Yes, you can reach over the net in pickleball if the ball bounces back over after crossing the net.
What are the Main Rules of Pickleball?
There are some key rules in pickleball:
- The ball must go over the net and land inside the boundaries to count as a good shot.
- Players must let the ball bounce once before hitting it back. This is called the “double bounce” rule.
- There is a “non-volley zone” on each side of the net called the “kitchen.” Players cannot enter the kitchen to hit a ball that hasn’t bounced.
- Players use paddles to hit the ball. The paddles cannot be used to carry or catch the ball.
- If the ball hits the net on a serve but still goes over, it is a legal serve. This is called a “let” serve.
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When Can You Reach Over the Net in Pickleball?
You are allowed to reach over the net to hit a ball in pickleball if the ball bounced back over the net after crossing it.
For example, Player A hits the ball over the net to Player B’s side. The ball bounces in Player B’s court but then spins or gets blown back over the net by wind.
In this case, Player A can reach over the net to try to hit the ball as long as they don’t touch the net.
However, Player A cannot reach over on the first hit. The ball has to go over the net and bounce before Player A can reach over to hit it.
What Areas Are Off Limits For Reaching Over?
There are some limits on reaching over the net:
You Cannot Reach Into the Non-Volley Zone
The non-volley zone (kitchen) is off limits.
If the ball bounces in the kitchen on Player B’s side and then goes back over the net, Player A cannot reach into the kitchen area to get it.
This prevents players from being too close to the net.
You Cannot Touch the Net
Players are not allowed to touch the net, even if reaching for a ball.
If Player A accidentally touches the net while reaching for a ball, it is a fault.
You Cannot Touch Your Opponent
Player A cannot reach over if it means making contact with Player B.
If Player A touches Player B while reaching for a ball, it is a fault.
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When is Reaching Over the Net a Fault?
Reaching over the net is a fault if:
- The ball did not bounce before reaching over.
- You reach into the non-volley zone (kitchen).
- You touch the net.
- You touch your opponent.
- Your paddle crosses completely over the net.
- You catch or hold the ball while reaching over.
Tips for Reaching Over the Net
Here are some tips for safely reaching over the net:
- Call “mine” loudly so your partner knows you are reaching for the ball.
- Keep your paddle hand low to avoid hitting the net.
- Move your feet to get in position instead of reaching too far.
- Only reach for balls close to the net to avoid contacting your opponent.
- Be careful not to use the paddle to scoop or catch the ball.
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Conclusion: Reaching Over is Allowed Under Certain Conditions
In pickleball, you can reach over the net to hit a ball if it bounces back over after crossing the net originally. However, you cannot reach into the kitchen area, touch the net or your opponent, or catch the ball. Following the rules on reaching over the net is important for fair and safe play.
Reaching over can help you win a point. But be careful not to commit a fault in the process. Knowing when it is legal to reach over the net requires understanding the basic pickleball rules. With practice, you will get better at judging when to go for a ball over the net.