SUGGESTED USA PICKLEBALL RULE CHANGES FOR 2025

Rule Submission TitleEliminate 9.c.1 (touching NVZ even after ball is dead loses point) due to inconsistency
USAP Rules Committee Vote ReasonSubmitted by a non-member. Email sent on 3/22 to let them know that they need to provide a valid membership number before the entry is allowed to proceed.
Existing Rule #9.c.1
Proposed Rule Change

9.C. During the act of volleying, it is a fault if the volleying player’s momentum causes the player to contact anything that is touching the non-volley zone, including the player’s partner. For players using wheelchairs, the front (smaller) wheels may touch the non-volley zone.
9.C.1. It is a fault even if the ball becomes dead before the player contacts the non-volley zone.

Original Rule Text

9.C. During the act of volleying, it is a fault if the volleying player’s momentum causes the player to contact anything that is touching the non-volley zone, including the player’s partner. For players using wheelchairs, the front (smaller) wheels may touch the non-volley zone.
9.C.1. It is a fault even if the ball becomes dead before the player contacts the non-volley zone.

Reasoning Behind Suggested Change

9.C.1 creates a logical inconsistency.
Example: the volleyer hits the ball over the net, an opponent hits it into the net and the volleyer then touches (through momentum) the NVZ. 9.C.1 awards the point to the opponent who hit the ball into the net because of the "momentum contact" with the NVZ. This implies that the point is still ongoing, even though the opponent has had a chance to make a successful shot but has failed. Ditto if the opponent hits the shot out, or the the ball hits their body: 9.C.1 creates a retrospective view of the point which does not tally with the rest of the rules.

I suggest that 9.C.1 is repealed because it creates the potential for confusion. It is inconsistent with every other racket sport, where the ball is either in play, or the point is over. 9.C.1 creates a situation where the ball is out of play (dead) yet the point continues. The obvious comparison is with tennis, where the net must not be touched while the ball is in play and players make strenuous efforts to avoid doing so through momentum, but may do once the ball is dead because the point is over.

Scenarios In Which the Rules Applies

Volleyer, just behind the NVZ, hits a volley which wins the point (either by contacting an opponent, the opponent hitting the ball out of court or into the net, or by bouncing twice); but after the ball is dead by those measures, the volleyer touches the NVZ through the momentum of their volleying action. Under 9.c.1, they now lose the point - even though the point has finished under all the other rules.

Rule Book Year2025
Rule Change ID1456
Date CreatedMarch 17, 2024
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