Can You Hit a Pickleball with Your Hand

You can hit a pickleball with your hand, but only below the wrist. You cannot hit the ball with your palm, fingers, or knuckles. You must also hit the ball cleanly without catching or trapping it.

Hitting the ball with your hand above the wrist results in a foul, granting your opponent a point, and consecutive hand hits can lead to penalties. In pickleball, a sport cherished for its inclusivity and thrill, a key rule prevails: refrain from using your hand to strike the ball. Newcomers to the game might wonder why such a natural impulse is off-limits. 

But there are good reasons:

It’s about fairness; hand hits provide an unfair advantage over opponents.

It’s for safety, as hand hits can lead to collisions and injuries.

It’s about protecting the ball from damage.

To keep your pickleball game fair and safe, avoid hand hits. If you accidentally use your hand, it’s a fault, and your opponent scores a point. In upcoming sections, we’ll explore illegal hits in pickleball and share tips to keep your hands off the ball while having a great time on the court.

Can You Hit a Pickleball With Your Hand?

You can hit a pickleball with your hand, but only below the wrist. You cannot hit the ball with your palm, fingers, or knuckles. You must also hit the ball cleanly without catching or trapping it. Your opponent will win the point. You can also be penalized for hitting the ball with your hand twice in a row.

Can You Hit a Pickleball With Your Hand?

How to Avoid a Hit With Your Hand in Pickleball?

Tips to Avoid Hitting the Pickleball with Your Hand

1. Paddle Position: Ensure your paddle is in front of your hand during ball contact.

Proper paddle positioning is fundamental in pickleball. Ensure your paddle is positioned ahead of your hand, ready to contact the ball. This placement allows for more controlled and accurate shots, reducing the chances of hand contact.

2. Relaxed Wrist: Keep your wrist loose and relaxed to prevent hand contact.

Tension in your wrist can lead to unintended hand contact with the pickleball. Keep your wrist relaxed and flexible, allowing smoother, more controlled strokes. A loose wrist also helps absorb the impact of the ball.

3. Smooth Motion: Avoid excessive force using a fluid, controlled swing.

Rather than trying to overpower the ball, focus on using a smooth and controlled swing. Overly aggressive swings can increase the likelihood of hand contact. Precision and timing are often more critical than sheer power in pickleball.

4. Hit Below the Wrist: Focus on striking the ball below your wrist to minimize hand contact.

Aim to make contact with the pickleball below your wrist. Hitting the ball at this lower point on your hand reduces the risk of unintended hand contact and promotes cleaner shots.

5. Follow Through. Execute a complete swing to maintain ball direction control.

Don’t abruptly stop your swing after making contact with the ball. A proper follow-through is essential for maintaining control over the ball’s direction and ensuring that your hand stays clear of the ball’s path.

Additional Tips:

1. Work on Footwork: Good footwork helps position you for clean shots. Footwork is often overlooked but crucial in pickleball. Being in the proper position allows you to set up your shots correctly, reducing the need for hand hits.

2. Vary Your Shots: Different shots require distinct mechanics and paddle positions. Don’t limit yourself to a single type of shot. Learning various shot techniques will improve your overall game and reduce the chances of hand contact. For example, dinking and volleying require different approaches.

3. Patience and Practice: Improvement takes time; don’t be discouraged by occasional hand contact. Pickleball, like any sport, requires practice to master. Don’t be discouraged by occasional hand contact with the ball.  

4. Consider Professional Instruction: Seek lessons from a qualified pickleball instructor to refine your skills. If you’re serious about improving your game, consider investing in lessons from an experienced pickleball instructor. They can provide personalized guidance, identify and correct bad habits, and accelerate your progress.

5. Enjoy the Game: Ultimately, have fun and savor the game! While striving for improvement is essential, remember that pickleball’s primary goal is enjoyment. Have fun, embrace the learning process, and relish the camaraderie of the game.

What Happens if a Pickleball Hits Your Hand?

If a pickleball makes contact with your hand during a pickleball match, depending on the specific situation and the rules being followed:

Fault: When the pickleball touches your hand, and the action goes against the established rules (e.g., a violation of the double bounce rule in the case of a hand volley), it can result in a fault, ultimately awarding a point to the opposing team.

Out of Bounds: If your hand touches the pickleball, and the ball then goes out of the designated playing area, it may be declared as out, and the point goes to the opposing team.

Continuation of Play: In some instances, if the ball contacts your hand, but the hit is considered lawful under the rules, the game continues as usual. For example, if you volley the ball with your hand within the rules, the game proceeds, and you can still win the point.

No Significant Impact: If the ball lightly brushes against your hand without substantially changing its path or happens during a non-crucial part of the game (like during a serve), it might not affect the point, and the game continues.

What Happens if a Pickleball Hits Your Hand?

What Happens if The Ball Hits Your Foot?

The ball hitting your foot is not a fault, but if the ball hits your foot and goes out of bounds, that is a fault against you. This is because it is your responsibility as a player to keep the ball within the lines of play.

Does it Matter if The Hit is Intentional?

Intentional hand hits, where players purposefully use their hands to strike the ball, are generally discouraged and often frowned upon. Such deliberate actions can disrupt the game’s fairness and lead to ethical concerns or player disputes.

