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 TitleClarify 6.C.6 as applying to sideline and baseline
Existing Rule #6.C.6
Proposed Rule Change

6.C.6. Players shall not call a ball “out” unless they can clearly see a space between the baseline or sideline line and the ball as it hits the ground.

Original Rule Text

6.C.6. Players shall not call a ball “out” unless they can clearly see a space between the line and the ball as it hits the ground.

Reasoning Behind Suggested Change

It's very clear that players are getting accustomed to looking for the 'out' space between the ball and the sideline or baseline in order to make an "out" call.   The reason this proposed rule change is beneficial is because the NVZ line already has TWO other rules governing how to make that line call:
1)  6.B. "A served ball that lands in the opponent's non-volley zone, including on the non-volley zone lines, is"out".
2) 4.A.2: "The serve may clear or touch the net and must clear the NVZ and the NVZ lines. The serve may land on any other service court line."

As such, it is unnecessary to to to convey the same rule in another place in the rulebook.
It's a critical to point out that 6C6 primarily applies neatly to sideline and baseline calls;  these lines are "IN" the service court.  Contorting the reader to apply the same existing 6C6 text to  the NVZ line (a line that in inherently "OUT" on a serve and acts in a manner OPPOSITE of the baseline and sideline) creates a lot of ambiguity

Scenarios In Which the Rules Applies

Applying 6.C.6 as written to the NVZ line call requires readers to accept that "out" means "out of the NVZ" and hence a valid serve.  "Players shall not call a ball “out” unless they can clearly see a space between the line and the ball as it hits the ground" would really need to be read as  "Players shall not call a ball “out” (of the NVZ) unless they can clearly see a space between the (NVZ) line and the ball as it hits the ground".   This convention is opposite of that of the baseline and sideline.

I don't dispute that with an understanding of this reversed convention, the Committee could justify that the rule is still technically valid.  But there is a lot of confusion in recreational play.   Per Guiding Principle 4 to eliminate ambiguity, it would be far simpler to allow 6B and 4.A.2 to govern serves that land near the NVZ line,  and 6C6 be simplified as suggested to apply to the baseline and sidelines in an equally consistent fashion.   Again, the reason that this rule is needed is due to the DIFFERENCE in the NVZ line and the baseline + sidelines.   In the former, a  ball hitting the line  on a serve is "OUT" and on the latter, a ball hitting the line is "IN". As such they each deserve their own line call wording.    6.C.6 trying to be a 'catch-all' single rule for lines that fundamentally behave differently--causes confusion when there is no referee.

Rule Book Year2025
Rule Change ID1798
Date CreatedMay 14, 2024
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