SUGGESTED USA PICKLEBALL RULE CHANGES FOR 2025

Rule change submissions will close on May 15th, 2024, at 11:59 PM. Comments on the existing rule change submissions will remain open until May 31st, 2024, at 11:59 PM.

Rule Submission TitleServe Rules Apply Uniformly & 4.A.9.a wording
Existing Rule #4.A.9. 4.A.9.a Table
Proposed Rule Change

4.A.9.  Replay or Fault.    

In non-officiated matches, if the receiver is not certain that one or more of the requirements of the serve have been met, including the service motion rules for volley and drop serve, determines that manipulation of spin has been imparted prior to the serve hit, or the release of the ball is not visible, the receiver may call for a replay. The replay must be called before the return of serve.    

In non-officiates matches, the receiver may call faults for any grossly obvious violation of the requirements of a legal serve, including the service motion violations of 4.A.7 and 4.A.8, other than Rule 4.A.6, which shall be a replay.

     4.A.9.a. The remedies for service motion violations are as follows:  non-officiated play column in the table will need to be adjusted accordingly:   

NOTE: 4.A.8.b wording update to match the actual rule, also proposed.

          NON-OFFICIATED PLAY

Receiver not certain of violation Receiver certain of violation

VOLLEY SERVE

4.A.7.a No upward arc

Replay

Fault

4.A.7.b. Paddle head above wrist

Replay

Fault

4.A.7.c   Contact above wrist

Replay

Fault

4.A.5. Spin imparted

Replay

Fault

4.A.6. Release not visible

Replay

Replay

DROP SERVE

4.A.8.a.  Drop not made with one hand only or paddle face, or not from unaided height

Replay

Fault

4.A.8.b Ball propelled in any manner

Replay

Fault

4.A.5 Spin imparted

Replay

Fault

4.A.6 Release not visible

Replay

Replay

 

 

OFFICIATED PLAY NON-OFFICIATED PLAY
DROP SERVE
4.A.8.b Ball propelled in any manner
Original Rule Text

4.A.9. Replay or Fault. In officiated matches, the referee may call for a replay if they are not certain that one or more of the requirements of the serve has been met. The replay must be called before the return of serve. The referee shall call a fault if they are certain that one or more of the requirements of the serve, other than Rule 4.A.6, has not been met. In non- officiated matches, if the receiver determines that manipulation of spin has been imparted prior to the serve, or the release of the ball is not visible, the receiver may call for a replay before the return of serve. In non-officiated matches, the receiver has  no authority to call for replays or faults for service motion violations.

4.A.9.a   TABLE - attached at PDF

 

 

 

Reasoning Behind Suggested Change

Reasoning:

   With the growth of pickleball, the historical sportsmanship and friendly neighborhood game is changing.  Players are encountering, with increasing frequency, other players that will take advantage of any loophole in the rules that can gain them an advantage, including intentional and gross violation of the service motion rules, which are currently unenforceable in non-officiated play.

  Examples:  At a local club round-robin with prizes for the winners, there was a player using a tennis style overhead serve.  Being non-officiated play, the other players had to tolerate this extreme abuse of the inability to call for replays or faults for service violations, and being aced on receiving this serve over and over. Despite an entry fee for these mixers, many players retired rather than continue to play against such intentional cheating, lack of sportsmanship.

  Example 2:  At recreational play, we encountered a player performing volley serves at their chest level, grossly and obviously violating all 3 of the volley service motion rules.  After the game, when approached, the player’s response was “Yes, I know, and there is nothing you can do about it”.

  When these rules were established, most players wanted to play by the rules, even when there was no official to enforce the rules.  With the growth of the sport, it has gained more and more unsportsmanlike players.  The rules of pickleball, as in any other sport, should be the rules and apply uniformly in all play formats.  As such, it is time to make the service rules equal and enforceable in all playing formats, not only in officiated matches.  

NOTE:  4.A.8.b Rule states “the ball shall not be propelled in any direction or in any manner…”. The wording in the table 4.A.9.a should match the wording in the rule. 

Scenarios In Which the Rules Applies

Rule adjustment: All non-officiated, recreation, tournament matches without official.

Table wording change:   All play; uniformity between written rule and table.

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Rule Book Year2025
Rule Change ID1720
Date CreatedMay 5, 2024
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