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Pickleball Etiquette: Unwritten Rules For A Fun Game

Pickleball's popularity is surging, and with that growth comes the importance of good sportsmanship.  While the official pickleball rulebook governs gameplay, there's an unwritten code of conduct that keeps things friendly and competitive.. In this article, the Paddle Experts at JustPaddles give all pickleballers tips on pickleball etiquette to make the game more enjoyable for all! Whether you are a seasoned professional or first stepping up to the court these pickleball etiquettes will make the game of pickleball fun and welcome to all players!  

 Be Welcoming and Respectful

Pickleball is an inclusive sport that is for everyone and a contributor to its growth over the recent years. Stick the Pickleball Golden Rule: Welcome all players with open arms and if it's not your first time on the court be patient and introduce the game to others such as someone did to you. This fun-loving energy is what continues to bring players back to the court wanting more! 

Here are a few of the unwritten rules of pickleball for when you first head to the court: 

  • Introduce Yourself: Start the game off right by introducing yourself and your partner to your opponents. If you see newcomers, make them feel included!

  • Know the Rules: Understanding the rules avoids confusion and ensures everyone's on the same page. Don't hesitate to ask questions if you're unsure. No need to be rude when it comes to the rules. Have a calm and collected conversation if there becomes a disagreement. Pro Tip: Ask a waiting player if they could provide some insight on the rules if a disagreement occurs. 

  • Respectful Spectating: Avoid disruptive comments or calls as a spectator. Let the players handle out calls unless asked for your input.

  • Acknowledge Mistakes: A quick "sorry" or a hand signal shows good sportsmanship when a lucky net shot goes your way, or if you accidentally hit your opponent.

  • Mind Your Surroundings: Be aware of other games in progress as you enter or exit the court.

  • Honest Line Calls: If the ball lands out on your side, call it. When unsure, give your opponent the benefit of the doubt. In casual play, replays are acceptable with everyone's agreement.

  • Announce the Score Clearly: Ensure everyone hears the score before you serve to avoid confusion during close matches.

Safety and Courtesy:

  • Post-Match Paddle Tap: End the game by meeting at the net for a "good game" or "way to play" exchange. A friendly paddle tap is a nice touch, but avoid aggressive contact.

  • Court Sharing: Don't monopolize the court. Let others have a turn! If you're on a winning streak, consider taking a break to give others a chance. Follow any court usage rules in place.

  • Bonus Tip: For advanced players, consider occasionally playing with beginners or offering tips if requested.  Remember, some players might prefer to learn at their own pace.

Ball Etiquette:

  • Safe Ball Retrieval: Finish the rally, pick up the stray ball, and ensure the owner of the ball is ready and aware a ball is coming their way. Give a gentle toss or work on your dinks and lightweight hit the ball back to its own

  • Alert Others on Stray Balls: Yell "Ball on Court!" to warn players of a rogue ball that might cause confusion or injury. Don’t let your opponents tell you differently, if there is a ball on the court during a rally the point is dead.


  • Play with Everyone: Pickleball is inclusive! Don't be afraid to play with people of all skill levels. If you're a beginner, feel free to approach experienced players for a game.

  • When in Doubt, Play It Out: Unsure about a call? Give your opponent the benefit of the doubt and keep the game moving.

  • Call the Shots: Make honest calls on whether your shot was "in" or "out." Remember, fairness is key!

  • We All Make Mistakes: Admit your faults, like accidentally stepping over the line. Stay calm and point it out without creating a fuss.

  • Share the Court: Pickleball is about fun and socializing. Take breaks and let others join in on the fun!

Friendly Competition:

  • Level the Playing Field: If you're a seasoned player, consider toning down your game when playing with beginners. In tournaments, skill levels are already categorized.

  • The Friendly Game: Be welcoming and celebrate victories modestly. A fist pump or paddle tap is okay, but keep the over-the-top celebrations for the Pickledome

  • Keep It Positive: Trash talk and negativity have no place on the pickleball court. Encourage other players and appreciate good shots. We love a good cheeky fun trash talk in a rivalry, but be sure to keep it fun.  As the game continues to grow show respect to others playing around you.

Pickleball Court Etiquette:

 Wait Before Crossing: Don't interrupt a game by crossing the court to chat with someone. Wait for a break in play and acknowledge the players before making your move.
  • Know the Court Rhythm: Be ready to play when it's your turn, and promptly exit the court after your match so others can play.

  • Label Your Paddle: This helps avoid confusion about who's playing next and prevents mix-ups with other paddles.

  • Keep Your Power Play in Check: Go for points, but prioritize safety over hitting the hardest smashes.

Honing Your Skills:

  • Know the Game Like the Back of Your Paddle: Understanding the rules will make you a better player and more enjoyable teammate.

  • Stay in School: Pickleball is a continuous learning experience. Embrace each match as a chance to learn and grow from your opponents.

Pickleball thrives on respect and good sportsmanship. By following these tips, you'll become a valued player who can have fun with both beginners and veterans. Remember, good etiquette makes the game more enjoyable for everyone! With a sprinkle of courtesy and a dash of respect, you've mastered the art of pickleball etiquette. Now, you're not just a player, you're a true ambassador of the sport, ready to share the fun and camaraderie that pickleball offers! Get out there, have a blast, and remember - it's always more about the friendly competition than the final score. So, grab your paddle, embrace the fun, and become a part of the welcoming pickleball community. 


Now that you are ready for the etiquette of the court the Paddle Experts at JustPaddles want to equip you with the right pickleball paddle. Reach out to us call/text 866-382-3465, email, or click here to live chat or head to our blog on the Best Paddle of 2024!

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