SECTION 3 – DEFINITIONS

SECTION 3 – DEFINITIONS

3.A.1 Carry – Hitting the ball in such a way that it does not bounce away from the paddle but is carried along on the face of the paddle.

3.A.2 New 2021 Coaching – Communication of any information, including verbal, nonverbal, and electronic, from someone other than a player’s partner, that a player or team may act upon to gain an advantage or help them avoid a rules violation.

Reason: A definition of Coaching was included in the 2020 Referee Handbook, and some descriptors of Coaching were found in (2020) Rule 11.N. but there was no clear and comprehensive definition in the Rulebook. The definition includes the following: (1) Coaching is any information, including but not limited to verbal, nonverbal and electronic; (2) that the information must be actionable by the player or team who receives it; (3) that the information must have the potential to help the player or team gain an advantage or avoid a rules violation (e.g. win a rally, take a time out, or not commit a fault); (4) the information must come from someone other than the player’s partner, including spectators, volunteers, or officials.

3.A.3 Court – The area inside the outer dimensions of the baselines and sidelines.

3.A.4 Cross-Court – The Court diagonally opposite of the Court from which the ball was last struck.

3.A.5 Dead Ball – A ball that is no longer in play.

3.A.6 Distraction – Physical actions by a player that are ‘not common to the game’ that, in the
judgment of the referee, may interfere with the opponent’s ability or concentration to hit the
ball. Examples include, but are not limited to, making loud noises, stomping feet, waving the
paddle in a distracting manner or otherwise interfering with the opponent’s concentration or
ability to hit the ball.

3.A.7 Double Bounce – When the ball bounces twice on one side before it is returned.

3.A.8 Double Hit – Hitting the ball twice before it is returned.

3.A.9 New 2021 Ejection – A behavior violation so flagrant that it warrants Ejection from the tournament
by the Tournament Director. The player may stay at the venue but may no longer play in
any matches.

Reason: To provide a specific term relating to a Tournament Director’s decision to eject a player from a tournament.

3.A.10 New 2021  Expel – A behavior violation so flagrant that the Tournament Director prohibits the player from playing in any current and any future brackets of the tournament. In addition, the player shall leave the venue immediately and not return for the remainder of the tournament.

Reason: To provide a specific term and guidelines relating to a Tournament Director’s decision to Expel a player from a tournament.

3.A.11     fault – A rules violation that results in a Dead Ball and the end of the rally.

3.A.12    First Server – In doubles, the player who shall serve from the right/even service court after a side out, according to the team’s score.

3.A.13  New 2021 Forfeit – An egregious behavior violation or a combination of technical warnings and/or technical fouls that result in either a game or match being awarded to the opponent.

Reason: To account for the fact that forfeits can now be applied to games as well as matches.

3.A.14     Groundstroke – A strike of the ball after the ball has bounced.

3.A.15  New 2021 Hinder – Any transient element or occurrence not caused by a player that adversely impacts play, not including permanent objects. Examples include, but are not limited to, balls, flying insects, foreign material, players or officials on another Court that, in the opinion of the referee, impacted a player’s ability to make a play on the ball.

Hinder – Any element or occurrence outside of the player’s control that adversely impacts play. Examples include, but are not limited to, balls, flying insects, foreign material, players or officials from an adjacent Court that, in the opinion of the referee, impacted a player’s ability to make a play on the ball.

Reason: To clarify that a permanent object is not a potential hindrance which would result in a replay. Previous rules did not clarify that a permanent object cannot be considered a hindrance if it impacts a player’s ability to make a play on the ball. A pre-existing tennis net, acting as a barrier between two pickleball courts, is an example of a permanent object that cannot be considered a Hinder. In the interest of safety, players calling a Hinder due to players or officials on adjacent Court matches will be upheld.

    • Scenario A: the referee calls the score and while the server is starting her service motion, she drops the ball on her foot and the ball rolls to the side of the Court and under the bleachers. the referee should not stop the 10-second count (unless the team calls a time-out) because the ball rolling under the bleachers was caused by the server and is therefore not a valid Hinder.
    • Scenario B: In an officiated match, a player hits a sharp angle shot to the opponent’s Court. The ball is now heading towards an adjacent Court which has a match in progress. The receiving team player is running towards the adjacent Court in the hopes of making a play on the ball. In the interest of safety, the receiving team player stops their motion and does not hit the ball in an effort to avoid a collision. The player then claims a Hinder has occurred. In the judgement of the referee, the safety concern is a factor in the Hinder claim and the referee upholds the player’s request for a Hinder.
    • Scenario C: Same as Scenario B above except: 1) If in the judgement of the referee there was no safety issue, the Hinder claim by the receiving team player will not be upheld. 2) If the receiving player returns the ball and DOES NOT quickly/promptly/immediately call “Hinder”, the Hinder request will NOT BE upheld. Once the player returns the ball (basically “continuing on” with the rally) and does not call “Hinder” within a quick, reasonable amount of time, the window of opportunity to claim a Hinder has passed.
    • Scenario D: In a non-officiated match, after a rally has completed, all players agree that the cracked ball did impact the outcome of the rally. All players agree to a replay and the ball is re-served.

