Pickleball Faults

Pickleball Faults & Dead Balls on Pickleball Court

Pickleball faults, like NVZ and foot violations, stop play. Receiving team faults gives points to the serving team. Self-reporting ensures fair play.

Thus, before going to the Pickleball Court Dimensions, we’re introducing the common faults that are committed by various players.

A fault in pickleball is a rule violation that ends the rally immediately. When a player breaches any of the game’s regulations, the pickleball is considered dead, and the opposing side wins the rally. Hence, understanding the faults is effective for maintaining fair play and ensures the integrity of the game on the pickleball court.

Committing Pickleball Faults – Common Causes

Players are committing various Pickleball faults on the court due to the following causes:

  • Both serve and return don’t allow the serve to bounce: It’s the major violating mistake from the 2-bounce/3-hit rule. You may know that “once bouncing the served ball before and after (Serve-return), the hitting is compulsory.” After making the serve-the return of that serve, any player or team can volley the ball now. In other terms, after serving and returning a booming serve, after a single bounce, any pickleball player can hit it into the air (volley).
  • Hit the ball into Pickleball Court Net: Your ball hitting the Net on your side before crossing over your opponent’s side is considered as the fault. This fault happens when your ball hits the ground. It’s an essential time when your opponent can also make a fault before it hits the ground. This fault might be touching the Net. Thus, when this 1st player or team makes a fault, he may lose this rally.
  • Pickleball hits under or between the Pickleball net and net post: Once you hit your Pickleball under the Net or between the Net and net post, it’s a serious fault of this team.
  • Pickleball Hits on respective net side or out-of-bound: If you’ve hit your ball on your respective side of the net or out-of-bound region. It’s your mistake.
  • Stop the live match of Pickleball Faults: This is the case the Pickleball faults are performed as suppose you have stopped the gameplay before your ball is dead. It’s your mistake, which is included as you have caught or stopped your game before the ball hits to ground. For example, you catch the shot that is clearly landing into the out-of-bound region.
  • Before bouncing, the ball hits the permanent objects: if your played ball hits the permanent object of your court before bouncing, it’s your fault. Now you’ve lost your rally.
  • Misunderstood the other rules is a violation: If you violate the “other” rule by misunderstanding is your fault. Such as intentionally disturbing the opposite player or double hitting your ball intentionally; these are your known faults. 
  • Invalid hinder (let) calling: Pickleball Players have no service lets in this gameplay. It means that the net hitting serves if it lands correctly into the service court. So, it’s your fault if you’re calling any let-on serving. Meanwhile, your invalid hinder call is also your fault. However, the invalid hinder call is allowed to be called by the referee. 
  • Time-Out Protocol: Players cannot call a time-out once the pickleball has been served. However, any player or team with remaining time-outs can do so before the serve, including the period after scores are announced and before the serve is executed.
  • Fault for Hitting the Ball Before Crossing the Net: If you strike the pickleball before it crosses the net’s plane, it’s considered a fault. For instance, hitting the ball before it reaches your side of the court, such as when executing an Erne shot, results in losing the rally.
  • Make Double Bounce: This Pickleball fault occurs when you are allowing your ball to take twice bounce on one side of your court. You’re violating the double-bounce rule. As a result, you’ll lose your serve.
  • Intentionally catches the ball on the Paddle: If you’re knowingly catching your Pickleball on the paddle after serving, it’s your fault. Meanwhile, if you carry it unintentionally with your paddle, it’s not considered a fault.
  • Deliberate double-hitting of the ball: If you knowingly hit your ball twice following the serve, it’s considered your error. Intentionally striking the pickleball more than once, known as a double hit, is a fault after the serve. However, any double hit during the serve or unintentional double hit with your paddle is not penalized.
  • Breaking Serve Rules: Any violation of serve rules, such as hitting the ball above waist level on a traditional serve or improperly tossing it on a drop serve, results in a fault. Notably, if a player serves before the referee announces the score, it’s not a fault as the ball is ‘dead.’ However, serving after the score announcement but before its completion is a fault since the ball is ‘live,’ and the entire score must be called before serving.
  • Touching to Net post, opponent’s side of court, net system: Your body, your paddle, your apparel, touch to the net system, pickleball net posts, or to your opponent play’s side during playing; these are considered your faults. However, it’s not your fault if you’re coming in contact with the opposing team’s side, net system, and Pickleball net posts before or after your match.
  • Other than your hand or paddle, contact anything to your paddle from lowered to your wrist: Once, playing after the serve, your ball can touch your paddle or hand below your wrist. If any part of the body or anything you’re wearing is in contact with your Pickleball, you’ve committed a fault. Suppose you’re a player now altering your hand for a paddle, hitting a both-handed backhand shot, two hands in contact with your paddle, and hitting below your wrist can be taken as part of the game. Because it’s the exception that both your hands are in contact with your paddle. 
  • Suppose you have dropped your ball before hitting the serve. Pickleball hits your body part of the shoe, and it’s not your fault. Its specific rue after hitting the serve is applied. 
  • Serving  shot is going out of the receiving court
  • Violate Non-Volley Zone (NVZ) Rules: Any violation of NVZ rules, such as volleying while inside the zone, results in a fault.

