Rule Change Process

Rule Submission TitleVolley Serving rule to discard please
USAP Board Vote ReasonFailed
USAP Rules Committee Vote ReasonFailed. 1) We would want to see some type of study about the potential impact of allowing the paddle head to be above the wrist. 2) We have no evidence of how players might take advantage of removing this restriction. 3) Removing it would not significantly make a referee's job easier when trying to identify an invalid serve
Existing Rule #4.A.4
Proposed Rule Change

Eliminate/delete this requirement/rule.

Original Rule Text

The highest point of the paddle head must not be above the highest part of the wrist (where the wrist joint bends) when it strikes the ball.

Reasoning Behind Suggested Change

Now that the drop serve is legal (and I firmly believe it should remain so), we can see that the drop “slap” serve where the paddle is above the break in the wrist does not make a significant difference in the serve.  Any spin, depth, etc applied by the drop slap serve can be legally duplicated by the volley server.

As an official, it is next to impossible to determine this relationship when it is borderline.  The speed of the wrist snap of the serve is too fast.  In addition to the wrist snap, you need to listen to the contact of the ball on the paddle while watching the wrist position.  The speed of the serving motion at contact makes this call impossible in real time.

As an official last week at the USOpen, I observed several pro and amateur volley serves that were borderline and just one amateur player for whom it was obvious (plus she served above the waist).

I would have required a slow mo frame by frame analysis to confirm a correct call.

Therefore I believe that rule 4.A.4 should be eliminated — as long as the below the waist and upward motion (which can be 0.10 degree below horizontal) should be retained.

Scenarios In Which the Rules Applies

All volley serves.

Rule Book Year2023
Rule Change ID428
Date CreatedMay 31, 2022
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