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11/22/2021

New Pickleball Rules for 2022

What’s on the Menu? 

Every year, USA Pickleball and the IFP Rules Committee deliberate on potential rule changes for the following year. This year, over 70 potential new rule changes were submitted to USA Pickleball for review, to be voted on, and potentially implemented starting January 1, 2022.

What’s on the menu, you ask? 

We won’t go through all 70+ proposals, but some of the most-notable recommendations were: 

  1. Spin Serve (More commonly known as the ‘Chainsaw Serve’ and made famous by  Zane Navratil and Morgan Evans.) 
  2. Rally Scoring (A player or team can score even when returning a serve.) 
  3. The Drop Serve (Alternative serve option where the server can drop and bounce the ball with an extended arm above their head.) 
  4. No Earbuds While Playing
  5. Starting Games and Matches at 0-0-1 (As opposed to 0-0-2.)

Alright, so what’s the deal? Which rules passed that will affect everyday game play? Well, in our opinion, there are two that passed, and one that didn’t that will have an effect on all players. (Spoiler alert! The Chainsaw Serve, Rally Scoring, and The Drop Serve.)

The Long Awaited Results...

Spin Serve (Chainsaw Serve)

Result: Passed

 A player is no longer allowed to spin the ball on their paddle before hitting the serve. 

Rally Scoring

Result: Failed 

Traditional scoring will remain in place for 2022. 

The Drop Serve 

Result: Passed

Since the provisional rule was approved for 2021, players will continue to be able to extend their arm over their head, drop the ball with no downward force, and hit the ball after bouncing once. 

Additional Results…

No Earbuds While Playing

Result: Passed 

A player will no longer be allowed to wear earbuds or headphones during sanctioned tournament play. 

Starting Games at 0-0-1. 

Result: Failed

Games will continue to start at 0-0-2 as they did in previous years. 

If you’d like to see a full list of what was proposed, passed, voted on and failed, and not voted on at all, you can find it here, on USA Pickleball’s website. 

How Are Changes Submitted and Who Can Submit Change Requests?  

The rule changing process is long, thorough, and transparent, as you would expect from USA Pickleball. Here’s a quick, basic rundown of how it works. 

  1. Members submit recommendations via USA Pickleball in the early part of each year.
  2. The public comments on each rule submitted. The goal is to get a general feeling and larger group’s perspective on the proposed changes.
  3. Proposed rule changes and public comments are submitted to the IFP Rules Committee.

From there, the IFP Rules Committee alongside the USA Pickleball Rules Committee vote on the proposed changes. Once the IFP completes their voting, they share all of the results on USA Pickleball’s website. After that, the Rules Revision Committee begins writing the rules. 

If you’d like to see the full rule book revision process from A to Z, click here to view USA Pickleball’s website. 

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