Pickleball Fault: Serving or Receiving on the Wrong Side

In late February and early March, I played in several tournaments where players seemed to be plagued by incurring the same pickleball fault…serving or receiving on the wrong side.

pickleball faults
Fairly Frequent Pickleball Fault

Frankly, I was surprised by how many instances this occurred.  Of course, we see it from time to time…it can happen when a team is stacking or after a long point which may include retrieving one or more lobs.  I was in a close game in the women’s doubles final, and the serving player realized she was about to serve from the wrong position.  The ref hadn’t picked it up…nor did we.  Our ref was ready to continue when we pointed out that the previous point should not have counted, as she was in the wrong position then as well.  In another match, the receivers were on wrong sides of the court.  In this case, the referee called the fault as soon as the receiver made contact with the ball.


What Can I Do?

I am bringing this up because we all do it…at every level. We end up in the wrong spot, lose track and have to find a way to move on.  If, or when, this happens to you don’t beat yourself up.  Accept the fact that sometimes things like this happen and move on.  You can’t change the result of the prior point by dwelling on it.  In fact, thinking about the past will only hinder your ability in the present.

pickleball faultSecondly, take your time.  Slow down and make sure you know what the score is. Just asking what your score is can help you figure out your sides. I know my partners and I have corrected ourselves several times throughout an event just by double checking the score.

You often see us asking the ref “right server…right side?”  Sometimes it seems uncalled for but when it comes to big matches, where there is a lot going on, it’s worth taking a second to ask the question.  Remember, you can always ask your referee if you are receiving or serving on the correct side.  You are required to ask the question so the referee can give you a simple yes or no answer.  “Am I the correct server?”  “Am I in the correct position?”  But take the time to be certain or this and all the pickleball rules.  Not only will this prevent you from causing a frequent pickleball fault, but it will make you more comfortable with competitive play.