When Do New Pickleball Rules Take Effect?

If you’re invested in pickleball, either as a hobby or as a competitive sport, you may have heard about impending rule changes for the game in 2023. 

When Do New Pickleball Rules Take Effect

These changes have been in the works for a while, and just last year, the chainsaw serve was banned, leading to speculation that the controversial one-handed spin serve would soon follow suit. 

So, what are the new pickleball rules for 2023, and when do they take effect? Keep reading for all the information you need! 

Pickleball Rule Changes, 2023 

Spin Serve Banned 

The biggest rule change in pickleball for 2023 is that, as expected, the spin serve has been banned. 

For context, the spin serve started as the chainsaw serve, which was made popular by Zane Navratil (Also check out Best Pickleball Paddles To Improve Your Spin).

However, when this was banned, the chainsaw serve was adjusted and turned into a one-handed variation called the one-handed spin serve. 

However, many people took issue with the amended spin serve because it was essentially being weaponized, even at amateur levels. Therefore, as of 2023, one-handed spin serves are no longer allowed in pickleball. 

Replays Or Faults For Illegal Serves

If a player does execute a one-handed spin serve or any other illegal serve, the referee can now either fault it or ask for a replay. 

A re-serve may be called for if the referee isn’t certain whether the serve was legal or not.

This rule change was necessary because, previously, the rule was that an illegal serve would call for a replay, but this meant that the player in question could replay the serve an unlimited number of times. 

Now, the referee can simply call a fault and keep the game in motion.

However, the rules around replays and faults for illegal serves will still need some fine-tuning since, as some people have pointed out, the receiver of the serve can still call for a replay.

This could lead to unfairly-called replays of legal serves that receivers feel unable to return.

Timeout Changes 

In previous versions of the pickleball rules, all gameplay timeouts needed to be used up before players could ask for an equipment timeout.

This was an issue because players were being charged with regular timeouts, even for legitimate equipment issues. 

The rules have now been changed so that pickleball players can use equipment (Also check out Best Pickleball Bag) timeouts even if regular timeouts have yet to be used. There is also no longer a 2-minute limit on timeouts, meaning that timeouts can go on for longer if the referee feels there is a good reason. 

Score Correction Times 

The time limits on score corrections have also changed in 2023. Until 2021, pickleball players could only call for score correction up until a serve was returned, with fault penalties for stopping the point on a correct serve. 

The rules changed in 2022 to make the window even smaller, but this proved to be ineffective since it wasn’t enough time, so the timing has changed back to the original window. 

Ball And Apparel Color Coordination 

Most pickleball apparel is manufactured in bright colors, but the bright yellows and greens can be problematic when they’re too close to the shade of the ball. 

Directors of tournaments being able to call for an apparel change for various reasons is not a new thing, but as of the new 2023 rules, tournament directors can now call for a change of apparel based on matching the ball color.

This way, it is hoped that unfair advantages will be mitigated. 

In the case of sanctioned tournaments, to avoid having to call for apparel changes, the color of the ball will be announced prior to the match. 

Pickleball Language Rules 

This is one of the smaller rule changes that have come into effect in 2023, but there have also been changes to the way players can communicate with the referee during a match. 

When Do New Pickleball Rules Take Effect (1)

In the past, it was part of the pickleball rules that players had to ask if they were the ‘correct server’ before they could serve.

The new 2023 rules have aimed to speed things up and stop interrupting the flow of the game by allowing players to use the phrase ‘Am I good?’ in these situations. 

When Do The New Rules Take Effect?

Now that we know which rules have changed in 2023, many people also want to know when these new rules are going to take effect. 

In fact, the new rules for 2023 are already in place! All rule changes were approved in late 2022 and took effect on January 1st 2023. The rules will remain as they are until 2024, when any newly submitted rule changes will then go into effect.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How Many Rules Changes Were Proposed for 2023?

It might seem as though there have been a lot of rule changes in pickleball this year, but the number of changes made have actually been quite conservative compared to the number of changes proposed.

There were 78 proposed rule changes put forward at the end of 2022, and only the 6 mentioned above have been implemented.

Why Do Pickleball Rules Change Every Year?

The rules of pickleball are changing yearly because, compared to some other racket sports, pickleball is fairly new. Although the game was invented in 1965, it only recently gained serious popularity, growing by about 40% in the last couple of years.

Therefore, the game is constantly evolving, hence the rule changes. 

Final Thoughts 

There have been 6 new rules introduced in pickleball this year, out of 78 proposed changes. 

As of 2023, players are no longer allowed to do a one-handed spin serve, the previous time window for score correction has been reintroduced, and illegal serves can now be called as faults rather than replays. 

Additionally, referees can now request an apparel change based on proximity to ball color and can allow an equipment timeout before regular timeouts have been used. Players are also now allowed to ask ‘Am I good?’ to check serve status and position.

New rules took effect on January 1st 2023.

Damien Dansel
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