Displaying 1 - 28 of 28

 Rule Change ID Submitted From Comment
536July 5, 2022Vicki

We have worked hard to remove the referee from becoming part of the match and be there to keep score and apply rules. These rules include player positions. If we are going to insure players do not break position rules, what other rules can we use this same methodology? If we are going to keep players from being in the wrong position, why don’t we remove the position requirement rule. Players designate which side they will start from and stay there. The serve would alternate between the players. The referee would insure the serve is served from the side that matches their score. (Or not). Hopefully they can remember where they started from. The requirement to call the score “twice” is just another insertion into the game and very difficult to do in noisy settings for a single call, twice will be more frustrating for both the players and the referee. This rule change is for a small subset of teams that can’t seem to keep their thoughts together. Why add major frustration for all involved by calling the score twice for EACH rally during a match. Please reconsider……

536July 5, 2022Randi

Revised: 4.B.10. Incorrect Player or Position. When an incorrect server or player position is discovered after a rally, game, or match has ended, the players are considered to have played the rally in good faith and the rally stands as played.

New: 4.D.2 In non-officiated play, the correct server will take possession of the ball, call the score and obtain an acknowledgment from the correct receiver that a) the receiver and server are correct and in the correct positions and b) the score called by the server (or partner) is correct.  If any errors of position remain after the serve is made, they will remain uncorrected.  The rally will be played out with the players in those positions and the result of the rally will stand as played.  If the rally is stopped for a valid reason, such as a hindrance, any mispositioned players can be corrected prior to the recalling of the score without penalty.  The score will be updated to reflect the just-concluded rally and play shall continue with any corrections made for the upcoming rally.

What prevents players, especially in non-officiated matches with unsophisticated players from just playing on the side that gives them the advantage, i.e. lefties playing always on the right side to keep their forehand in the middle? Or stronger players keeping their forehand in the middle in mixed doubles, etc. They risk nothing by doing so. If “caught” they just go back to where they should be. If not “caught” they get to play with an advantage.

As a referee, my voice is shot at the end of the day after nearly shouting to call the scores, side out, 2nd server, etc. so players on my court can hear me all day long over the din of the P.A. system, music, referees on adjacent courts, etc. at venues. I am unlikely to continue to referee very much if it becomes a requirement to call the entire 2nd TWICE for each rally. Please consider the tough job that referees already have and work to come up with another solution to the issues identified.

536July 5, 2022Jim

At the end of a multi day tournament, especially in a noisy venue, a referee’s voice is often stressed to extreme. This proposed rule change would more than double the audio demands placed on the referees. This rule change would place physical demands on the referee that likely will prevent many referees from being able to complete a tournament and/or commit to a ref schedule similar to today. This proposed rule change does nothing to improve the player experience and certainly diminishes the experience for the referee.

536July 5, 2022Donn

Not in favor. The players in a match with a referee already have a get out of jail free card. All they have to do is ask the referee if they are in the correct position or if they are the correct server or receiver.

The biggest complaint I hear concerning rules is the fact that we change them too often. Here is a change that is horrible, not necessary and in my opinion will cause problems.

Now a referee must double how much they are forced to yell in loud venues. I, like many other referees, am hoarse by the end of the day. Now I won’t make it to the end of the day.

Come on committee. Don’t do this silly rule change.

536July 5, 2022Shannon

Rule 4.D.3 is a terrible rule. You now want the referee to call the score twice? Do you want the referee to play all the points for the players and have them chalk out yes and no on the court for correct position? Are you purposely trying to get referees to quit the program? Could we have some common sense and take some of the burden off the referees and place them on the PLAYERS for a change. Are you trying to one-up the idiotic rule of 4K with 4.D.3? Please vote no on 4.D.3. Thank you.

536July 6, 2022Chuck

Calling the score twice is totally unnecessary. Over time, players that are out-of-position will get used to hearing the score called twice and will still end up out-of-position.

Regarding the proposed new rules 4.D.2, 4.D.2.a, 4.D.3, 4.D.3.a, I disagree completely with the idea of the referee making sure everyone is in their proper place before starting play. I don't want to sound harsh, but this is part of learning the game. Players who have had a problem with this situation typically have not read the rule book and/or had not received instructions on how to play the game very well.

