CJ Johnson Headshot
CJ Johnson
Tony Roig
Tony Roig

Pickleball Rules-Serving Etiquette

a man serving a pickleballThe rules state that you should not serve until the receiver is ready and the score has been called. In a tournament, if you serve before the referee has called the score, it is a fault against you. Since we have no referees, you can easily avoid this fault because you are the person who calls the score.

When you see that the receiver is ready, you should call the score, then take a breath – a moment to hear any protest that you have called the wrong score. If all is quiet, then go ahead with your serve. You must serve within 10 seconds of calling the score.

In tournaments, if you think the wrong score has been called, you may stop play at any time before the return of serve to ask for a correction. A player who interrupts play after the return of serve commits a fault and loses the rally.

During our social play, if the server announces the score and waits a moment for any corrections, you should voice any questions at that time. If the server is too impatient and serves while calling the score, just play the point and then discuss any questions about erroneous scores before the next point is played. Don’t let a wrong score call distract you from focusing on playing the point well.

Thanks, Bev!

Bev writes a weekly email blast for our pickleball club. She delivers the rules with clarity and a sense of humor. If you have a rules question post it in the comments below.


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