RacquetWorld's Newsletter Racquetball Tip of the Month
2011 Rules Update – Serving in Doubles
You remember back when you learned how to play doubles and your first time somebody told you about the first team up to serve only serves once...then the other team serves twice...and then the first guy on the first team serves again, making the second guy on team one serve in the #5 spot...from then on you kept your serving position as first or second server and you sat there and were like, how does this make any sense? Fast forward a few months and you got it down perfectly and went on to explain it to the next newbie just like the previous three month expert explained it to you. Well, get ready to learn it all over again...the serving rules in doubles have just changed.
In short, the beginning is the same. The first team up still gets only one server. The second teams still gets both servers. However, from there on out you can have either one of the teammate’s serve first when you get to the service box. Your team is no longer set as first server and second server. You can switch around each time you come up to serve. The only stipulation is that the same server can’t serve both times.
I’d like to hear from some of you players out there that use this new rule on your less rules educated opponents. I expect that most players will just go on as before in ignorant bliss of this rules change. In the meantime, this rule change can be used once on an unsuspecting team to throw them off for at least a match if you need it.
First the team won’t believe you. You show them the half page below with the exact wording. Next they’ll think that since you are changing your order there must be some advantage to it. They will first try and figure out your advantage and then start trying to figure out how they can use this order switch-a –roo to exploit your team’s weakness. All this will take several points. While their minds are twisted around this problem, their game concentration is way down...take advantage...it will only work the first time so use this information wisely.
Good luck to all you refs who will be tracking this each service time...
Below is the exact wording for the new rules taken from the USA Racquetball Website.
Rule 4.2 SERVE IN DOUBLES
(a) Order of Serve. At the beginning of each game, when the first server of the first team to serve is out, the team is out. After that, either partner can serve first each time the team steps in to serve. Both players on each team shall serve until there is a handout and a sideout -- i.e. both players are out. The referee must make sure that neither partner serves again after that partner had previously lost a rally while serving.
Rule 4.4 OUT SERVE IN DOUBLES
(a) Out of Order Serve. If either partner serves again after that partner had previously lost a rally while serving, the penalty is an immediate out for that team.
The new rule changes will go in effect January 1, 2011.
Questions or comment…Pat@Racquetworld.com