Pickleball Etiquette – Don’t be a jerk!


by Peter Schmidt

Pickleball is a fun game and great for socializing, but situations can occur that cause frustration, annoyance or even anger.  Poor sportsmanship can take the fun out of our play.  Don’t inadvertently become “that person” nobody wants to play with.  When you encounter an unfortunate situation, how can you deal with it?

Here are a few common scenarios and tips for dealing with them in social play:

  1. “Out!”  A familiar call in Pickleball that can cause so much frustration.  The old tennis adage is: “when in doubt, call it in.”  Not out.  The same goes for Pickleball.  In social play you can always play the point over, but it does seem that lately social play has become very competitive.  Remember, lines are in.
  2. Lobbying into the sun versus your opponent in social play: Don’t do it!  You can help solve this problem by switching sides at six points.  However, intentionally lobbing against physically challenged players or older players (know any?) is reallyinappropriate.
  3. Quick serving or not calling the score out loud prior to your service motion.  Be sure your opponent is ready and call the score out loud before you start to move.  If you are the receiver and you need more time to get ready, raise your paddle to notify the server.

Additional scenarios will be discussed in a future article.  USA Pickleball has a sportsmanship guide at usapickleball.org/member-news/usa-pickleball-sportsmanship-guide/ – please take time to review these guidelines.  There are also some great videos from various websites such as PikNinja and Third Shot Sports that show scenarios of funny but true pickleball poor sportsmanship.

The bottom line is that everyone who plays with you should look forward to it, feel good, have fun and be able to win or lose graciously.  Compliment your partner, but do not forget to compliment the other team on a great shot, or a great rally, no matter who won the point.  Let’s keep the fun in Pickleball for everyone who plays this great game.

Thank you to Mary Barsaleau and Julie Makinen, USA TODAY NETWORK for their permission to re-print a portion of their October 29, 2021 Sportsmanship article.

New Player Orientation (Tuesdays, 9:00 – 10:00 AM):  Arrangements can be made to schedule a training session by contacting Nancy Lande, 707-978-2998.  Demo/Loaner paddles are available by contacting Doc Savarese, 707-349-9065.If you know of someone in need of a card to cheer them up or for condolences, please contact Helen Selenati, 707-595-3413.

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