Last week we had friends visiting from other towns and other states. One common denominator among several of the men was a keen interest in Pickleball so naturally off to the courts we went.
We had a great afternoon of play. We played together for several games, changing up sides, etc. and then we played with others to get a variety of experiences.
A day or two later, a discussion arose regarding line calling (in or out) and cheating and I said: “What is the sense of cheating?” It seemed only logical to me that to win at a game that one had to cheat in would be a hollow victory indeed. My companions explained that they had witnessed people cheating about line calls in order to gain an advantage.
I must say, and perhaps I am naive, but I have not been aware of this behavior in my one-year experience. We were not discussing close calls or “honest mistakes” where one of the players actually perceived that the ball was “out” and called it that way.
I have developed a personal set of rules FOR NON TOURNAMENT AND CASUAL PLAY, that I understand pretty much coincides with the rules of most other players.
1 – If a ball is close to a line and I cannot make a definitive call, the call goes to the other team.
2 – I never argue a call that is on the end line of the opposite end of the court. I am not close enough usually to get a very clear view, the net is often blocking my line if sight and I accept their word as the correct call. Conversely, I don’t expect them to challenge my calls at my own end line either (see #6 below for a corollary).
3 – If a ball is too close to call on my own end line (hit be the opposing team), I continue to play it as though it is good. The other team gets the benefit of the doubt!
4 – I self-call kitchen zone infractions as I anticipate the other team will do the same.
5 – ANYTIME a ball from another court enters the established playing zone of a court on which I am playing, it is to be called and the current point stops and is re-played. This is an important safety rule and ALL balls should be called to eliminate the need to make a decision whether or not a ball is close enough to the play, etc. [ BTW – If am the server, I call the point score and say “serve over.” What do you do in the above situation? ]
6 – If I make a call and another player challenges it, I query the remaining players. If another player sees it one way or the other, then that is how the call is made. If the questioning player says they are “sure,” then I let the call go their way. It is only a point and if one point makes that much difference, then they deserve to have it. [If this happens often, then my attitude would become a bit different, but it hasn’t happened frequently thus far.]
7. – If playing indoors or at close quarters outside (not in tournament play) if a ball is obviously going to be out and the opposing player catches it to save the ball from bouncing errantly, this is fine with me. Most of the time I do let the ball bounce and then catch it, but if I see it is going to head over to disrupt another court, I sometimes will catch it in the air to prevent a stoppage for the other players.
Are there any experiences you have had with Pickleball and line calls or rules that you would like to share? Are there any situations not mentioned above that have important guidelines for “most players?”