In general, I disagree with the concept and methodology of what is being proposed in this rule change. I feel it will have more unintended consequences than what they are intending to solve.

536July 6, 2022Doug

These revisions are a terrible idea, unless the actual goal is to eliminate the need for referees in general. You are taking all of the burden of knowing rules from the players. Knowing what side to serve and receive from is a simple thing. And made far easier with the ability to ask at any time if they are in correct positions. These proposals turn referees into glorified score keepers.

Please reject these terrible revisions to rules that are already simple to understand and follow.

536July 6, 2022Brett

4.K. Needs revising but not sure how this was completely addressed.

The March 14, 2022 Handbook 5.A.4 and 5.A.4.a, allows for answers to specific questions be answered such as “Where am I suppose to be positioned?” We can say the Left/Right side. Etc…

I respect that rallies should be determined by play and not by errors as addressed in this rule. There is a certain amount of player responsibility to know the rules and that includes the ability to know proper server/position/receiver. By approving this new rule we are now interjecting the referee into the Game/Match.

Players much keep the responsibility. Detailed answers to player questions will solve this but it should NEVER be a referee’s responsibly to correct player position/server/receiver.

536July 6, 2022Beth

PLEASE DO NOT IMPLEMENT ANY OF THESE SUGGESTED CHANGES. I concur with all of the previously submitted comments. The suggested rule changes should not be made. The onus of being on the correct side of the court and the correct server/receiver should be on the players. Players should be expected to know the rules and play accordingly. As mentioned in other responses players have the ability to ask questions before the strike of the serve to determine proper placement, proper server & receiver and the score. Asking these questions resolves all of the issues that these rule changes attempt to resolve. What an administrative and physical nightmare for the referees...trying to manage these changes with every single serve of every single game of every single match that they referee for the three or four days that a tournament runs.

In non-officiated games, players should be allowed to ask the correct position, correct server/receiver and score questions of their opponents and receive sportsmanlike responses (that require a replay if not accurate).

536July 6, 2022Pam

I really don't see any value in this proposed rule change. Currently, all players can ask the ref any question they want to determine if they are the correct server/receiver and whether they are in the correct position or not. This proposed rule change would allow players to possibly take advantage of other less experienced players and play on the side that they may provide them with an advantage over another team....strongest hitter on the left side of the court (if they are a righty), left hand positioned on the even side of court to keep paddles in the middle. Especially in a non-sanctioned or non-officiated match - I think players can take advantage of others without penalty.

Calling score twice - this will do nothing but cause the games, matches and tournaments to run longer. Additionally, I think there are enough voice requirements of the refs - they shouldn't have to do this twice. Refs are using a loud voice all day long, it wouldn't be reasonable to put twice the demands on their voices all day long.

I just done see much value in this proposed rule change..............

536July 6, 2022Maria

Agree with Pam, Beth, Doug, Chuck, Shannon, Donn, Jim, the last 3 sentences of Vicki and the last 2 Paragraphs of Randi. Not much more I can add except that some of the reasoning for Rally Scoring is to shorten the matches....this will just elongate them. In addition, the players should be held accountable for being in the right position - bad enough some players ask us before almost every serve. Do not approve these changes.

536July 7, 2022Beth

My earlier comments were from a referee's perspective. From a player perspective...I cannot imagine how the proposed changes, specifically to rule 4.D (Calling the Score), would go over with high-level amateur (4.5-5.0) and professional players. Players should be allowed to control the pace of their games. At this level the games are important (especially when money payouts are involved) and players get in a zone or rhythm like most other professional athletes. Proposed rule 4.D.3 and 4.D.3.a -- requiring the ref to call the score twice & rearrange players that are out of position -- inserts the ref into the game WAY too much, disrupts the player's rhythm, disrupts the flow, slows the game down and is totally unnecessary at this (or any) level of play.

