Beginners Guide To Pickleball : Pickleball Etiquette

Pickleball has increased in popularity throughout the years. However, many people are still a little unsure of the ins and outs of the game itself. If you are interested in playing a match of Pickleball without committing a faux pas of some sort, stay tuned below for the proper etiquette when playing or watching a Pickleball match. If you are still wondering "What the heck is pickleball" you should read through our Introduction to Pickleball article that digs into the "What? Where? And Why?" of the game. With Pickleball, you are destined to find a new sport that you will love! 

4 adults play pickleball on a court


Much like the incredible sport of tennis, respect and sportsmanship are of the utmost importance at all times. This includes walking onto the court to get the match started, during gameplay, and after gameplay no matter who the ultimate winner may be. Remember to never yell at other players, curse, or demonstrate rage in any way before, during, or after a match. It is absolutely crucial to treat your opponents with respect and to always uphold integrity. If your opponent makes a great shot, tell them! We all like to receive compliments sometimes and this is a great way to show sportsmanship during a match. 

It is important to note that at the beginning of each match, players should introduce themselves to each other. If the players are friends or have met before, it is also appropriate for them to greet each other accordingly before the match begins. At the end of each match, it is customary for players to meet each other at the net and touch their paddles together in some manner. This is a “thank you” of sorts for the match. If this is not done, it is considered extremely rude.

Calling Out the Score

There are actually a couple of reasons that it is important to call out the score before each serve. The first is quite simple in that it helps to keep everyone aware of the score at all times so that it is not forgotten mid-match. The second reason that it is important to call out the score before each serve, is so that your opponent knows that gameplay is about to begin and that they are prepared to play. This helps to ensure that all players are ready for the match to continue and that no injuries occur because someone might not know that a serve is headed in their direction. 

Onlooker Etiquette

Sometimes, we will find ourselves as spectators of others’ matches. There are certainly etiquette rules to follow in these cases, just as if we were playing ourselves. It is important not to make comments to the players during their matches. This could distract them during their match and potentially negatively affect their gameplay. It is also important to try to keep conversations low and to a minimum so as to mitigate further distraction while others are trying to play. Overall, the most important aspect of being a spectator at a Pickleball match comes down to respect for the other players. Please just treat them with the same respect that you would like to be shown if they were the ones watching you play a match.

Morning Versus Evening Play

When it comes to Pickleball, there are actually certain rules to follow, etiquette-wise, in terms of when players should be on the courts. This is determined by the experience level of the players. The two types of play that are referenced in relation to these rules are “morning play” and “evening play.”

Day to Night Transition

Morning play is designated for players who have a more seasoned level of experience with the game. These players tend to demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the game, its rules, and how it is played. These players usually are a bit more competitive with each other during matches.  Due to this experience level, mornings are usually designated for these players on the courts.

At the other end of the spectrum, evening play is designated for those with a more introductory understanding and experience level with the game. This time could also be used for those who just want to have a fun, laidback, more recreational match as well. If you find yourself in one of these categories, evening play would be the best time for you to hit the courts.

What to Wear

As always, one of the most important questions that needs to be asked when playing a new sport is, “But what should I wear to play?” The great news is that we can help you out with that aspect of Pickleball etiquette as well. You can choose to be more casual and comfortable when playing or a little more stylish to hit the courts.

For a more casual look, you can choose to wear comfortable athletic shorts with a looser fitting top, usually made of a wicking type material. The That Mid-Rise Lined Short 5”  by Lulumeon is a great choice for more casual bottoms when playing Pickleball. These come in several colors too so that you can choose the ones that you like best. T-shirts are a great addition to these shorts to complete a casual, comfortable look for the courts. Athleta’s Stratus II Tee is an excellent t-shirt choice. It is loose, while remaining fitted to accentuate our features, and is made of a comfortable, wicking material.

If you prefer to keep it more stylish and fashionable while playing Pickleball, you can choose to wear nicer, tennis-type attire. This could be either a cute tennis dress or a posh top with skorts. The Valentina Blue Skort paired with the Abigail Black Top will surely turn heads when you walk onto the court for a match. If you feel more comfortable playing in a dress, there are options available as well. The Heat Black Dress is a great choice if this is more your style.Women's Tops & Long T-Shirts,Sustainable Womenswear Shop proudly offers all three of these items.

Overall, there are several areas in Pickleball where etiquette is very important. The etiquette most closely relates to tennis etiquette so when in doubt, try to act as you would in a tennis match. Overall, always try your best to treat other players with respect and kindness, and have the best time possible playing your match.

Ready to learn how to play pickleball? Check out the last post in this series Beginner's Guide to Pickleball: How To Play Pickleball

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