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Sunday, July 1, 2018

Recycle Sunday - Etiquette - Before Serving

A blast from the past...

This week's Recycle Sunday article was originally published March 1, 2016.


Experienced players tend to just walk to the serving position, check for opponents' and partner's readiness, call the score, and hit the serve. Such is not the case with beginners. In order to get comfortable with the rules and etiquette of serving, the following guidelines should be considered.

1. The server should ensure that he is serving from the proper court and that all players are ready, including both opponents and the server's partner.  This player can stand anywhere on his side of the court. It is good practice for the server to ensure his partner is properly positioned near the baseline or wherever their strategy dictates.

2. If the receiver is not ready to receive the serve or their partner is not in position, they should indicate so by either holding the paddle hand straight in the air, holding the non-paddle hand in the same way, or turning their back completely to the server. The receiver may do this because of a distraction, ball on court, movement behind the server, partner not in position or they need time to adjust a piece of equipment. It is not sportsmanlike to use delay of serve as a stalling tactic.

3. The server and only the server should always announce the score. According to the rules, the player receiving the serve can refuse to accept the serve and just let the ball go if the score is not called or the wrong score is called. The server must serve again after announcing the correct score loud and clear. The official rules also state that if the receiver returns the serve they have accepted that the score is correct as announced.

4. The correct sequence of calling the score is your score, opponents’ score, and server number. The sequence is now stated in the rules. When starting a game, the serving team only gets one fault on service. The proper way of calling the score is 0 0 2. The server number is 2 because of the one fault rule on the first side to serve.

5. After calling the score the server has 10 seconds to serve. This is a tournament rule and flexible in recreational play. The key is that everyone is ready and no one is at an unfair disadvantage.

6. If the server serves from the wrong court, it is loss of serve. If the receiver receives from the wrong court, it is a point for the serving team. This must be caught before the next point is played and the serving team switches sides to indicate the point has been earned. Replays are not allowed in tournament play unless there is a distraction or wrong score is called. 

7. Receiving teams should call illegal serves. The serve is illegal if contact with the ball is made above the waist, or the service motion is not an upward movement, or any part of the paddle face is above the hand. Illegal serves will be called in tournaments. Recreational play may be more flexible, but players should be made aware of illegal serves so no unfair advantage is gained.

8. When receiving a serve, the receiving team should be positioned to avoid getting hit by the serve in the air. This is especially true of the receiver's partner, who may be positioned near the kitchen line. Actually, the non-receiving partner can stand anywhere on his side of the court including in the service court. That player should be alert to a serve coming in his direction. If the ball hits a receiving team player in the air, it is a point for the server.

9. The server can step into the court after making contact with the ball. A foot can actually break the plane of the baseline before contact but not step down. All lines are two-dimensional in that they do not extend above the court.

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