SECTION 12 – SANCTIONED TOURNAMENT POLICIES

12.A.Event Categories.
Men: Singles and Doubles
Women: Singles and Doubles
Mixed: Doubles
Wheelchair: Singles and Doubles

12.A.1. In events described by gender, only members of that gender shall be allowed to play in that event.

12.A.2. Mixed doubles – A mixed doubles team shall consist of one male and one female player.

12.A.3. Players using wheelchairs may play in Men’s Doubles, Women’s Doubles or Mixed Doubles with either standup partners or wheelchair doubles.

12.B.Tournament Scoring Options. The recommended tournament scoring option is best two of three games to 11 points, win by two points. Other options include: best three of five games to 11 points, one game to 15 or one game to 21. All formats win by two points. Round robin brackets may also use one game to 11, win by two points, if the bracket has six or more teams.

12.C.Tournament Formats. There are five tournament formats that may be used. The particular format is typically the choice of the tournament sponsor or the Tournament Director.

12.C.1. Single Elimination with Consolation. The first player/team to score the match-winning point by at least a two-point margin wins. Losers from all rounds go into a consolation bracket playing for the bronze medal/third place and are eliminated after a second loss. The final two players/teams in the winner’s bracket play for the gold/first-place and silver/second-place medals.

12.C.2. (Pro and Senior Pro Player Brackets) Single Elimination Without Consolation. The first player/team to score the match-winning point by at least a two-point margin wins. The final two players/teams in the winner’s bracket play for the gold/first-place and silver/second-place medals. The determination of the final standings of the remaining players/teams is left to the discretion of tournament officials.

12.C.3. Double Elimination. The first player/team to score the match-winning point by at least a two-point margin wins. A loss will put the loser into the consolation bracket. Players/teams are eliminated after one loss in the consolation bracket. The winner of the consolation bracket will play the winner of the winner’s bracket for the championship. If the winner of the consolation bracket defeats the winner of the winner’s bracket, then a tie-breaker match to 15 points must be played to determine the gold/first-place and silver/second-place medals. The loser of the consolation bracket final will receive the bronze/third-place medal.

12.C.4. Round Robin. All players/teams play each other. Games may use any of the approved tournament scoring options. (See Rule 12.B.) The winner is determined based on number of matches won. If two or more teams are tied, ties shall be broken in accordance with 12.C.4.a. through 12.C.4.e. Once a tie has been broken, any subsequent ties in the bracket shall be broken by going back to 12.C.4.a. and continuing through each successive tie-breaker until a winner is determined.

12.C.4.a. Players/Teams that have withdrawn from the bracket are not eligible to be considered when going to a tie-breaker. Any player/team that has withdrawn from the bracket shall only have their record of matches won considered. (e.g., Team A has 3 wins, Team B has 3 wins and Team C has 3 wins. However, Team C withdrew from their last match. Because Team C has withdrawn from a match in their bracket, only their 3 wins will be considered in their finishing placement and they will not be considered for any additional tiebreaker. Team A beat Team B in their heads-up match, therefore Team A is awarded first place, Team B is awarded second place and Team C is awarded third place.)

12.C.4.b. First tie-breaker: head-to-head matches won among the tied teams.

12.C.4.c. Second tie-breaker: point differential of all games played. (e.g., Team A won Match 1 11-8, 11-4, so they would have a point differential of +10. Team A then wins the second match 11-9, 2-11, 11-6. For this round, they would have a point differential of -2. This would give them a total for the day of +8.)

12.C.4.d. Third tie-breaker: head-to-head point differential.

12.C.4.e. Fourth tie-breaker: point differential against next-highest player/team (e.g., if the players/teams are tied for second, use point differentials against the first-place team.)

12.C.5. Pool Play. The participants are divided into two or more player pools. Each pool plays a round robin to determine the qualifiers that put the players into a single-elimination or double-elimination playoff.

12.C.6. Non-Pool Play. The participants are seeded based on the results of the round robin and play either a single or double elimination medal round format of two of three games to 11, one game to 15, or one game to 21. Each format requires a two-point win margin.

12.D.Draws and Seeding. A draw and seeding committee shall be appointed by the Tournament Director to rank the players and teams and set up a fair draw for each event.

12.E. Notice of Matches. It is the responsibility of each player to check the posted schedules to determine the time and place of each match. If any change is made in the schedule after the initial posting, the Tournament Director or their designated representative shall notify the players of the changes.

12.F. Retirements.

12.F.1. After the initial score has been called to start the match, the only option available for a player/team to discontinue playing the match until completion is Retirement.

12.F.2. During a match, if a player/team cannot immediately continue after the 15-minute medical time-out period has expired, a Retirement will be imposed.

12.F.3. The player/team must make a Retirement request during the match to either the referee or the opposing player/team.

