Effective date will be 25 January 2021

The original USAPA organization published the first pickleball rulebook in March, 1984.  When the USAPA re-established and re-incorporated as the USA Pickleball Association in 2005, the book was reviewed and amended to resemble the rules used today.  Shortly after its formation in 2010, the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) adopted the USA Pickleball Association rulebook, with permission from USA Pickleball Association.

This was an important step for international growth as the adoption of a singular rulebook ensures consistency in game play and regulations wherever pickleball is played.  The full IFP member and affiliate member organizations representing their respective countries have all agreed to observe the "USA Pickleball/IFP Official Tournament Rulebook" within their respective countries.


2021 USA Pickleball/IFP Rulebook

USA Pickleball follows the rules adopted by the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP). The 2021 Edition is now available for download Click Here or on the cover below.

Click Cover for 2021 Official Rulebook 


New: 2021 Alternate Rulebook

Also new in 2021 is an Alternate Rulebook.  The Official 2021 Rulebook is the one that will be used as a reference during tournaments.  The Alternate Rulebook, however, is an attempt to simplify how the rules are presented.  The Alternate Rulebook can be used in any venue other than tournaments, without restriction.    The Alternate Rulebook will enjoy the benefit of a one-year public comment period.   User comments should be directed to alternaterulebook@usapickleball.org  Here are some of the key features:

  • Similar/related rules grouped together in three major parts
    • Part I – Basic information and rules not applying to play
    • Part II – General rules applying to all play
    • Part III – Additional rules relating to tournament play
  • Faults listed with their related rules
  • Redundancies and duplication eliminated
  • Headings for every rule to aid navigation
  • Simpler, clearer language and consistent terminology
  • Non-volley zone rebranded as no-volley zone
  • Wheelchair rules integrated into general rules
  • Expanded index
  • Internal links for easy navigation online

We look forward to your comments on the Alternate Rulebook.

Click Cover for 2021 Alternate Rulebook 


Accompanying the Rulebook and the new Alternate Rulebook, there is a ‘Rules Change Document’ (see the 2021 Rule Revisions below). It attempts to provide reasons behind the changes, in some cases with example scenarios.  Readers may find it helpful to become familiar with it first.

If you have any comments that should be considered for the 2021 Rulebook, please click here.


2021 Rule Revisions

To aid in recognizing and understanding the rule changes, we are providing rulebook revision documents. These documents are not intended to cover every wording change, but are designed to guide you through the significant rule changes.

Click here to view 2021 Changes


Purchase a Hard Copy

A durable spiral-bound copy of the 2021 USA Pickleball/IFP Rulebook will soon be available for purchase at the USA Pickleball Retail Store!


Pickleball Rules Summary

Looking for a basic overview of the rules?  Click Here to see our page of abbreviated rules.


View 2020 USA Pickleball Rulebook

Click cover for 2020 Rulebook