LIST OF SUGGESTED PICKLEBALL RULE CHANGES FOR PREVIOUS YEARS

Rule Change Process

Rule Submission TitleCorrect Pro Player Positions Before the Serve
USAP Board VotePassed
USAP Board Vote ReasonThe majority of the Board feels that faults resulting from not keeping the accurate score or remembering correct positions should not determine the outcome of a pickleball match.
USAP Rules Committee VoteFailed
USAP Rules Committee Vote ReasonThis rule has been in effect for 16 years and is one that make the sport unique. The existing remedy of simply asking the referee for confirmation (i.e., Am I good) may occur frequently but is overwhelmingly handled quickly and smoothly with no adverse affect on the flow of the game. Regardless, these faults are relatively infrequent. It may seem unfortunate that a game can end on this type of fault, but it is no different than ending a game on an NVZ or a service foot fault. There are few, if any, other sports where the referee coaches players to avoid a fault. This is not a large enough problem to warrant elimination of a long-standing, fundamental rule. Just because it may be easy for a referee to do does not justify removing responsibility from the players to comply with the rule.
Existing Rule #None
Proposed Rule Change (edited)

Add new rules:
4.B.9. The referee will confirm and correct, if necessary, that all players are in the correct position and the correct server has the ball before calling the score.

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.

Delete existing rule:
4.B.9 When an incorrect player serves or receives, or a player serves from an incorrect position, the referee will immediately stop play and identify the fault(s).

Delete existing rule:
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 offending team can be faulted until the next serve occurs or prior to the scoresheet being returned to the tournament operation’s desk. A point scored during the rally by the offending team will not count. Any previous points scored by the incorrect server or with players in the incorrect positions will stand. After a match is completed, an incorrect player or position error may not be corrected after the scoresheet has been returned to tournament operations personnel.

Delete existing rule:
4.M.1. The server serves from the incorrect serving area.

Delete existing rule:
4.M.2. The incorrect player serves the ball.

Delete existing rule:
4.N.1. The incorrect player returns the serve.

Revise existing rule:
8.E. Other than non-volley zone violations, a fault may only be committed when the ball is live. The penalty for a fault (other than non-volley zone faults) is normally enforced the moment it is identified (e.g., incorrect player/position, distractions, double bounces, etc.) but may also be enforced any time before the next serve occurs.

Revise existing rule:
13.G.3.c. If a referee issues a technical foul, one point shall be removed from the score of the offending player/team unless their score is zero, in which case a point shall be added to the score of the opposing side. After the point is removed or awarded, the player or team losing or awarded the point must move on their own to the correct position(s) that reflects their score.

Proposed Rule Change

4.B.11 (Pro and Senior Pro Players) The referee will confirm, and correct if necessary, that all players are in the correct position and the correct server has the ball before calling the score.

Original Rule Text

None. This is the first of what is expected to be a limited number of rules specific to the pro and senior pro game. Much like rules that are specific to players who play in wheelchairs, there will be a small number of rules that will only apply to the pro game. Use the same approach to designating those rules by using a similar parenthetical indication immediately following the rule number.

Reasoning Behind Suggested Change

This eliminates, or at least minimizes the need for pro players asking repeatedly, “Are we good?” on broadcast or livestream TV. Feedback from broadcast executives has been overwhelmingly negative on how this impacts the broadcast and the sport as a professional enterprise.

Scenarios In Which the Rules Applies

Scenario A: The serve is made and a player stops play during the rally and announces that either a player was out of position when the serve occurred or the incorrect server served the ball. If incorrect, the referee will call a fault on the team that stopped play. If correct, the referee will call for a replay.

Scenario B: The serve is made and after the rally is over, a player or the referee realizes that one of the players was out of position when the serve was made or the incorrect server served the ball. Because all players and the referee had an opportunity to correct the error before the end of the rally, but instead played out the rally in good faith, the rally stands as played.

Rule Book Year2024
Rule Change ID1017
Date CreatedApril 10, 2023
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