This post lists rule changes from prior years. To view the current year (2024) rule changes, please click here.
January, 2020. It’s that time of year again – a time when the certified referees and the pickleball rule nerds voraciously consume and put-into-practice the annual pickleball rule changes just published.
Adding Clarity & Application to the Pickleball Rules
As was also done in 2019, accompanying the just-recently published 2020 official pickleball rulebook, is the 2020 pickleball rule change document that highlights the major rulebook changes from the previous edition – including comprehensive explanations detailing why each of the particular rule(s) was modified. In many, if not most, instances, verbiage was simply added and/or changed to add clarity and application to the rule.
A Few of the Pickleball Rule Changes…
While I will not go thru each pickleball rule change implemented for 2020, I will highlight a handful of the changes:
A Change to the Document Title
Firstly, if you are a cover-to-cover reader, you may have noticed that on the front cover, the word “Tournament” was removed. This was done simply to reinforce the idea that the pickleball rules apply to more than just tournament play.
“Wait, I’m Not Ready.”
Readiness (Rule #4.c) was changed so that any player, not just the “proper” server or receiver, can give the “not ready” signal if they are not ready to serve or receive. This was a much needed, common-sense change.
See ya, Figure 6.1.
Figure 6-1. Good bye. Adios. Arrivederci. If you cannot see space between the ball and the line, don’t guess and call it out. Figure 6-1 has been removed from the 2020 Official Rulebook. Thank goodness.
Under the Net. Huh?
11.I.1: Exception: If the ball bounces into a receiving player’s court with enough backspin or wind aid to cause it to return back over the net, the receiving player may reach over the net, around the net post or under the net to hit the ball, but only after the ball crosses back over the plane of the net to the opponent’s side.
Really? Under the net? I would love to see video of this scenario!
A Replay for NVZ faults & Service Foot Faults. Why?
13.D.1.b: Players may call NVZ faults and service foot faults on the opponent’s side of the court. If there is any disagreement among players about the called fault, a replay shall occur.
Not sure about that one. It seems to me that if your opponent sees you in the Non-Volley Zone while you’re executing a volley, it’s a fault. End of story. I can understand a replay if there is disagreement on the service foot fault because of the distance — but not on the line just 7 feet across the net. Oh well.
I would love to hear your thoughts. What do you think of the 2020 rule changes?
Need More Pickleball Rules Clarifications & Interpretations?
Please reference our pickleball rules page for a link to the Pickleball 2020 Official Rulebook and Change Document. Additionally, 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.
Todd is the talent behind PickleballMAX. He knows pickleball and demonstrates it on the court as a 4.5 – 5.0 player. In addition to creating content and running the PickleballMAX business, Todd is IPTPA Level II certified. As an instructor at the Ohio Pickleball Academy, he instructs students and runs adult and youth clinics. He also manages tournament desks throughout the tri state for tournaments ranging from 100-500 participants.