Rule Submission TitlePaddle and Clothing Colors
Rule Book Year2022
Date CreatedJune 25, 2021
Rule Change ID127
Existing Rule #2.E.2a and 2.G.1
Original Rule Text

2.E.2.a. Reflection. The paddle’s hitting surface
shall not be adversely reflective, such that
it has the potential to negatively affect the
vision of opposing player(s).

2.G.1. Safety and Distraction. A player may be required to
change garments that are inappropriate.

Proposed Rule Change

2.E.2.a Reflection and Color. The paddle’s hitting surface
shall not be adversely reflective, nor shall more than 10% of its surface area be a color that closely matches the color of the ball(s) used for any given tournament, such that it has the potential to negatively affect the vision of the ball by the opposing player(s). Tournament directors should, but are not required to, announce well ahead of the start of any given tournament the color(s) of the ball(s) that shall be used.

 

2.G.1 Safety and Distraction. A player may be required to change garments that are inappropriate or closely match the color(s) of the ball. Tournament directors should, but are not require to, announce well ahead of the start of any given tournament the color(s) of the ball(s) that shall be used. It shall be the individual player's responsibility to have a change of clothing, if necessary should the referee of tournament director request a change.

 

In this regard yellow, green and neon yellow and green shall be consider close matchesit has the potential to negatively affect the
vision of opposing player(s).No individual article of clothing nor the paddle face, edge guard or handle may have more than 10% of its total surface area closing matching the color of the ball.  This is in part a question of good sportsmanship as wearing clothing or using a paddle which closely matches the color of the ball makes the ball more difficult to see and represents an unfair advantage. This is also a safety issue as clothing or paddles that prevent ready visualization of the ball may prevent an opposing player from seeing that a forcefully struck ball is heading towards their body or face with the resultant increased risk of injury. The only exception is when a white ball is used (as white is such a common color for shoes, paddles and clothing).  Tournament directors should announce or publish ahead of any given tournament the color(s) of pickleballs that will be used for the games. It shall however be the individual player's responsibility to have either a change of clothes or a different paddle to use should the ball color prove to to be a close match to their personal items. For the sake of this rule, yellow, neon green and pale green shall all be considered close matches in color. It shall ultimately be up to the referee or tournament director to decide if there is a failure by any player to abide by this rule.

Reasoning Behind Suggested Change

It is widely recognized by most advanced tournament players that wearing clothing or using a paddle with a significant amount of its surface area similar to the color of the ball represents an unfair advantage and also a potential safety risk as it makes the ball difficult to see. Despite this many players, in my experience particularly intermediate players, use this to their advantage. I have seen players whose entire wardrobe from shoes, to socks, to shorts, to shirt and hat all are virtually identical to the color of the ball. And I believe all players recognize that having a significant portion or the paddle face that matches the ball represents an unfair and dangerous advantage as one loses the sight of the ball and therefore the opposing player may not see a strongly struck ball it in time to avoid being hit in the body, eye, face or neck. The proposed common sense rule changes will prevent such unsportsmanlike and unfair behaviors from continuing.

Scenarios In Which the Rules Applies

Tournament play and also encouraged for competitive recreational play. Ultimately the referee or the tournament director shall have the right to determine if a player is in violation of these rules on their own or when requested by opposing players. In terms of these suggested changes to the rules, I believe yellow, green, pale yellow, pale green and neon yellow and green should all be considered close color matches. Potentially the only exception should be when a white ball is chosen for tournament (or recreational) play as white is so common for paddles, clothing, hats and shoes.

IFP Voting StatusAverage: 0.1 Detail:1,0,0,0,0,0,0
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