The Dink Pickleball

The Dink Pickleball Logo
Pickleball Lives Here
USA Pickleball

USA Pickleball Issues Changes to the Official Rulebook

by The Dink Media Team on

It's time for a new set of updates to the pickleball rulebook.

The USA Pickleball Board of Directors recently approved a recommendation from their Rules Committee for the following rule changes to take effect for both amateur and professional play immediately.

USAP says they decided on a mid-year implementation rather than a 2024 implementation due to "several factors, including an immediate positive impact on quality of play during the remainder of the 2023 amateur tournaments, as well as uniformity between the USA Pickleball Rulebook and the amateur and pro games."

2023 Pickleball rule change highlights include:

Two-Match Minimum: In USAP-sanctioned tournaments, entrants are now entitled to participate in a minimum of two scheduled matches per event, except Single Elimination Without Consolation events.

Ref Confirmations: The referee will confirm all players are in the correct position and the correct server has the ball before calling the score. If the ref or a player stops a rally to correctly identify a player/position error, the rally shall be replayed.

If a player stops a rally and incorrectly identifies a player/position error, it is a fault on the player who stopped the rally. If the referee stops a rally and incorrectly identifies a player/position error, the rally shall be replayed. If a player/position error is identified after the rally has played out, the rally shasll stand.

🚩
USAP reasoning: "Referees experience players repeatedly asking if they are in the correct position, who is the correct server, etc. This slows down the game, and sometimes the tournament, because each time they are asked this question, the referee must raise his/her hand, step forward, and answer the question before he/she can call the score. Correcting the players at the outset removes this posturing and questioning."

Fault clarifications: Other than non-volley zone violations, a fault may only be committed when the ball is live. The penalty for a fault is normally enforced the moment it is identified (e.g., incorrect player/position, distractions, double bounces, etc.) but may also be enforced any time before the next serve occurs.

Previously, a point would be removed from the offending team/player. Now, it's just a replay.

🚩
USAP reasoning: "USA Pickleball believes that a rule violation should not be a primary driver behind a point being awarded. It is better for the sport and the flow of play for a competitive rally to take place with the point or side-out being awarded to the individual or team with the winning shot."

Official rules language from USA Pickleball:

Add new rule (renumber subsequent rules):

12.C.2. (Pro and Senior Pro Player Brackets) Single Elimination Without Consolation: The first player/team to score the match-winning point by at least a two-point margin wins.  The final two players/teams in the winner’s bracket play for the gold/first-place and silver/second-place medals.  The determination of the final standings of the remaining players/teams is left to the discretion of tournament officials.

Existing 12.C.2 becomes 12.C.3, 12.C.3 and its subsections become 12.C.4, 12.C.4 becomes 12.C.5, 12.C.5 becomes 12.C.6.

Revise existing rule:

12.G.Two-Match Minimum. In all USA PICKLEBALL-sanctioned tournaments, each entrant shall be entitled to participate in a minimum of two scheduled matches per event entered. Exception: Single Elimination Without Consolation events guarantee only 1 match per event.

Add new rules:

4.B.9. The referee will confirm and correct, if necessary, that all players are in the correct position and the correct server has the ball before calling the score.

4.B.9.a. If the referee or a player stops a rally in progress to correctly identify a player/position error, the rally shall be replayed. If a player stops a rally and incorrectly identifies a player/position error, it is a fault on the player who stopped the rally. If the referee stops a rally in progress and incorrectly identifies a player/position error, the rally shall be replayed.

4.B.9.b. If a player/position error is identified after the rally has played out, the rally shall stand.

Delete existing rule:

4.B.9 When an incorrect player serves or receives, or a player serves from an incorrect position, the referee will immediately stop play and identify the fault(s).

Delete existing rule:

4.B.10: Incorrect Player or Position. When an incorrect server or player position is discovered after a rally, game, or match has ended, the offending team can be faulted until the next serve occurs or prior to the scoresheet being returned to the tournament operation’s desk. A point scored during the rally by the offending team will not count. Any previous points scored by the incorrect server or with players in the incorrect positions will stand. After a match is completed, an incorrect player or position error may not be corrected after the scoresheet has been returned to tournament operations personnel.

Delete existing rule:

4.M.1. The server serves from the incorrect serving area.

Delete existing rule:

4.M.2. The incorrect player serves the ball.

Delete existing rule:

4.N.1. The incorrect player returns the serve.

Read Next: MLP Issues New Paddle Rules Surrounding Color

Revise existing rule:

8.E. Other than non-volley zone violations, a fault may only be committed when the ball is live. The penalty for a fault (other than non-volley zone faults) is normally enforced the moment it is identified (e.g., incorrect player/position, distractions, double bounces, etc.) but may also be enforced any time before the next serve occurs.

Revise existing rule:

13.G.3.c. If a referee issues a technical foul, one point shall be removed from the score of the offending player/team unless their score is zero, in which case a point shall be added to the score of the opposing side. After the point is removed or awarded, the player or team losing or awarded the point must move on their own to the correct position(s) that reflects their score.


Read more