In its annual review of the pickleball rules — the USAPA Rules Committee has published the 2019 USAPA/IFP Official Tournament Rulebook along with the 2019 Major Rulebook Revisions document which specifically outlines the significant pickleball rule changes from the previous (2018) version. These new rules go into effect February 15, 2019 and affect USAPA-sanctioned tournaments.
3 Pickleball Rule Changes in 2019 Worth Highlighting
Here is a just a sampling of some of the pickleball rule changes (changes from 2018) that go into effect on February 15, 2019.
- For those of you who like to identify your paddle with your John Hancock, you no longer have to worry about the legality of your signature. Rule #2.E.5.c now explicitly states that “Pen markings are allowed on the paddle playing surface as long as they do not impact the surface roughness and are in good taste.”
- In its previous (2018) version of the rulebook, the Rules Committee inexplicably created confusion on the legality of the serve by inserting section 3.A.36 which defined underhand (with respect to the serve) as “the player’s arm must be moving in a forward and upward arc with the palm turned upward or downward.” Palm turned upward or downward? Section 3.A.36 (from the 2018 version) has been removed!
- Rule # 6.D.7: “Do not call a ball “out” when you are looking across the line, unless you can clearly see a space between the line and the ball as it hits. The player’s depth-of-field judgment, based on the laws of parallax, prevents accurate judgment in these cases.” While this wasn’t a rule change from 2018, it’s still worth reiterating here in this blog post. Unless the call is “obvious,” if you are positioned in the right court and the ball is hit to your partner on the sideline in the left court, they have a much better angle in determining if the ball was in or out.
We would love to hear your feedback. What do you think of the pickleball rule changes?
Need More Pickleball Rules Clarifications & Interpretations?
Please reference our pickleball rules page and make sure to subscribe to our newsletter so that you receive additional pickleball rules clarifications and interpretations for many of the common — and not-so-common — scenarios that happen on the pickleball courts. By subscribing to the newsletter you will also receive pickleball tips, strategies, tournament recaps and more.