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 TitleSportsmanship in non-officiated matches
Existing Rule #13.D.1
Proposed Rule Change

13.D.1.e. In the spirit of good sportsmanship and fair play in non-officiated matches, players should not intentionally violate any rule for which there is no possibility of a fault call or any recourse for their opponents (examples include calling the wrong score, using an incorrect server, or using an illegal service motion).

Original Rule Text

None

Reasoning Behind Suggested Change

There may be other ways to address this in the rules, and this is a first cut at some wording - but this section where it already mentions sportsmanship in non-officiated matches seems appropriate.

There are places in the rulebook where one team can violate a rule and there is absolutely nothing the opponent can do about it in a non-refereed match. You can serve from your neck and the receiver has to play it. You can call the wrong score to distract your opponent then quick serve and if they haven't recognized the error by the time the ball gets to them it's a fault on them for stopping the rally after the return. See https://www.youtube.com/shorts/N3P9O6OAjJk. You can say the score quietly then serve, and when they stop the rally immediately you can point out that you said the correct score and take a point. You can use the incorrect server or serve from the wrong side and if they don't notice then nothing bad happens to you - and at worst it's a replay.

Whether there be a sportsmanship statement added to the beginning of the rulebook (like the Spirit of the Game concept in the game of Ultimate), or it's addressed in 13.D.1 where other comments about sportsmanship are included, it would probably be beneficial to have a clear comment about exploiting the rules in non-officiated play. It doesn't make "cheating" a fault anymore than a statement about calling your own lines makes people call them fairly, but it can still serve to motivate more fair play and be used as a blanket statement about trying to find ways to steal a point from your opponent.

Scenarios In Which the Rules Applies

Non-officiated play. Particularly where there are things one team (usually the serving team) can do that the opponent can't call a fault on, and it's at most a replay if they don't get away with it.

Rule Book Year2025
Rule Change ID1833
Date CreatedMay 15, 2024
Add Comment Add Comment
View Comments View Comments