Pickleball is exploding in popularity these days, and it seems like everyone’s playing the sport or talking about playing it. However, getting out on the court for the first time can feel intimidating. If this sounds familiar to you, there’s no need to worry– there’s a place for everyone in pickleball, regardless of your experience.
But to get started, it can be helpful to know the etiquette of the sport. Let’s dive into the basics of pickleball etiquette to make sure you are ready to step onto the court with confidence.
What is Pickleball?
Pickleball is a paddle sport that quickly gained traction in recent years due to its inclusivity and easy-to-learn rules. It’s a game designed for all ages and skill levels, making it a popular choice for everyone from families to competitive athletes.
The sport is played with a perforated plastic ball, similar to a wiffle ball, and composite paddles, which are slightly larger than ping-pong paddles. Much like tennis or badminton, the objective of the game is to hit the ball over the net to the opponent’s side, following a set of pickleball-specific rules. For more details on the rules of the sport, be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to Pickleball.
Understanding the Game
A blend of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong, pickleball can be played indoors or outdoors on a badminton-size court (approximately one-third the size of a tennis court) with a slightly modified tennis net. It’s a game of agility, strategy, and most importantly, sportsmanship.
The Golden Rules of Pickleball Etiquette
Embracing proper pickleball etiquette is a sign of respect for the game and its players, and it also enhances the overall experience of the game for all.
Here’s the number one rule of pickleball – have fun.
At the heart of pickleball is fun and community. It’s a social, inclusive game. As you start playing, you may hear the catchphrase, “It’s just pickleball.” A match can be competitive, but it can – and should – also be light-hearted and fun.
Now that we have that golden rule in mind, here are some other rules that can make it
Learn the Basic Rules
Before diving into the sport, acquaint yourself with the basic rules of the game.
You don’t have to be an expert, but it can be helpful for both you and those you’re playing with if you have a solid grasp of the game before playing a competitive match for the first time. (Need help learning? We have a Pickle In No Time class designed to teach you how to play pickleball and get you on the court!)
Keep a Friendly Attitude
The game of pickleball thrives on camaraderie between players.
A friendly attitude toward fellow players, regardless of the level of competition, creates a positive environment that goes a long way. So, whether you win or lose, pickleball etiquette calls for a smile and a friendly handshake at the end of the match.
Respect the Court and Equipment
Just like you would your personal recreation equipment, treat the court, nets and other equipment with respect. This includes wearing non-marking athletic shoes to play so that you can keep the court in pristine condition for future players.
Once the game is complete, pick up after yourself and make sure that the court is in the same condition as when you arrived. This reflects a level of respect towards the game, your facility, and your fellow players.
Cheer Others On
During a serve or rally, it can be courteous to maintain silence and allow players to concentrate.
However, pickleball is a sport that’s all about fun and community, so it’s also encouraged to speak up and cheer each other on. You’ll often even hear players competing against each other congratulating one another on great hits or strong rallies.
In most casual pickleball matches, you’ll be responsible for managing your own scoring, so it makes sense to treat others the way you’d want to be treated. Again, pickleball is meant to be fun, and it’s more fun if you can count on each other to score points fairly.
Wait for a Break to Enter or Exit a Court
Pickleball etiquette calls for waiting for a break in play before entering or exiting a court so that no one disrupts a game in progress or distracts other players.
Be Patient with New Players
Everyone is a newbie at some point, so be sure to pay forward the patience and expertise you’ve received to new players. This creates the good-natured, friendly environment that’s at the heart of the pickleball community.
Making Your First Move
Now that you’re acquainted with the basics of pickleball etiquette, it’s time to get out on the court and start experiencing the fun of pickleball! There are plenty of opportunities to play, learn and have fun at Pickle Haüs – including attending classes taught by our pros, booking courts to play with family or friends, or dropping in for one of our open play sessions.