Jaume Martinez Vich and Todd Fought playing men's doubles.
Jaume Martinez Vich and Todd Fought competing at the MLP Atlanta. Major League Pickleball

Gameplay rules updated ahead of MLP D.C.

DALLAS, TX - Major League Pickleball announced Tuesday that a few rule changes are coming to next week’s event in the nation’s capital.

The biggest of these changes is that games must be won on serve. The rally scoring format—where a point is awarded after every rally—will still be used, but there is now a “freeze” on match point where the winning team must close out the match on serve.

This is actually how Major League Pickleball was played up until the most recent event in Atlanta, where the “freeze” was removed.

The second change has to do with repercussions for late court arrival. According to the 2024 MLPlay Rules Guide, teams are expected to report to their designated court at least ten minutes before their scheduled start time.

If all players on a given team are not on the court within five minutes of their scheduled start time, then the team will forfeit all coin toss selections.

The announcement also provides more information on the MLP 2024 serving rule, which differs from both USA Pickleball and the PPA’s serving rules.

According to the MLP rule, the server is allowed to make contact with the ball at any height on their body as long as their arm has an upward arc at the time of contact and the paddle head is not above the wrist joint when the ball is struck.

This serving guideline debuted at MLP Atlanta, and it seems like it’s here to stay for the rest of the 2024 season.