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Pickleball Players Say: Rule Book Should Punish These Violations

by Adam Forziati on

In our recent newsletter, we channeled the below Catherine Parenteau tweet and asked our audience to tell us which codes of conduct they think the pickleball rulebook should sanction more punishments for if broken.

Obviously, Parenteau's tweet was talking about pro-level play, but the responses we receive seem to apply to all medium-and-higher levels.

Here's what our dedicated audience of pickleball players had to say.

Line calls a source of annoyance

Let's face it, this is one of those elements of the game which is bound to incur stress.

If you're playing against aggressive, selfish players, you're going to face their wrath whether you call their shot out or they call yours and there is disagreement.

But even if all four players on the court are calm and polite, often that leads to an over-apologetic echochamber of "are you sure?;" "I'm sorry, I didn't see it well enough;" and "did you see it?"

At the pro level, our audience feels bad line calls should result in a penalty.

One person suggested 3 bad line calls in a row should result in an automatic penalty, while another said even arguing an out call should be punished.

Many pickleball players indicated that they feel pros should never argue any line call made by an official, period.

Other line call situations which enrage pickleball players include:

  • Calling a ball 'out' before it hits the ground (just say 'no!' to dissuade your partner from hitting it!)
  • Calling a ball out, then changing your mind and hitting a winner when your opponents stopped playing because you said it was out

Paddle-based offenses

Pro-level paddle disqualifications (like this from April 2023) and other controversies surrounding paddles have apparently embittered some pickleball fans.

The perception appears to be that players should face more consequences to encourage legal paddle use and avoid these disqualification events.

"Willful use of an illegal paddle" was a commonly-cited offense.

But the most-cited offense throughout all of our survey results: paddle throwing (sorry, DJ Young).

In fact, it seems as though any violently-disrespectful, profane, or otherwise-rageful act on the court is a no-no.

Foul language, verbal intimidation, slamming the ball at people, and temper tantrums all comprised most of the rest of our survey results.

It's clear that dedicated pickleball fans mostly want one thing from pros: to stay calm and collected on the court.

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Adam Forziati

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