IRT Rules of Play

The Professional division at IRT events will follow USAR rules, with the following exceptions:


  • The games of a match are played to eleven (11) points. All games must be won by two (2) points.
  • All matches consist of the best three (3) out of five (5) games.
  • A coin flip determines which player serves first in the match. The winner of the coin flip has the choice to serve or receive. The first server also serves the third game. Total points in the first four (4) games determine the server in the fifth game. In the event of a tie, another coin flip will determine the server.
  • At no time may a player question or argue a skip ball, two bounce get, five foot line infraction or fault serves. The referee shall issue one warning and each infraction there after a technical shall be awarded.


  • All surfaces shall be in play, with the exception of any gallery opening, surfaces designated as out-of-play for a valid reason and objects that are not considered part of the court determined before play begins by the IRT President. Anything inside the court is considered part of the court, making it in play unless it is added such as a microphone, speaker etc.
  • There are no court hinders.
  • The referee should stop play immediately whenever the ball hits any part of the court that was designated in advance as out-of-play.
  • The referee should stop play if after striking a wet spot on the first surface that the ball hits after the front wall only on the serve. If play is not stopped by the referee, play continues as usual. If the ball hits a wet sport during play, play continues.
  • A noise outside the court does not result in a replay if a player stops play. Play must continue.


  • The server will have two serve opportunities to put the ball into play

Time Between Serves

  • The 10-second rule applies to the server and receiver simultaneously when both players are in the general vicinity of their serve or return positions. Collectively, they are allowed up to 10 seconds after the score is called to serve and be ready to receive.
  • The referee shall call the score and the 10-second count shall commence; if more than 10 seconds is taken, a technical warning is issued for delay of game. Each infraction after will result in a technical.
  • It is the server’s responsibility to look and be certain the receiver is ready. If a receiver is not ready, they must signal by raising the racquet above the head or completely turning the back to the server (these are the only two acceptable signals). Any intentional delay of game such as kicking the ball, hitting the ball after the rally out of frustration or any other delay in the referee’s judgment shall result in a delay of game warning then each infraction after shall result in a technical.


  • Each player is entitled to one, one-minute timeout per game.
  • The player must make the referee aware of the time-out and may not leave the court until the referee acknowledges the time out. A technical will be assessed if a player leaves the court without the permission of the referee.
  • Receiving player may not call a timeout after the service motion has begun.
  • Calling a timeout when no timeouts remain or after service motion has begun will result in the assessment of a technical foul for delay of game.
  • The referee is responsible for informing the players when 10 seconds remain in the timeout.
  • The referee will strictly enforce the 60-second timeout per game.
  • The first infraction of this rule will warrant a technical from the referee.

Equipment Timeouts

  • Players are expected to keep all clothing and equipment (i.e. racquet and gloves) in good, playable and safe condition.
  • Adjustment and replacement of equipment is expected during regular timeouts and time in between games. However, if a player is out of timeouts and the referee determines that an equipment change or adjustment is necessary for fair and safe continuance of the match, the referee may grant an equipment timeout not to exceed 30 seconds.
  • Equipment worn or played with by the player applicable to a referee granted 30 second equipment timeout includes: broken racquet frame, broken racquet strings, broken eye guards, broken or untied safety wrist strap, wet shirt (shirt considered to be wet if during diving the court becomes excessively wet and slows the game down for continual drying or water from shirt drips onto the court), torn clothing, *torn/ripped glove, broken shoe lace or torn shoe or any other item deemed in need of change or adjustment by the referee so as to continue the match fairly and safely.
  • The referee is responsible for informing the players when 10 seconds remain in the equipment timeout.
  • The referee will strictly enforce the 30-second equipment timeout.
  • The first infraction of this rule will warrant a warning from the referee.
  • The second and subsequent infractions will result in a side out for the receiver or a point for the server, depending on the violator.
  • Wet gloves will not be included as part of a referee granted equipment timeout. Each player will be expected to use (1) the time prior to the start of the match, (2) the timeout granted during the game, or (3) time in between games to secure a dry glove for continued play.

Injury Timeouts

  • If a player is injured during the course of a match as a result of contact, such as with the ball, racquet, wall or floor, an injury timeout will be awarded. While a player may call more than one timeout for the same injury or for additional injuries that occur during the match, a player has two seven and one half minute (7.5) timeouts per match for an injury during the entire match. If the injured player is not able to resume play after the two time outs are used, the match shall be awarded to his opponent.
  • Should any external bleeding occur, the referee must halt play as soon as the rally is over, a referee timeout is called allow to allow the player to stop the bleeding in a reasonable amount of time determined by the referee and/or the President. Play shall not continue until the court has been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected if necessary.

Time Between Games

  • The rest period between all games is two minutes.
  • The referee is responsible for informing the players when twenty (20) seconds remain before play for the next game is to resume.
  • All rest times between games will be strictly enforced by the referee. The first infraction of this rule will warrant a warning from the referee. The second and subsequent infractions will result in a side out for the receiver or a point for the server, depending on the violator.

Time Between Matches

  • Time between matches is fifteen minutes once the court is prepared to be played on as determined by the President or acting IRT official. Once a match is finished the court will be swept and cleaned if needed and the players will commence their warm-up at which time the fifteen-minute warm-up begins.
  • If a player is not prepared to play, a technical will result in each minute after 15 up to 18 minutes upon which the player is then fined. If the delay continues, the President may declare a forfeit.

Rules Commissioner

  • The IRT Rules Commissioner is the President of the IRT and will have the final say on all rules questions or disputes. If the President is not available, an IRT designated official will have the final say.
  • The designated official will have the authority to answer questions and resolve conflicts on site and during matches. At any time during a match, a player may request a ruling from the available Rules President. The opinion of only the acting official is necessary to resolve any issue that may arise. There is no appeal.

Broken Balls

  • If the receiver or server makes contact with the ball with his racquet after the end of the rally and the ball is then determined broken, the previous rally shall not be replayed and will stand as is unless it is determined by the referee that the ball was indeed broken during the rally; the really will then be replayed.
  • If the ball is squeezed by hand after the rally is over and before it is struck by a racquet and determined to be broken, the previous rally will be replayed.
  • Purposely striking the ball after the rally with the intent to impede the above rule shall result in a technical for unsportsmanlike conduct.
  • Any player striking the ball out of frustration after the rally shall be issued a technical.

Racquet/Ball Carry

  • If a player swings at the ball and the ball hits the racquet more than once as a miss-hit then the ball is in play, as long as it is one continuous swing. There is no “carry rule” in professional play.


  • All losers are expected to either officiate the next match or the first IRT match the following day. Failure to referee will result in a $100 fine. The IRT will supply a referee for all quarter, semi and final matches which will be paid by those playing in these rounds.