Rule Submission TitleEliminating Out of Position Faults and Minimizing Incorrect Score Call Occurences
USAP Board Voting StatusFailed
USAP Rules Committee Voting StatusFailed. Part 1) Change referee score calling process: Failed. Too cumbersome Part 2) Allow the referee to change player positions: Failed. This is part of the mental game. Players may ask questions to help them not fault. It would be referee coaching. Part 3) Allow a good faith rally to stand. Failed. This would allow an incorrectly formatted rally ( server/receiver) to stand. The error would be a fault if the referee caught it, but not if they didnt? Part 4) Non - officiated match score calling procedure. Failed. Reason: The server is supposed to wait until the receiver is ready. Receivers have clear not-ready signals to slow down quick servers, if they get caught by one. Receivers can claim non-readiness.
Existing Rule #4.B, 4.D, 4.M, 4.N
Proposed Rule Change

Existing:

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).

 

Removed: 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).

 

Existing: 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 operations 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.

 

Revised: 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 players are considered to have played the rally in good faith and the rally stands as played.  offending team can be faulted until the next serve occurs or prior to the scoresheet being returned to the tournament operations 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.

 

Existing: 4.D. Calling the Score. The score shall be called after the server and receiver are (or should be) in position and all players are (or should be) ready to play.

4.D.1. In non-officiated play, the server normally calls the score, but the server’s partner may call the score if the server is unable to call the score. The person calling the score shall not change during the game unless there is a voice impairment.

 

Revised: 4.D. Calling the Score. The score shall be called after the server and receiver are (or should be) in position and all players are (or should be) ready to play.

 

4.D.1. In non-officiated play, the server normally calls the score, but the server’s partner may call the score if the server is unable to call the score. The person calling the score shall not change during the game unless there is a voice impairment.

 

New: 4.D.2 In non-officiated play, the correct server will take possession of the ball, call the score and obtain an acknowledgement from the correct receiver that a) the receiver and server are correct and in the correct positions and b) the score called by the server (or partner) is correct.  If any errors of position remain after the serve is made, they will remain uncorrected.  The rally will be played out with the players in those positions and the result of the rally will stand as played.  If the rally is stopped for a valid reason, such as a hindrance, any mispositioned players can be corrected prior to the recalling of the score without penalty.  The score will be updated to reflect the just-concluded rally and play shall continue with any corrections made for the upcoming rally.

 

New: 4.D.2.a  In non-officiated play, the serving team and receiving team will provide each other with the type of visual and/or verbal acknowledgement they will give to satisfy the requirements in 4.D.2   Once provided, it can only be changed with agreement of both teams.  Such acknowledgement can take the form of an observable hand wave, thumbs up, "ok" (thumb and finger circle) signal, head nod, or audible signal such as "got it", "yes", "correct", "all good" or other similar agreed upon gesture or words.

 

New 4.D.3 In officiated play, the referee shall call the score twice.  The first score will be called immediately after the referee states either "point', "second server (serve)", or "side out".  This will give each team an opportunity to determine what position they should be in for the upcoming serve and to confirm that the referee called the correct score.  The referee will call the score a second time after correcting any errors in player position or score and then when the players are or should be ready, in accordance with 4.D.

 

New 4.D.3.a Before calling the score the second time, the referee and players will check player positions and make any corrections needed to verify:  a) the correct server is about to serve the ball from the correct position and, b) the correct receiver is in the correct position to receive the serve.  If any errors of position remain after the serve is made, they will remain uncorrected.  The rally will be played out with the players in those positions and the result of the rally will stand as played.  If the rally is stopped for a valid reason, such as a hindrance, any mispositioned players can be corrected prior to recalling the score, without penalty.  The score will be updated to reflect the just-concluded rally and play shall continue with any corrections made for the upcoming rally.

 

Existing 4.K: Wrong Score Called. If the server or referee calls the wrong score, once the serve is made, play shall continue to the end of the rally and the correction made before the next serve. After the serve is made, a player who stops play based solely on an incorrect score call, will have committed a fault and shall lose the rally.

 

Revised 4.K: Wrong Score Called. If the server or referee calls the wrong score, once the serve is made, play shall continue to the end of the rally, unless there is a valid hindrance. and the correction made before the next serve. After the serve is made, a player who stops play based solely on an incorrect score call, other than for a valid hindrance will have committed a fault and shall lose the rally.

