Pickleball Etiquette — Unwritten Rules (until now) for the Pickleball Newbie… and for some Experienced Players too!!!

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If you’re a pickleball newbie, you can download the USAPA & IFP Official Tournament Rulebook to find the “official” rules about how to play the game of pickleball. Etiquette “rules,” on the other hand, are generally unwritten – yet equally as important.

Top 10 Pickleball Etiquette Rules

Here are my top 10 etiquette rules for pickleball – rules that you won’t find in any official pickleball tournament handbook or rulebook:

  1. When somebody inadvertently hits a ball onto your court from an adjacent court, retrieve it and toss them that same ball that they hit onto your court. Don’t switch balls. I repeat, don’t switch balls. 😉
  2. When retrieving a ball from an adjacent court, make eye contact with someone from that court and then directly toss or hit them the ball. Don’t just hit the ball back into their court without looking. That’s very annoying!
  3. Don’t play keep away from the best player on the other team during rec play just so you can win – they want to play too!
  4. Don’t cross the court behind a match until play has stopped. It’s not only rude, but it can be very dangerous as well.
  5. Don’t chest-bump or be excessive in the celebration when your opponent makes an error. If, on the other hand, you or your partner made a great play… 🙂  Same goes for the “spectators.” Please don’t clap or cheer when the opposing player misses an easy shot.
  6. If you are obviously the weakest player on the court, thank the other players for playing with you after the game. However, don’t take advantage of their graciousness by staying on the court for an indefinite period of time. More than a game or two will undoubtedly wear out your welcome.
  7. If you are asked to play with a group that is obviously of a lower skill level than you, graciously accept and play a game or two with them. They will likely appreciate your graciousness and understand that you want to get back to similarly-skilled players after the game.
  8. If you are obviously the strongest person in your foursome, tone down the competitiveness and hit your opponent’s balls that they can return. Work on a new skill – perhaps it’s a great time for work on that third shot drop shot.
  9. If you and your partner can’t determine if the ball was in or out – or if you disagree with your partner on a line call – the benefit of the doubt goes to your opponent. Wait! That’s actually an “official” rule!
  10. In rec play, don’t exploit someone’s physical limitations just so you can “win.” Not cool!

I would love to hear from you in the comments below. What are some other etiquette considerations you may encounter during rec play?

For more rules clarification be sure to check out our pickleball rules page.

See you on the courts!

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