Third Shot Drop

A Stickler for the Rules

April 14 2024

Kitchen violations happen constantly in pickleball. Everyone steps on the line at one point or another, but somehow no one believes they’re ever guilty.

It’s a weird phenomenon where by the time your eyes look down at your shoe, it’s magically slid backward off of the line and provided justification for your defense.

Because of this phenomenon, calling kitchen violations in rec play is just…awkward. Unless egregious, it almost always results in a discussion or hurt feelings.

It’s like calling traveling in pick-up basketball. Be ready to fabricate an instant replay and break out a pedometer to justify the call.

You could argue that the spirit of the rule is to keep players away from the net, so unless they are stepping fully into the kitchen it’s not that big of a deal. A toe on the line isn’t going to make that big of an impact.

So what can you do to fix the problem and keep things friendly?

  • Let the offending player know after the point without making a call, preferably a point you won anyway.
  • Let your partner know to keep an eye out. If both of you catch the infraction it’s easier to believe and can squash a rebuttal.
  • Officially, in ‘Non-Officiated Play’ the rule is to replay the point if there is any disagreement, so be prepared to replay the point.

Do you know any repeat offenders constantly crossing the line? What is the best way you’ve caught them red-handed?

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