Pickleball Rules (USAPA) And Changes to Learn in 2022

Pickleball Rules (USAPA) And Changes to Learn in 2022

Ever since the conception of pickleball sport, a lot has changed and improved. And in 2022, a series of changes in pickleball rules were proposed to the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA). Interestingly, pickleball players played a huge part in developing these changes.

In this article, we will discuss pickleball rules and the changes you have to learn this 2022. Also, we will be discussing a brief overview of the USAPA and its role in the growth of pickleball in the country.

Let’s get started!

What Does USAPA Stand For In Pickleball?

It’s no wonder you’ve heard about USAPA somewhere in your pickleball journey. And you might have wondered— what does it stand for, and what’s its role in the sport?

USAPA stands for USA Pickleball Association. USAPA, together with the International Federation of Pickleball, is responsible for ensuring the growth and advancement of pickleball locally and internationally. They are the governing body of pickleball which is also responsible for interpreting the rules and regulations.

In 1984, the first official pickleball rulebook was published by the USAPA. Meanwhile, in 2010, IFP released its own version of the rulebook adopting the 1984 version of the USAPA. It was later amended in 2020.

This 2022, there are several rules were also amended and added by the organization. As part of the process, the pickleball players have been given a chance to submit their own changes to the board. The organization analyzed the submitted changes and later decided which suggestions should be approved.

How Many Suggestions Were Up For Consideration In 2022?

The USAPA has consolidated a total of 71 suggestions from the public. Among these suggestions, 33 were recommended for final approval by the board. In the end, the organization approved a total of 18 changes. The remaining suggestions were officially dismissed.

What Are The 5 Basic Rules Of Pickleball?

Before we learn the changes that will occur this 2022, let us first discuss the 5 basic rules of pickleball. These basic rules will help you understand the changes discussed below. Hence, make sure to thoroughly read this section and remember all of the rules by heart.

Pickleball Rule #1: The ball must always stay inbounds.

Like any other sport played on a court, your serves and hits must always stay within the lines of the court. If your serve or hit went out of bounce, it would be considered a fault. This puts you or your partner at a disadvantage.

Pickleball Rule #2: The ball should bounce first on each side of the court.

This part is a bit tricky, so if you’re starting to play the game, take notes. If you’re the server, the ball must bounce once before reaching the other side. The receiving opponent should also let the ball bounce once before returning it. 

Now, when you have served, and the ball is returned to your side, both sides can already hit the ball in the air even if it hasn’t bounced yet. This is called a volley or hitting the ball before it even bounces off the surface.

Pickleball Rule #3: You must perform the serve in the baseline.

In pickleball, there is a series of rules when it comes to serving. However, the most important one is that you perform it at the baseline. Keep in mind that one foot should be behind it while serving.

Also, all services must be made underhand. The ball should be held below the waistline while doing the serve. It should be served diagonally to the other side of the court. Any violation of these rules would be an automatic fault.

Pickleball Rule #4: The service should not land in the kitchen.

Primarily, the kitchen zone is a 7-foot area extending from both sides of the net where the players cannot hit the ball. No player, or any part of his body and clothing, shall hit a volley when they are in the kitchen zone.

If you serve the ball in the kitchen zone, the service will be automatically lost. But after the serve, you can already drop the ball in the no-valley zone.

Pickleball Rule #5: The game will end at 11 or 15 points.

Most traditional pickleball games end when a player/team has already reached the 11-point mark. However, that player or team shall win by 2 points. Hence, a deuce shall be declared if you’re already at your 11th point and your opponent is at their 10th.

Some games would also end in 15 points. It will depend on the organization governing the tournament and how many points shall be won. Some tournament matches would even end at 21 points.

What Are The New Pickleball Rules For 2022?

Now that you’re already familiar with the basic pickleball rules, we can discuss the notable changes in the official pickleball rules that took effect last January 1, 2022. In this section, we will be discussing 10 changes. They are:

1. Drops serves are no longer considered provisional

Before this change was applied, drop serves were considered provisional only. Starting from January 1, 2022, this serve will be a permanent option for pickleball players. With this as an addition to official serves, players can now create new experiments in their services, especially if they find it difficult to do in traditional serves.

2. Rally scoring is rejected

Starting this 2022, the serving team will only score points. For sure, many traditional players will be delighted that rally scoring is rejected!

3. Official scoring to start remains 0-0-2

The scoring nomenclature will remain at 0-0-2 despite many pickleball players suggesting a 0-0-Start. 

4. Still no lets in serves

Many pickleball players suggest reinstating the let serve. However, this 2022, the service is still considered good even if it hit the net and went over the correct court, but it still should be beyond the kitchen zone. It is expected that many players will still propose to reinstate serve lets in the future.

5. Chainsaw serving is banned

As you may have noticed, most changes in the 2022 update are about serves. And among these changes is the banning of the chainsaw service. Now, players can only toss the ball using their hand that does not hold the paddle. If players cannot use it, then that’s the only time they are permitted to use their paddle hand.

In doing the serve, you cannot make a spin using your paddle or the paddle hand. However, you can do a spin using your non-paddle hand. With this new rule, many players would utilize one-hand spins, so watch for this kind of service.

6. The ball should be a hundred percent visible.

The ball should have 100% visibility from the moment the server serves it until it reaches the corresponding side of the opponent’s court. A replay may be utilized in this matter.

7. You should keep playing even when a wrong call on the score was made.

You will be at fault if you ever interrupt the play after the server did the service because of a wrong score call. In case of a wrong score call, you should wait until the end of the rally and before the next server serves for the correction.

8. You can bring extra balls with you on the court.

As long as the other player cannot see the extra balls you carry, you are permitted to bring them, even in your pocket. However, it would be best if you were extra careful because a fault will be called when a ball drops while there is a rally.

9. Tunes are prohibited in court

In 2022 pickleball matches, headphones or earphones will not be allowed on the court. However, if you have to wear a hearing aid that is professionally prescribed to you, then it would be allowed. As a general rule, no music will be permitted in 2022 matches. 

However, if you’re playing for fun with your friends, playing with music is definitely allowed.

10. Rules about referees and players

The recent changes in the official USAPA pickleball rulebook also include updates on the player’s and referees’ interactions. This involves when fouls should be awarded, the issuance of referee’s verbal warnings, and what questions the players should be allowed only to ask the official referees.

Final Thoughts

Pickleball is a fun sport with rules and regulations that need to follow. Rules are made to ensure that every player is given fairness and protection all the time. Rules also add a little spice to the overall pickleball gameplay.

Being mindful of the rule updates is important, especially if you are a professional player. If you aspire to be an official referee, the knowledge and understanding of these rules are basic requirements for you. 

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