We don’t want anyone to be confused. I am not Bill Maher and this is not HBO. However, we are here to report on pickleball’s new rules.
This will be the first in a series of posts regarding pickleball’s new rules. As our sport and its governing organizations have matured, there have been many revisions to the rules. In prior years, it seemed that rules were being added or revised on a nearly monthly basis. As a referee, I felt compelled to review the rules before each tournament fearing that I might have missed something.
I, for one, am very pleased that the USAPA took the time and created a process by which the rules were more formally reviewed this year. I suspect it took a bit longer than anyone expected, but we need to acknowledge that with growth comes an increasing number of stakeholders to be considered.
Sanctioned Tournament Format
The USAPA included a Major Rules Revision document on their website. This is certainly helpful and appreciated, but don’t assume this is all you need to read. When I reviewed only this document I erroneously jumped to the conclusion that the USAPA had changed sanctioned tournament formats from double-elimination format to single elimination with consolation.
12.C.1. Single Elimination with Consolation. The first player or team to score the match-winning point by at least a 2-point margin wins. Losers from all rounds go into a consolation bracket playing for the bronze medal/third place and are eliminated after a second loss. The final two players or teams in the winners bracket play for the gold/first-place and silver/second-place medals.
The format described above is what is used at the US Open. Though I recognize this approach will enable Tournament Director’s to move things along; having come from the “loser’s bracket” to win Gold I am pleased to report that either format may be utilized in a sanctioned tournament. Of course, for smaller brackets, the Round Robin option continues to exist as well.
Clarification vs. New Rules
As you take the time to read the new rules, please keep one thing in mind. The changes are not significant, nor was that the intent. In fact, the intent was to improve the clarity of the rule book…to add more specificity and exactness. We have already begun to read posts on various forums or Facebook groups suggesting major rule revisions. For example, one person posted a video of a pickleball serve asking if this was “still legal”. If you review Section 4 of the rulebook carefully you will find a legal serve (forehand or backhand) is still legal. Keep the paddle below your wrist, strike the ball in an upward motion and make contact below your waist….the USAPA has simply clarified the rule.
Read Pickleball’s New Rules
Please keep in mind, pickleball’s new rules take effect tomorrow! Some rules have changed, so grab your favorite beverage and start reading. Next week we’ll continue this series and provide a complete review of the changes to the service rules. If you have questions about this or any other items, please contact us and we will work to ensure they are addressed promptly and correctly.