Key Rules & Etiquette


USA Pickleball Association official rules shall govern play. Full list of rules and a summary of the most recent changes can be found at Official Rules or download a copy of the 2023 Rules (both open in a new tab). Please note that the changes to the Official rules are effective beginning January of the year promulgated.


There is an important addition to serving rules (Section 4). When a drop serve is used, many of the usual restrictions are relaxed. Please see below for more on Rules on Serving.


2023 Rules on the NVZ (Section 9)


2023 Rules on Line Calling (Section 6)

Here is a shortened version of these rules. Pickleball is played according to specific rules. It also requires a code of ethics for line-calling responsibilities when performed by players. The player must strive for accuracy and operate under the principle that all questionable calls must be resolved in favor of the opponent. The opponent gets the benefit of the doubt on line calls made. Any ball that cannot be called “out” will be considered “in.” A player cannot claim a replay because the ball was not seen or there is uncertainty. Spectators should not be consulted on any line call. A player/team may ask the opponent’s opinion to make the line call on the player’s end of the court. If requested and the opponent makes a clear “in” or “out” call, it must be accepted. If the opponents cannot make a clear “in” or “out” call, then the ball is ruled as being “in” on the receiving team. The moment the receiving player/team asks for the opponent's opinion, they lose their right to make any subsequent "in" or "out" call for that rally. Players shall not call a ball “out” unless they can clearly see a space between the line and the ball as it hits the ground.


2023 Main Rules on Serving. (Section 4)


Legal Serve

These volley serve rules are illustrated in this picture. The ball is below the waist and the paddle head is below the wrist. In this picture the paddle head is just barely below the wrist and is in jeopardy of being called a fault. Most experienced players keep the paddle head well below the wrist so there is no question.


The list of USA Pickleball Approved Paddles and Balls is updated as they test new products appearing on the market. It is strongly recommended that you only use Approved paddles and balls for your play. The loaner paddles and the BCPA balls we use for regular play are all Approved.


Key Local Rules:


  1. BCPA’s number one rule is to keep play Friendly and Fun.
  2. Make sure your name is on your paddle. Name … not initials.
  3. If a ball enters the court from another court, play is halted by a player calling “Ball” or “Ball on the Court” and the point re-started.
  4. The person on the side of the court closest to the entry gate will serve first.
  5. When sun and/or wind is a consideration or issue, players should agree before the start of the game that they will switch sides once one team has scored at least half the points needed to win the game.
  6. If a player on the serving/hitting side of the court makes a call on the ball whether in or out without the receiving team deferring to them, then the ball will be counted out of bounds.
  7. Spectators should NEVER make a call on a line fault.
  8. Spectators should NEVER be asked to make a call on a line fault.
  9. Servers, please announce the score loudly enough for opponent side to plainly hear the score. It’s best to call the score loud enough that everyone can hear and give them a couple seconds to disagree.
  10. Many friendly players, while waiting to play, retrieve balls hit to the fence and return them to the players playing so they don’t have to be chasing balls around the court. Realize how nice this is when you are playing and return the favor when you are not. It speeds up game time resulting in less wait time.
  11. BCPA Rules for Waiting:

 

Safety:

  1. Hydrate. This means “drink water”. This means YOU. Especially on those hot days. Drink BEFORE you are thirsty. Otherwise it’s too late.
  2. If a ball comes onto your court from another court, STOP PLAY AT ONCE. Same if you hear “Ball on the Court!” yelled.
  3. Stretch before and AFTER playing. We know, we know, everyone says that, we all say we do it, but we don’t. So be a trend-setter and do it.
  4. If you are returning a dead ball to another player please do not bend over and swat it back rolling on the ground. Be courteous and pick it up and toss/bounce it or gently hit it so they don’t have to run after it. Please be courteous to those of us that have trouble bending over to pick up balls.
  5. For those that are so inclined, please do not dive for balls.
  6. If someone falls and hurts themselves roll them off the court so play can continue* or hold your hand up and call time and tend to the person that needs help. Especially in the summer, the court gets hot and someone who has hurt the foot/ankle may not be able to get up but is getting burned by the court. Just be aware.
    *Just kidding

New Players:

The Burke Centre Pickleball Club WELCOMES new players.  If a new player shows up unannounced without an existing member, please introduce them to the players and let them know if they are new and if they have previously played Pickleball. If a new player is accompanied by an existing member please make sure they are introduced and welcomed by the players.  We all want new players to feel welcomed and want them to continue coming out to play.

If a new player has never played before and there is a court available, then someone should take them to the available court and explain some of the basic rules and practice hitting it back and forth.  Once you think they are ready put them in the queue to play a game and announce that we have a beginner, so the other players will play an easy game that is meant to help the new player. Explain the rules and strategy as the game progresses.