Rules question – wrong server?

Since I started my blog just one month ago, I have received many compliments as well as some suggestion for future topics.  I appreciate both the praises and the suggestions.  I especially appreciate those of you who have added your comments and helped spread my blog to your pickleball clubs and friends!  Each week I get a few more “Followers” which makes this all worthwhile.

Am I the correct server?  Am I in the correct position?

Today, while playing pickleball at Premier Volleyball Academy in Maumee, Ohio, I was asked by George Naymik, president of the Holland (OH) Pickleball Club, whether I could help answer a rules question from a situation that occurred the other day.  The question related to a wrong person serving, what the consequences were, and what needed to be done to remedy the error.  The rule regarding this would also cover a situation where the right person served, but from the wrong court.

George, here’s your answer, straight from the IPF Official Tournament Rule Book: IFP Rule Book

The rules that pertain to this situation start on Page 21, Section 5 – Service Sequence Rules. I will skip to the specific rule relating to this question.

  • B.6. If the ball is served by the wrong team member or from the wrong court, the service is a fault.  If the fault was by the first server, then the first service is lost and the correct second server serves from the correct service position. If the fault was by the second server, then it is a side out. A point made from an incorrect service position or an incorrect server will not be retained unless play has continued and another point has been scored or the opposing team has served.

I’ll expand on a couple of things that can be confusing, and provide some examples, but first I’d like to explain how you determine which correct service court you should be in, based on the score.  Once you learn this, as long as you know the score you will know what court you should be in.

REMEMBER WHERE YOU START THE GAME!  

Why?   All games start at zero.  Zero is an even number.  So if you start the game in the right side court, that’s your EVEN court.  If you start the game in the left side court, that’s your EVEN court.

Therefore, if you started the game in the right side court, whenever your score is an even number you should be in the right side court. Anytime the score is odd, you should be in the left side court.

Likewise, if you start the game in the left side court, whenever the score is even you will be on the left, and when the score is odd you will be on the right side.

***Has anyone ever noticed that when we play together, I always like to serve first?  The only reason is because it helps me to know the score or which court I am to be in based on the score!   Simple as that.  (And you thought I just liked to serve first!)

Fault scenarios

Let’s take a look at three scenarios.  We will assume that each involves the first server and that the fault is called prior to the serve of the next rally.  We will also assume that Player A was the starting server, and therefore should be in the right court when the score is even.

  • Scenario 1 – Right server, wrong court
    • The score is 2-1-1. Player A was to serve from the right court, but after a long rally she goes to the left court and serves the ball.
      • Fault is called because Player A (correct server) served from the wrong court
      • No point is awarded if they won the rally
      • Players switch to the correct courts (Player A goes to right court, Player B goes to left court)
      • Second server is called. Score is now 2-1-2.  Player B now serves from the left court (which is her even court because she started the game there.)
  • Scenario 2 – Wrong server, right court
    • The score is 2-1-1. Player A should be the server from the right court, but Player B serves the ball from the left court.
      • Fault is called because Player A was the correct server.
      • Players are in the correct courts, so they do not switch
      • No point is awarded if they won the rally
      • Second server is called. Score is now 2-1-2.  Player B is now the correct server and serves from the left court.  (Even though Player B made the error, she is now the correct server.)
  • Scenario 3 – Wrong server, wrong court
    • The score is 2-1-1. Player A should be the server from the right court.  Instead, after a long rally, the players get confused and return to the wrong courts.  Player B is in the right court and serves the ball.
      • Fault is called because Player B was the incorrect server AND she was in the wrong court
      • Players switch sides (Player A is now in the right court and Player B is in the left court)
      • No point is awarded if they won the rally
      • Second serve is called. Score is now 2-1-2.  Player B is now the correct server and will serve from the left court.

In each of those scenarios, if the fault occurred with the 2nd server, the result would be a side out.

I hope that answers your question George!

And other random stuff……

Now for Deb Kos’ request that there be a blog about how to navigate roundabouts.  Well Deb, like you, there’s nothing that gets under my skin more than nearly slamming into someone’s bumper because they don’t know the difference between a yellow yield sign and a red stop sign, and are waiting for a vehicle to their left that hasn’t even entered the circle yet!  I have only one thing to say about how to survive a round-about!

Round about

If you aren’t going to get hit by a vehicle coming from your left*, FREAKING GO GO GO!!

*This does not apply to my followers from the UK or India, or any other left side driving countries!

Deb, I hope that helps!

Now share my blog on your club’s Facebook page, or club website, and on your own Facebook page so more people can read my blog!  Be sure to put your email address in the box on the right side and click “FOLLOW” to get an email every time I make a new post!

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2 thoughts on “Rules question – wrong server?

  1. Thanks for the keeping track of score trick. I would just scratch my head and wonder why someone would ask where I started before agreeing to the score

    And I COULD NOT agree with you more about US roundabouts! The other thing that drives me crazy is when a second car (and sometimes third) follows someone into the same lane of the roundabout without yielding to a car yielding on their right!

    Liked by 1 person

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