I was recently asked this question. “If a ball hits one of the net posts, and then bounces in, is it legal?” The answer is, NO.
The IFP Rules book states the following:
- Rule 12.I – The Net Posts: The net posts are positioned out of bounds. If a ball strikes the net post or anything attached to the net post, it is a fault and a dead ball is declared. This rule does not include the net, the net cable, or rope between the net posts.
You should know that if the ball hits the wire or string between the edge of the net and the net post and lands in, it IS legal. However, the ball may not travel between the top and bottom net wires.
I know for some, that brings up a further question. “What if the ball hits the horizontal support bar of a temporary net, or the center foot?”
NOTE: Since this post was originally written, the IFP/USAPA Rules book was revised and released (Jan 31, 2018) and the following rule was changed. Please refer to my later post for the new rule. (Click here to read)
- Rule 12.J.5 – When net systems have a horizontal bar that may include a center base: If the ball hits the horizontal bar or the center base before going over the net, it is a fault. If the ball goes over the net and then hits the horizontal bar, the ball is still in play. If the ball goes over the net and then hits the center base or the ball gets caught between the net and the horizontal bar before touching the court, it is a let and must be replayed. (added April 1, 2011)
You may also have heard about shots that are hit “around the post.” Perhaps your opponent hit a shot that caused you to run outside of the court to the right or left to get to. Your return shot does not have to cross over the net. As long as it lands in your opponents court, it can travel around or to the side of the post, and can even be below the height of the net! Those shots are very exciting to watch, and even more exciting when you’re the one who just hit it!
Check out this video from Pickleball Channel which is a great shot of an around the post shot!
As always, when in doubt of a rule, refer to the IFP rules book!
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