Ask the Rules Guru - Through the net, play a let?

July 22, 2013


Dear Rules Guru,

Here is a question. During summer paddle league, I hit a hard drive into the net cord. The net was damaged and there was a separation in the tape where it attaches to the net cord. The net itself was not torn, but the white part was. My ball hit the tape and either went over or through, landing in bounds on the other side. The opponent strongly believed it was their point, while we thought a good neutral ground would be to call it a let, since there are plenty of balls that hit the tape and manage to go over, especially when hit hard with lots of spin like this ball had. Thoughts?

-- Cleveland Rocks

Dear Cleveland Rocks,

Summer league is an excellent time to practice your crazy shots. And hone up on all elements of the game. Like court maintenance! My friend, Betsy Ross, once said, “Sew that net band, fellows, before the ball flies!” or something like that. She may have been talking about cannonballs, but you get the idea.  The net was in disrepair, thus the possibility of the ball going under the net band is feasible, if somewhat unlikely. 

From your note, it is unclear whether the teams agreed on whether it went through or over the net band. If both parties did agree it went through the net (under the band), it is a loss of point to the hitter. If the parties didn't agree on whether it went over or through the net, the best idea is to play a let, since the teams were in disagreement about what actually happened. The net’s loose state is something both teams have to contend with. As well as that dastardly spin.

Best to you,
Rules Guru

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