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We Need to Talk About Pickleball Etiquette

by JB Jones on

Whether you're dropping by open play or a high-level competitor, you could probably benefit from a brush-up on pickleball etiquette. After all, you don't want to come off as a newbie...or just a rude player.

And there are a couple of ways to spot a newbie/rude player on the courts.

One tell-tale sign is the over-eager player that chases their ball through two courts, disrupting games in progress.

This will be obvious for open play vets, but can go a long way for not ruffling feathers. When a ball leaves your court, don't chase it.

You should think through a couple options instead of disrupting the game next to you:

  • Safety first - If the ball is going near any player in an active point, call "BALL" loudly to stop the point and prevent anyone from getting hurt.
  • Respect the point - If all four players are at the kitchen and the ball rolls through the backcourt or to the back fence, the rules change. Don't immediately stop the point or run to retrieve the ball. Wait to see how the point plays out.

Leave the decision to stop the point to the players on the court.

It's a big ask to make someone wait patiently to start their next point. But a player running to retrieve a ball is always going to be a bigger distraction than the ball alone. Wait it out.

  • Don't crowd the court - Whether you're waiting to retrieve a ball, pass through a court, or socializing between games, don't crowd the court.

You never know when an ATP is coming. While you and Henry are chatting about the last Dink Newsletter, you might also be interfering with the point in play.

(BTW if Henry is not subscribed, refer him using this link and start earning rewards with our referral program).

Some more important pickleball etiquette rules to remember:

  • If your paddle is next in the rack, be ready to play
  • Don't be the player that never has a ball
  • Be willing to play with anyone, we all start somewhere
  • Ensure your bags are off the courts and not crowding the space (gotta leave room for an ATP!)
  • No matter how intense things get, do the paddle-tap after the game ends to show good sportsmanship
  • Announce the score loud enough for the other team to hear (some players whisper or opt out of saying, that's how you lose track over time!)
  • Apologize for lucky lets or net shots (some people deem this unnecessary, but it's a sign of consideration)

Pickleball players share their etiquette tips

We asked our newsletter subscribers to tell us about the on-court etiquette which means the most to them.

In addition to many of the tips we listed above, here are some of the tips our subscribers mentioned:

  • If the court is gated, close the gate!
  • Return the ball to the player who needs it, don't just throw it in their general direction
  • Don't assume that women always want to have a "ladies' game"
  • Accept line calls THE FIRST TIME
  • Don't offer advice unless it is sought
  • Don't crank the volume on your music
  • Offer to switch sides on windy days

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