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Court Etiquette & Safety

Court Etiquette

To begin, Pickleball is only a game. It is not a metaphor for life.

We need to keep in mind that we are playing a GAME!

The following is an edited summary taken from & 

  • Begin each game by acknowledging the other players, introducing yourself if you don’t know them.

  • If you are playing against a team where there is a significantly stronger player, play against the STRONGER player. You will forget about who wins a given game tomorrow, but if you play against the stronger player you may learn something.

  • If the ball is out, and it’s on your side, call it out. If it’s close, give the benefit to your opponent. If your opponent does not do it, suck it up and you do the right thing anyway when it’s your turn.

  • Call out "BALL" if a ball rolls onto your court or an adjacent court and stop play.

  • Before each serve call out the score.

  • If you step into the kitchen on a volley, or if your partner does, call it on yourself. Be very cautious about calling kitchen or serving faults on others.

  • NEVER yell at, swear at, or say a hostile or sarcastic word to your partner or your opponent in anger. We repeat, NEVER!

  • Trash-talking, which is teasing your opponents in a fun and lighthearted way, is part of pickleball. It’s one of the things that distinguishes us from our more formal and reserved counterparts who play tennis. But be careful – don’t trash-talk someone who is sensitive, who you don’t know, who is a weaker player or can’t for any reason trash-talk back.

  • The corollary to the above is obvious. ALWAYS compliment people on outstanding “hero” shots or on a really great game. 

  • Play your strongest game against better players but work on stuff you need practice on with the weaker players.

  • At the end of each game, yell "COURT" and leave the ball at the net then exit the court for the next foursome.

  • At the end of each game, find something positive to say to the other team at the net. NEVER leave a game without acknowledging the other team.

  • At the end of a game, if you believe another player would benefit from an observation about their play, DON’T OFFER IT. Give advice WHEN ASKED, if you believe that the party is really sincere about wanting it.

  • When entering or leaving the courts, do not interfere with the play on adjacent courts. Wait for the point to be finished then move quickly onto, or off the courts.

Court Safety

  • Stretch before and AFTER playing.

  • When going backwards for a lob, turn and run backwards, DON’T SHUFFLE BACKWARDS.

  • Hydrate. This means “drink water”. This means YOU.

  • If a ball comes onto your court from another court, STOP PLAY AT ONCE.

  • If you hit a ball into another court, immediately YELL “Ball On Court!”

  • If a ball is going towards another court, do NOT chase it ONTO the other court. Stop, yell “Ball on Court”

  • Don’t overplay your current physical condition. (“JUST ONE MORE GAME” has caused way too many accidents!)

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