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 TitleAssessment of Penalties at the End of a Match
Existing Rule #13.G.3.e.
Proposed Rule Change

13.G.3.e. Verbal warnings, technical warnings and technical fouls may be assessed any time the players are at the court, independent of whether the match is in progress. This includes during warm-up time and until the referee leaves the court to return the scoresheet to the tournament desk. Play shall not be stopped to assess a warning or foul. The assessment of the warning or foul shall be applied after the rally has ended. Observed bBehavior rising to the level of a warning or technical foul after the match is over or until players leave the court shall be brought to the attention of the Head Referee or Tournament Director.

Original Rule Text

13.G.3.e. Verbal warnings, technical warnings and technical fouls may be assessed any time the players are at the court, independent of whether the match is in progress. This includes during warm-up time. Play shall not be stopped to assess a warning or foul. The assessment of the warning or foul shall be applied after the rally has ended. Behavior raising to the level of a warning or foul after the match is over shall be brought to the attention of the Tournament Director.

Reasoning Behind Suggested Change

This proposal provides a clarification of rule 13.G.3.e. Referees are responsible for maintaining player conduct during each match and addressing unsportsmanlike behavior when it occurs. Any misconduct before the players leave the court should be subject to immediate notice and appropriate penalty. Such conduct should not be ignored when it is displayed in the presence of the referee, even if the penalty does not affect the results of the match. Not addressing misconduct at the end of a match gives the impression that the referee condones the behavior and/or is suddenly powerless to take action. For the best effect, poor player behavior needs to be dealt with as quickly as possible.

Scenarios In Which the Rules Applies

Player A1 flubs a shot that gives Team B the match. Player A1 throws his paddle down, does not tap paddles, and storms off the court as the referee announces the winners of the match. The referee then assesses a technical foul against Team A, reducing their game score by 1 point. The referee annotates the scoresheet accordingly and then has Team B confirm the scoresheet.
In a contentious match, Team A wins the match 12-10 in the third game. As the referee is announcing “Point, game, match” and the players are at the net to tap paddles, Player A1 loudly makes derogatory comments to Team B. The referee immediately issues a technical warning against Team A. However, since Team A already had a technical warning assessed earlier in the match, the referee informs the teams that the second technical warning results in a technical foul and a point is deducted from Team A’s score. Team A now has 11 points, and the match must be resumed. Team A then must serve at 11-10 to continue the match.
After Team A wins a match and while confirming the scoresheet, the referee sees Player B1 throw his paddle over the fence. The referee then assesses a technical foul against Team B, reducing their game score by 1 point. The referee annotates the scoresheet accordingly and then has Team A re-confirm the scoresheet with the new score.
After leaving the court to return the completed scoresheet to the tournament desk, the referee observes Player B1 challenging a spectator to a fight in the parking lot. The spectator had been cheering for the opponents during the just completed match. The referee would report this situation to the Head Referee after returning the scoresheet to the tournament desk.

Rule Book Year2025
Rule Change ID1743
Date CreatedMay 8, 2024
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