Pickleball Etiquette — Unwritten Rules Beginners Should Know

Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world and is enjoyed by millions of people. It’s a great way to get some exercise and socialize with friends, but it also brings an unspoken code of conduct — pickleball etiquette.

Like most sports, there are some unwritten guidelines that all players should follow to ensure everyone has a fun, safe, and enjoyable game.

This article will focus on the basic unwritten rules of pickleball etiquette that all beginners should know. From what to wear to how to tap paddles, we’ll prep you for your first few pickleball matches so you can focus on the game.

Let’s dive right in!

Unwritten Pickleball Etiquette Rules for Beginners

As a pickleball beginner, there are rules you should have at your fingertips while on the court. These etiquettes help ensure an enjoyable experience for all players. 

Below are some of the unwritten pickleball rules for beginners:

Introduce yourself.

First things first, get acquainted with fellow players. Before starting a match, introduce yourself to your playmate and opponents alike. As a social sport, pickleball allows for team spirit and maximum cooperation on both sides, and the best way to achieve that is by starting on a good foot. Also, look out for newcomers in your sports center, exchange pleasantries, and let them feel at home. 

pickleball etiquette

Score Calling

Pickleball players often forget to call the score before serving. Whether you’re sure of the score or not, score-calling is very important. This act is a way of signaling your opponent that you’re ready to serve them.

Failing to call the score is disrespectful to the other players. Besides, it may cause a player who needs to be more focused on the ball coming to get injured. When you call the serve, all players know that the game is still up and can confirm the correctness of the score. Make sure you call the score loud enough for all players on your court to hear–but not so loud that other courts hear too. 🙂

Don’t Make Excuses for Losing Games

Making excuses for losing a game is inappropriate behavior in pickleball. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player. 

Rather, take responsibility for your actions and understand that losing is a part of the game. Be honest, accept your mistakes, and accept responsibility for your losses. That’s what a good athlete does.

Ball Control

Always endeavor to pass the ball to the player on the other side of the net, no matter where they’re on the court. In the same vein, don’t be that player who never reaches out for the ball whenever it rolls off the court.

Always say; “thank you” to anyone who helps you retrieve the ball from the sidelines. Also, always keep the ball on the ground when the game is over. Rather, pick up the ball and hand it to the next group; if there’s none, place it in a safe space.

Serving When Everyone is Ready

Only serve the ball when all the players are ready for the serve. Also, while on the court, if the return server isn’t giving a signal that they’re not prepared, then the server can begin as long as the official calls the score.

Pickleball Etiquette: Acknowledging Great Shots

Everyone likes to be acknowledged if they make a great shot in pickleball. Always be the one to shout out the praises to the players when you see a great shot. 

Exploiting Mobility

It’s risky to lob the ball behind those that aren’t mobile on the court. However, in tournaments, lobbing can be an awesome strategy, but in recreational matches, it can be viewed as disrespectful and as a safety issue.

End-of-Game Protocol

Usually, at the end of the game, the players meet at the net and tap their paddles with each player by sticking out the handles of their paddles to acknowledge the game is over. 

Whether the game was great or not, walking out of the court and not meeting at the net is rude. If you do that, you’ll be seen as exhibiting poor sports etiquette. 

Emotional Control

Putting up unruly behavior while playing upsets both the players on the court and those on the sidelines. Avoid using foul language and acting angrily. You’ll be distracting and disrespecting everyone around.

Quick Exit from the Game

When the game ends and the net meeting is concluded, pickleball etiquette is that you should exit as quickly as possible.  

Don’t hang around the court or engage in conversations when there’s a group waiting to play. The other players will get frustrated by the long wait time.

Stay Calm While on the Court

Showing excitement is not bad if you made a smooth shot. But avoid getting wild. Desist from squealing or fist-bumping. That’s rather violent.

Stay calm and act sportsmanlike so you don’t lose possible offers to play. That’s one of the unwritten pickleball rules for beginners. No one will tell you that.

Find the Right Partner

Finding the right partner in pickleball is akin to getting into a love relationship. Don’t accept the first offer and begin searching for someone with a great personality, experience, personality, and goals.

Reach out to other people and try out different options before you commit. Find someone who has better skills than you do. However, if you realize the person isn’t the best fit for you, break things up. 

Don’t worry; unlike dating, this won’t result in heartache. Rather, it’s a step to a better pickleball experience.

Don’t Grab the Ball Before it Lands.

It’s possible to guess where the ball will land from how your opponent hits it. However, balls decide to go their way sometimes. Therefore, the rule is to slow down and wait for gravity to work its magic before serving.

Be a Team Player

As a good pickleball player, avoid swearing and any other intimidating attitude. Stay positive, and never allow the game to ruin your relationship with other players. Remember, it’s just a game.

Compliment your teammate, and even opponents, when they make great shots. Even as a pickleball beginner, you can offer them support in any way possible.

Final Words

Pickleball etiquette is essential for creating a fun experience for all players. By adhering to all the unwritten pickleball rules for beginners, you’ll enjoy the game, and other players will feel respected.

Good etiquettes help ensure a more pleasant playing environment and safety for all players, including beginners. It further promotes sportsmanship.

Lastly, be kind and respectful towards other players. Winning a game is not the only reason for playing it. Spread positivity! Did you find the unwritten pickleball rules for beginners helpful?

Are you ready to kick-start your journey as a pickleball player? Let us know in the comment section.

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