Rule Changes

Please take immediate note of the following rulebook changes.  These changes are effective Monday, August 14, 2023.


Add new rules:

4.B.11. The referee will confirm, and correct, if necessary, that all players are in the correct position and the correct server has the ball before calling the score.


4.B.11.1. If the referee or a player stops a rally in progress to correctly identify a player/position error, the rally shall be replayed. If a player stops a rally and incorrectly identifies a player/position error, it is a fault on the player who stopped the rally. If the referee stops a rally in progress and incorrectly identifies a player/position error, the replay shall be replayed.


4.B.11.2. If a player/position error is identified after the rally has played out, the rally shall stand.


Delete existing rule:

4.B.9. When an incorrect player serves or receives, or a player serves from an incorrect position, the referee will immediately stop play and identify the fault(s).


Delete existing rule:

4.B.10. Incorrect Player or Position. When an incorrect server or player position is discovered after a rally, game, or match has ended, the offending team can be faulted until the next serve occurs or prior to the scoresheet being returned to the tournament operation’s desk. A point scored during the rally by the offending team will not count. Any previous points scored by the incorrect server or with players in the incorrect positions will stand. After a match is completed, an incorrect player or position error may not be corrected after the scoresheet has been returned to tournament operations personnel.


Delete existing rule:

4.M.1. The server serves from the incorrect serving area.


Delete existing rule:

4.M.2. The incorrect player serves the ball.


Delete existing rule:

4.N.1. The incorrect player returns the serve.


Revise existing rule:

8.E. Other than non-volley zone violations, a fault may only be committed when the ball is live. The penalty for a fault (other than non-volley zone faults) is normally enforced the moment it is identified (e.g., incorrect player/position, distractions, double bounces, etc.) but may also be enforced any time before the next serve occurs.


Revise existing rule:

13.G.3.c. If a referee issues a technical foul, one point shall be removed from the score of the offending player/team unless their score is zero, in which case a point shall be added to the score of the opposing side. After the point is removed or awarded, the player or team losing or awarded the point must move on their own to the correct position(s) that reflects their score.



For those of you that have a paper copy of the 2023 rulebook, please make the necessary pen and ink changes as illustrated above.  The online rulebook will also be amended and a mid-year rule change summary document, reflecting all of the approved revisions, will be posted next week on the USA Pickleball website.


Referees – as one of you, I understand this particular revision will be the subject of much discussion within our community.  Once the public announcement is made, social media will undoubtedly find this change, as well as the other mid-year revisions, fodder for opinionated discussion.  I simply ask that you please refrain from such social media entanglements.  Let’s keep our discussion on a professional level among other professional referees.  If you have questions, please contact your area CRC, RTC, or you can email me.



George McCulley | Managing Director of Officiating

USA Pickleball
5350 East Marriott Dr. | Phoenix, Arizona 85054-6147
Tel: 501.416.6177