Players understand that mistakes might happen during the game’s fast-paced nature and tend to be more understanding of intentional 

Consequences For a Technical Foul in Pickleball

Pickleball has no specific concept of a “technical foul,” as you might find in some other sports like basketball or soccer. Instead, pickleball uses “fault” to denote rule violations or errors during play. Here are some expected consequences for faults or rule violations in pickleball

Loss of Point: In many cases, committing a fault or rule violation results in the opposing team being awarded the point. For example, your opponents earn a point if you serve the ball and it lands outside the service box.

Loss of Serve: You can only score points in pickleball when your team serves. Committing a fault during your service can result in losing your serve to the opposing team.

Replay: Some faults may result in a replay of the point. For instance, if there is a dispute or confusion about a rule, players may agree to replay the moment rather than awarding it to one side.

Side Out: In some cases, a fault may lead to a “side out,” which means that the serving team loses the serve to the opposing team. This typically happens if a fault occurs during the serve.

Warning or Penalty: While not common in recreational play, in official tournaments, repeated rule violations or unsportsmanlike conduct may result in warnings or penalties, including the potential for disqualification from the tournament.

Point Deduction: In some instances, the rules of a specific tournament or match format may allow for point deductions due to a fault or rule violation.

Should You Wear Protective Gear in Pickleball?

It is a fault. According to the official pickleball rules, only your paddle can touch the ball. If you hit the ball with your hand, it is a fault, and your opponent gets the point.

Eyewear: Protective eyewear, such as sports goggles, is highly recommended, especially for more competitive play. It helps safeguard your eyes from accidental impacts with the ball or the paddle, reducing the risk of eye injuries.

Footwear: Proper athletic shoes with non-marking soles are essential for stability and to prevent slipping on the court. Suitable footwear can also help protect your feet from common court-related injuries.

Knee and Elbow Pads: If you have a history of joint problems or are prone to injuries, you may choose to wear knee or elbow pads for added protection, particularly during dives or quick movements on the court.

Wrist guards and Ankle braces: Wrist guards can help to protect your wrists from sprains and fractures. Ankle braces can help to support your ankles and reduce the risk of sprains.

Gloves: Some players opt for gloves to improve grip on the paddle and minimize the risk of blisters or calluses, especially during extended play sessions.

Hats and Sunscreen: While not necessarily protective gear, wearing a hat and applying sunscreen can help protect you from the sun’s harmful rays during outdoor pickleball matches.

The choice to wear protective gear ultimately depends on your comfort level and perceived risk. In casual or recreational play, many players may forego protective equipment, while competitive players often prioritize safety and may choose to wear more gear. Additionally, if you have a preexisting medical condition or injury concerns, protective equipment may offer you added peace of mind and safety

Catching the Pickleball With Your Hand

Catching the pickleball with your hand constitutes a fault in pickleball, where only your paddle or the hand holding the paddle below the wrist is permitted to make contact with the ball; any contact above the wrist or elsewhere on your body results in a fault.

Why You Should Avoid Hitting A Pickleball With Your Hand?

You should avoid hitting a pickleball with your hand for a few reasons.

It is a fault. According to the official pickleball rules, only your paddle can touch the ball. If you hit the ball with your hand, it is a fault, and your opponent gets the point.

Fair Competition: Using your hand provides an unfair advantage due to its increased power and accuracy, undermining the game’s fairness.

What Are Illegal Hits In Pickleball?

Volleying from the Non-Volley Zone: You cannot hit the ball out of the air (volley) while standing in the Non-Volley Zone (NVZ), which is immediately adjacent to the net. You must let the ball bounce before hitting it if you are inside the NVZ.

Double Bounce Rule Violation: Both teams must allow the ball to bounce once on each side before volleying it. Please do so to avoid violating the double bounce rule.

what are the illegal hits in pickleball sports

Faulty Service: A serve must be made underhand and diagonally across the net. Additionally, the server’s foot must only cross the baseline after making contact with the ball.

Foot Faults: When serving or during play, stepping on or over the baseline before the ball is struck is a foot fault.

Out-of-Bounds Hits: Striking the ball outside the designated court boundaries, which means hitting it beyond the court’s boundary lines, violates the rules.

Paddle Handling Violation: Paddles should not be used to scoop or slide the ball. Such actions, where the paddle is maneuvered under the ball or used to slide it, are considered illegal hits.

Hitting with Body or Clothing: Hitting the ball with any part of the body, except for the hand below the wrist while holding the paddle, is against the rules. Using clothing to make contact with the ball is also prohibited.

Double Hits: Hitting the ball twice in succession by the same player is not allowed. This includes any accidental or intentional double hits.

Where Can You Not Hit The Ball In Pickleball?

There are two places where you cannot hit the ball in pickleball: 

Non-Volley Zone (NVZ): You cannot hit the ball while standing inside the Non-Volley Zone, also known as the kitchen. This area is the section of the court immediately adjacent to the net. You must let the ball bounce before striking it if you are inside the NVZ.

Out of Bounds: Hitting the ball outside the court’s boundary lines is prohibited. Any contact that sends the ball beyond these lines is considered out of bounds.

Can You Hit A Pickleball With Your Body?

No, you cannot hit a pickleball with your body. According to the official pickleball rules, only your paddle can touch the ball. If the ball hits any part of your body, it is a fault, and your opponent gets the point.


In summary, hitting a pickleball with your hand is not allowed in pickleball, as per the official rules. Only your paddle should make contact with the ball. Any unintentional contact with your body, including your hand, is considered a fault, resulting in a point for your opponent. These rules are in place for fairness and safety, ensuring an enjoyable experience for all players. Adhering to these rules while being aware of your court surroundings contributes to a fun and fair game.