What is a Foot Fault in Pickleball?

Every sport comes with a set of rules to ensure that the competition is fair and enjoyable for both opponents. Pickleball is no different. If you want to enjoy a game of pickleball with your friends, you must first learn its rules and abide by them to avoid losing points and ensure fair play.

One of the most important rules in pickleball is called a foot fault.

A foot fault in pickleball occurs when a player’s foot touches the Kitchen line or lands inside the non-volley zone while volleying the ball. These faults can be called by any of the players on the field.

When planning to hit a volley, it’s important to maintain your position before hitting the ball to avoid this common mistake. A foot fault in pickleball also occurs when the serving player’s foot comes in contact with the baseline while serving.

The rule is to serve from behind the baseline, and therefore this is also considered a foot fault. Let’s find out what happens when a player commits a foot fault in pickleball and how to avoid it.

What is a Foot Fault in Pickleball?

What is a Fault in Pickleball?

A fault is any move in the game that violates its rules. Some examples of faults in pickleball include hitting the return of serve before the ball has a chance to bounce (also known as the double bounce rule), hitting the ball so hard that it goes out of bounds, and committing a foot fault.

These three are the most common faults that may occur in a game of pickleball. Depending on whether you’re playing on the serving team or the receiving team, you either lose your serve, or the serving team is awarded a point when you commit any of these faults.

A foot fault will be called in pickleball when a player touches the non-volley zone line or lands inside the Kitchen when volleying the ball. Any player can call Kitchen foot faults on either team.

Read more about the kitchen here: What is the Kitchen in Pickleball?

The other type of foot fault is known as service foot fault, and it occurs when the serving player touches any part of the baseline or the extension of the center mark before the ball is hit. This ensures that the player gets a large area of the court for the service to occur, allowing him to let the ball bounce on his own side of the court first.

It’s important to keep the rules of the game in mind when playing, as it can make all the difference between a good serve and one that goes out of bounds. Remember to keep your feet behind the baseline, hit the ball over the net, and have your serve bounce twice, once on your side of the court and then in your opponent’s court.

Check out this article: What Are the 5 Rules of Pickleball?

Let’s find out more about these two types of foot faults that may occur in a game of pickleball.   

A Foot Fault at the Baseline

This type of fault is also known as a service foot fault. The serve rules in pickleball dictate that the serve should be made with at least one foot behind the baseline. However, neither foot must contact the baseline until after the serve is done.

According to Rule 18 of Pickleball Rules, even if a small part of the server’s foot touches any part of the baseline during the serve, it will be considered a fault. The server must be standing behind the baseline while serving.

Must read: How to Serve in Pickleball?

If you happen to violate these rules, it results in a service foot fault, and the serving team loses their serve. Since you can score points only on serve in pickleball, the receiving team will not get a point for the service fault. However, they will be awarded a serve and hence get a chance to score points.

Also, check out this article: Is it Better to Serve First in Pickleball?

The best way to avoid this type of foot fault is to remember to keep your feet behind the baseline while serving. If you do find yourself stepping too far forward, take a step back and reset.

A Foot Fault at the Kitchen Line

This is a more common type of foot fault in pickleball, also known as a non-volley zone or NVZ foot fault. Since volleying is not allowed while standing within the Kitchen, it results in a fault if either of your feet touches the Kitchen line or your momentum after hitting the ball takes you inside the zone.

By preventing players from smashing the ball within a certain area near the net, the non-volley zone rule keeps the game from becoming overly dominated by players who are more experienced or have more powerful shots.

Read about smashing here: What is a Smash in Pickleball?

A point is given to the serving team if you foot fault while playing a volley and you’re on the receiving team. If, however, you’re on the serving team and you commit an NVZ foot fault, it will result in a side-out, and the other team will be awarded service.

How to Avoid a Foot Fault at the Kitchen Line?

It’s a rule that you must be outside the non-volley zone when volleying; otherwise, it results in a fault. As long as you let the ball bounce before hitting it, it’s not considered a fault, even if you are standing inside the Kitchen.

To avoid a foot fault at the Kitchen line, calculate your move and see if you can hit a volley without going too close to the Kitchen line. If you think your momentum will carry you inside the Kitchen after you hit the ball, then let it bounce first.

Foot faults at the baseline are much less common than foot faults at the Kitchen line. It is important to keep your feet on the ground at all times and to be aware of your body position when volleying.

There is an advanced-level technique used in pickleball known as Erne, in which you jump and run around the Kitchen to land out of bounds to the sideline before hitting a volley. This is another way to avoid a foot fault at the Kitchen line. However, it takes a lot of work and requires a lot of precision and accuracy.

Read about it here: What is Bert & Erne in Pickleball?

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