536July 8, 2022Thomas

Players should be held accountable to be able to play the game in the correct positions. This includes serving and receiving. The players have the option to ask their referee questions regarding their positions. Allowing players to be in the incorrect positions with no penalty will cause intentional violations and arguments between players. Requiring referees to call the score multiple times and reposition players will cause undue delays to the game. There should be some reward to players for knowing and understanding how to play the mental part of this game. These proposed changes should be removed.

536July 8, 2022Shannon "Gunner"


I have been thinking and would like to make another comment about 4.D.3 and 4.D.3.a. This might not be viewed well, but it is just my opinion. I understand the intent behind 4.D.3 and 4.D.3.a with players getting into the correct position, and if there is a referee, the referee will move players into the right place. This is where USA Pickleball wants the game to go, and they want the referees to make sure everyone is in the correct position, play the points, and have it won by paddle play, not a receiver or server fault. I won't fight that because it will become the law of Pickleball. Hence, calling the score twice is something that I think the management wanted to use as a tool to ensure everyone is in the proper position before play begins so that the outcome will be about paddle play, not faults. I don't particularly appreciate calling the score twice because we put yet another item for the referees to do during the match. Unless we start paying $50,000 - 100,000 annually for refereeing, this is not a SECOND FULL-TIME JOB that referees want. They do it part-time for fun. USA Pickleball needs to remember this. Days are long, tiresome, and mentally straining, with calling score and using your voice 200 times has now become 400 times with the extra score calling. I believe you are trying to hide rule 4K, which isn't viewed well with this new rule of 4.D.3.

So, I make a motion to rewrite a rule that states this. After the rally ends, whether a point, second serve, or side out, say the complete score once after the ball is dead. Let the teams hear the score, sink in, and go to the correct position. When they are in the proper place, the referee points or motions to them, and then they serve the ball.
This will get rid of the 10 seconds to call the score, get rid of calling the score twice, get rid of rule 4K, which isn't popular, help with hearing impaired by pointing or gesturing to them, and appease the individuals that want the referee to put everyone in the correct positions before the ball is served. I understand something like this was intact before 2004 or 2005.

Recap; Delete rule 4.K, delete 10 seconds for serving, and delete calling the score twice (4.D.3). Call the complete score immediately after the rally, let the score sink in with the players, and then point to the serving team when they are ready to serve.

Thanks for your time

Pickleball player, tournament player, Certified referee, referee trainer, referee coordinator, and tournament director.

536July 8, 2022Tom

Respectfully to the person who went to all of the work and trouble to make these proposed changes, I cannot agree with any of them, and hope they will not be considered.

One of the reasons I was originally attracted to pickleball was the uniqueness and quirkiness of some of the rules that shape our game to look and play like no other — the underhand serve, the two-bounce rule, the NVZ (kitchen) rules, incorrect servers, players out-of-position (POP), and so many others. These were all new to me and I loved that about this sport.

As most of the comments I’ve read, these changes just seem to add much more work for referees in officiated matches, and add very little value to anyone but the absolute newest players to the game. One of the great pleasures of being a referee is seeing the excitement in a new player when they finally “get it” and understand one of our “quirky” rules. For example — simply knowing which side of the court to serve from when their score is odd or even, and then watching them share their new found knowledge by helping their opponent into the correct side of the court because they still don’t quite understand it.

As a referee, and as others have said in their comments, calling just the score for 8-12 matches per day and my vocal cords are absolutely raw. Add in “point”, “second server” and/or “side out” after every rally, and now you want us to add another call of the score. I can’t see myself doing this and will probably be out of refereeing.

As a seasoned player, it seems this would get very annoying having to listen to a referee calling the score twice between every rally.

I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve called incorrect server or POP, and although the player(s) are immediately frustrated, annoyed, or upset with themselves for losing a serve, it’s still a very important part of the game, and they mostly joke about it later in the most important part of our game — the social part, after the match is over.

To participate in any game, one has to learn and know the rules, and as far as I know it’s been that way forever. Recently it seems we have become too anxious to radically change rules every year. Why doesn’t someone do some actual field testing, try this out from the position of a referee for an entire day, repeat it daily for a month, and then see if it still seems like a good idea and actually adds any value to the game. As of now, I am strongly opposed to these proposed changes.

536July 9, 2022Rick

Good morning!

