Ask the Rules Guru – Crossing to the Other Side

What does the rule book say?Dear Rules Guru,

We had a very strange point the other day. My opponent hit a shot that bounced close to the net, spun sideways, hit the door and spun back around into her side of the court. I chased the ball to the net post, reached around the net and hit the ball back to end the point. After getting over our surprise at what had happened, we couldn’t figure out who won the point. Was that a legal shot? Am I allowed to go around the net post like that? What about the ball bouncing off the door?

Sincerely,
Befuddled Ball Chaser

 

Dear Befuddled Ball Chaser,

Wow. Where do I learn how to bounce it off the door like that?

Your shot was legal as long as you didn’t touch any part of the net or the net structure, step in bounds on your opponent’s court, or interfere with your opponents.

The answer comes from Rule 18 – Loss of Point.

This section of Rule 18 tells you what you may do:
“If in rushing forward to retrieve a shot, a player's momentum carries him/her past the net post onto the opponents' side of the net, this is not loss of point unless the player actually steps inside the opponents' court or interferes with one of the opponents.”

This section of Rule 18 tells you what you may not do:
“A team loses the point if…a player or anything the player wears or carries touches the post, net, net hand crank, cord, band or center strap, or the court surface on the opponents' side of the net, within the boundary lines, while the ball is in play.”

Rule 2 (Court Fixtures) and Rule 19 (Ball Touching Court Fixtures) tell you why it’s legal for the ball to bounce off the door. According to Rule 2, doors are considered court fixtures and according to Rule 19, “If the ball in play touches a Court Fixture (as defined in Rule 2) after it has hit the deck within the boundaries of the court, the ball remains in play and may be returned, so long as it has not hit the deck a second time within the court or the playing area.”

Befuddled Ball Chaser

Thanks for asking,
The Rules Guru

 

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