What’s the rule ???

Hello you pickleballers,

We had a good couple of days at the Club’s courts. Lot’s of dinking and some impressive smashes, but also some confusion about order of play, like who serves or receives when there’s a “side out” after a team loses the service. Let’s start by quoting the rule book (please excuse the necessary but complicated language)

  • “When the serving team’s score is even (0,2,4,6,8,10) the player who was the first server in the game for that team will be in the right-side court when serving or receiving ; when odd (1,3,5,7,9) that player will be in the left-hand court when serving and receiving.”

Well, that settles it! Or maybe not!  So let’s see how that plays out for a few points:

Let’s say team A/B wins the spin and elects to serve first against team C/D.  As the initial serve is always from the right-side of the  court, player A serves from there after calling the score, 0-0-2, which is his/her team’s score (0), the other team’s score (0), with  the “2” recognizing that the team starting to serve in a game only gets to have one player serve, hence the last and only server. From here on in the game, when A/B team’s score is an even number (0, 2,4,..),  “A” will be on the right-side and “B” on the left-side for serving and receiving, and vice versa when their score is an odd number. In this case, “A” relinquishes service, not having gotten a point.

“Side out”  now happens and team C/D serves, with C electing to serve first, from the required right-side of the court.    From here on in the game, when C/D team’s score is an even number (0, 2,4,..),  “C” will be on the right-side court and “D” on the left-side court for serving and receiving, and vice versa when their score is an odd number. “C” then serves after calling the score (0-0-1), their team score (0), the opponent’s score (0), and “1” that recognizes that “C” is the first server of the team. “C” does not make a point so the service goes to “D,” who serves from the left-side court with a score of 0-0-2. Let’s say “D” makes a point and then misses one.

“Side out” now happens and A/B gets the service back, with “A” serving from the right-side with the score 0-1-1 . “A” makes a point and then serves from the left-side with the score 1-1-1 to “C” on their left-side court (remember C’s on the left-side whether serving or receiving when their team score is an odd number  ). “A” doesn’t make point and “B” serves from…… you got it, their right-side ’cause the team score is an odd number (1).  “D” receives on their right-side with their score still an odd number.  So, on and on………

Hope you are informed, if not fallen fast asleep.

2 thoughts on “What’s the rule ???

  1. Say team member A has been serving and winning several points and score is now 7 to 3 when opponents notice he is about to serve from wrong court and obviously has been serving from wrong court for awhile. Does score stay at 7 to 3 and he continues to serve from correct court, or is it side out even though no one called it on last point and score goes back to 6 to 3, or all previous points he served from wrong side don’t count and it is side out?

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  2. Very good question. In social play (no ref), I’d expect score would only go back to 6 to 3. In a tourney, ref confirms the order before allowing play to continue, so I guess would call a fault (loss of service) if order not followed with score back to 7 to 3. I’ll check further, and have asked my Florida plickleball leader for comment as well.

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