1. A. Standard Time-Out. A player or team is entitled to two time-outs for 11- or 15-point games and three time-outs for a 21-point game.

10.A.1. Each time-out period may last up to 1 minute.

10.A.2. Play may be resumed early if all players are ready.

10.A.3. If a team has any remaining time-outs, any player on that team may call a time-out before the next serve occurs.

10.A.4.  Before the serve occurs, if a team calls a time-out while having no time-outs remaining, no penalty shall be called.

10.A.5. New: The referee will announce when there are 15 seconds remaining. At the end of
the time-out period, the referee shall call ‘time in’ and then call the score when all
players are (or should be) ready to play.

Reason and Intent: The intent of this rule change is (under normal standard playing
conditions) to minimize the opportunity (but does not eliminate) that a server serves to
an empty receiving court because a receiver is late coming back to the court after a
time-out. Or, calling a fault for a server not getting back in time and violating the 10
second rule. This change removes the rigidness of rule 10.A.5 and allows the referee to
control the pace and flow of the match without being forced into situations where the
referee must call the score when one or more players are not in position and ready to
play. The approach in 10.A.5 would now be similar to Rule 4.D in that the referee will
now determine when players should be ready and when the score is to be called. The
referee has several tools to get players back playing in a timely manner. After issuing
the 15-second warning, if the referee notices that players aren’t making their way back
to the court, the referee may remind players, firmly at times, that play needs to continue.
The referee may also issue a verbal warning or technical warning for delay of game if
the referee determines a team is causing an avoidable delay.

Scenario A: The referee gives the 15-second warning and notices that the players are
not responding and have not started to make their way back to the court. The referee
then says firmly and loudly, “Let’s go/We gotta’ play/I’ve called 15-seconds”. If a team
still does not respond, the referee may walk towards the team and again admonish
them to get back to the playing court. If the referee determines that a team is avoidably
delaying the game, the referee may issue a verbal warning or technical warning for
delay of game. The intent here is that the referee has several ways in which to get
players back to playing without reverting to calling the score which can have
embarrassing consequences to all involved.
Scenario B: After a time-out has expired, the server is ready to serve properly from the
right-hand court. The receiver and receiver’s partner are stacking and are standing near
the left court to receive serve. The referee looks at them with a puzzling look to which
the receiver replies, “I’m ready”. The referee waits a few more moments expecting the
receiver (or the partner) to ask if they are in the correct position since that are not setup
diagonally to receive the serve. (Note: the receiver was certain the server was going to
serve to the wrong court and commit a server position fault) Since the receiver was
ready to receive serve, even though it was to the incorrect court, and no player has
asked any score/player/position questions, the referee calls the score and the server
serves to a completely empty right hand receiving court. The referee then calls “point”
when the serve was not returned. The referee explains to the receiving team that in fact
the server did serve from the correct position and furthermore explained that the
receiving team could have asked if they were in the proper position. In this extremely
rare situation, since all players were on the court and “ready to play” and no one had
asked any correct player/position questions, the referee was correct in calling the score
and having the server serve to an empty receiving court.

Old: The referee will give the players a warning when there are 15 seconds
remaining. At the end of the time-out, the referee will call “time in” and announce the
score to begin the 10-second count even if all players are not on the court or not ready
to play. If the server does not serve within 10 seconds after the score is called, and no
additional time-outs are called or available, a fault will be called.

  1. B. Medical Time-Out. A player needing medical attention during a match should request a medical time-out from the referee. Once the medical time-out has been requested, the following guidelines shall be used:

10.B.1.   The referee shall immediately summon on-site medical personnel, or the Tournament Director if no medical personnel are present, to assess the situation and render appropriate first aid.

10.B.1.a. When medical personnel or the Tournament Director arrive, the referee shall start the 15-minute timer.

10.B.2.   If medical personnel, or the Tournament Director if no medical personnel are present, determine that a valid medical condition exists, then that player will be allowed no more than 15 minutes for the medical time-out.

10.B.2.a. The time-out must be continuous and may be up to 15 minutes. If the player uses fewer than 15 minutes, the remaining time is lost and no additional medical time will be available to the player during the match

10.B.2.b. If the player cannot resume play after the 15-minute medical time-out period, the match will be declared a retirement.

10.B.3.   If medical personnel, or the Tournament Director if no medical personnel are present, determine that no valid medical condition exists, the player or team will be charged a standard time-out, if available, and issued a technical warning.

10.B.3.a. If a standard time-out is not available, then a technical foul will be issued.

10.B.3.b. The medical time-out is no longer available to that player for that match.

10.B.3.c. A player may be granted only one player- requested medical time-out per match.

10.B.4.   Rule 10.A.5 procedures will be followed to continue play after a medical time-out.

10.B.5.   Presence of blood. If blood is present on a player or on the court, play may not resume until the bleeding has been controlled and blood on clothing and the court has been removed.

10.B.5.a. Issues relating solely to blood cleanup or control will be considered a referee time- out.

10.B.5.b. Rule 10.A.5 procedures will be followed to continue play.

