Pickleball Magazine 1-3 | Page 16

PICKLEBALL GURU The Pickleball Guru RULES Q AND A In this column, Prem Carnot, The Pickleball Guru, shines the light of clarity on many confusing scenarios that can happen in the world of pickleball. His answers are drawn from the USAPA/IFP Referee Handbook & IFP Official Tournament Rulebook. You can submit your questions to: [email protected] for consideration in an upcoming column. Question #1 Dear Prem, I was playing in the US Open and ran into an interesting situation. I was in the process of serving the ball when the referee stopped me to say that the receivers were in the wrong position. The returning team quickly made the change. Is the referee allowed to make this call, and should we have been awarded the point since it occurred? Sincerely, Wondering in Wisconsin Dear Wondering, You are absolutely right. It sounds like it’s time for that referee to review the rules. It is NOT up to the ref to correct a team’s positioning (unless the team had asked for confirmation of their positioning). The ref should have called the score, let you serve, and then called a fault on the receiving team, after which your team would have been awarded the point. In the future, if you are convinced that a referee has made a bad call, you might consider protesting as per rule 14.K. via an appeal to the tournament director. That said, keep in mind that refereeing is not an easy job and while the USAPA is working hard to create a high standard of excellence, there are often more refs needed than are highly qualified. Whenever a ref steps up to the court, he/she is doing us all a favor by helping the tournament move along so please give the benefit of the doubt. If you do decide to appeal next time, please keep it friendly, civil, and respectful of all involved. Thanks for your question. I’m sorry that you were kept from a point that should have been yours. Hopefully this article will give countless other players and refs the information they need to do the right thing next time this situation occurs, so perhaps you can find a little solace in that? Warmly, Prem Carnot The Pickleball Guru 14 TO SUBSCRIBE CALL 724.942.0940 OR GO TO THEPICKLEBALLMAG.COM RELEVANT RULES From the USAPA/IFP Referee’s Handbook Section V: Common OnCourt Situations Wrong receiver: After serve has been returned, announce “receiver fault” and state “point.” Explain briefly, as necessary. [Rule 5.B.7 & 5.B.8] From the IFP Official Tournament Rulebook 5.B.7. The receiver is the person on the diagonally opposite side of the court from the server. In doubles, this position corresponds to the player’s score and starting position. 5.B.8. The receiver is the only player who may return the ball. If the wrong player returns the ball, it is a point for the serving team. 14.J. Rules Interpretations. If a player feels that the referee has interpreted the rules incorrectly, that player may request that the referee or the Tournament Director show the applicable rule in the rulebook. 14.K. Protest. Any referee’s decision involving an interpretation of the rules may, on protest, be decided by the Tournament Director.