As a pro player of 10 years, i strongly feel that a referee should be an advocate of correcting wrong positions/wrong servers without penalty to a player or team. This takes away the discomfort from 3 entities: The ref doesn't want to issue a "gotcha" violation, the team in violation doesn't want to lose a point that way and usually the team awarded a point doesn't feel good about getting a point that way. I've spoken to many of the Open and Senior pros who feel the same. Thanks for your consideration:)

536July 9, 2022Melody

As many have said there are many challenges with this rule. It puts the responsibility of player position on the referee and not the player. As already stated, the player currently has the ability to ask, which would prevent any player out of position error. What I would like to add is that this proposed rule change will add confusion. As we know already, not all players hear the ref call the score. This happens for many reasons, they are thinking about strategy, the environment has a loud atmosphere, or they just do not hear it. With the proposal of calling the score twice, there may be confusion, was this the first time the score was called? Was it the second? How will they know? Will they now ask was that the first score call? Or the second? It will slow the game. It will also add undue strain on referee voices. Our voice boxes are already stressed with projection and longer and longer referee days. As others have said, this will put an additional burden on the referee and will impact if referees choose to continue refereeing under this proposed additional requirement. I am not in favor of this proposed rule change! Melody Woodsum

536July 9, 2022Norman

I feel that this is unreasonable. You want refs not to insert themselves in a game and now we have to be babysitters. The players need to know the rules. The referee needs to enforce the rules not tell the players how to play. i agree that if the fault was not detected at time of serve or received the point is played in good faith and can stand but lets not make this change it goes way too far.

536July 10, 2022Mary

Do we want pickleball to be viewed as a game, with players required to keep track of 3 ever-changing numbers, or do we want pickleball viewed more as an athletic sport?

Moving in the direction of eliminating or reducing out of position/wrong server/wrong receiver faults would seem to push pickleball more into the "sports" camp, which I view as positive, especially for professional tournaments.

That said, from the referee perspective it seems having the referee call the score twice would not bode well for growing the ranks of referees. Perhaps being more generous with information when asked questions by players is the way to go.

As a player, I have a practice of saying the score, then bouncing the ball, once or twice, then hitting the serve. I have noticed my routine gives all players a moment to digest what I said and to question or adjust if necessary.

Would a rule change be feasible that requires the service ball not be hit until 3 seconds after the completion of the score has been announced? Perhaps the referee has his/her arm raised when saying the score, then dropped after 3 seconds, signaling when play can begin.

I am not proposing this as a rule change in a separate section because it is not clear to me whether the body of players of this game consider the gotcha faults of wrong server/wrong receiver/out of position a good thing or rather, something we should move away from. If it is something we want to move away from, perhaps a 3 second delay could be tried on a provisional basis.

536July 10, 2022Tom

I am opposed to the idea of referees helping the players in their positioning or correct server or reciever. I understand that it should be about the players and not the ref, but players should be required to take on some responsibilities. To me, this is "holding their hand" a little too much. I'm also opposed to calling the score twice for the same reasons as stated by others. I am however intrigued by some sort of an acknowledgement by the reciever in non-officiated play. Perhaps a simple nod of the head or a thumbs up. Something that does bother me though is the constant rule-changing. While reffing a match in Newport, a player wanted me to fault her opponent for paddle motion while I was calling the score. I had to inform her that that rule had been changed. You guys are doing a great job, but let's slow down a little on the rule changing!

536July 11, 2022Tom

Players need to have some responsibility in the conduct of the game. If you really want to eliminate out of position players or incorrect servers and receivers, just have the referee position each player before each point and identify who the server and receiver are prior to calling the score.

536July 11, 2022Kevin

This may be the most contentious issue in pickleball. In a tournament environment it causes a great deal of friction between players and between players and referees. We should duly consider improvements in how this is administered but I don't believe this is the correct approach.

I would start with these base assumptions:

Pickleball does not and should not have the equivalent of a Designated Hitter. A team should not be able to gain an advantage by using their strong server or serving from the most advantage position. Pickleball is setup so that each player has to serve and both players have to serve from the right or left serving court. Attempt to "game" the system must be penalized.

