SUGGESTED USA PICKLEBALL RULE CHANGES FOR 2024

Rule Change Process | Submit A Rule Change

Rule Submission TitleNon-Officiated Rule Summary for Players and Referees
Existing Rule #13.D.1.c and 12.D.1.d
Proposed Rule Change
USA 2023 RULEBOOK SOURCE SITUATION IN NON-OFFICIATED PLAY  ACTION IN NON-OFFICIATED PLAY
4.A.5 Volley Serve Spin, 4.A.9 Replay or Fault, p.21 Rulebook Spin imparted on ball - volley serve Receiver determines violation and requests replay prior to returning the ball. Replay.
4.A.6 Volley Serve Release, 4.A.9 Replay or Fault, p. 21 Rulebook Release of the ball not visible - volley serve Receiver determines violation and requests replay prior to returning the ball. Replay.
4.A.5 Drop Serve Spin, .A.9 Replay or Fault, p.21 Rulebook Spin imparted on ball - drop serve Receiver determines violation and requests replay prior to returning the ball. Replay.
4.A.6 Drop Serve Release, 4.A.9 Replay or Fault, p. 21 Rulebook Release of ball not visible - drop serve Receiver determines violation and requests replay prior to returning the ball. Replay
4.A.4a, 4.A.4.a Service Foot Faults, 13.D.c Player Line and Fault Call Responsibilities Server steps on baseline when contacting serve Receiver calls Fault or Server may call Fault on themselves.  If players agree, it is a Fault.  If players disagree it is a Replay.
4.E.2  Serving, 10 Second Rule Serving team changes courts after calling score Serving team allows for repositioning and will recall the score to re-start the 10 second count.
4.M.1, 4.M2 Service Faults, 4.N Receiver Faults, 13.D1d Player Line/Fault Call Responsibilities Incorrect Server, Receiver, Position Player may mention incorrect server, receiver, position to opponent, but may not enforce a Fault. The final decision to enforce the fault belongs to the player that allegedly committed the Fault.  It is not a Fault unless the player agrees to the Fault.  It is not a Replay.
9A-G, Non-Volley Zone, 13.D.1.a.b.c.d Player Line/Fault Call Responsibilities Non-volley zone violation Player may call non-volley zone Fault on themselves.  Opponent may mention non-volley zone Fault on player.  If players agree, it is a Fault.  If players disagree it is a Replay.
7.N Fault Rules, Extra ball Extra ball falls to playing surface during play Fault.  Players may carry additional pickleball.  If additional ball falls on playing surface during play, it is a fault.
8.C Hinder A ball, person on court during play - Hinder Replay.  Any player may call for a Hinder.
11.E Broken or Cracked Ball Ball breaks or is cracked After the rally, if both teams agree that a ball is degraded, soft, broken, or cracked, the ball will be replaced before the next serve occurs. In ONLY the case of a cracked ball impacting the result of a rally, will the rall be REPLAYED.  If all players agree the cracked ball impacted the rally it is a REPLAY.  If all players do not agree the cracked ball impacted the rally, the prior RALLY STANDS, as played.
Original Rule Text
USA 2023 RULEBOOK SOURCE
4.A.5 Volley Serve Spin, 4.A.9 Replay or Fault, p.21 Rulebook
4.A.6 Volley Serve Release, 4.A.9 Replay or Fault, p. 21 Rulebook
4.A.5 Drop Serve Spin, .A.9 Replay or Fault, p.21 Rulebook
4.A.6 Drop Serve Release, 4.A.9 Replay or Fault, p. 21 Rulebook
4.A.4a, 4.A.4.a Service Foot Faults, 13.D.c Player Line and Fault Call Responsibilities
4.E.2  Serving, 10 Second Rule
4.M.1, 4.M2 Service Faults, 4.N Receiver Faults, 13.D1d Player Line/Fault Call Responsibilities
9A-G, Non-Volley Zone, 13.D.1.a.b.c.d Player Line/Fault Call Responsibilities
7.N Fault Rules, Extra ball
8.C Hinder
11.E Broken or Cracked Ball
6.D.1, 6.D.3, 6.D.5, 6.D.8 Line Calls
Reasoning Behind Suggested Change

During rec play and in tournaments where there is non-officiated play, many players and referees seek information about what USA Pickleball Rules are enforceable and what rules are not, in non-officiated play.  In reality, many game scenarios/situations result in replays,  which is not the accurate action as per USA Pickleball rules.  The aforementioned table labeled with USA Pickleball Rules Source, Game Situation in Non-Officiated Play, and Action in Non-Officiated Play makes clear, what actions should happen for each non-officiated game situation.  This summary is similar to summaries and tables now included in the 2023 USA PICKLEBALL HANDBOOK: APPENDIX C - Standardized Calls and Announcements, ACTIONS THAT CAN INTERRUPT PLAY table, LINE CALL APPEAL ACTIONS table, PENALTY SYSTEM table, APPENDIX B: Penalties, table.

I suggest that notations should be kept with each rule, in addition to, a summary for Non-Officiated Play.  There is a good chance that this will enhance and provide clarity to players and referees who use the USA Pickleball Rulebook as a resource, for non-officiated play.  This may also yield a decrease in the use of Replays for game situations for which Replays are not intended.

Thank you to the USA Pickleball Rules Committee for your consideration.

Scenarios In Which the Rules Applies
  • Volley Serve / Drop Serve - Spin imparted on serve or Release not visible
  • Service foot fault
  • NVZ foot fault
  • Out of position server, receiver
  • Incorrect server, receiver
  • Incorrect score call after serve is returned during rally
  • Ball falls out of a player's pocket during non-officiated play
  • Receivers change position after score call / new 10 second count
  • Hinder during play
  • Broken or cracked ball during play
  • Player line call responsibilities on their side of the court - short serve, serve over center line, lines
Upload Any Supporting DocumentationNon-Officiated-Play-Rule-Proposal.xlsx
Rule Book Year2024
Rule Change ID1123
Date CreatedApril 30, 2023
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