Pickleball 411 – Who Can Call Kitchen Foot Faults?

** Please see Rule Clarification Information Below **

In this episode of Pickleball 411, Rusty walks us through the ins and outs of who calls kitchen foot faults during a game of pickleball.  You might be surprised at what you learn from this episode as the information is sometimes varied among players.  But having kitchen faults called can be an important way to improve your game, especially when it comes to tournament or league play matches where every point matters.  We are excited to share this information with you and elevate the sport of pickleball!

* UPDATE January 2018 – A new USAPA rulebook came out January 2018 which addresses how foot fault calls are handled in recreational play. It still stands that either team can call a foot fault, however, a new clarification as been added. In Section 9i it states, “For non-officiated play, non-volley-zone faults may be called by any player on either team. Benefit of the doubt goes to the player who makes the call.”  Therefore if there is an argument about a foot fault call in recreational play, the team that calls the foot fault will be given priority.

You can find the USAPA 2018 Official Tournament Rulebook here: www.usapa.org/ifp-official-rules

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26 Comments

  1. John Hall says:

    I disagree with your conclusion that either team can call a NVZ violation. The following in the official rule book:

    “Players will call the lines on their side of the court (excluding the non-volley line, if being called by a referee)”, is pretty clear that players will call the lines on their side “including the NVZ if no referee is present.” There’s nothing in the rule book to back your claim that either side can make the NVZ violation calls. Furthermore, settling disputes by a “replay” is not supported by the rules either.

    • Meredith Meredith says:

      HI John, Thanks so much for watching and being part of the discussion! The distinction you have brought up is a very common misunderstanding and is one of the reasons we created this video in conjunction with the USAPA Rules Chair. The part of the rulebook (Rule 6.D.1) that you are quoting above specifically deals with line calls which is when the ball makes contact with the court. Foot faults are technically not line calls and are under a separate category. Section 7, 8, and 9 deal with other types of faults, dead balls and rule violations. These sections leave it open for either team to be able to call a kitchen foot fault.

  2. Lenny Friedman says:

    I enjoyed your description of who is responsible for calling foot fsults especially regarding the integrity, fairness, and camaraderie of pickleball.

    • Rusty Rusty says:

      Hi Lenny, thank you for watching and sharing your encouragement. We couldn’t agree more. In every sport there will be times when people disagree and interpret rules and game play differently. It is critical for people to be good sports and work together to grow the entire sport. Have a great day and “Keep on playing”.

  3. Patrick soko says:

    If a ball hits the end post and goes over is it good?

    • Meredith Meredith says:

      Thank you so much for commenting! We are going to create a video dealing with net/end posts issues this year. If the ball hits the post it is considered a dead ball whether it goes over or not. The loophole is if it hits the net or wire that connects the net to the post it technically counts as not hitting the post, but hitting the net itself and is therefore considered a live ball. Hope this helps!

  4. Martha says:

    Are there foot faults when serving? The rules do not seem specific .

  5. Martha says:

    Are there foot faults in serving? It is not clear to us if one foot can be on the court.

  6. Martha says:

    Are there foot faults when serving? The rules do not seem clear . Can one foot be in the court ?

  7. Martha says:

    Quote from rule book——–The serve is initiated with at least one foot behind the baseline; neither foot may contact the baseline or court until after the ball is struck.
    ?????

  8. ron wilks says:

    hello… I agree with the other person that commented that only the players on their side of the court can call foot faults… I believe you have advised incorrect information and suggest immediate clarification!

    ron wilks
    ambassador.. goodyear

    • Rusty Rusty says:

      Hi Ron, first we would like to say thank you for volunteering as a USAPA Ambassador. The Ambassador program is fantastic and we are happy to work with ambassadors across the country to help grow the sport.

      Thank you as well for watching and commenting here looking for clarification. We will try to clarify a bit more here in addition to what was in the video. To begin with, everyone should know that we work very closely with the USAPA in general on many of our videos. In fact, on every single video that clarifies a rule we have spent extra time working with the USAPA Rules Chair. All of our “rules videos”, including this one “Who Calls Kitchen Foot Faults?”, have been approved by the USAPA Rules Chair, before being published online. You may be pleased to know that in the future, there will actually be an amendment made to clarify this calling of foot faults. I can assure you that the IFP and USAPA currently state that either team can call a kitchen foot fault. We in fact made the video to try to clarify. Here is a quote from the rules chair….

