USA Pickleball has finalized and released the 2024 Official Rulebook. Twenty-seven rule changes and/or new rules were approved for 2024, and here are a handful that you should know about.
- Faults for incorrect server, incorrect receiver, and player position errors have been eliminated. In officiated tournament play, the referee will now correct any such player errors before calling the score. See Rule 4.B.9.
- The words “deliberately” and “unintentional” were removed in Rules 7.L (the carry rule) and 11.A (the double hit rule), respectively. As a result, a referee in officiated play no longer has to determine intent. Any carry is now a fault, whether it was deliberate or not. Note that a double hit is still permitted, as long as it happens in one, continuous motion.
- Rule 10.B.2.c (medical time-outs) allows an injured player to tack on any available remaining standard time-outs after the 15-minute medical time-out has expired. This is intended to allow the player more time before potentially having to retire from a match. The 2023 rule seemingly implied that an injured player would have to retire if they were not able to resume play after the 15-minute medical time out was over.
- Rule 13.L allows players in non-officiated play situations to request that a referee or Tournament Director make an official determination regarding whether an opponent’s paddle is legal for play.
- Rule 11.E has been amended to allow a replay of a completed rally in tournament play if a ball is cracked or broken and all players agree that the cracked or broken ball affected the outcome of the rally. No replay is provided merely because the ball is found to be damaged or “soft.” The ball can, however, be replaced.
- Although the rule has not changed yet, the USA Pickleball Board of Directors is considering potentially changing scoring from its current form to rally scoring. However, this new rule change is still in pending status, as the Board wants to collect more data before issuing a final decision.