The sidelines in pickleball are the lines perpendicular to the net on each side of the court. They delineate the proper service court and help determine line calls.
Pickleball is a fun sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong. Understanding the pickleball court lines, including the sidelines, is key to playing the game properly. This article will provide a comprehensive overview of pickleball sidelines – what they are, their purpose, how they relate to other court lines, and how they factor into line calls and scoring.
Whether you’re a beginner seeking to learn the pickleball basics or an experienced player brushing up on the rules, this guide will give you a complete understanding of the role of sidelines in pickleball.
What are Sidelines in Pickleball?
Definition and Location of Sidelines
The sidelines in pickleball refer to the lines extending perpendicularly from the net on both sides of the court. They run parallel to the baseline and delineate the width of the court.
The standard pickleball court measures 20 feet wide, so each sideline is 10 feet from the center line. The sidelines start at the net posts and extend back 20 feet to the baseline. There are two sidelines on a pickleball court – one on either side of the net.
Purpose and Function of Sidelines
The main purpose of the sidelines in pickleball is to mark the outer bounds for play on each side of the net. The sidelines, along with the baselines and center line, establish the proper service courts.
The sidelines help distinguish between shots that are in bounds and out of bounds. Any ball that touches or lands outside of the sidelines is considered out of bounds. This results in the end of the rally, with the point being awarded to the player(s) on the opposite side who did not hit the ball out.
Sidelines also provide an alignment guide for players when moving across the court or lining up for shots, especially groundstrokes hit near the sides of the court. They help orient players spatially on the court.
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Relation to Other Pickleball Court Lines
Baseline and Center Line
The sidelines work together with the baseline and center line to form the proper service courts in pickleball. The service court includes the area between the sidelines, from the baseline up to the non-volley zone line.
The center line divides the two service courts and runs perpendicular from the non-volley zone line through the midpoint of the baseline. Each service court is bounded by one sideline, half of the non-volley zone line, half of the baseline, and one half of the center line.
Non-Volley Zone Line
The non-volley zone (NVZ) lines parallel to the net delineate the NVZ on each side of the court. The NVZ lines are located 7 feet back from the net on either side.
The sidelines extend all the way up to the NVZ lines. However, the NVZ itself is not considered part of the service court. So while the sidelines mark the service court width, volleying is prohibited within the 7-foot NVZ zones even though they fall between the sidelines.
Line Calls and Sidelines
Line calls are an important factor in pickleball related to sidelines and other court lines. Here is what you need to know about line calls and sidelines:
Players Make Line Calls
Unlike most organized sports, there are no referees or officials making line calls in pickleball. Instead, the players on the court make their own line calls.
Each team calls lines on their side of the net, including the sidelines, baseline, non-volley zone line, and center line. If your opponents’ shot lands outside of the sidelines on your side, your team makes the “out” call.
Faults Related to Sidelines
There are two potential faults that involve the sidelines:
- Service fault – During a serve, the server must keep both feet completely within the confines of the service court. If any part of the server’s foot touches the sidelines or center line, it is a service foot fault.
- Non-volley zone fault – Volleying is prohibited within the 7-foot non-volley zone. If a player or any part of their paddle touches the non-volley zone or lines while volleying, it is an NVZ fault. The sidelines mark the outer limits of the NVZ.
Disagreements and Replays
For disputed line calls, the benefit of the doubt typically goes to the defender rather than the attacker. So if you call a shot out and your opponent disagrees, the original “out” call would stand.
However, in recreational pickleball, if there is disagreement over a line call, the fairest resolution is usually to just replay the point. This avoids unnecessary arguments while maintaining fairness and an enjoyable game for all.
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The sidelines in pickleball mark the lateral boundaries for the service courts on each side of the net. They delineate which shots are in or out of bounds and provide an orientation guide when moving and aligning on the court. The sidelines factor into line call responsibilities for players and potential service and non-volley zone faults. Along with the other pickleball court lines, understanding the sidelines is essential for maximizing fun and fairness during pickleball play.
Summary of Key Points
- The sidelines are lines perpendicular to the net on both sides of a pickleball court, 10 feet from the center line.
- They mark the outer lateral bounds of the service courts and distinguish in bounds vs. out of bounds.
- Sidelines, baseline, center line, and non-volley zone lines form the proper service courts.
- Players make line calls on their side, including “out” calls on the sidelines.
- Service faults and non-volley zone faults may involve the sidelines.
- Replay the point if disagreement occurs over a sideline call.