3.A.16  New 2021 Imaginary extension – A term used to describe where a line would extend if it projected beyond its current end point. Players and referees are to project where the line would extend if it were not limited to the boundaries of the playing area.

Reason: To provide a definition for a term that is used 8 times in the rulebook but has no written definition.

3.A.17     Left/Odd Court – The service area on the left side of the Court, when facing the net. The starting server in doubles or the singles server should be positioned on the left/odd side of the Court when their score is odd.

3.A.18     Line Call – A loud word(s) spoken by a player or line judge(s) to indicate to the referee and/or players that a live ball has not touched in the required Court space. The preferred word to indicate a Line Call is “out”. Distinctive hand signals can be used in conjunction with a Line Call. Words such as “wide”, “long”, “no”, “deep” are also acceptable.

3.A.19     New 2021  Live Ball/In Play: – The point in time when the referee or server (or server’s partner per rule 4.D.1) starts to call the score.

Live Ball/In Play: – The point in time when the referee starts to call the score.

Reason: To reflect that many matches do not have a referee and that the ball becomes “live” when the server, or the player designated to call the score, starts to call the score.

3.A.20     New 2021  MomentumMomentum is a property of a body in motion, such as a player executing a volley, that causes the player to continue in motion after contacting the ball. The act of volleying produces Momentum that ends when the player regains balance and control of their motion or stops moving toward the non-volley zone.

Reason: The term “Momentum” is used in the Rulebook in Section 9 to describe a type of non-volley zone fault. This new definition rule offers better guidance for making judgments on when actual volley Momentum ends. NVZ Momentum faults are judgment calls by a referee (or player per 13.D.1.b) on when Momentum has ended. Examples are, but not limited to; the player has regained their balance, the player has bodily control of their motion(s), the player has stopped moving toward the NVZ, etc.

3.A.21    New 2021 Non-Volley Zone (NVZ) – The 7-foot-by-20-foot area adjacent to the net and specific to each team’s end of the Court relating to NVZ faults. All lines bounding the NVZ are part of the NVZ. The NVZ is two-dimensional and does not rise above the playing surface. (See Figure 2-1 and Section 2.B.3.)

Non-Volley Zone (NVZ) – The 7-foot-by-20-foot area adjacent to each side of the net. All lines bounding the NVZ are part of the NVZ. The NVZ is two-dimensional and does not rise above the playing surface. (See Figure 2-1 and Section 2.B.3)

Reason: This change is to clarify that the NVZ area pertains to each team’s side of the net for the purpose of calling NVZ faults, i.e., a team cannot commit an NVZ fault by touching the other team’s NVZ area after the ball is dead. This is further solidified by rules 9.E and 9.F.

Scenario: Team A player volleys an Erne shot outside their own NVZ but close to the net. The ball then hits the opponent on the leg and then the Team A player (caused by the Momentum from the volley) steps onto the opponent’s NVZ. This is NOT a fault because the ball was dead the instant it hit the opponent’s leg. The touching of the opponent’s NVZ after the ball is dead is of no consequence because a player can only commit an NVZ violation in their own NVZ; not the opponent’s NVZ.

3.A.22     Paddle Grip Adjustments – Non-mechanical devices that change the size of the grip or stabilize the hand on the grip.

3.A.23     Paddle Head – The paddle, excluding the handle.

3.A.24     permanent object – Any object on or near the Court, including hanging over the Court, that can interfere with play. Permanent objects include the ceiling, walls, fencing, lighting fixtures, net posts, net post legs, the stands and seats for spectators, the referee, line judges, spectators when in their recognized positions, and all other objects around and above the court.

3.A.25     New 2021  Plane of the Net – The imaginary vertical planes on all sides extending beyond the net system.

Reason: This definition was added due to several associated references in the rulebook. The net plane extends vertically above, below and on both the right and left sides of the net.

