USAP Rules Committee votes to abolish chainsaw serve in 2022; one-handed spin serve still permitted; Update: Decision not yet final
Bye bye chainsaw?

October 8, 2021

There was some confusion on Facebook regarding the USA Pickleball Rules Committee’s vote on a new rule regarding the chainsaw serve. Here is the language of the proposed rule change:

“At the start of the service motion the ball must be held in the palm of the hand and released either by tossing the ball up from the palm or rotating the hand until the ball is released. If the server is unable to hold the ball in the palm, then the toss of the ball should be done with a minimum of spin applied to the ball.”

And here is the language of the rule change adopted by USAP’s Rules Committee:

“The server shall use only their non-paddle hand to release the ball to perform the serve. The server’s release of the ball must be visible to the referee and the receiver. In matches without a referee, the server’s release of the ball must be visible to the receiver. A replay shall be called before the return of serve if the release of the ball is not visible. Exception: A player who does not have the use of their non-paddle hand may use only their paddle hand to release the ball to perform the serve, or use only their paddle to toss or drop the ball to perform the serve.”

In short, no chainsaw serve but the Morgan Evans one-handed spin will still be allowed, provided the release of the ball is visible to the opponent.

We reached out to veteran referee Don Stanley; he confirmed that our reading of USAP Rules Committee’s decision is correct.

Update: Mark Peifer, the Director of Officiating for USA Pickleball and Chairman of the USA Pickleball Rules Committee, told Dinkheads that the decision is not yet final: “The final decision belongs to the Board of Directors.  They are scheduled to meet on October 28.  There is no telling where they will take this.”

If approved by the USAP Board, The new rule will go into effect on January 1, 2022.

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