By: CJ Johnson | October 17, 2017 |

Pickleball Line Calls-Out or In?

When you play pickleball, you are actually a player-ref. The rules require that you call out balls when you see them and that any doubt MUST benefit the opponents.

How do you make the best line calls; Out or In? Here’s what you need to do:

1.  Call balls you clearly see out on your side of the court. Make calls quickly and decisively.

2.  If you are unsure and another player was in a better position to make the call, ask that player. If you ask, you MUST accept his/her answer.

3.  If no one clearly saw the ball, it is considered good. If it was too close to call, it is considered good.

A few bonus tidbits on Out or In;

Just because you hit a ball does not mean it was good. You can hit, then make the call. In fact, you should not stop playing because you think a ball is going to be out. Play it through, then make the call. But make the call before the opponents send it back again.

If someone stopped playing because they thought it was going out, but it did not get called out, too bad, it was good.

If a player calls out before the ball hits the ground, it is not out. That is considered cross-talk between players. A ball cannot be out until it hits the ground outside of the lines.

If there is a disagreement between two players on the same team about whether a ball was out or not, it is considered good.

The rules say there are no replays if there was doubt about whether a ball was good. Either it is clearly called out, or it is considered good.

This really happened: one player on the serving side called the ball out; his partner said it was good; the opponent stopped play by catching the ball because he heard the out call. The serving team claimed the point. Right or wrong? That was the correct resolution. Because two players disagreed, there was doubt, so the ball was considered good, which favored the opponent.

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.



CJ Johnson

Hey there — I’m a professional three-sport athlete and coach who has spent my entire adult life earning a living from playing and coaching sports. Since I started coaching more than three decades ago, one thing has remained the same: My commitment to see students not as they are but as what they can become and to move heaven and earth to help them realize their untapped potential. You should know that when it comes to helping pickleball players over 50 live their best lives on and off the courts, I'm an expert. Good pickleball is not just technique; it's the mind and body working holistically. That's why I'm also a personal trainer and weight management specialist. When I’m chillin', you'll find me watching Star Trek with my husband John and our two fur babies, Shirley and Ralph. (Yes, Happy Days)