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Time-Out or No Time-Out?

News Stacie Townsend 09-02-2020

Did you know that there is an entire section of the 2020 Official Rulebook for USA Pickleball that is devoted exclusively to time-outs? Section 10 of the 2020 Official Rulebook for USA Pickleball describes the rules of pickleball for standard time-outs, medical time-outs, hydration breaks, equipment time-outs, time between or before games, and time-outs for extenuating circumstances. In this blog, we will briefly breakdown the standard time-out, as well as offer some advice of when and how to use a time-out.

According to Rule 10.A, a pickleball team will have two standard, one-minute time-outs per 11- or 15-point game (or three standard, one-minute time-outs per 21-point game). The referee will alert the players when there are 15 seconds remaining in a time-out. If the players on the court are ready to resume play before the one-minute time-out expires, then play may resume early.

To call a time-out, a player must alert the referee. However, a time-out may not be called if the referee has already called the score and the serving player has started the serving motion. If a player calls a time-out, but has already used all of the available time-outs, then that player will only receive a penalty if that player violated another time-out rule (e.g., called time-out after the serving player started his or her serving motion).

When it comes to strategizing of when and how to use your time-outs, the general rule is to use your time-outs! If you do not use your time-outs, you do not get to keep them or take them home with you, so do not be afraid to use them. Time-outs can be one of the easiest ways to break or change the momentum of a pickleball game (and, as you know, momentum is crucial in the game of pickleball!).

A good rule of thumb is to call a time-out if your opponents have scored three points in a row. A time-out will give you and your partner the opportunity to think and re-focus. Also, consider strategizing with your support team during time-outs. Your support team could add a fresh perspective to your strategy if you need it.

Do you have any tips for using (or not using) your standard time-outs on the pickleball court? Share with us in the comments below!


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