a lot of faults in this one area. Any time a ball is volleyed from this area, it’s a fault on the player’s part.

Even if you so much as touch the line during or after a shot, you are committing a fault. You can only hit the ball if it has bounced in the kitchen first – not before! 

Because of this, no-volley zone faults are some of the most common in pickleball. It’s easy to forget when you can and cannot volley a ball in this area of the court. 

Final Thoughts

So, faults are basically errors in pickleball that cost you a point in the game. They are mistaken players made by accident that benefits their opponents so if you want to be victorious, you need to know what the faults are and how to avoid them. 

There are lots of different kinds of faults and we have mentioned the most common ones above. There are other less common faults like catching the ball with your hand or bouncing the ball before serving, but these are rare. 

Remember the faults mentioned above and you should start to play a cleaner game of pickleball!

Michael Walter
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