 

Existing 4.M. Service Faults. During the service, it is a fault against the server resulting in loss of serve if:

4.M.1. The server serves from the incorrect serving area.

4.M.2. The incorrect player serves the ball.

 

Revised 4.M. Service Faults. During the service, it is a fault against the server resulting in loss of serve if:

4.M.1. The server serves from the incorrect serving area.

4.M.2. The incorrect player serves the ball.

 

Existing 4.N. Receiver Faults. It is a fault against the receiving team resulting in a point for the server if:

4.N.1. The incorrect player returns the serve.

 

Revised 4.N. Receiver Faults. It is a fault against the receiving team resulting in a point for the server if:

4.N.1. The incorrect player returns the serve.

Original Rule Text

The objective of the changes below is to eliminate out of position faults and make it easier for players and referees to identify and catch score and position errors prior to the ball being served.

What follows also eliminates sources of conflicts between players and opponents or players and referees.  It is also consistent with the desire to score points as the result of game strategy and player paddle/ball skills in lieu of administrative error.  The changes suggested below still require players to be in the correct positions but they also allow players time to recognize when their opponents (non-officiated matches) and referees (officiated) have called an incorrect score or that their opponents are in the incorrect position prior to the serve being made.

In summary, nothing in what follows changes where the correct server and receiver should be based on their score, but what the reader will see is that now:

  1. In non-officiated matches, the correct server will take possession of the ball and call the score (unless their partner calls the score).  After obtaining a visual or verbal acknowledgement from the correct receiver that a) the receiver and server are correct and in the correct positions and b) the score called by the server (or partner) is correct, the server will serve the ball.  This eliminates the detrimental effect of a team calling the score and quickly serving, thereby improving the chance the receiver can correct either an incorrect position or score before the serve.
  2. Prior to the start of a non-officiated match, the serving team and receiving team will provide each other with the type verbal or visual acknowledgement they will give each other to satisfy the requirements of 1, above.   Once provided, it can only be changed with agreement of both teams.  This will minimize any chance of miscommunication.  Such acknowledgement can take the form of a discernible hand wave, thumbs up, "ok" (thumb and finger circle) signal, head nod, or words such as "got it", "yes", "correct", "all good" or other similar agreed upon gesture or words.
  3. For officiated matches, the referee will call the score twice.  The first time will be immediately after stating either "point', "second server (or serve)", or "side out".  This will give each team an opportunity to determine what position they should be in for the upcoming serve and to confirm that the referee called the correct score.  The second time the referee calls the score is when the players are or should be ready, just as is the case today.
  4. Before calling the score the second time, the referee and players will check player positions and make any corrections needed to make sure:  a) the correct server is about to serve the ball from the correct position and, b) the correct receiver is in the correct position to receive the serve.  The time between the first and second score call allows all four players and the referee to verify players are in the correct positions.  Again, the players and referee will identify any errors and corrected them prior to the serve.  If any errors of position remain after the serve is made, then they will remain uncorrected.  The rally will be played out with the players in those positions.
  5. Despite these precautions, mistakes might still occur.  After the serve occurs, play shall not be stopped for any reason other than a valid hindrance.  If the rally is stopped for a valid reason, such as a hindrance, any mispositioned players can be corrected prior to recalling the score, without penalty.
  6.  If someone does, however, stop play after the serve for any non-valid reason, it is a fault.  Since all players had an opportunity to correct any errors prior to the server  calling the score, the players are considered to have played the rally in good faith and the rally, as played, will stand.  If any corrections need to be made for the upcoming serve, they take place before the next serve.  But, the results of the previous rally shall stand.   If a player interupts play (score call) before the serve is made to ask a question, this will be considered to have been done in good faith and the opponent or referee will respond accordingly and recall the score.  Even if the player is incorrect, the referee (or opponent) will confirm or correct any errors and recall the score without penalty.  But, once the serve has been made, play will continue until the end of the rally, unless there is a valid hindrance.
Reasoning Behind Suggested Change

See first section

Rule Book Year2023
Rule Change ID536
Date CreatedJune 24, 2022
View Comments View Comments