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Instant Replay in Pickleball

by JB Jones
Pickleball Instant Replay Rule

Instant Replay in Pickleball

The game continues to grow and improve, today we saw a huge step for the PPA Tour, Instant Replay in Pickleball.

Halfway through today’s event, a rule was instituted that has never been seen in Pickleball history. For the Women’s Doubles final, each team would be allowed to challenge their opponents’ line call using INSTANT REPLAY! 

With the camera coverage on Championship Court, there are enough angles to confirm whether most shots land in or out. The PPA saw an opportunity to improve the game and instituted the rule to help. Each team gets one challenge per game to overturn a call. If the challenge is successful they keep their challenge to use again.

If they lose the challenge they also lose a timeout. So they must have a timeout in their pocket in order to be able to challenge. 

Personally, I love the rule. It takes some pressure off the refs. It allows more correct calls to be made. And it makes the game look more professional. Can’t wait to see how it is used today and how it changes the game.

The First Challenge

The first ever Pickleball Instant Replay Challenge was issued by Ben Johns during game one of the championship match. Down 7-10, he hit a cross court, backhand roll shot that landed dangerously close to the sideline. The ball carried past Riley Newman and he called it out. 

Having hit so many of those shots in the past, Johns felt like that one stayed in, like so many before. He challenged the call, again making history in the game. 
 
The replay official was called on, and two seperate camera angles were used to review the shot. The official made his call and relayed the message to the on court official. He turned to the crowd with both arms angled down saying IN. The call had been reversed and Johns/Wright would be awarded the point. 
 
Extremely innovative of the PPA to incorporate this rule on the fly and have the first challenge be a success. Look for this to be a regular part of championship court matches at the PPA. 
 
The only drawback I can see for having this technology in play would be a greater tendency for players to call shots out, knowing they have the challenge to fall back on. This might switch the common attitude from if you’re unsure call it in, to if you’re unsure call it out and let the replay correct your call.
 
Ultimately, it comes down to player integrity which has been shown to be high throughout the history of pickleball. The Replay Challenge adds an interesting twist and only helps get more calls correct, and make the game look more professional.

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