When teams are making a good faith effort to serve correctly administrative mistakes penalties should be minimized.

The vast majority of tournament and recreational games do not have a referee. The game should not change substantially if there is or is not a referee. The game should essentially play out the same. In most cases a referee is not present so the responsibility for teams to use the correct server from the correct position should not be shifted to the referee.

Players are responsible for knowing the score, server and position. It is not and should not be the responsibility of the referee to ensure that the server/receivers and positions are correct.

There have been significant changes in the rules and procedures for server/receiver/position changes, the questions that the players may or may not ask and the answers the referee may or may not answer. If you aren't confused by all these changes you are not paying attention. It is not unusual for a player to quote a rule that was changed (and maybe changed back) over the last couple of years. Further changes to the rules should be minimized and how they are applied needs to be stabilized.

Players are responsible for tracking their score, server and position. They should not be able to routinely offload these tasks to the referee by continually asking "are we good?".

We have conflated "coaching" with "education". Although coaching of players by the referee should at all times be discouraged referees should be encouraged to educate players. A good example of the importance of education is the use of "Are we good?" rather than asking "Correct server" and "Correct Position". All players should be educated on the use of "Are We Good" to reduce administrative penalties against well intended players.

So how do we accomplish our goals while minimizing the rewriting of rules:

I would propose the following:

If no questions are asked by the players the teams will be faulted as we do currently. We have no evidence to guide us as to whether the incident was accidental/inadvertent or deliberate (Designated Hitter) so the incident will be treated as though it was deliberate.

If a player/team asks a server/receiver/position question we have evidence that there is no deliberate intent to employ a Designated Hitter. Penalizing a well intended player should be seen as a failure of our systems. Clear communications should be sent to players prior to the tournament. Players should be specifically educated in the prematch briefing about the benefits of asking the "Are we good?" question. If the team only asks about whether they are the correct server and then serves from the wrong position they would be penalized per the current rules. However, the referee would educate the player as to how the penalty could have been avoided. Correcting their error to avoid a penalty is coaching. Explaining the means to avoid future penalties is education.

In a nonrefereed game a player can ask their opponents the server/receiver/position or "Are we OK" question. Once the question has been asked the opposing team loses the right to fault the asking team for the question they asked. They can still be faulted for questions they fail to ask. The opposing team is not under an obligation to educate the faulting team on how to use the "Are we good?" question.

The final piece of the puzzle is the players responsibility to know the correct server/receiver/position. I would propose that some type of limit be placed on the number of times a team can ask the referee/opponent to verify the S/R/P. This could be something like "A team cannot ask these questions two serves in a row" or perhaps a limit of 5 times, 10 times or whatever. Tick boxes could be printed on the scoresheet for the referee to track. I refereed a game at the NW regionals last year and there was a team that stacking. They had not practiced sufficiently and they were confused the entire time. They asked server or position nearly every serve and still got it wrong a couple of times. It slowed down the game considerably and it really interfered with the rhythm of the other team.

I believe this would meet the majority of the goals while minimizing rule changes. Adding a limit to the number of times you can ask the question would be a change. Adding a rule to cover the instance of asking the opposing team would be an addition, but it would be consistent with how the situation would be handled in a refereed game. Most of the changed would take place in the referee handbook to clarify what constitutes coaching and should be discouraged vs. what constitutes education and should be encouraged. It is really fairly simple. We need to encourage players that "In Case of doubt, ask", "If you ask, ask "Are We OK"".

536July 12, 2022Brooke

Would echo the comments not in favor of these particular proposed changes, especially the proposal to call the score twice. It's laborious without being meaningfully productive and also represents an opportunity for refs to be viewed as unnecessarily interjecting themselves into the match, which could negatively impact overall respect for the role of officiating and although minor, present an essentially fruitless, duplicative challenge to referee accuracy.

536July 14, 2022Marsha

To eliminate player position faults and service sequence faults would be changing the game. Part of the beauty of pickleball is the requirement for players to serve and receive from their correct positions based on the score. It’s not a matter of either partner can serve when they want or from whichever side they want. There’s a defined pattern to be followed – it's the art of pickleball. The game involves not only physical ability but mental prowess, too.

