Basic AVAC® Pickleball Etiquette
- Please keep in mind that pickleball is a friendly GAME! Much of what follows is based on that concept.
- Begin each game by acknowledging the other players. Introduce yourself if you don’t know them. If you do know them, tip a paddle towards each, acknowledging your opponents.
- During open play (mixed skill-levels), all skill levels will participate. Good sportsmanship is the rule. If you are a significantly stronger player and have unlimited time available to you, a good option would be to stand by for a stronger game (provided there is an “advanced court” option.)
- If you are playing against a team where there is a significantly stronger player, play against the stronger player. This could be a good opportunity to better your pickleball skills.
- 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, etc.) and 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” may not always be appropriate. However “you made some great shots!” or “Wow, we were lucky today!” would be just fine. At least, “Thanks for playing with us!” is nice. You should always try to leave a game 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.
- If you step into the kitchen on a volley, or if your partner does, call it on yourself. Be tactful about calling kitchen or serving faults on others, as some players might not realize they committed a serving violation (i.e. illegal serve, foot-fault on baseline).
- Never ask for, or accept, line calls from spectators. If spectators continuously comment on the play itself, it is ok to ask them not to if their comments are disruptive, hostile or combative.
- Never yell at, swear at, or say a hostile word to your partner or your opponent in anger.
- Trash-talking, i.e. teasing your opponents in a fun and lighthearted way is part of pickleball. It’s one of the things that distinguishes pickleball from tennis. But be careful – don’t trash-talk someone who might become offended.
- The corollary to the above is obvious. ALWAYS compliment people on outstanding “hero” shots or on a great game.
- Play your strongest game against better players but work on stuff you need practice on with the weaker players.
- 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?
- At the end of a game, most people don’t want observations about their play and more often than not, will not take it well. Even if they ask, be very cautious. See the next point.
- Eventually even YOU will get to the point when you are a senior player. At that point you inherit the obligation to give advice only when asked; if you believe that the party is sincere about wanting it.