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  • Writer's pictureBen Lacy

Line Calls...Is it Live or Memorex?!?

QUESTION: My partner and I were playing last week and we were confronted with a situation that neither of us had seen. I am a pretty average player and we get together about three times a week, so we've all seen quite a bit of the interesting things that can happen on a court.


This thing happened when my partner was playing a ball that I thought was out. After she hit the ball, I saw it out and as it was flying back towards our opponents I said "That was out." My partner's shot was a pop-up right to one of the other players. The other team kept playing, which amounted to only one hit back onto our end of the court for an easy put-away.


I restated that I called the ball out, but EVERYONE else (INCLUDING MY PARTNER) said that since she played the ball after the bounce that play should continue and that the other team won the point.


Soooooo...what's the right call here?


ANSWER: First, great question!!!! This happens so many times in rec and/or tournament play. The short answer is that your gut feeling was correct. The rally ended as soon as you said "That was out" and here's why.


  1. You made a proper LINE CALL. Per rule 3.A.19. Line Call – A loud word(s) spoken by a player or line judge(s) to indicate to the referee and/or players that a live ball has not landed in the required court space. The preferred word to indicate a line call is “OUT.” Distinctive hand signals can be used in conjunction with a line call. Words such as “wide”, “long”, “no”, “deep” are also acceptable. The important words are "has not landed." and here's why

  2. Per Rule 6.B. A ball contacting the playing surface completely outside of the court is “out.”

  3. Per Rule 6.C.11. An “out” call made after the ball bounces is a line call. The ball is dead and play shall stop. As soon as you said "out" AFTER the ball bounced, the ball became dead. So, it does not matter what occurs after the line call.


SO, in your scenario, 1) the ball bounced in a spot you considered OUT; 2) You called the ball OUT after the bounce; 3) the ball immediately became dead; 4) without a referee for appeals, your team wins the rally.


Finally, and to add to your specific situation, many people wonder how long they have to make the LINE CALL. Per rule 6.C.7. All “out” calls must be made prior to the ball being hit by the opponent or before the ball becomes dead.


Since you made the line call before your opponents hit it AND before it became dead by some other means, you made a proper (and prompt) line call.






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