12.F.4. The player/team who requests a Retirement during a match, or a player/team on which a rule-based Forfeit has been imposed, will have all score(s) reported per the guidelines in the Retirement Scoring section (see Rule 12.H.1)

12.F.4.a. If applicable, a player/team is still eligible for the next match in the same bracket after choosing a Retirement option for a previous match.

12.F.4.b. A player/team may request a Retirement for any upcoming match in the specified bracket.

12.G. Withdrawals

12.G.1. A player/team may request to be withdrawn from any scheduled bracket(s) that has not been started by tournament operations personnel.

12.G.2. If a player/team has completed any matches, the player/team may request to be withdrawn from all upcoming matches in that bracket. The request must be made prior to the initial score being called to start their next match.

12.G.3. The player/team must make their Withdrawal request to either the Tournament Director, Head Referee, or operations desk personnel.

12.G.4. The withdrawn player/team shall be removed from any future participation in the specified bracket.

12.G.5. The withdrawn player/team shall have all scores reported per the guidelines in the Withdrawal Scoring section. (See Rule 12.I.)

12.H. Forfeits, Ejections, Expulsions and Retirement Match Scoring Guidelines

12.H.1. Actual game scores at the time of retirement shall be reported for the player/team that retires. The opponents shall be awarded all points necessary for proper match completion, ensuring a two-point margin. For example, in Game 1 of a two-out-of-three games match, a team with 10 points retires when the score is 10-5. The final scores will be recorded as: “12-10, 11-0”
Match scores after a rule-based forfeit, ejection or expulsion shall be reported as:
Two out-of-three games format: “11-0, 11-0”
Three out-of-five format: “11-0, 11-0, 11-0”
15- or 21-point format: “15-0” or “21-0”

12.H.2. If a player/team elects the Retirement option or a Forfeit has been imposed for the match, (and the Withdrawal option has not been chosen) the player/team may continue to compete in any upcoming matches.

12.H.3. All previous completed match scores, prior to an Ejection, Forfeit or a player Retirement, will be retained.

12.I. Withdrawal Scoring Guidelines for Remaining Matches

12.I.1. Two-out-of three format: “0-0, 0-0”
Three-out-of five format: “0-0, 0-0, 0-0”
One Game to 15 format: “0-0”
One Game to 21 format: “0-0”

12.I.2. Scores for all matches completed prior to the Withdrawal request will be retained.

12.J. Two-Match Minimum. In all USA PICKLEBALL-sanctioned tournaments, each entrant shall be entitled to participate in a minimum of two scheduled matches per event entered. Exception: Single Elimination Without Consolation events guarantee only 1 match per event.

12.K.Scheduling Matches. A player is not permitted to enter multiple events scheduled on the same day with an overlapping time frame.

12.L. Doubles Play. A doubles team shall consist of two players who meet the classification requirements to participate in a particular division of play.

12.L.1. In an event based upon skill rating, the higher-rated player determines the team’s ability level. In an adult event (ages 19 and over) based upon age grouping, the lower age of the team members will determine the team’s age classification. Players may play in a younger division unless prohibited by the rules of the National Senior Games Association.

12.L.2. Juniors (ages 18 and under) may enter any junior event for which they are age qualified. If a junior event is not available or does not receive enough entrants, or at the Tournament Director’s permission, juniors may play as adults in the 19-and-over events.

12.M. Partner Changes. Partner change may be made prior to the first-round match, with the consent of the Tournament Director, if the change is due to injury, illness, or circumstances beyond the control of the player.

12.M.1.Under no circumstances can a partner change be made after the partners have begun team play.

12.N. Court Changes. In USA PICKLEBALL-sanctioned tournaments, the Tournament Director or designee may decide on a change of courts after the completion of any tournament game if such a change will accommodate better spectator or playing conditions.

12.O.Mini-singles. Mini-singles is played according to the same rules as singles except as otherwise provided herein. .

12.O.1. The Court: Mini-singles is played on a standard pickleball court.

12.O.1.a. An additional line shall be provided that extends the centerline of the court through each non-volley zone. The color of this line is not required to be the same as the other court lines.

12.O.1.b. Only one of the two courts at a player’s end is “in play” during a rally. The court that is in play is determined by the required player position based on their score (i.e., the right [even] or the left [odd] court).

12.O.2. Player Positions

12.O.2.a. Each player’s position is determined by their individual score. This applies at all times, whether the player is serving or receiving.

12.O.2.b. When a player’s score is even, the player plays from the right (even) court and that is the court that is in play at that end. When the player’s score is odd, the player plays from the left (odd) court and that is the court that is in play at that end.

12.O.3 Boundary of the In-Play Courts

12.O.3.a. Each player’s shot must land in bounds of the opponent’s court that is in play.

12.O.3.b. The baseline and outer sideline determine two of the three boundaries of the in-play court.

12.O.3.c. Because only one of the courts at an end is in play during a rally (i.e., either the right [even] court or the left [odd] court), the centerline of the court, including the portion that extends through the non-volley zone, serves as the other sideline of the in-play court.

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