Pickleball Etiquette Part 2

From another club’s post.  Part II

  1. If spectators continuously comment on the play itself, while this is normal and fun, ask them not to if their comments are loud, disruptive, argumentative, hostile or combative. Even if (OK, ESPECIALLY if) they are on your side!
  2. NEVER yell at, swear at, or say a hostile or sarcastic word to your partner or your opponent in anger. We repeat, NEVER! (one of us finds this almost impossible to do but we keep trying, we keep trying….)
  3. Do we need to add that, since we are playing a social game, it would be NICE if you apologized if you break wind or belch? Amazingly enough, we DID need to add this as I’ve seen people who purposely belch on courts, loud enough to strip chrome off bumpers. Many of us consider this rude. Some of us consider this funny. Respect those who are more refined, you insensitive churl! (At the moment we don’t know anybody who can break wind on demand but we suspect they’ll show up at any time now.)
  4. Trash-talking, which is teasing your opponents in a fun and lighthearted way, is part of pickleball. It’s one of the things that distinguishes us from our more formal and reserved counterparts who play tennis (unless of course they are playing “Team Tennis” – in which case they are just as “bad” as we are!) But be careful – don’t trash-talk someone who is sensitive, who you don’t know, who is a weaker player or can’t for any reason trash-talk back. Do we need to say the obvious – don’t trash-talk someone’s physical or mental limitations, use racial or other politically incorrect statements (at ANY time in your life!), and etc.? Statements like “You could have got that before you lost your leg!” would NOT be considered appropriate. Among peers, “you could have got that LAST year!” might be considered appropriate. Just be careful.
  5. The corollary to the above is obvious. ALWAYS compliment people on outstanding “hero” shots or on a really great game. (Not on every point, but when it’s most appropriate, you silly goose.)
  6. Play your strongest game against better players but work on stuff you need practice on with the weaker players. We will often individually tell our partners “I’m working on (say) placement today” and they know that will mean that we’re not necessarily going to put every shot away. Saying this beforehand gives you a chance to gauge what your partner wants out of the deal. Recently Irene had a friend tell her “But I want to win this game!” when she said that and so they played a bit harder – against a comparable team, and did win, and she left the practicing for the next game.
  7. Do not take advantage of a person’s physical limitations when you play them socially. If someone cannot go back for a lob when they’re at the line because of physical limitations, for instance, why lob over their heads? It’s a cheap shot, you won’t learn anything by doing it, and you certainly will not be respected for it. Anyway, perhaps they have great hands at the line and you could learn something by hitting shots to their strength and trying to make good shots out of their returns. (It’s appropriately a different story in tournaments, believe us, but even there some limitations apply. Examples of good sportsmanship abound from tournament play. Makes people better people, yeah? And refer to “a” – it’s just a game!)
  8. At the end of a game, if you believe another player would benefit from an observation about their play, DON’T OFFER IT. Who made YOU court-captain today? Most people don’t want observations about their play and will not take it well. Even if they ask, be very cautious. See the next point.
  9. Eventually even YOU will get to the point when you are a senior player. Just teasing, but it really is that kind of a game and most of us do get there before too many years go by (thankfully, as most of us don’t have that much time!) At that point you inherit the obligation to, in fact, give advice WHEN ASKED, if you believe that the party is really sincere about wanting it. Everybody handles this differently but we believe we should, at that point, give no more than ONE piece of advice at a time. Let them work on that. Then, some other day, go on to the next thing.