7 Pickleball Rule Changes to Learn for 2022 – STACIE TOWNSEND


The Official Rulebook is reviewed and, to the extent necessary, revised and updated every year, as pickleball rules continue to evolve as the sport evolves. As a result, it is important to stay up-to-date on pickleball rules changes so that you know the right call on the pickleball court (especially if you plan to play a pickleball tournament).

For the 2022 calendar year, there are some important additions, deletions, and other revisions to the rules of pickleball that you should be aware of. These include the following:

1.Chainsaw Serve Outlawed – The 2022 pickleball rule changes largely focus on the hottest topic around the courts in 2021 – the serve. The 2022 pickleball rule changes start with outlawing the chainsaw serve. In other words, a player may only use his or her non-paddle hand to toss the pickleball for the serve (unless a player does not have use of their non-paddle hand, at which point the player may use the paddle to flick up the pickleball and serve). No player may use the paddle or paddle hand to toss or otherwise impart spin on the pickleball. However, a player may use his or her non-paddle hand (as long as it is only the non-paddle hand) to impart spin on the pickleball. So, beware of the one-handed spin serve, which will surely make waves in 2022.

2.Drop Serve Is Here to Stay – The drop serve was made as a provisional rule in 2021. After a year of probation, the drop serve is here to stay and is a full rule. Learn more about the drop serve in pickleball with the video below.

3.Visibility Is a Must – On the serve, the referee (if there is one) and the receiving player must be able to see the pickleball on the toss or drop. If the pickleball was not visible, then there will be replay.

4.Wrong Score Called? Play On – If the wrong score is called, a player cannot stop play after the serve due to the wrong score. Play should continue until the end of the rally and the score correction should be made before the next serve. So, if a player stops play after the serve because of a wrong score being called, then that player—whoever stopped the rally—would have committed a fault. Also, if there are any comments on the pickleball court during a rally about the score, then those should be ignored.

5.Extra Balls Okay – Sometimes, players like to carry extra pickleballs on court, whether in their hands, pockets, etc. The 2022 pickleball rule changes permit players to carry additional balls as long as the balls are not visible to opponents during play. However, if you are one of these players that likes to carry extra pickleballs, beware! If an additional ball falls out onto the pickleball court during a rally, then a fault will be declared against you.

6.No Jamming on Court – The 2022 pickleball rule changes specifically prohibit headphones or earbuds during competitive events. However, prescribed hearing aids are permitted. So, there will not be any jamming to any music during a competitive pickleball game in 2022. But, in recreational play, you may still be able to jam with your headphones on.

7.Other Revisions to Remove Conflict Between Players and Referees – The Official Rulebook is generally revised in order to preserve the integrity of the sport for years to come and in a manner that is best for the players. The Official Rulebook is also generally revised in an effort to reduce the potential for conflict between referees and players on the pickleball court. For instance, there are a handful of revisions to clarify when fouls may be called, what verbal warnings may be issued by referees for, what questions players may ask of a referee, and more.