Understanding the 2024 Pickleball Rule Changes
Here is the updated 2024 pickleball rule book. If you are a new player, veteran player, tournament player, or anything in between, this is for you! There are a few notable changes for 2024.
Incorrect Servers, Receivers, and Player Positions
In last year’s rule changes, players were told to ask “Am I good?” to clarify their position or server status to avoid incorrect server/returner error faults.
Now, faults for incorrect servers, receivers, or wrongful player positions are eliminated.
If a rally in progress is stopped to correctly identify a player/position error, the rally shall be replayed. If a player/position error is identified after the rally has played out, the rally shall stand.
In tournament play, the ref is now responsible for correcting any player errors before calling the score.
Here is the exact rule.
Correcting Server, Receiver, and Player Position Errors (4.B.9)
Faults for incorrect server, incorrect receiver, and player position errors are eliminated. The referee will now correct any such player errors before calling the score. Rule 4.B.9 is the primary rule text. Several other rules have been modified or deleted to correlate with this change.
Deciphering the Carry and Double-Hit Rules in Pickleball
This change essentially removes the responsibility from a ref to determine if a player intended to carry the ball on a paddle. If a carry occurs, it’s an automatic fault.
Wait, what’s the difference between a carry and a double-hit, you ask? Good question:
• A “carry” means hitting the ball in such a way that it does not bounce away from the paddle but is carried along on the face of the paddle.
• A “double hit” is legally fine if the player hits the ball twice in a continuous, single-direction stroke. If they hit it twice with more intention, it’s a fault.
Here is the exact rule.
Catch or Carry Ball on the Paddle (7.L)
Rule 7.L now makes catching or carrying a ball on the paddle a fault without having to determine that the catch or carry was deliberately done.
Replay of Point
Draping Net (2.C.6/11.L.5.b)
Rule 2.C.6 called for a replay when a ball goes over the net and hits a net that is draped on the ground (except on a serve) but only if the referee determined that the ball was affected by the draped net. This rule, and Rule 11.L.5.b for temporary nets, now call for a replay without qualification. A determination that the ball was affected by the draped net is now not required in officiated or non-officiated play.
2.C.6. Draping Net. Except on the serve, a replay will occur if the ball goes over the net and hits a draping net on the ground.
11.L.5.b. Except on the serve, a replay will occur if the ball goes over the net and:
– hits the center base
– hits any part of the horizontal bar
– the ball gets caught between the net
and the horizontal bar
– hits a deflecting net
– hits a draping net on the ground
Except on the serve, if the ball goes over the net, bounces on the court, and then performs any of the above-listed actions, a replay shall occur.
Seeking to ensure a level playing field and prevent unfair advantages, the USAP has cracked down on paddles that enable players to manipulate the ball with excessive spin. The new rule targets specific paddle features like textured paints, rubber surfaces, and moving parts, all of which have been shown to significantly alter spin and impact gameplay.
Paddle Specifications (2.E.2/2.E.5.a/2.E.5.c)
Paddle specifications have been updated to address new and emerging paddle technology and features and to clarify the alterations that players are allowed to make to certified paddles.
There are three rules in particular that used for tournament or competitive play.
Conceding a Rally
Conceding a Rally (13.E.4/13.E.5)
Rule 13.E.5 calls for a replay when a player overrules to their detriment a line judge’s ‘out’ call as ‘in.’ The player or team may now choose to concede the rally to their opponent if they determine they would have been unable to return the ‘in’ ball.
Similarly, Rule 13.E.4 calls for a replay when the referee overturns a line judge’s out call as in. The player or team who benefitted from the referee’s ruling may now choose to concede the rally to their opponent if they determine they would have been unable to return the ‘in’ ball.
Medical Time-Outs (10.B.2.c)
A player is now allowed to use available standard time-outs after the 15-minute medical time-out has expired to allow more time before the player must retire from the match.
NOTE related to medical time-outs: Case 5-23 in the USAP Casebook establishes how and when a player can rescind a requested medical time-out, and that the medical time-out would not be charged to the player. The ruling has been revised to require that the requested medical time-out be charged to the player.
Mini-singles is currently an approved format. The specific rules governing mini-singles are now incorporated in the Rulebook.
Here are the rules as stated in the 2024 Pickleball Rule Book.
12.O.1 Court: Mini-singles is played on a standard pickleball court.
12.O.1.a An additional line shall be provided that extends the centerline of the court through each non-volley zone. The color of this line is not required to be the same as the other court lines.
12.O.1.b Only one of the two courts at a player’s end is “in play” during a rally. The court that is in play is determined by the required player position based on their score (i.e., the right [even] or the left [odd] court).
12.O.2 Players Positions
12.O.2.a Each player’s position is determined by their individual score. This applies at all times, whether the player is serving or receiving.
12.O.2.b When a player’s score is even, the player plays from the right (even) court and that is the court that is in play at that end. When the player’s score is odd, the player plays from the left (odd) court and that is the court that is in play at that end.
12.O.3 Boundary of the In-Play Courts
12.O.3.a Each player’s shot must land in bounds of the opponent’s court that is in play.
12.O.3.b The baseline and outer sideline determine two of the three boundaries of the in-play court.
12.O.3.c Because only one of the courts at an end is in play during a rally (i.e., either the right [even] court or the left [odd] court), the centerline of the court, including the portion that extends through the non-volley zone, serves as the other sideline of the in-play court.
Why You Should Have the New 2024 Pickleball Rule Book
Three reasons to access pickleball rules readily:
1. Settling Disputes and Maintaining Fairness:
- Instant clarification: Pickleball can get heated, especially in close calls. Having the rules readily accessible on your phone, printed, or bookmarked lets you quickly resolve disputes and maintain a fair, enjoyable game for everyone.
- Knowledge is power: Knowing the rules inside and out gives you confidence in your play and allows you to advocate for yourself and your team if needed.
2. Enhancing Your Game and Avoiding Penalties:
- Staying updated: Pickleball rules are constantly evolving. Having the latest rules at your fingertips ensures you’re playing by the current standards and avoiding penalties that could cost you points or even matches.
- Mastering the nuances: The rulebook includes subtle details that can elevate your play, like foot faults, serving requirements, and line calls. Easy access lets you quickly reference these nuances and refine your game.
3. Elevating Your Pickleball Reputation:
- Preparedness shows dedication: Bringing the rulebook to the court demonstrates your commitment to fair play and understanding the game. This earns respect from fellow players and organizers.
- Ready to help others: By having the rules handy, you can assist others with questions or unclear situations. This fosters a positive and supportive playing environment.
Ultimately, the choice between downloading, printing, or bookmarking depends on your preference. But having easy access to the rules is crucial for every pickleball player who wants to stay informed, fair, and competitive.
Bonus tip: Consider downloading the USA Pickleball app, which has the rulebook, court finder, and other useful features for pickleball enthusiasts! Or bookmark this link where a copy of the 2024 Pickleball Rule Book is located on the Z Sisters Pickleball website!