2021 was the year that one of the biggest changes happened in the world of pickleball; the ditching of the let rule. However, the pickleball rule changes in 2022 are even more extreme, and it is important that you keep up to date with them because whether you are playing at an amateur or competitive level, your opponent will expect you to know them.
Let’s take a look at all of the pickleball rule changes in 2022.
Pickleball Rule Changes 2022
There are a significant number of changes to the pickleball rules in 2022. One or two of these pickleball rule changes are mere continuations of rules that were temporarily in place last year, just to see how they would work in the game.
Drop Serve Is Now Allowed
In 2021, the rule changes temporarily tested whether to allow drop serving. It seems as if the temporary rule change was a success because the drop serve is now being written into the official rulebook for the game.
The drop serve allows the ball to be dropped on the surface, and the player must then hit it. There is no limit to the number of times that the player can drop the ball and catch it. However, the ball must be hit within 10-seconds of the player starting the serve, or a fault will be called.
Rally Scoring Is No Longer a Thing
There was a slight push to introduce rally scoring into the mix. However, the pickleball 2022 rules reaffirm that traditional scoring is the only proper way of scoring competitive pickleball games. Also, holding longer rallies is one criterion to identify your Pickleball rating. This is unlikely to ever change, although a lot of people were anticipating that things may change in 2022.
Of course, if you are playing the game casually, you can use rally scoring, if you wish. It does make for a much faster game.
The Let Has Been Abolished
Technically, the let was abolished in 2021, however, it is 2022 that we are really going to see massive changes to the game. A lot of people are starting to get used to playing without the let on a serve, and since we have just come out of a pandemic, a lot of competitive games are happening for the first time since the let was abolished.
Now, if the ball hits the net during a serve and hits a legal part of the opponent’s side of the court, then play must be allowed to continue. The game will no longer pause whenever a let is hit. This makes for a much faster game, and it adds an element of unpredictability into the mix.
Chainsaw Serves Are No Longer Allowed
The chainsaw serve allowed the player to toss the ball with their paddle before serving. However, this is something that has now been completely eliminated from the game.
If you are going to be serving, you must toss the ball with your hand.
The paddleball rules do make allowances for those that only have use of one hand. If you have use of just one hand, you are allowed to continue to use the chainsaw serve, although do bear in mind that your opponent must be able to spot the ball at all times.
Your Opponent Must Be Able To See The Ball During The Serve
When you are serving, your opponent must be able to see the release of the ball. This cannot be hidden. If it is hidden, then a fault will be declared.
If you are watching professional paddleball, you will probably notice a lot of replays will now be checking for this sort of thing.
You Can Carry Additional Balls To Court, As Long As Your Opponent Can’t See
In the past, you were not able to carry extra pickleballs to the court. However, you are now able to do so, however they must remain hidden from your opponent. It just makes the game a little bit faster to play.
You can keep the extra pickleball in your pocket. However, do bear in mind that if any of them fall out when you are playing, a fault will be declared against you. This is because just one ball should be visible at any one time.
This is likely going to be a rule that is enforced pretty heavily during professional games, although probably not so much during those casual games of pickleball.
You Can’t Use Headphones While Playing
This is a rule that is mostly for the professional players.
In order to assist with communication on the court, headphones (and anything that goes in the ears) will now be banned. This is to ensure that the players can communicate with themselves and the referee.
The one exception to this rule is for those who are hard of hearing. They are allowed to continue to wear any sort of assistance they require.
Changes To Referee Calls
The 2022 rulebook has also clarified a few things when it comes to referee calls. The aim is to make communication between the players and the referee a little bit easier. It is to ensure that nothing is lost in translation.
The referee call changes are also intended to prevent arguments on the court, something which is becoming increasingly prevalent on the pro circuit.
The pickleball rule changes in 2022 are extensive. The biggest changes are the allowance of the drop serve and the banning of the chainsaw serve. Most of the other rules are likely only going to apply if you play competitive pickleball, although we anticipate that the abolishing of the ‘let’ is likely to impact some casual players.
Is Spin Serve Legal in Pickleball 2022?
No. This serve, sometimes called the chainsaw serve, has been banned from pickleball.
What Is the 10 Second Rule in Pickleball?
The 10-second rule means that the server has 10 seconds from calling the serve to striking the ball. If they take too long, then a fault will be declared.
Does The Return in Pickleball Have To Clear The Kitchen?
Yes. The return has to clear the kitchen. If it doesn’t, then the rally is over.
Tom is an accomplished writer, with years of experience producing buyer’s guides and tutorials for athletes online.
And it goes without saying – he’s sports-mad.