SUGGESTED USA PICKLEBALL RULE CHANGES FOR 2025

Rule Submission TitleIncorrect Receiver Poaches the Return of Serve
Existing Rule #4.B.7
Proposed Rule Change

Rule 4.B.7.   Partner Positions. In doubles, with the exception of the server (see 4.A.4), there is no restriction on the position of any player, as long as all players are on their respective team's side of the net. They can be positioned on or off the court. The correct server must serve from the correct service court, and the correct receiver must receive the serve. It is a fault if the incorrect receiver poaches the return of serve.

 

Original Rule Text

Rule 4.B.7.   Partner Positions. In doubles, with the exception of the server (see 4.A.4), there is no restriction on the position of any player, as long as all players are on their respective team's side of the net. They can be positioned on or off the court. The correct server must serve from the correct service court, and the correct receiver must receive the serve.

Reasoning Behind Suggested Change

There should be no replay or need for a warning to be issued because this is already a fault per the rulebook:

See Section 7 - Fault Rules.  Rule 7.F. states that it is a fault for a violation of Section 4 rules.

See Rule 4.B.7.,which states that "...the correct receiver must recieve the serve."

No additional language is necessary to add to the rule; however, the suggested addition may allieviate some confusion because of the conflict between the existing rules and new Casebook 15-23.

CASE 15-23: RECEIVER'S PARTNER POACHES THE SERVE. This case only cites Rule 4.B.9.a as the applicable rule, but the rule cited is a player position error. The decision to poach described in the scenario occurs after the referee has confirmed and corrected the players positions.  The case does not reference the more specific Rule 4.B.7, which directly contradicts this casebook ruling. The remedy for the receiver's partner poaching the serve is a fault and should not be rewarded with a mere replay. This is not the same error as an incorrect server serving or an out of position receiver that the referee fails to correct or calls during the rally or the other players call. Those scenarios would result in a replay if called before the rally ended. See Rule 4.B.9(a). Instead, clarification is needed when the receiver is lined up correctly to receive the serve, but after the serve is made, the receiver's partner intentionally poaches the return of serve. This poaching error should result in a fault penalty for the player's intentional action after the serve is made. The rulebook already supports this being a fault. See Rules 7.F & 4.B.7.

Scenarios In Which the Rules Applies

(see above response)

Rule Book Year2025
Rule Change ID1491
Date CreatedMarch 27, 2024
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