Proper Pickleball Etiquette: From Court to Post-Game

Embarking on your pickleball journey? Get ready to spice up your game with some proper pickleball etiquette! Mastering these courtesies is not just about fair play and fun but also building respect among players.

We’ll guide you through the essentials of pickleball etiquette. First up, we’ll cover how to prepare for a game, ensuring you step onto the court with all the right moves. We’ll then dive into the ins and outs of game etiquette, both in recreational play and tournament settings.

But that’s not all! We’ll explore the art of good sportsmanship, where you can keep things friendly without sacrificing competitiveness. Don’t forget the importance of safety – an often overlooked yet vital part of proper pickleball etiquette.

And guess what? We won’t leave you hanging after the game. We’ll discuss post-game etiquettes and provide guidance for those special situations that experienced pickleball players might encounter. 

So join us as we navigate through these exciting aspects, and get ready to elevate your pickleball experience to new heights!

Table Of Contents:

Preparing for the Game

Picture this: It was a sunny afternoon, and the pickleball court was buzzing with excitement. As I stepped onto the court, paddle in hand, I couldn’t help but notice a group of players huddled together, whispering and chuckling. Curiosity piqued, I approached them, only to discover they were sharing their “pickleball pet peeves.”

One player exclaimed, “You know what really gets my pickleball rolling? When someone forgets proper pickleball etiquette and tries to play ‘doubles’ all by themselves!” We all laughed, nodding in agreement.

It was a gentle reminder that even in the heat of the game, it’s essential to respect the rules and play fair. Proper pickleball etiquette keeps the game spicy, enjoyable and ensures that everyone gets their fair share of dinking and smashing with their fellow pickleball players.

Arriving on Time

The first rule of proper pickleball etiquette is punctuality. Arrive early to allow for preparation and assessment of gear, as well as the opportunity to meet adversaries and go over any regulations or match details. This also gives a chance to meet opponents and discuss any rules or game specifics.

Warm-Up Routines

A proper warm-up routine helps prevent injuries and prepares the body for the game ahead. A good warm-up includes stretching exercises focusing on key muscles used in pickleball, such as the shoulders, wrists, legs, and core muscles.

Equipment Check

Last but not least is an equipment check. Ensure that all necessary gear, including paddles, balls, and shoes, are in good condition before starting the match. If you’re new to this sport or looking forward to upgrading your current gear, then check out this comprehensive guide on choosing the right pickleball paddle.

In essence, preparing for a pickleball game involves more than just showing up with a paddle in hand; it’s about respecting everyone’s time by arriving early enough for warm-ups and equipment checks while being ready mentally as well as physically when stepping onto that court.

Court Etiquette

On your pickleball journey, it is important to observe court etiquette such as adhering to reservation rules, sharing the space appropriately, and being aware of those around you. This involves respecting reservation rules, sharing court space properly, and being mindful of nearby players.

Respecting Court Reservation Rules

Arrive on time and leave promptly when your session is over. Respect others’ reservations; don’t encroach on their time by arriving early or leaving late. Check out this pickleball court reservation guide for more details.

Properly Sharing Court Space

Be aware of your surroundings and avoid interfering with other games. If there are lines waiting to play, limit your game duration so everyone gets an opportunity.

Being Mindful of Nearby Players

Maintain awareness of other players to prevent accidents and conflicts. Give players enough room to swing freely without fear of hitting someone else.

Remember: Respect the facilities and fellow pickleball players enjoying the sport alongside you.

Game Etiquette

To ensure a pleasant game experience, it is important for pickleball players to adhere to the specific rules and proper etiquette of Pickleball. This includes everything from determining the serving order to handling line calls and disputes.

Determining the Serving Order

The server is decided by a simple coin toss or paddle spin at the start of each match. The winner gets to choose whether they want to serve first or receive first. It’s crucial not only for fairness but also as part of pickleball’s official rules.

Calling the Score Accurately

In pickleball, it’s customary for the server to call out their score before every serve loudly enough so all players can hear it clearly. Not doing so may lead to confusion about who’s winning.

Handling Line Calls and Disputes

If there are disagreements on line calls during play, it’s best practice in proper pickleball etiquette that “the benefit of the doubt goes towards your opponent”. If you’re unsure if a ball was in or out, give your opponent the point. Learn more about line call rules.

Following the “Two Bounce” Rule

This rule states that when served, both teams must let the ball bounce once on their side before hitting it back over the net. After that, volleying (not letting the ball bounce) is allowed anywhere on the court except the non-volley zone (kitchen). 

It ensures fair play and adds an extra layer of strategy to the game dynamics. Learn more about the two-bounce rule.

Avoiding Distractions and Unnecessary Noise

Maintaining focus is key in pickleball games; hence, avoid unnecessary distractions such as loud conversations while others are playing nearby or using mobile phones during matches.


Sportsmanship is crucial in pickleball, just like any other sport. It’s about respecting your opponents and communicating effectively during the game.

Respect Your Opponents

Show courtesy and fairness to every player, regardless of their skill level or experience. Don’t judge based on one performance, and avoid negative comments about others’ play styles or abilities. Remember, everyone has off days.

Effective Communication

Clear communication can prevent misunderstandings and conflicts during a match. Always call out scores before serving and communicate with your partner regarding strategy or positioning when playing doubles.

