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Court Etiquette and Safety

Part of being an athlete is being a good sport, being respectful and courteous to your partner and opponent, and practicing good etiquette. Members are encouraged to work toward providing an environment where all players can play the game to the best of their ability and have fun while doing so. (The etiquette guidelines below are based on common etiquette language used by Canadian pickleball clubs.)


Etiquette: [ET - i - kit] defined as: “conventional requirements as to social behavior; prescribed or accepted code of usage”.


Pickleball Etiquette from Pickleball Max —


Unwritten Rules (until now) for the Pickleball Newbie… and for some Experienced Players too!!!


Top 10 etiquette rules for pickleball – rules that you won’t find in any official pickleball tournament handbook or rulebook:

  1. When somebody inadvertently hits a ball onto your court from an adjacent court, retrieve it and toss them that same ball that they hit onto your court. Don’t switch balls. I repeat, don’t switch balls. 

  2. When retrieving a ball from an adjacent court, make eye contact with someone from that court and then directly toss or hit them the ball. Don’t just hit the ball back into their court without looking. That’s very annoying!

  3. Don’t play keep away from the best player on the other team during rec play just so you can win – they want to play too!

  4. Don’t cross the court behind a match until play has stopped. It’s not only rude, but it can be very dangerous as well.

  5. Don’t chest-bump or be excessive in the celebration when your opponent makes an error. If, on the other hand, you or your partner made a great play…   Same goes for the “spectators.” Please don’t clap or cheer when the opposing player misses an easy shot.

  6. If you are obviously the weakest player on the court, thank the other players for playing with you after the game. However, don’t take advantage of their graciousness by staying on the court for an indefinite period of time. More than a game or two will undoubtedly wear out your welcome.

  7. If you are asked to play with a group that is obviously of a lower skill level than you, graciously accept and play a game or two with them. They will likely appreciate your graciousness and understand that you want to get back to similarly-skilled players after the game.

  8. If you are obviously the strongest person in your foursome, tone down the competitiveness and hit your opponent’s balls that they can return. Work on a new skill – perhaps it’s a great time for work on that third shot drop shot.

  9. If you and your partner can’t determine if the ball was in or out – or if you disagree with your partner on a line call – the benefit of the doubt goes to your opponent. Wait! That’s actually an “official” rule!

  10. In rec play, don’t exploit someone’s physical limitations just so you can “win.” Not cool!



  1. Don’t overplay your current physical condition. (“JUST ONE MORE GAME” has caused way too many accidents!)

  2. Hydrate. This means “drink water”. This means YOU. Drink BEFORE you are thirsty. Otherwise it’s too late.

  3. If a ball comes onto your court from another court, immediately YELL “BALL” and STOP PLAY AT ONCE. Same if you hear “Ball On Court!” yelled from another court. STOP.  Don’t just swat the ball back that rolls into your court. Pick it up and toss it to the player on the other court.– If your ball is going towards another court, do NOT chase it ONTO the other court. Stop, yell “Ball on Court”, and let the other people stop play and retrieve the ball.

  4. If you are crossing an active court to get onto a vacant court or to leave a court, wait until their current point is over.

  5. If a ball breaks, safely remove it from the court.

  6. If ANYTHING falls on the court, quickly remove it.

  7. If you see someone who displays signs of dizziness, weakness, or lack of concentration, keep an eye on them. Recommend a time-out if you think it necessary for their sake.

  8. If you see someone playing with “bad” shoes…sandals, non-court-shoes, leather soles of any kind, stop play. Bad shoes are disaster on the hoof.

  9. If you are near your partner with an overhead slam opportunity where you may hit them, stop play. Let the ball drop. Lose the point. Do NOT hit your partner. Stay conscious of where they are.

  10. If you can go back more safely for an overhead than your partner, (if their mobility is limited), YOU cover the overheads. Likewise let them cover for you if the situation is reversed.

  11. When going backwards for a lob, turn and run backwards, DON’T SHUFFLE BACKWARDS. I have seen SO-O-O many falls happen because someone shuffles instead of turning and running. This is a hard thing to do correctly, btw, and needs to be practiced.

  12. Only a few of us need to be reminded of this one, but don’t dive for balls.

  13. If someone falls on the court, all play STOPS until their needs are addressed. If you have a full-blown pickleball club you should also have a DeFib unit as well as a full-blown first-aid kit. You should also have people trained up on the DeFib and on CPR. Every year, there should be ADDITIONAL people trained up on both processes.

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