Whether you are one of the new picklers just jumping on the bandwagon or are a seasoned player who has been with the sport of pickleball since its inception, you know you gotta follow the rules.
Pickleball is a newer sport, and the rules of the game are up for review every year. Players need to pay attention and adopt the recent guidelines as they are published.
The Paseo Club is a social club that provides fitness, tennis, swimming, and pickleball facilities for the Santa Clarita Valley. Our pickleball department is staffed by pros who lead drills, leagues, and tournaments.
In this article, you will learn the 2023 pickleball rule updates, a theory about what to expect for 2024, and a few handy reminders about pickleball etiquette. Read on!
A brief history of pickleball
For the uninitiated, pickleball was invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington by three middle-aged dads. Since then, it has become the fastest-growing sport in the US, with over 36.5 million pickleball players as of 2022.
Players describe pickleball as a combination of tennis, ping-pong, and badminton. It is played on a smaller court and with two or four players. Learning the game is relatively easy, making it fun for people of all ages.
Although it initially caught on with people in their fifties and sixties, the fastest-growing demographic is now players 21 and younger.
The 4 new rules for pickleball in 2023
There are four rule changes that pickleball players need to be aware of.
Do not dress in the same color as your ball. This is considered a distraction and can affect tracking the ball in play. A player who does not follow this rule may be asked to change their apparel.
Equipment timeouts are now separate from team timeouts. That means when you need a time out due to an issue with equipment, it does not affect the allotted time out that your team has.
Illegal service motions may need to be replayed in refereed events. Players cannot make this call.
The spin or chainsaw serve is no longer allowed. This change may be the most significant in 2023.
Under this rule, a server may not spin the ball when it is released. However, a player may create a topspin or slice with the paddle while serving. If the server does make a prohibited spin serve, the player does not lose the serve. Instead, the player is allowed to re-serve.
USA Pickleball created this change for several reasons:
Not everyone can master the spin serve, which is considered unfair.
Injuries were occurring more frequently for the returner with the limited space on the court.
Too many people were winning games based on serving, which hurts the game at its core.
What is an anticipated change in pickleball in 2024?
One possible rule change that has been floating around relates to scoring.
Currently, points can be scored by the serving team only. The proposed change is to move pickleball to rally scoring. This would mean that every point made would be awarded to a team. The one exception would be the final point, which would need to be won by the serving team.
Rally scoring is a different way of keeping score that may be easier for new players learning the sport. It can also help players approximate the length of a game is going to take.
Big changes like this, however, usually can create a lot of pushback from existing players. We will have to wait to see what comes of this.
What are some final tips for pickleball players new to the sport?
Pickleball is a social sport and a great way to meet other players and make friends. To put your best foot forward, make sure to practice good pickleball etiquette.
Call the ball on
Safe ball retrieval
Respect opponents' line calls
Respect all players and the courts
Safe movement between or through courts
How to get involved with pickleball at the Paseo Club
Jen Azevedo is a person of many talents. She is a tennis professional, pickleball professional, personal trainer, group exercise instructor, and the general manager of the Paseo Club. She loves the community at the Paseo Club and that it is also a safe and fun place for her daughter. Jen’s favorite activities are joining her tribe for trail races or her partners for tennis matches. Occasionally Jen slows down to relax with a book — she reads over 100 a year!