How to Renew Your USA Pickleball Referee Certificate

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Being a certified pickleball referee is both challenging and fun. As a sports official, you have a huge responsibility for making decisions. On the bright side, you will meet many players and learn from them. 

Not to mention, pickleball referees receive pay depending on the level and the kind of tournament. So, if you want to know how to renew your referee certification, continue reading until the end.

When to Renew Your Pickleball Referee Certificate

If you’re a member of USA Pickleball, pickleball referee certification expires every three years. The start of certificate renewal is 90 days before the expiration date, but you should submit your application no later than ten days before your current certification expires. However, certified referees with expired credentials for over 90 days will be automatically removed from the certified referee program.

Certification Renewal Requirements

Before submitting your application to renew your pickleball referee certificate, here are the requirements you must meet:

  • You should be a current USA Pickleball member with a good standing.
  • You should pass the USA Pickleball Referee Test and Line Judge Test within 30 days of submitting your application.
  • You should take the Referee Certification Renewal Test within the given period. Once the period starts, USA Pickleball will email you a notice with a link to the test.
  • You should complete the Visual Acuity Examination Form signed by a medical professional. It is the same form you used when applying for Level 1 referee.
  • You should also list the following:
    • The tournaments (USA Pickleball-sanctioned and non-sanctioned) you officiated during the previous 12 months. It includes the estimated number of matches for each tournament and those with line judges.
    • The names of referees you have mentored during the previous 12 months, including the dates and locations
    • Other pickleball-related activities you have been involved in during the previous 12 months other than playing. These include being a referee trainer, assistant or coordinator, and committee member.

As of this writing, the basic renewal fee is $20.

Certificate Renewal Process

Once you have completed all the requirements, you can submit your application to renew your pickleball referee certificate. 

  • Submit your renewal application to USA Pickleball and pay the renewal fee.
  • You will receive a notification that your renewal application has been received.
  • Your renewal application will be reviewed and verified for accuracy. Inaccuracies may lead to the disapproval of your application.
  • Once your certification renewal is approved, you will receive a new USA Pickleball certified referee photo ID badge, which will be mailed to you. Again, the pickleball referee certificate expires in 3 years.
  • If there have been complaints against your performance as a pickleball referee, your application may be declined.
  • If your performance during the on-court training has been verified as non-compliance with the standards, you may be required to undergo re-evaluation, which costs $125.
  • If you must undergo another on-court evaluation, you will receive an email with the schedule and venue.

Certificate Revocation and Decertification

As a USA Pickleball Certified Referee, you must perform all the officiating duties mentioned in the USA Pickleball Officiating Handbook and comply with the USA Pickleball Compliance Policy for Officials

Otherwise, you may be subject to disciplinary action up to decertification. In such cases, your referee certification may be revoked for one year after the official notification. You will be given a chance to respond to the issue.

Issues That Could Lead to Corrective Actions

Below are only some of the issues that could lead pickleball referees to receive corrective actions:

  • Consistently misinterpreting or disregarding pickleball rules and/or the Referee Handbook.
  • Demonstrating disrespect or unprofessional behavior towards individuals in the sport, whether on the court or through social media
  • Failure to support USA Pickleball or the volunteers involved in the sport.
  • Permitting players and spectators to influence the decisions of the referee
  • Deliberately obstructing the execution of job functions for a USA Pickleball volunteer.
  • Refusing a player access to medical attention upon request. Displaying bias in favor of or against a player or team.
  • Participating in inappropriate conduct, whether in or out of uniform.

Corrective Actions for Pickleball Referees

Below are the different levels of corrective actions for non-conforming pickleball referees. Progressive discipline is usually used, but it still depends on the severity of the infraction.

  • Verbal Warning: This is issued for minor infractions that should be documented but do not warrant additional penalties.
  • Mentoring: This is reserved for infractions beyond the minor level. It involves recording the incident and is overseen by an assigned USA Pickleball-certified evaluator or referee.
  • Written Warning: Issued by the USA Pickleball Director of Officiating, this warning outlines infractions and specifies corrective measures. Failure to comply will result in probation.
  • Probation: During this period, the official must undergo remedial training but can still officiate as a USA Pickleball credentialed official at tournaments, with monitoring by an assigned certified evaluator, referee, or designated representative. Further deficiencies may lead to suspension or credential revocation.
  • Long-term Suspension: Pickleball referees on long-term suspension must complete retraining and can only officiate under the direct supervision of a certified evaluator or referee. Before the suspension is lifted, they must pass the USA Pickleball Referee and Line Judge Tests. The National Officiating Committee may lift the suspension upon a written recommendation—failure to overcome deficiencies results in credential revocation. Violating suspension terms also leads to automatic revocation.
  • Revocation: Pickleball referees are removed from the program and barred from officiating, training, mentoring, or representing themselves as USA Pickleball credentialed officials. Credentials must be returned, and Tournament Directors and Ambassadors are informed. Revoked officials can reapply after 12 months unless a longer term is imposed.

Final Thoughts

Renewing your referee certification is much easier than applying for the first time. However, This can be difficult if you perform poorly on your first certification. Although USA Pickleball usually observes progressive discipline to offending officials, you should always practice good sportsmanship on and off the court. Like pickleball players, learn to control your temper and enjoy the sport. After all, pickleball was created for fun.

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