2024 Pickleball Rule Changes Explained

USA Pickleball has released its 2024 official rulebook, and there are several notable changes we want our fellow players to be aware of. Do we dig all of the rule changes? Read on to find out!

Carry and Double-Hit Rules

USA Pickleball has removed the words “deliberately” and “unintentional” from the carry and double hit rules. This eliminates the need to determine a player’s intent – any carry is now a fault, regardless of whether it was deliberate or not. Please note that double hits are still permitted within the rules. Take a look at definitions of carries vs double hits in Rules 3.A.1 and 3.A.8.

Why We Like It: Removing “deliberately” and “unintentional” from the carry and double hit rules ensures more consistency in calling faults, regardless of a player’s intent. Pickleball Rookie believes this will help speed up gameplay and reduce potential conflicts.

2024 pickleball rulebook

Paddle Examination

For non-officiated play, if you feel an opponent is using an illegal paddle, you can now explicitly ask the Head Referee or Tournament Director to check if the paddle meets regulations.

Why We Like It: Letting players request paddle checks promotes fair play by empowering participants to question potentially illegal equipment. Pickleball Rookie supports opportunities that place ethics and safety first. And with a barrage of paddle changes coming fast and furiously, this levels the playing field.

Soft Pickleball Balls

USA Pickleball has added more criteria around what qualifies as a “degraded” or “soft” ball. The key point is that for non-officiated play, a replay after a completed rally is only permitted if the ball is cracked or broken – and all players must agree this damaged ball impacted the rally outcome. Degraded or soft balls do not warrant a replay, but players can agree to swap out the ball. Similar logic applies to officiated play.

Why We Like It: Pickleball Rookie agrees that only material defects like cracks warrant undoing a rally. Adding criteria for degraded balls provides more nuance around when a replay or swap-out is justified. And if you question whether that pickleball ball is old, you have your answer! Recycle!

Time Out!

Great news – you can now use any remaining regular time-outs after taking a medical time-out. The previous 2023 rule implied players would have to retire if they couldn’t resume play after the 15-minute medical window. Now you can use regular time-outs to extend your recovery time if needed.

Why We Like It: Allowing timeouts after medical timeouts enables more inclusivity by giving injured players extra recovery flexibility before retiring. Pickleball Rookie endorses rule tweaks that are health-conscious and compassionate because that’s the foundation of pickleball as a sport.

Pickleball Rally Scoring

One pending rule change is around rally scoring – the USA Pickleball Board is collecting more data before finalizing this decision. We’ll share updates once determined. And that’s good because we’re conflicted about that one. 🙂

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