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2024 rule changes you should know about

Author: Andrew Gilman | December 19, 2023

There were 92 rule changes proposed to USA Pickleball for 2024, but just one almost everyone in pickleball has a strong opinion on.

And USA Pickleball has told us we’ll just have to wait.

A rule changing traditional side-out scoring to rally scoring is still “pending” as the Board of Directors has decided to “collect more data before making a final decision.”

While the Board debated rally scoring vs. traditional scoring, and there were plenty of comments by board members, all of which you can see here, there were a number of other factors that went into the decision to wait.

Meanwhile, 27 new rules were put in place for the upcoming year. Now, a lot of them are minor corrections, several of them are just slight word changes, but there are a few worth noting:

  • Rule 7.L has been updated and 11.A has been updated with the word “deliberately” taken out. Rule 7.L is the “Carry Rule” and 11.A is the “Double Hit” rule.

Any “Carry” is now a fault, whether it’s done on purpose or by accident, as the word “deliberate” was taken out of the rule. Now, the referee doesn’t have to decide the intent of the player’s shot. If it happens, it’s a fault. “Double hits” are still permitted as long as it happens in one, continuous motion. Rules 3.A.1 and 3.A.8 explain the differences between a “Carry” and “Double hit.”

  • Players may now use any remaining timeouts to add on to a medical timeout.

If an injured player is granted a medical timeout, a “regular” timeout can be used to extend the time to return to play. The 2023 rule was ambiguous, suggesting a player must retire if he or she couldn’t return after an injury timeout.

  • In tournament play, in a non-officiated match, players are now able to go to the head referee or tournament director if they feel their opponent’s paddle is illegal in any way. 
  • Rule 11.E has been amended. In tournament play, a replay of a completed rally is permitted if a ball is cracked or broken.

All players must agree the cracked or broken ball affected the outcome of the rally. Again, it has to be a completed rally. If the ball is damaged or just “soft,” no replay of the rally is awarded.

If you’d like to look at all the specifics and all the changes and non-changes proposed for 2024, you can do that. Check out all the details here

Are you interested in suggesting a rule change for 2025? If so, there’s a process you can be a part of. The rulebook cycle begins in March, and any USA Pickleball member can submit a suggestion. The rule suggestions are then debated and voted on by the USA Pickleball Rules Committee and the USAP Board of Directors.

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