View More: What is a Fault in Pickleball?

Fault Calling in Pickleball
In pickleball, players self-regulate the faults and should promptly admit any mistakes. While you can inform opponents of their faults, you lack authority to enforce them. In non-officiated games, players can call faults in specific areas, with disagreements leading to point replays. In tournaments with a referee, fault calls are the referee’s responsibility.

In recreational play, fault calls are player-determined due to the absence of a referee. Players are accountable for avoiding NVZ and line errors. Line calls are the hitter’s responsibility, while NVZ faults are the opponent’s responsibility. Faults often occur during live play, such as NVZ and serving violations, leading to consequences for the offending team. Practicing drills can help mitigate these faults.

As you know, Pickleball faults are common, and various players are well-known for those faults. Hence, we have encountered and identified deeper misconceptions, which are linked to these underlying causes.

  • NVZ foot Misconceptions
  • Serving foot faults
  • NVZ foot Misconceptions
  • Your worn accessories and paddle are deliberated as your extensions. When these things touch the Kitchen region or its line while playing the volley. You will lose your turn, and it’s considered your fault. You can note that touching this zone is considered a fault even if you don’t step into it.
  • Once your partner player (doubles match), grab and pull you back. Then protect yourself so that your momentum carries you in the NVZ, which is legal.
  • Players don’t go for the special wait to bounce their balls in NVZ by stepping in and hitting it. Thus, you’re allowed to step in and let the ball bounce automatically before contacting your balls.
  • Serving foot Pickleball faults and related mistakes

While preparing yourself for the serve your foot position is associated. Here your footwork is essential; otherwise, you may make a fault. These foot positions are:

  • Feet connection with any object beyond the sideline plane
  • The court part comes in contact with the foot
  • Feet move here and there from the plane’s center

While serving you must know that these things may cause Pickleball faults:

  • The ball drops to the ground when you fail to make the serve.
  • The ball hitting your partner/clothes etc.
  • Served ball hits the net and lands into NVZ or NVZ line
  • The served ball lands out of the service zone
  • The ball strikes any sturdy object such as a lamp post, wall, fence or tree

Winning Strategy: Avoid Four Pickleball Faults

While learning about Pickleball Faults, here are four major mistakes that you should never forget:

  • Two-bounce rule
  • Hitting balls out of bounds
  • Foot faults
  • Service faults

Two-Bounce Rule

The shot must bounce once before being struck before and after the serve. Thus your served ball must fulfil this rule. After that, any Pickleball player can strike up the ball into the air at that point. It exposes that returning team is the one who has the 1st chance of hitting the ball out of the air.

Ball hits out-of-Bound

The remaining balls are officially considered “in” the game by excluding the service. If your shot lands on the baseline, centerline, sideline, anywhere or the court’s inside lines, it’s taken in-game.

Moreover, your ball must land on the correct side and position in the court on service. The appropriate position is diagonal from the server and inside the court on any line. You must expect the landing of your ball on the NVZ line once knowing about “in”. Remember, your ball won’t land on or inside the NVZ on serving.  