      “I had an article on this subject in our Newsletter a few months ago about NVZ faults. Also I worked with pickleballchannel.com on their recent video.

      It is correct that for non-sanctioned (recreational) play that anyone can call NVZ faults. In fact its normally much easier for the opposing team to catch these faults than it is for the team making the fault. 

      Many people wrongly assume that rule 6.D.1. is referencing NVZ foot faults, but this is not correct. This rule is under Section 6, Line Call Rules, and is referencing balls that land in the NVZ during a serve. Because of the confusion with this the USAPA is in the process of modifying the wording of this rule (not the rule itself) so the meaning is clear. ”

      We hope that helps. All the best,
      Rusty

  9. JAMES CUNNINGHAM says:

    Hello. I would like to see some information regarding strategy when partnering with a player who plays primarily with the opposite hand. (Right hand player teamed up with a left hand player) Generally when I partner with another right hand player, a down the middle return is generally by the forehand player. So, should you “stack” and if so where should the players be positioned? (Forehands to the middle or to the outside lines?) If stacking is not involved, what is the strategy? Thanks

    • Rusty Rusty says:

      Hi James, thanks so much for watching and commenting. We are actually planning on doing a Pickleball 411 episode on stacking soon. We just saw an amazing Gold Medal match for Mens 5.0 Doubles at the Grand Canyon State Games. They are a team with a lefty. The video will explain more but in short, when there is a lefty, teams will sometimes stack so that there are both forehands in the middle. There are actually some reasons teams stack even when there are 2 right handers. That video will possibly be out next month or April. Thanks again for watching, subscribing and sharing. “Keep On Playing”

  10. Gail Miller says:

    I suggest that any matter that is not specifically addressed in the rule book could be open to several interpretations. The best course of action would be to contact the rules chair at USAPA for written clarification. That would then become the correct interpretation of the rule.

    • Rusty Rusty says:

      Hi Gail, Thank you for your comment and watching Pickleball Channel. We agree with you that if a rule is “not specifically addressed in the rule book” it’s best to check with the USAPA rules chair. Just in case you were asking us to do so, we wanted everyone to know we always check with them on all rules videos we do. We worked with them in advance of this one, but some folks still had questions so here is a response from the rules chair…

      “I had an article on this subject in our Newsletter a few months ago about NVZ faults. Also I worked with pickleballchannel.com on their recent video.

      It is correct that for non-sanctioned (recreational) play that anyone can call NVZ faults. In fact its normally much easier for the opposing team to catch these faults than it is for the team making the fault. 

      Many people wrongly assume that rule 6.D.1. is referencing NVZ foot faults, but this is not correct. This rule is under Section 6, Line Call Rules, and is referencing balls that land in the NVZ during a serve. Because of the confusion with this the USAPA is in the process of modifying the wording of this rule (not the rule itself) so the meaning is clear. ”

      Hopefully that helps.
      Take Care,
      Rusty

  11. emma says:

    Hello i am a new pickleball player and i just wanted to say that these videos were all very helpful. :)

  12. Dave says:

    I’m sorry, but when the presenter says, in regards to calling an NVZ foot fault: “…or, let the point finish, and then call the fault”, that is just completely ridiculous. If you clearly see a foot fault, you should call it immediately. If you aren’t sure it’s a foot fault, you shouldn’t call it at all.

    Also, I disagree (less strongly so) with the sentiment of “if there’s a disagreement, just agree to replay the point.” Even in recreational games, both teams should attempt to adhere to the rules, NVZ foot faults included. If there is a foot fault, the point is lost, period. There should be no disagreement, because if you’re going to call the fault on your opponent, you should have a 100% clear view of it, or you should not call it at all (see my first paragraph). So the conversation should go like this:

    YOU: “NVZ fault!”
    THEM: “Really? I don’t think I stepped on the line.”
    YOU: “I saw it clearly, sorry. It was definitely a fault.”

