It may not be widely known, but when a player joins a professional event within the PPA Tour, they inherently agree to adhere to the complete set of rules and regulations established by the PPA.
This mirrors the compliance expected in other professional sports leagues like the ATP, NFL, and NBA.
A Comprehensive Guide
The PPA Handbook serves as a comprehensive guide encompassing guidelines for players, referees, and line judges across all tiers of officiated PPA Tour pickleball events.
It covers everything from officiating protocols and match-play scenarios to player development and administrative affairs.
The primary objective of this handbook is to streamline processes and methodologies league-wide. This standardized approach helps referees consistently interpret rules, ensuring the smooth operation and execution of pickleball tournaments.
The handbook is divided into six sections: An introduction, official competitions, on-court rules and procedures, prize money, code of conduct, and betting.
The specifics? Well, as articulated in rule 2C of the PPA Tournament Handbook, “By registering for and participating in any event organized or sanctioned by the PPA, Players consent to and agree to comply with the Handbook, including but not limited to all amendments thereto.”
In simpler terms, players must be well-versed in the official PPA rules. The consequences for violations range from fines to disciplinary actions, encompassing warnings, suspensions, and a list of proscribed actions, including smoking, drinking, and gambling.
Some of the rules may be more difficult to follow than others. Let’s take the dress code as an example.
The rules state: “A Player shall dress and present themselves in a professional manner at all times on the Tournament site or any official practice site.
“Clean and customarily acceptable attire as approved by the PPA shall be worn. A player who violates this section may be ordered to change his attire or equipment immediately.”
I wonder if the use of “his” here may be amended in future versions.
There are also sections entitled “Too much clothing” and “too little clothing.” and that “clothing shall be appropriate based upon weather conditions,” so interestingly, players cannot wear sweatpants in temperatures exceeding 60 degrees (Rule 3A-1), but leggings are permissible.
Rule 3A-3 stipulates, “Players shall make best efforts to match or color coordinate with their tournament partner.”
This is a strange one. The Collins dictionary definition of “color coordinate” is “with all parts or elements related, blended, or matched to a particular color scheme.”
One look at the Getty Image library of the 2023 USA National Pickleball Championships shows several doubles partners who don’t always necessarily adhere to this rule.
While the dress code might seem trivial, other regulations listed are undeniably crucial. Take, for instance, the rules pertaining to paddles.
Paddles Must Conform
As IPTPA-certified instructor Andrew Gilman says, every paddle must conform to standards, with each possessing the right to be contested. Transparency is key; as per 3B-iii-5, “All tests will be reported, recorded, and signed by all players in the match under question. The PPA will keep digital records of each test.”
Now, the intriguing part comes when somebody challenges a paddle. It’s allowed during timeouts or between games, allowing the challenged paddle to remain in use until the match’s conclusion. On-site surface tests follow matches.
Should a challenged paddle comply, the challenger faces a $250 fine. However, repeated challenges leading to compliant paddles within 180 days resulted in PPA Tour suspension.
Conversely, a failed challenged paddle necessitates the forfeiture of the completed match. Multiple instances of using non-compliant paddles within 180 days incur escalating suspensions, culminating in an indefinite suspension for a third offense.
What You Can’t Do
Now, the tour’s prohibited actions.
Prohibitions include receiving coaching during a match, wearing smartwatches, or using electronic devices (Rule 3D-i, 3D-ii). Rule 5E-ii bans drugs or alcohol during PPA events. Additionally, aggressive actions involving balls or paddles incur penalties, potentially reaching $2,500.
Verbal and physical abuse, offensive gestures (Rule 5E-viii) and betting on pickleball (Rule 6) also warrant significant penalties.
This short guide obviously only covers some rules. However, if you’d like to get your eyes on the complete set, click here (you’ll need a PDF reader).
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