2021 Rule Changes

USA Pickleball has announced several rule changes for 2021 including playing out the point on let serves as well as the provisional rule of allowing the "Drop Serve" (excerpts from the rulebook on the drop serve listed below). What are your thoughts on these changes? Will you be using the new Drop Serve method?

  • New: **Provisional Rule**
  • Drop Serve. In addition to the standard serve sequence described in Rules 4.A.1 to 4.A.7, players may opt to use an alternate “drop serve” method.
  • Before bouncing on the ground, the ball shall not be propelled (thrown) downward or tossed or hit upward with the paddle. Failure to drop the ball properly will result in a fault. There is no restriction on where the ball can land on the playing surface after it is dropped (providing 4.A.2 is satisfied) nor how many times within the 10 seconds after the score is called the server may drop the ball.
  • If the drop serve is used, the ball may be struck with either a forehand or backhand motion without any other restriction; i.e., the location restrictions of the ball and paddle in Rules 4.A.3, 4.A.4, and 4.A.5 do not apply.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@Total Pickleball Staff

Just to be clear... Serves that touch the net but pass the NVZ and land in the correct service area are not actually "let" serves? They are good / legal serves, correct? Similar to badminton (except that, if the shuttle actually lands in the correct service area, the server wins the point immediately).

Will both the drop serve (with a bounce) and the conventional serve (no bounce) be valid options for tournament play as well as for rec play?

 

tennytive

Professional
College tennis had to adopt this legal let serve rule to prevent the receiver of serve from negating an ace by calling let. I don't see the same problem in pball as the service ace is almost non existant. Tournaments with referees and linesman should be exempt from this rule. I would think playing by the code as we do in tennis would make the need for this type of rule unneccessary.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
College tennis had to adopt this legal let serve rule to prevent the receiver of serve from negating an ace by calling let. I don't see the same problem in pball as the service ace is almost non existant. Tournaments with referees and linesman should be exempt from this rule. I would think playing by the code as we do in tennis would make the need for this type of rule unneccessary.
Believe that is Men's Div I only. Collegiate women & collegiate men lower than Div I hadn't adopted this last I heard.

I actually like this rule for tennis as well as for badminton and pickleball. The problem with tennis tho, is there is no "short service line" as there is for badminton and pickleball. At lower levels in tennis, quite often a ball will hit the net tape and then just trickle over. It happens at the pro and Div I as well; but not as often.

I would not mind seeing a "short service" line for tennis and eliminate all those pesky let serves.
 
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tennytive

Professional
Watched some videos yesterday and the drop serve is actually meant to be used as an offensive serve with more spin options and no restrictions on the angle of the paddle as there are in a conventional serve. I will be interested to try these drop serve variations myself and see if they make any kind of difference. There is also the idea that the drop version may allow more consistency and avoid some of the yips that unexpectantly pop up from time to time.

Will any of the pros be using these serves? Most of what I see now has them plopping the serve with medium pace to the middle of the box, just starting the point with no advantage sought.
 

A_Instead

Legend
The drop serve will certainly bring an advantage as it will be an true offensive 1st shot.. now your opponents will have to develop a return of serve for the different types of serves...
 

etd

Rookie
The drop serve will certainly bring an advantage as it will be an true offensive 1st shot.. now your opponents will have to develop a return of serve for the different types of serves...
Totally agree here. The drop serve will provide more choices in terms of spin and power. I will be using it. My regular pickleball serve is borderline illegal anyway, so now I have the chance to make it legal with the drop serve.
 

CHtennis

Rookie
We played with the drop serve the other night and it was interesting, but did not really change much. We are still very early trying to do different things but maybe a little more spin, but was not difficult to handle. For me I must have had like 10 illegal serves because I toss it up a little for my normal serve (probably 6 inches) and this would be illegal. I will have to get used to this, but I could see some weird calls in a tournament, "you tossed that ball up an inch and then did a drop serve." I will get used to this for me, but people already struggled with the rules on the serve, I dont like adding more layers to it, but we will see.
 

A_Instead

Legend
One good thing about scoreing .you can be down in score quite a bit...ex 3 to 10 for example...and then make a nice run on your serve since you have you and your partners serve before you give back the serve to your opponents..
 

atatu

Legend
Who are "you guys"? Pretty certain the Total Pickleball Staff has no hand in establishing rules.
I was referring to the pickleball community in general, sorry if that was confusing. I'm sure the PB community will respond that the scoring system is fine, and it's "tradition" but even volleyball wised up and changed their antiquated scoring system.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
I was referring to the pickleball community in general, sorry if that was confusing. I'm sure the PB community will respond that the scoring system is fine, and it's "tradition" but even volleyball wised up and changed their antiquated scoring system.
Wisdom was not the motivating factor. Volleyball and badminton did not move to rally scoring because the older scoring system was antiquated. They did it to make it more conducive for TV coverage -- to make it easier to squeeze in (more) commercials. I actually much prefer the old scoring for badminton. It made it much more of an endurance game than the newer rally scoring version of the game.
 

atatu

Legend
Wisdom was not the motivating factor. Volleyball and badminton did not move to rally scoring because the older scoring system was antiquated. They did it to make it more conducive for TV coverage -- to make it easier to squeeze in (more) commercials. I actually much prefer the old scoring for badminton. It made it much more of an endurance game than the newer rally scoring version of the game.
Correct, and even tennis moved to tiebreakers because the win by two games system was antiquated. While the Isner match was epic, Wimbledon realized that is was too much. Honestly I don't really care if PB stays with the weird scoring system, because I'm not going to play before I'm 80, but changing the scoring system and using a ball that doesn't make so much noise would definitely help.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Correct, and even tennis moved to tiebreakers because the win by two games system was antiquated. While the Isner match was epic, Wimbledon realized that is was too much. Honestly I don't really care if PB stays with the weird scoring system, because I'm not going to play before I'm 80, but changing the scoring system and using a ball that doesn't make so much noise would definitely help.
Yeah, I can't say I'm too crazy about the ball choice for pickleball. Perhaps the ball used for the Asian game of "soft tennis" or the foam (QST36) training ball for tennis would have been better choices.

I played a lot of volleyball in the '70s thru the '90s and was quite content with ye olde 'antiquated' scoring system. Rally scoring for V'ball is ok but, except for TV coverage, didn't really see a need for the change.
 

tennytive

Professional
The ball wouldn't be so bad if the paddles were allowed to be more like ping pong. Sound would dampen and play would be much more interesting due to the spin potential.
Paddle manufacturers might even benefit by being able to sell replacement rubber when necessary. Imagine trying to play ping pong with a pickleball paddle.
The sound doesn't bother me, but I can certainly see where it might bother some others especially if they live next to courts and don't play themselves.
 
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