LIST OF SUGGESTED PICKLEBALL RULE CHANGES FOR PREVIOUS YEARS

Rule Change Process

Rule Submission TitleDropped Ball
USAP Board VoteFailure Confirmed
USAP Rules Committee VoteFailed
USAP Rules Committee Vote ReasonThis is adequately addressed in the Officiating Handbook. It is not necessary to codify rare situations like this.
Existing Rule #7.N
Proposed Rule Change

7.N. In non-officiated matches, players may carry an additional pickleball(s) as long as the ball(s) is carried in a way that the ball(s) is not visible to their opponent(s) during play. If an additional ball that a player was carrying falls on the playing surface during play, a fault shall be declared.  In officiated matches, any dropped ball will result in a referee correction and replay.

Legislative format comparing the old and new rule.

7.N. In non-officiated matches, players may carry an additional pickleball(s) as long as the ball(s) is carried in a way that the ball(s) is not visible to their opponent(s) during play. If an additional ball that a player was carrying falls on the playing surface during play, a fault shall be declared. In officiated matches, any dropped ball will result in a referee correction and replay.

Original Rule Text

7.N. In non-officiated matches, players may carry an additional pickleball(s) as long as the ball(s) is carried in a way that the ball(s) is not visible to their opponent(s) during play. If an additional ball that a player was carrying falls on the playing surface during play, a fault shall be declared.

Reasoning Behind Suggested Change

Rule 7.N is worded for non-officiated matches only.  Without prior knowledge, anyone reading this rule would not realize that in officiated matches that a dropped ball will result in a referee correction and a replay (reference 2022 Change Document).

Scenarios In Which the Rules Applies

Scenario A: In a non-officiated match, a player is carrying an extra ball in their pocket. During a rally, the ball falls out of their pocket but lands out of bounds. The opponents claim a distraction fault but the player who dropped the ball states that since the ball landed out of bounds and not on the actual court, it is not a fault. The opponents are correct that a distraction fault has occurred.

Scenario B: During a rally, a ball falls out of a player’s pocket and lands out of bounds. The opponents claim a distraction fault has occurred. The referee calls a “referee correction” and calls for a replay. In this scenario, the referee should have ensured that all other balls were removed from play, even if the referee didn’t notice the extra ball prior to the start of the game.

Scenario C: The referee does not notice that a player is carrying an extra ball. During a live rally, the opponents are about to hit a hard shot to potentially end the rally. The referee then notices that a player deliberately reaches in their pocket and takes out a ball and lets it fall on the ground just prior to the opponents hitting their shot. The opponent’s shot is a winner, but the player who dropped the ball claims that this is a “referee correction” and a replay should occur. The referee determines that the player deliberately removed the ball and dropped it in an effort to cause a replay and prevent the loss of the rally. (A) The referee denies the request for a replay and calls a distraction fault on the player who dropped the ball; or, (B) The referee denies the request and lets the rally stand and issues a verbal or technical warning for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Rule Book Year2024
Rule Change ID878
Date CreatedMarch 3, 2023
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