All rise, the Picklecourt is now in session. The defendant: Ben Johns. The supposed crime: reaching over the net for a put-away.
The Dink is both judge and jury today, and it is our position that Ben is not guilty of any pickleball rules infraction.
We'll explain in short order, but first, you should familiarize yourself with the evidence:
How do we know this shot was legal? Time to crack open the 2022 USA Pickleball rulebook:
Rule 11.I.A reads "Exception: If the ball bounces into a receiving player’s court with enough backspin or wind aid to cause it to return to the other side of the net, the receiving player may cross the plane of the net (over, under or around the net post) to hit the ball."
The ball clearly crossed to Ben’s side of the court – and back over – before he reached over the net for the put-away, so no fault there.
Ben did not make any visible contact with the net itself, meaning every part of this shot was clean.
The highlighted rule does provision for two other unique scenarios with the words "under" and "around." Technically, Ben could have reached his paddle under the net to contact the ball, or he could have gone around the net and contacted the ball from the side of the court.
If you find yourself in a similar scenario, you could consider ending the point like Ben...but be ready to break out the rulebook.
Also, let the record show that this may be the only case in which a player can hit a ball into the net and still win a point. Add that to John's rap sheet.
Read Next: Paddle Review: JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperion CFS