    At that point, the opponent should cede the point, not replay it. If you make a call based on something you saw clearly, and your opponent questions the call, and you affirm that you did indeed see the call clearly, then they should agree to your call. There should never be a replay, ever! It’s poor practice, and poor form.

    • Rusty Rusty says:

      Hi Dave, thank you for taking time to comment and for an opportunity to clarify and hopefully help others in the pickleball community. First, we would like to let you know we are happy to have a longer detailed conversation than the website here may allow, we will send you an email directly as well. To begin with, everyone should know that we work very closely with the USAPA in general on many of our videos. In fact, on every single video that clarifies a rule we have spent extra time working with the USAPA Rules Chair. All of our “rules videos”, including this one “Who Calls Kitchen Foot Faults?”, have been approved by the USAPA Rules Chair, before being published online. You may be pleased to know that in the near future, there will actually be an amendment made to clarify this calling of foot faults. I can assure you that the IFP and USAPA currently state that either team can call a kitchen foot fault. We in fact made the video to try to clarify. Here is a quote from the rules chair….
      “I had an article on this subject in our Newsletter a few months ago about NVZ faults. Also I worked with pickleballchannel.com on their recent video. It is correct that for non-sanctioned (recreational) play that anyone can call NVZ faults. In fact its normally much easier for the opposing team to catch these faults than it is for the team making the fault. Many people wrongly assume that rule 6.D.1. is referencing NVZ foot faults, but this is not correct. This rule is under Section 6, Line Call Rules, and is referencing balls that land in the NVZ during a serve. Because of the confusion with this the USAPA is in the process of modifying the wording of this rule (not the rule itself) so the meaning is clear. ”
      We realize there are some other comments that you make about the video and can discuss these as well but wanted to reply first with this initial information. We hope that helps.
      All the best,
      Rusty

  13. Dave says:

    Incidentally, I just saw a comment Rusty made on another video where he said you “are new to the game of pickleball” and welcome feedback from people who are more experienced. That’s an admirable attitude; but quite frankly, if you are new to pickleball, YOU SHOULD NOT BE MAKING VIDEOS THAT AUTHORITATIVELY PRESENT MISINFORMATION. At the very least, you should put a disclaimer in front of your videos saying something along the lines of how you are not experts in the subject, but you hope these videos will be of use to players. Your videos do often contain helpful info, but you sound as though you’ve got 20 years of experience playing, even though sometimes the info you present can sometimes be misleading.

  14. Karen Coffey says:

    Was playing today and some on the other team went into the kitchen. It did not bounce in the kitchen. I was told that was all right. I thought you could go into the kitchen if the ball bounces in there and then you must get right out. From what I am seeing and reading does not look like you can go in the kitchen at all, and if you do it is a fault. Could please clear this rule up for me.

    • Meredith Meredith says:

      Hi Karen! You can step into the kitchen any time you want. You cannot hit the ball out of the air (a volley) while you are standing in the kitchen. If the ball bounces you can be in the kitchen when you hit it. Most people step out of the kitchen so they don’t forget they are standing there and accidentally hit the ball out of the air. But you can stay in the kitchen if you want the entire game. You just can’t hit the ball out of the air while you are standing in it. You can only hit it on the bounce. Here is the rule:
      9.F. A player may stay inside the non-volley zone to return balls that bounce. That is, there is no violation if a player does not exit the non-volley zone after hitting a ball that bounces.

  15. Thomas piteo says:

    During a game, a shot was dinked over the net, bounced and the wind blew it back without being touched. What is the ruling?

  16. Joel says:

    Hi, while playing recently a opponent, after missing a return asked me if I was in the kitchen ( he was at the end line at the time). I said no but said we would concede the point as I thought you should only call foot fault if you are sure. This happened again a few days later with the same guy, this time I told him to either call me “in” or don’t ask. How should one handle this situation? Thank you

  17. Mary Lynn Hall says:

    Who can call service foot faults? I do not see this addressed anywhere in the rules (only line calls are addressed). Some say only the service partner can call it but most partners are not looking at their partner when that person is servicing. It seems that the opponents would have a better view especially of foot faults involving the extended side lines. Please help. Thank you.

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