For tournament play, players are required to know their correct positions on the court. The current rules provide a reasonable provision for players to obtain assistance with positioning and sequence if they need it. Directing players to their correct positions (as well as the likes of replaying illegal serves and banning the spin serve) is suggestive of keeping pickleball strictly social as it was played when the game was first invented. Pickleball is an easy, friendly game for all to play. In social play, players are told where they should be on the court, the score may be repeated several times to make sure everybody understands, and new players may even be allowed to re-serve if their serves don’t land in the correct service court. However, as a competitive SPORT, the players need to be held to these responsibilities established by the longstanding rules.

To allow the result of a rally to stand despite a player being out of position or the wrong player serving, lessens the responsibilities and purpose of referees. Although we hate to see when a referee misses these infractions, it is not a cause for re-engineering the game. Let’s stay true to the game and not take the uniqueness out of it.

In all instances, referees should be able to correct an error they made. It is absurd that the rules allow a fault to be called on a player that was initiated by an error made by the referee. A score calling error is the only error a referee is prohibited by rule from correcting. The unintended consequence of last year’s change to rule 4.K should be corrected this year, not perpetuated.

536July 16, 2022Leslie

I don’t approve of the change. As refs we are not babysitters ! The players have the opportunity to ask us but if we start telling them where to stand we are now coaching ! Next we’ll be adjusting their outfits or calling timeouts for them when they look tired. I am a ref and a player and this rule is completely unnecessary . I Do not support the refs becoming coach’s and this rule would do that ! I do not agree with this being a rule change !

536July 16, 2022Linda

Hello!!! As a tournament player, I’ve had to learn the rules and abide by them. I don’t want a Ref to coach me into position or help me hit a backhand! All players should learn the rules.
As a Ref, I don’t want to coach or assist players into position or give the appearance of aiding one side or the other. I was taught not to give a player the ball for serving but rather to roll it onto the service side of net, to eliminate the “tell” of who was the correct server. Now the idea of Rule Change to orchestrate proper server or receiver positions is not dissimilar to the 1962 Twilight Zone episode “The Little People”. Referees become the giants moving the players around like pawns.

Calling score twice or a head nod for “go!”??? Ouch, baby.

If we take any responsibility or culpability away from players, we run the risk of becoming “helicopter officiants” and thus becoming a virtual reality and very active part of their game.

Give players more credit for knowing the rules themselves and slow
down on changing so much about a game that is so fun in it’s simplicity. Please?


536July 22, 2022Patricis

Players should be responsible for their positions and may ask the referee questions related to positions. Also, this will lengthen the time of matchs and time between poonts. It seems player responsibility to understand and use the tools they have available, is lessened by this proposed change. Lastly, player positioning is part of the rules of the game for which all players and referees are responsible to implement and understand.

536July 29, 2022George

On come on … this is asinine. Not well thought out and completely removes another advantage from a non-offending mentally prepared player/team.
Playing any competitive sport can be divided into three very distinct disciplines or parts. There is the skill part, the physicality part, and then there is the mental aspect part. How well a player or team can excel in each of those disciplines and then in combination of those disciplines is what separates winners from losers. If implemented, this rule change removes a significant portion of the mental aspect part of the game. No longer will player gamesmanship, strategy and knowledge of the rules be a relevant part of this sport. In essence, this rule change suggests that the thinking player is not as important as the physical brute.
One could use any sport as an example but let’s use football. If the offense is lined up with not enough players on the line, does the official stop play and “coach” the team by instructing them of their impending penalty? Does anyone believe that football would ever consider changing their rules so that an official would be mandated to do so? I think not. Come on, if you are lined up off sides or I can draw you off sides, then it costs you five yards. It’s an integral part of the game. It is also entertaining, adds an element of surprise and maybe, just maybe the smarter team wins. Again, skill, physicality and mental are the ingredients to success in sports.
Sorry, but this suggestion, which I can only hope that it is just a suggestion, reeks of a deliberate ‘dumbing down’ of the game in an effort to avoid calling a penalty. Let’s not take away an advantage that the better mentally prepare player may have.

 Rule Change ID Submitted From Comment