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 TitleIncorrect Server and Receiver Faults
Existing Rule #4.B.9.a
Proposed Rule Change

4.B.9.a. 4.B.10. . If the referee or a player stops a rally in progress to correctly identify a player/position error, the rally shall be replayed.

If the correct server and correct receiver are in their correct positions when the score is called, it is a fault on a player who serves or receives incorrectly, even if the rally is completed before the fault is called. The fault must be called before the next serve.

If the correct server or correct receiver is not in their correct position when the score is called, the referee or a player may stop the rally in progress to correctly identify the player/position error and the rally shall be replayed.

If a player stops a rally and incorrectly identifies a player/position error, it is a fault on the player who stopped the rally.

If the referee stops a rally in progress and incorrectly identifies a player/position error, the rally shall be replayed.

4.B.9.b. (renumber) If a player/position error is identified after the rally has played out, the rally shall stand.

Original Rule Text

4.B.9.a. If the referee or a player stops a rally in progress to correctly identify a player/position error, the rally shall be replayed. If a player stops a rally and incorrectly identifies a player/position error, it is a fault on the player who stopped the rally. If the referee stops a rally in progress and incorrectly identifies a player/position error, the rally shall be replayed.

4.B.9.b. If a player/position error is identified after the rally has played out, the rally shall stand.

Reasoning Behind Suggested Change

Intentional circumvention of the last sentence in rule 4.B.7 should not be allowed:

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 (should be “serving area”), and the correct receiver must receive the serve.

It should be a fault for the incorrect player to serve or receive the ball or serve from the incorrect serving area after the referee has affirmed the correct player positions. These actions are violations of rule 4.B.7.

Scenarios In Which the Rules Applies

1. Player A2 is correctly serving from the left serving area to Player B2. Team B is stacking so Player B1 is positioned at the NVZ line outside the court while Player B2 is positioned diagonally opposite the server in the left serving area. All players are in their correct positions to begin the rally. Player A2 serves a ball that bounces in the left service court very near Player B1. Player B1 then returns the serve since he is closer to the ball than Player B2. Since Player B1 is not the correct receiver, a fault would be called against Player B1 for returning the serve. (Under current rule 4.B.9.a, the rally would be stopped and replayed. There would be no penalty against Player B1 for violation of rule 4.B.7.)

2. After Player B1 asks who is the correct server, the referee states Player A1 is serving from the right side to Player B1. Player A1 lines up correctly to serve to Player B1. All players are in their correct positions, although Player B2 is standing close to Player B1 at the baseline. The referee waits a few seconds and then calls the score since no “not ready” signal is displayed by Player B2. Player A1 serves down the middle to Player B1’s backhand. Since Player B1 has a weak backhand, Player B2 steps in and powers a winning return with his strong forehand. Since Player B2 is not the correct receiver, the referee immediately calls a fault against Player B2 for returning the serve. (Under current rule 4.B.9.b, Team B would win the rally since it is complete, despite the incorrect player returning the serve in violation of rule 4.B.7.)

Rule Book Year2025
Rule Change ID1845
Date CreatedMay 15, 2024
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