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Pickleball Etiquette: 13 Unwritten Rules of the Court

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So you’ve fallen in love with Pickleball and are on your way to mastering the rules of the sport. But, what about those unwritten rules that every pickler seems to know?

Or maybe you’ve been playing for years but there is some behavior that really grinds your gears on the court. We’ve got the full guide to Pickleball pet peeves and the top etiquette rules to follow.

Calm down

If you’ve just made an amazing shot or your opponent has missed an easy one, it may be tempting to go wild. A little discreet celebration is fine but fist-bumping, squealing or anything of that nature is a fast track ticket to being the most hated person on the court. Stay calm and be sportsmanlike or you’ll find yourself losing offers to play.

Don’t be a sore loser

Let’s face it Pickleball players are a friendly bunch, but there is something about the sport that can bring out a competitive side. While this is fine to a certain degree, the game is supposed to be fun guys! If you lose, do so graciously (that means no paddle throwing) and congratulate the other team.

Play with beginners

You may be pickleball master with a strong 4.5 rating who can beat just about anyone, but if you are playing recreationally, don’t refuse to play with a newbie if asked. Nobody started their pickleball career as an expert and games like these will help them learn.

Be gracious, play a couple of games, give them some pointers and then head back to players of similar skill. If the weaker player is you, make sure to thank the other player for their time.

Paddle power

Sometimes the paddles a club has available are not the best. If a new player has just joined they will have enough trouble learning all the skills, without having a mediocre paddle letting them down. If you’re experienced with Pickleball you can probably play well regardless, hand over your paddle for their first game. It’s just good karma.

Find the right partner

Finding the right partner in Pickleball is similar to dating. Don’t accept the first offer and look for someone with the same experience, personality, and goals.

Reach out to new people and try out options before you commit. You may be the same skill level, but do you actually gel? Don’t be afraid to cut cords if things are not working out. Unlike dating, this won’t result in heartache just a better Pickleball experience.

Reply to partner requests

So you’re in high demand? Lucky you! If you are being bombarded with partner requests it can be flattering or irritating. However, Pickleball, unlike online dating, is full of kind-hearted folk. So please just reply to let them know either way!

Do you know how frustrating it is to not know if someone is ignoring you or hasn’t seen your email? If you are already partnered up (in the Pickleball sense), let this person know and suggest someone else who’s looking.

If you’re on the other side of this dilemma, we’re sorry there is always singles…

Quit poaching

There are going to be times we play with lesser skilled players. Of course, in tournaments, it makes strategic sense to take their shots sometimes if it gives us a better chance to win. However, when playing for fun – STOP IT! Let your partner play, or how will they ever improve?

Be a team player

This rule is basically “don’t be a jerk”. Swearing and intimidating behavior does not make for a good pickleball player! Picklers are positive people and would never let a point or game ruin a friendship.

Support your teammate and compliment them when they make good shots. Actually – even compliment your opponents. This is the type of sport Pickleball is.

Call out the score loudly

When calling out the score before serving, make sure your voice carries across the court. The louder the better.

Don’t switch balls

If a ball lands in your court from a game nearby, pause the game, look where it needs to go, make eye contact and throw it directly to that person. Having a random ball thrown at you with no clear direction can really slow down a game.

Don’t cross a court during a match

Strolling across the back of a court during a match is a sure-fire way to annoy other Pickleball players. Not only does it show no respect for the game, but it can also be dangerous. Instead of chasing a lost ball shout “ball” to let the players know the situation. These balls may be light but they still hurt when they hit you in the face. Trust us.

Call a spade a spade

We think people need to relax on this one, but many players find it frustrating when people don’t use the correct pickleball vocabulary. It is a paddle, not a racket. Check our guide to learn the most important Pickleball terms here.

Don’t call the ball out before it lands

Most of the time you can judge where a ball is going to end up, from how it was hit. However, sometimes balls decide to go their own way. Just think of the let serve! Therefore, it really is best to slow down and wait for gravity to work its magic.


Did we miss any etiquette rules? Do you agree with us? Let us know in the comments or in our Pink Pickleball Facebook community.

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