Footwork Faults

This fault comes in two categories: playing your shots at the NVZ line and when serving at baseline. Thus, players make Pickleball faults in two ways:

  • During the serve creation, they step over or on the court’s service line that’s counted as one of your Pickleball Faults. You need to touch the ball first and then step on the court or on the line. Moreover, you’re not allowed to cross your court’s imaginary lines (these are taken as an extension of the sideline or the center line during serving).
  • You have committed a mistake when your foot unintentionally or intentionally steps into or on the NVZ. Note that you should avoid during a volley and after a volley so that your shot momentum doesn’t force you to step into this region.

Service Pickleball Faults

Pickleball players must know these three rules while making the serve (hit the shot out of the air when released from the player’s hand):

  • Contact your ball from the lower side of your waist
  • Play the lower to higher swing motions
  • The player’s wrist is always above the ball’s height during contact.

Learn More: Pickleball Serving Rules

You can ignore these rules during ‘drop serve’.

Dead Ball in Pickleball

An action or ball that can halt the gameplay (No longer in play) is known as a dead ball. It mostly happens when you make faults. The pickleball referee may call these. Once you commit an error, then your ball is stated as the dead ball. This is not included in the gameplay. 

Causes that lead to the dead ball:

  1. Faults
  2. Valid hinder
  3. After bouncing into the court, making contact with solid items.
  1. Faults Result in Dead Ball: Any fault by a player, regardless of who calls it, immediately stops play. For example, if a player hits the ball into the net, it becomes dead upon hitting the ground. If the opponent touches the net after this, it’s not a fault. However, if the opponent violates the Non-Volley Zone after a volley, they lose the rally as it’s an immediate fault.
  2. Valid Hinders Result in Replay: A valid hinder halts play and necessitates a replay of the point. For instance, if a stray ball rolls onto the court during a rally, it’s a valid hindrance. Calling an invalid hinder is itself a fault.
  3. Contact with Permanent Object: If your ball bounces on the court and then hits a permanent object, like a bench or fence, it’s immediately a dead ball. The last player or team to hit the ball wins the rally.
  • You must go through the measures to play securely and avoid Pickleball faults. In this regard, you must know the standard errors of beginners. 
  • Your regular practice is another way to avoid committing pickleball faults. Your drilling will ensure that you have a better understanding of Pickleball rules and faults than your competitor. 
  • Pickleball players usually make mistakes on service rules. These pickleball faults can be avoided by repeatedly improving your playing skills, experiencing complicated steps, and becoming an expert player. 
  • The server must serve the ball diagonally to the other side of the court. If the server serves the ball straight across the court, the service is considered invalid, and the other team is awarded a point.
  • Be mindful of hitting the ball only once to avoid committing a double hit.
  • The next common cause of faults is around and in the NVZ. Your volleying ball skills can prevent this fault easily. 
  • Avoid carrying the ball by using a smooth, fluid motion when hitting it
  • Stay away from the net and avoid touching it or any of its supports during play


When you make mistakes, which are considered your Pickleball faults, officially, your turn will end. Your opponent team will play (your server will be granted to your opponent) and make the score now. 

Any play can call NVZ faults without a referee. It’s reported in Section 9i of the rules. The call-making player is gifted the doubted benefits. Various other faults are pronounced by the team/player who has made these pickleball faults.

In this case, the point is replayed.

Yes, Faults can be called in competitive and recreational play to ensure fair and consistent gameplay.


However, we recommend you improve your pickleball skills and perform professional drills. These approaches can prevent you from playing mistakes. You can immensely level up your game. Though, Pickleball Faults can be eliminated from your playing history easily. Your professional attitude towards gameplay is a vital step.

Eventually, Pickleball faults can frustrate players, but they’re essential to the game. Knowing what constitutes a fault and how to avoid committing one is crucial for anyone wanting to play pickleball competitively. By practising your serve and being mindful of your positioning on the court, you can avoid committing faults and improve your overall game.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *