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Pickleball Rules Changes for 2023

New Pickleball Rules for 2023 | Play-PKL

Because pickleball is still a relatively new sport, there have been rules changes every year for the past several years. Players have the opportunity to submit proposals for changes and USA Pickleball (USAPA) issues the new approved rules at the end of each year.

Approved New Rules for 2023

  • No spinning the ball before serving (slice serve is still acceptable). While some natural rotation of the ball is expected during any release of the ball from the hand, the server shall not impart spin on the release of the ball immediately prior to the serve.
  • If the serve is illegal but not out, it’s a re-serve and a warning
  • If the server calls the wrong score, then any player may stop play at any time before the return of serve to correct the score
  • All “out” calls must be made prior to the ball being hit by the opponent or before the ball becomes dead. Otherwise, the ball is presumed to still be in play.
  • Players should avoid wearing clothing that closely matches the ball color (this is mostly relevant for tournament play)

Proposed (but not approved) Rules for 2023

  • Changing scoring to rally scoring, which would mean points are scored by the winner of every rally, regardless of who served. (USAPA is still considering this and formed a task force to explore it in 2023)
  • Elimination of the kitchen (non-volley zone)
  • Allowing a player to touch the kitchen line or step into the kitchen after hitting a volley
  • Prohibiting lobbing before the fifth shot in a rally (the reasoning behind this proposed rule is that, during the first four shots, players are trying to quickly reach the NVZ and that a lob as the third or fourth shot increases the likelihood of a player falling)
  • If a return ball strikes an opposing player above the shoulders, a fault should be called on the returning side

Approved New Rules for 2022

  • In non-officiated matches, players may carry additional ball(s) as long as the ball(s) are carried in a way that the ball(s) are not visible to their opponent during play
  • Players/Teams switch ends and initial service upon the completion of each game
  • The Drop Serve (bouncing the ball before striking it), which was passed as “provisional” in 2021, was made official
  • If the ball bounces into a receiving player’s court with enough backspin or wind aid to cause it to return to the other side of the net, the receiving player may cross the plane of the net (over, under or around the net post) to hit the ball
  • Double Hits. Balls can be hit twice, but this must occur during an unintentional, continuous, single-direction stroke, by one player. If the stroke is deliberate, or not continuous or not in a single direction, or the ball is struck by a second player, it is a fault
For more information about proposed rules changes, visit the USAPA website.

2 Responses


March 03, 2023

Hi Rich. No, a ball can not be tossed up during a serve then hit on the way down to serve. The ball must be dropped to serve, though it can be dropped from any height. It is also ok if the ball bounces before it is hit on the serve—that is called a Drop Serve (as opposed to a Volley Serve). In fact, the ball can even bounce TWICE before it is hit on the serve, but you would have to drop it from pretty high to do that!


March 01, 2023

Can a ball be tossed up during a serve then hit on the down drop to serve? Is it ok if the ball bounces before it is hit on the serve? TIA

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