From a recent post at another club. Part I:
- To begin, and again IOHO, Pickleball is only a game. It is not a metaphor for life. It is not even a profession. Nobody makes much money playing pickleball. You will not eat differently tonight based on your success during a recreational pickleball match. We need to keep in mind that we are playing a GAME! Much of what follows is based on that concept.
- Begin each game by acknowledging the other players, introducing yourself if you don’t know them. If you do know them, tip a paddle towards them on the other side or salute or stand on your head or whatever is appropriate to let them know that you know they are there and are saying “hey”.
- During open play (mixed skill-levels), players play with all skill levels. No complaints. Good sportsmanship is the rule. If you are a significantly stronger player, if you have limited time available to you, and if there is an
“advanced court” option, go wait there for a stronger game. In any event, can the whining. It makes you look older.
- If you are playing against a team where there is a significantly stronger player, play against the STRONGER player. You will forget about who wins a given game tomorrow, but if you play against the stronger player you may learn something.
- If YOU are the strongest player of the four, play to the weakest players in a way they can handle and learn from. Sometimes you can even ask people what they are working on (e.g. drop shots, lobs, returning balls hit to their backhands, whatever) and if they tell you, hit them shots they can use to work on those shots.
- At the end of each game, find something positive to say to the other team at the net. “Nice game” isn’t always appropriate if in spite of your efforts at sportsmanship you have won 11-0. But “you made some great shots!”, or “much closer than the score”, or “Wow, we were lucky today!” would be just fine. At least, “Thanks for playing with us!” is nice. NEVER leave a game without acknowledging the other team.
- If the ball is out, and it’s on your side, call it out. If it’s close, give the benefit to your opponent. This is hard to do when the game is close but do it anyway. If your opponent does not do it, suck it up and you do the right thing anyway when it’s your turn. (I am not perfect on this one, btw, but I’m working on it.)
- If you step into the kitchen on a volley, or if your partner does, call it on yourself. Be very cautious about calling kitchen or serving faults on others. Most of us are at an age that we would doubt that we can clearly see a serving violation (illegal serve, foot-fault on baseline) – it’s 44 feet away at worst and about 23 feet away at best! (C’mon…you can’t find your keys in the morning until you find your glasses, which are already on your head, but you can clearly see a tiny foot-fault violation at 44 feet? Hah!)
- Never ask for, or accept, line calls from spectators.