Referees and Rules Summary
! Please carefully read this important information in its entirety.
All 2023 USA Pickleball Rules Apply
Key points of the 2023 USA Pickleball rules are summarized below for your convenience. However, as a player, you are responsible for being familiar with the rules in their entirety.
MAJOR NEW RULES FOR 2023
- If your apparel color approximates the color of the ball, the Tournament Director may request you to change your apparel. Failure to comply with an apparel change request may result in the forfeit of your match. (Rules 2.G.1, 2.G.4)
- The server must use only one hand to release the ball to serve and must not spin the ball during its release. (Rule 4.A.5)
- If the referee is not certain that your serve complied with the service motion or ball release requirements, the referee may call for a re-serve. (Rules 4.A.9)
- The question “Am I good?” is considered to encapsulate “Am I the correct server or receiver and am I in the correct position?” (Rule 4.B.8)
- If the referee or the server calls the wrong score, you can stop play to challenge the score before the return of serve. Otherwise, the correction will be made at the end of the rally. (Rule 4.K)
- If you stop play after the serve is made and the score was called correctly, this is a fault against you.
- If you stop play after the serve is returned, this is a fault against you.
- Players must play with a USA Pickleball-approved paddle. You are responsible for ensuring that the paddle you play with is listed on the Approved Paddle List posted on the USA Pickleball website.
- Players are responsible for calling all the lines on their end of the court. However, in officiated matches, the referee is responsible for calling service foot faults, non-volley zone foot faults, and short serves. Please make all “out” calls loudly, clearly, and promptly,even if they are obvious. The Code of Ethics for Line Calling requires that you give the opponent the benefit of any doubt.
- You may ask the referee to make a ruling on any line call. The referee will only make a ruling if he/she clearly saw the ball land. Otherwise, the appealed call will stand.
- Starting server bands will be provided for doubles events and must be worn by each starting server so that is visible to the referee and the opponents. Failure to wear the band will result in a forfeit of the match.
- Referees, and servers in self-officiated matches, will make sure all players are ready (or should be ready) before calling the score.
- The server must not hit the ball to serve until after the entire score has been called. Serving while the score is being called (live ball) will result in a fault. Serving before the score call begins (dead ball) will result in a replay.
- After the score is called, the server has 10 seconds to serve the ball. Failure to do so will result in a fault.
- Before the serve is hit, players may ask the referee who is the correct server or receiver, whether they are in the correct position, or to confirm the score.
- In officiated matches, the referee will pay close attention that each player’s service motion complies with USA Pickleball requirements. The ball release must also be visible to the referee and the opponent.
For a volley serve, when the ball is hit:
- The server’s arm must be moving in an upward arc.
- The highest point of the paddle head must not be above the highest point of the server’s wrist.
- The ball must not be above the server’s waist.
- For a drop serve, the ball must be dropped from the hand or paddle, with no force added, from an unaided height.
- Any carry, or double hit, must be unintentional and be one continuous motion.
- Players may quickly hydrate and towel off between rallies within the flow of the game.
Before play begins for each match, the referee or a match starter will hold a briefing with all players to:
- Inspect player paddles.
- Inform players of the match format.
- Identify starting servers and ensure visibility of the starting server identification.
- Use a fair method for players to choose service and ends to start the match.
- Remind players to make loud, clear, and prompt calls. (Line calling responsibilities covered in #2 and #3 above so they are not required to be covered in the briefing.)
- Notify players of any court abnormalities and approved rule modifications.
- Review major rule changes for 2023.
- Answer questions about player instructions and rules.
- Allow players to warm up as time permits.