Maintain Grace Under Pressure

Keep your cool even when things aren’t going well. Handle mistakes gracefully instead of getting frustrated or blaming others. Nobody plays perfectly all the time.

Celebrate Good Shots From Opponents

Acknowledge good shots from opponents to show sportsmanship and mutual respect. Complimenting an opponent’s shot boosts their confidence and creates a friendly atmosphere on the court, making the game more enjoyable for everyone.

Safety First: Tips for Playing Pickleball

Pickleball is a fun and engaging sport, but it’s important to prioritize safety to avoid unnecessary injuries or accidents. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Watch Out for Other Players

Be vigilant of other players and maintain a respectful distance. Avoid collisions and be mindful not to hit others with your paddle or ball. Remember, pickleball is a non-contact sport, so keep an appropriate distance from other players.

Avoid Aggressive Shots

While aggressive shots may seem tempting, they can lead to unpredictable ball movements and pose a risk to you and other players. Aim for controlled shots instead.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

  • Know the court boundaries: Avoid stepping out during play to prevent tripping hazards.
  • Keep equipment away: Keep personal belongings away from the playing area to prevent trips and falls.
  • Watch the weather: Pay attention to weather conditions, such as wet surfaces after rain, which can make courts slippery.

Remember, safety should never be compromised in pursuit of victory. Adhere strictly to these considerations while enjoying the wonderful game of pickleball.

Post-Game Etiquette

Win or lose, how you behave after a pickleball game is just as important as how you start it. Good post-game etiquette shows respect for your opponents and the court, and can make a big difference in everyone’s experience.

Shaking Hands or Fist-Bumping Opponents

At the conclusion of play, exchange a handshake or fist bump to show respect and admiration for your opponents’ effort. It’s a simple gesture that shows good sportsmanship and appreciation for their effort, regardless of the outcome. If you’re worried about germs, an elbow bump or friendly wave works too.

Offering Compliments and Constructive Feedback

Don’t be scared to express appreciation where it is merited. If your opponent made some impressive shots or showed improvement, offer a compliment. And if someone asks for advice, give constructive feedback that focuses on how they can improve, not what they did wrong.

Cleaning Up The Court Area

Leaving the court area clean and tidy is a sign of respect for other players and those responsible for maintaining the facility. Pick up any stray balls, dispose of water bottles properly, and put away any equipment provided by the venue.


Remember to thank your partners/opponents before parting ways too. Good manners never go out of style.

Special Etiquette Situations

In pickleball, as in life, you’ll encounter situations that require tact and diplomacy. Here are some common scenarios and how to handle them with grace.

Playing with Beginners or Less Experienced Players

If you’re paired with newbies, remember everyone was once new to the game. Be patient and offer helpful tips if they seem open to it. Encourage them instead of criticizing their mistakes – this fosters a positive environment for learning (source).

Playing With Players of Different Skill Levels

Pickleball is inclusive and brings together players of varying skill levels. If you’re playing against someone more advanced, learn from their technique. If your opponent is less skilled, give constructive feedback rather than exploiting their weaknesses.

Dealing With Aggressive or Unsportsmanlike Behavior

Sometimes emotions run high, leading to unsportsmanlike behavior. Don’t engage in arguments on the court; maintain composure and focus on your gameplay. If the behavior continues, involve a referee or club official to mediate.

The key takeaway is respect: for others’ abilities regardless of skill level; for each other’s space on the court, even when faced with challenging behaviors. Remembering these etiquette situations ensures everyone has fun playing pickleball.

FAQs in Relation to Proper Pickleball Etiquette

Proper Pickleball Etiquette: Respect, Sportsmanship, Safety, and Courtesies

Respect the court, opponents, and rules; demonstrate good sportsmanship; prioritize safety; and observe post-game courtesies.

Determining Which Side to Serve From in Pickleball

Serve from the right-hand court when your score is even and from the left when it’s odd.

Open Play Pickleball Etiquette: Rotating Players, Inclusivity, and Friendliness

Rotate players after each game, be inclusive of all skill levels, and maintain a friendly atmosphere.

What Not to Do in Pickleball: No Volleying in the Non-Volley Zone, No Service Faults, and No Unsportsmanlike Behavior

Do not volley within the non-volley zone (kitchen), commit faults during service, or exhibit unsportsmanlike behavior.

For more information on the history of pickleball, comparisons to other sports like tennis or badminton, personal anecdotes or experiences playing pickleball, how to play pickleball (rules, scoring, etc.), and equipment needed for pickleball, check out


Playing pickleball with proper etiquette is key to having a blast and showing respect to your fellow players – so don’t be a pickle-brain and follow these guidelines!

Before you start, warm up and bring your gear – nobody wants to play with a cold pickle or a missing ball.

Respect your opponents’ space, communicate well with your partner, and wait for the right time to enter the court – don’t be a pickle-hog!

During gameplay, follow the rules, avoid distractions, and give props to your opponents for their sweet shots – nobody likes a sour loser.

After the game, clean up after yourself and thank your partners or opponents for a great match – don’t be a pickle-slob or a sore loser!

For more tips on proper pickleball etiquette, check out official pickleball rules and pickleball etiquette guides.