  1. C. Continuous Play. Play should be continuous, although players are permitted to quickly take a drink or towel off in between rallies as long as, in the judgment of the referee, the flow of the game is not adversely impacted. The referee shall call the score when play should be resume

10.D. Equipment Time-Outs. Players are expected to keep all apparel and equipment in good playable condition and are expected to use regular time-outs and time between games for adjustments and replacement of equipment. If a player or team is out of time-outs and the referee determines that an equipment change or adjustment is necessary for fair and safe continuation of the match, the referee may award an equipment time-out of up to 2 minutes. Rule 10.A.5 will be used to continue play.

10.D.1. Apparel and equipment adjustments that can be accomplished quickly are allowed between rallies (e.g., tying shoelaces, cleaning glasses, adjusting hat).

  1. E. Time Between Games. The period between games in a match shall not exceed 2 minutes. Rule 10.A.5 procedures will be followed to resume play.

10.E.1.   In between games of a match, players may take one or both of their upcoming game’s timeouts. The players must inform the referee, or their opponents if there is no referee. If a team returns to play before one (or both) requested time-outs have started, the team retains the time-out(s) for the upcoming game. The normal two minutes in between games will be used before any team- allotted timeouts.

  1. F. Time Between Matches. The standard time between matches shall be 10 minutes. If all players are ready to play prior to 10 minutes, the match may be called early.

10.F.1.  In a championship match with a tie-breaker match: If the winner of the loser’s bracket defeats the winner of the winner’s bracket, then a tie-breaker match to 15 points must be played. Maximum time between the championship match and the tie- breaker match is 10 minutes. Rule 10.A.5 procedures will be followed to begin play for the tie-breaker match.

  1. G. Suspended Games. A game suspended due to extenuating circumstances shall be resumed with the same server, score, and remaining time-outs as when interrupted.
  1. H. Other Time-Out Rules.

10.H.1.  Before A Match or Between Games: Neither medical nor regular time-outs may be taken before a match starts. A match cannot begin until all players are present and the starting score is called. Time-out(s) may be used at the start of the second or third game in a two-out-of-three game match

Reason: This reasserts that a match may not start until all players are present and it further clarifies that neither medical nor regular time-outs may be taken before the match starts.

Scenario: During the warm-up time, a Team A player says his partner is “detained” and that they may need to take a time-out before the match starts. The referee says she cannot grant this request and they need to follow the rules on time limits when starting a match and that all players must be present to start the match. The Team A player goes and gets the previously detained partner and everyone is there on time to start the match. The referee starts game one by calling, “Game one, time-in, 0-0-2” During the middle of the score calling, a Team A player calls for a time-out and the referee grants the time-out accordingly. The partner is still not back when the referee calls, “Time-in, 0-0-2” and again, during the middle of the score calling, the Team A player calls for their 2nd time-out. The referee grants the 2nd time-out accordingly.

10.H.2.  Extenuating Circumstances: The referee may call a referee time-out to address extenuating circumstances that may require an extended interruption of play.

10.H.2.a. New: In the interest of safety, if the referee determines a potential medical situation
exists, (for example, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, etc.) and the player is unable to or
refuses to call a medical timeout, the referee is authorized to call a referee time-out and
summon medical personnel or the Tournament Director. Referee requested medical
time-outs will not be charged against the player.

Reason: A player should not lose their medical TO unless they have requested to use
their medical time-out. Anecdotal feedback from referees indicated that medical
personnel rarely determine that a medical issue is invalid. In the case where they are
called to attend to a player at the referee’s discretion, the probability approaches
certainty that medical personnel will treat the player for some type of issue and
conclude the referee’s concern did result in a valid medical reason; thus normally
resulting in the player losing their ability to call for a medical time-out on their own
accord. This rule protects the player’s right to personally ask for a medical time-out in
situations where the referee is trying to ensure player safety

Old: In the interest of overall safety, if the referee determines a potential medical
situation exists, (for example, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, etc.) the referee is
authorized to call a referee time-out and summon medical personnel or the Tournament
Director. If determined to be a valid medical situation requiring treatment, the referee
will charge a medical time-out to the affected player and proceed in accordance with
Rule 10.B. If the player did not require treatment, play resumes and no time-out is
charged to the player. If the player has previously used, or been charged a medical
timeout, the referee will call a referee time-out and summon medical personnel or the
Tournament Director to determine if the player may resume play.

10.H.2.b. Active bleeding shall be addressed in accordance with Rule 10.B.5.

10.H.2.c. Foreign substances on the court, such as debris, water or other fluids, shall be removed or cleaned up.

10.H.2.d. Rule 10.A.5 procedures shall be used to resume play.

One thought on “SECTION 10 – TIME-OUT RULES”

  • I was playing with a guy who said that in doubles when the other team loses the serve you can pick who serves first. I said no, whoever was in the right court when you gain the serve serves first. Correct? He then said that after a TO you can pick who serves first after the TO (if you just gained serve). Again, I said that you start after the TO just like no TO had been called. Who is right?

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