Pickleball has always been known for its simplicity and easy-to-learn rules. Yet, the landscape of the game is constantly evolving, with regulations undergoing modifications as players continue to push their limits.
One of these prospective rule changes proposed for 2024 is the banning of the volley serve. Here’s what you need to know:
- Overview of the existing volley serve rule
- Introducing the proposed new rule
- Reasoning behind this major rule change
- The impact of the rule change on the game and its players
A Look at the Existing Rule: The Volley Serve
In the current USA Pickleball rulebook, the volley serve is a legal move. This high serve, also known as the lob serve, involves the server striking the ball without allowing it to bounce off the playing surface. The shot can be executed with either a forehand or a backhand motion.
Unpacking the Proposed Rule Change: The Drop Serve
Under the proposed new regulation for 2024, the volley serve will be illegal. In its place, the drop serve will become the only legal serve option. The drop serve involves a more downward motion of the ball, and the new rule explicitly states that “The ball shall not be propelled (thrown) downward or tossed or hit upward with the paddle or any part of the server’s body.”
The Rationale Behind the New Rule
The change is being proposed due to ongoing challenges with the volley serve in high-level games. Players continue to seek ways to gain an advantage over their opponents, pushing the limits of the existing rulebook. This is especially noticeable with the volley serve as players inch closer to the line of what is legally and illegally permissible.
With the current volley serve, discerning whether a player is violating the three elements (upward motion, paddle head height, ball contact point) is exceptionally challenging, even with slow-motion replays. As such, players have been inching towards a flatter plane of motion with the volley serve, making it increasingly difficult for referees to make a fair call in real-time.
The Impact of the Rule Change
The proposed 2024 volley serve rule change may bring about significant changes to the way pickleball is played, and how players strategize their game. By eliminating the volley serve, players may have to re-adjust their techniques and strategies, focusing more on precision and timing rather than power and unpredictability.
Note: For a more comprehensive understanding, visit the Rulebook Database available at USA Pickleball’s website. The updated rule repository offers detailed explanations of both the existing and new rules.