Rule Change Process

Rule Submission TitleServe Definition
USAP Board Vote ReasonNot voted upon
USAP Rules Committee Vote ReasonFail
IFP Voting StatusAverage: 8.1 Detail:7,9,8,10,4,10,9
Existing Rule #3.A.34
Proposed Rule Change
Serve - The shot that starts a rally.


Original Rule Text


 Serve - The initial strike of the ball to start the rally.
Reasoning Behind Suggested Change

The existing definition of a serve in the USA Pickleball 2021 Official Rulebook is inaccurate and problematic.

The problem with this definition is that it only describes part of an actual serve.  Most players do not think of, or use, the term serve as defined.  And more importantly, neither does the Official Rulebook in many rules!

A serve can't be just the initial strike of the ball to start a rally in the same way a home run in baseball can't be just the initial impact of the bat hitting the ball or a hole-in-one in golf can't be defined as when the club hits the golf ball.  None of them make any sense.  They all include a swing, a hit, a follow-through and a landing.

Unless the proposed definition is used, the following rules need to be modified: 3.A.28.,   3.A.46.,   4.A.6.,   4.A.7.,   4.A.8.a.,   4.B.6.f.,  4.L.,   4.M.,   4.M.11.,  4.N.1.,   6.B.,   6.D.1.,   6.D.2.,   7.A.,   11.L.5.b.,   11.L.5.c.,   13.C.1.  because they are not aligned with the current definition, rather, they are only correct with the proposed definition.

If the proposed definition is accepted, then 4.A.2 needs to be changed from 'The moment the ball is served:' to 'The moment of the initial strike of the ball during the serve:'


Scenarios In Which the Rules Applies

The Don Stanley video on Rule 4.A.3 on the serve and where you can stand at various times before, during and after the serve. He clearly explains that the serve, as currently defined, is the ’initial strike of the ball' or 'split second’ or 'instant pop’, nothing before and nothing afterwards.  By Don’s explanation, to state that a serve hit the net, or a serve is in, or a serve is out, is inaccurate because, as defined, it would be physically impossible!

Using the existing definition, there would be no such thing as a short serve (unless you are referring to time opposed to where a served ball lands), or a serve in the kitchen (one has to refer to a served ball in the kitchen) and etc.

I know the reason for the existing definition is for timing rules associated with the initial strike of the ball that starts the rally, but when the serve definition was changed, we lost the true definition of what a serve is.



Upload Any Supporting DocumentationServe-Definition-Issue-June-2021.docx
Rule Book Year2022
Rule Change ID145
Date CreatedJune 25, 2021
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