3.A.26     playing surface – The Court and the area surrounding the court designated for playing.

3.A.27     rallyContinuous play that occurs after the serve and before a fault.

3.A.28     Receiver – The player who is positioned diagonally opposite the server to return the serve. Depending on the team’s score, the player who returns the serve may not be the correct Receiver.

3.A.29     replay – Any rally that is restarted for any reason without the awarding of a point or a change of server.

3.A.30    New 2021 Retirement – A player/team’s decision that stops the match and awards the match to the opponent.

Reason: The prior definition of ‘Forfeit’ had two meanings; one behavior based, and one at the discretion of the players, most often associated with medical conditions. This defines those circumstances where the players voluntarily remove themselves from competition for reasons that are different than a forfeit.

3.A.31     Right/Even Court – The service area on the right side of the Court, when facing the net. The starting server in doubles or the singles server should be positioned on the Right/Even Court when their score is even.

3.A.32    Second Serve – In doubles, a term used to describe the condition when a serving team loses the first of its two allocated serves.

3.A.33     Second Server – In doubles, the first server’s partner. The Second Server serves after the First Server loses serve.

3.A.34     serve – The initial strike of the ball to start the rally.

3.A.35    server – The player who initiates a rally. Depending on the team’s score, it is possible that the player who serves may not be the correct server.

3.A.36     service court – The area on either side of the centerline, including the centerline, sideline, and baseline, excluding the NVZ.

3.A.37     Serving Area – The area behind the baseline and on and between the imaginary extensions of the Court centerline and each sideline.

3.A.38     side out – The awarding of the serve to the opposing team after a singles player or doubles team loses its serve.

3.A.39     starting server – For each doubles team, the player designated to serve first at the start of the game. In doubles tournament play, the starting server shall wear a visible form of identification determined by the Tournament Director.

3.A.40    New 2021 Technical Foul – A referee’s assessment of a rule or behavioral violation that results in one point being removed from the score of the offending team unless their score is zero, in which case a point shall be added to the score of the opposing side. A Technical Foul shall be issued if one technical warning has already been given and a second technical warning is warranted; or when warranted by a player’s or team’s action, based on the referee’s judgement.

Technical Foul – A referee’s assessment of a rule or behavioral violation that results in one point being awarded to the opposing team. A Technical Foul may be issued when one technical warning has already been given or when warranted by a player’s or team’s actions, based on the referee’s judgment.

Reason: The change to the point penalties minimize the chance that a Technical Foul could cause the loss of a match. This change also puts the burden of repositioning (due to the change in score) on the team that committed the violation (unless their score is zero) rather than their opponent.”

3.A.41     technical warning – A referee’s first verbal warning of a rule or behavioral violation given to a player or team prior to a Technical Foul being issued. Points are not awarded for a technical warning.

3.A.42     volley – During a rally, a strike of the ball out of the air before the ball has bounced.

3.A.43     Withdrawal – A player/team’s request to be removed from any upcoming play in a specified bracket.

3.A.44     New 2021  Profanity – Words, phrases or hand gestures, common or uncommon, which are normally considered inappropriate in “polite company” or around children. Typically included are four letter words used as expletives or verbal intensifiers.

Reason: To give a written definition of Profanity so as to help referees better determine when a technical warning or foul should be issued.

3.A.45     New 2021 verbal warning – A referee’s verbal warning (VW) is an optional, non-penalizing, game management tool. A VW is specific to Profanity which has not risen to the penalty level (TW or TF). When used, a referee’s VW is simultaneously administered to all players on the Court. Only one VW for Profanity is permitted during a match.

Reason: To give a written definition of a new term used in the technical warning section. This verbal warning is specifically associated with Profanity issues and does not pertain to any other technical warning or Technical Foul items. The advent of the verbal warning came about because of inconsistencies among referees; most have different thresholds for what they consider Profanity, which was unfair to players.

3.A.46     New 2021  Third Shot – After the Receiver hits the ball to return the serve, the point in time when the serving team hits the ball.

Reason: To give a written definition of a new term used when challenging a score call. The Third Shot occurs following the receiver’s return of serve, at the moment the serving team hits the ball to continue the rally.

3.A.47   New 2021  Wheelchair Player – Any person, with or without a disability, who plays the game in a wheelchair. The wheelchair is considered part of the player’s body. This can be a player with a disability or anyone that wants to play in a wheelchair.

Reason: This addition was based on a recommendation of a committee advising the Rules Committee on adaptive play.

 

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