PICKLEBALL 101

#1 – Service Foot Fault

​Before we come into the subject proper, we would like to first emphasize the word “contact” and its synonyms like “struck”, “touch” and “on”.  Foot Fault happens when the foot makes contact with the ground, not when the foot crosses a plane in space.  Similarly, the serve happens when the paddle makes contact with the ball, and with this contact made, the service motion ends.


The Rules state that a player shall have both feet behind and not touching the baseline before he performs the serve.  At the instant when the paddle strikes the ball, the server’s feet shall not touch the court, including the baseline; and at least one foot shall remain in contact with the ground behind the baseline.


In Addition, during the serve when the ball is struck, the server’s feel shall not touch the area shaded in red the figure below.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Therefore, service foot fault happens only when the foot or feet is in contact with an illegal zone at the very moment the ball contacts the paddle on the serve.

Case Study A 
A player performing his serve does a stride with his rear leg such that on ball contact with paddle, he has only one foot in contact with the ground; and after the ball made contact with the paddle, his rear foot follows through the stride and steps into the court – there is no foot fault and the serve is legal.  

Case Study B
A “walking up” serve with foot landing in the court at the end of the last stride, after the ball is struck is also legal. 

Case Study C
A Jump Serve is illegal because both feet is not be in contact with the ground when the ball is struck.

#2 – Tie Resolution for Round Robins

Monday, October 19, 2020

Round Robin is a tournament format where all players shall play against each other, with the top performers defined by the players that had won the most matches.  However, many a times, there happens inevitable ties for the top positions.  Which leads to this very common topic, “How to Resolve Ties?”  

There are 2 methods to resolve ties – comparing Wins or comparing Differentials.  Tie breaking rules should be consistent and easy to understand and apply, so as to reduce, if not eliminate, any disputes that can easily arise during the passion of competition.  

Comparing Wins though the most straightforward, do have some limitations, e.g. where the USAPA Rulebook recommends Head-to-Head Matches Won as the 1st Tie Breaker, Tournament Directors should be note that this method is only effective for 2-way ties, and does not resolve all 3-way ties.  Comparatively, Differentials allows higher comparison resolution than simple wins, and therefore is more likely to be able to break ties.  The USAPA recommends one form of point differential method or another for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th tie breakers.

 

This article would like to mention another method of tie resolution employed in the Pickleball Global (PG) Tournament Software.  This method adopts the differential methods consistently across 3 levels of tie-breakers, and the 3 levels are ranked in the order of Matches, Games then Points.  The tie breakers are described as follows,

First Tie-Breaker – Overall Match Differential.  The first tie breaker would be to compare all the differential of Matches won and lost of each player, and the player with the higher winning match differential prevails. ​​

1.

Second Tie-Breaker – Overall Game Differential.  If two or more players remains tied with match differentials, the second tie-breaker would be to compare all Games won and lost of each tied player.  The player with the higher winning game differential prevails.

2.

Third Tie-Breaker – Overall Point Differential, i.e the Point differential for all games played.  E.g Player A with point differential of +2 shall prevail over Player B with point differential of -4.  This is where “Every Point Counts” truly matters.  Incidentally, this is the same method recommended by USAPA as their Second Tie Breaker.

3.

The PG software has only three tie breakers as they found that most ties can be resolved with this method.  Should further ties remain, PG allows the Tournament Director to decide the subsequent tie breakers.

 

We hope this article is able to shed some light on tie breakers and will be helpful to Tournament Organisers and Tournament Directors.

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