Raymond H. Goettsch
This is the time of year when pickleball players make suggestions for rule changes to USA Pickleball for 2024. Approximately 100 proposed changes can be found on rules.usapickleball.org/entry, and comments can be made regarding these proposed changes.
Probably the most important proposed change is to make the volley serve illegal and the drop serve as the only option for a legal serve. The rationale for this dramatic change is the claim that a volley serve can too easily violate the standards for that serve without being called. By contrast, it is argued that the drop serve is easy to learn, more straightforward, and not subject to manipulation.
The volley serve itself is the subject of another proposed rule change. The current rule (4.A.7.) imposes three requirements for a legal volley serve: The serve must have an upward arc, the highest point of the paddle must not be above the highest part of the wrist, and the contact between the paddle and the ball must not be above the waist. The proposed new rule would eliminate the first two requirements, and the only requirement would be that the contact must not be above the waist.
Another significant proposed rule change is to have only rally scoring for singles and doubles pickleball games. Under this proposal, if the receiver(s) in a doubles game earn a point, the receivers change positions, as they would if they were servers who won a point.
The size of the non-volley zone (“the kitchen”) is the subject of another proposed rule. This proposal would change the current size of 7 feet to 8 feet.
Line calls are the subject of several rule change proposals. One proposed change to Rule 6.D.8. states that in an unofficiated game, an “out” call believed to be incorrect may be appealed to the partner of the call-making player. If the partner disagrees with the “out” call, the ball is “in.”
Under another proposal, after the completion of a rally, a player may overrule a partner’s “out” line call or an opponent’s “in” line call to the overruling player’s disadvantage.
Blocking the server’s view is the subject of another proposed rule (4/B.7.) change. This proposal states that the receiver’s partner may not block the server’s view of any portion of the receiving court to which the serve is directed. The proposal further provides that the receiver’s partner must move if asked by the server.
A lesser significant proposed change to the rules relates to safety. Under this proposal, a player may be required to change attire that is not customarily socially acceptable as reasonable court attire, including attire that approximates the color of the ball. Currently, this rule (2.G.1.) only applies to attire that approximates the color of the ball.
The color of the pickleball is also the subject of a proposed rule. Under this proposal, outdoor balls must be a shade of yellow, and indoor balls must be a shade of orange.