By now, we've all played quite a bit of Pickleball -- but sometimes Egos can flare up and people do things that don't fall in line with the spirit of this wonderful sport.
HERE are 5 things you should NOT do while playing Pickleball.
1) Saying The Score: DO NOT. I repeat. DO NOT. Call the score for your teammate before they serve. Much like a pitcher in baseball, their teammates don't yell out the ball and strike count. Basketball teammates don't remind a player shooting a FREE THROW that they're down 1 point with 2 seconds left in the game. Why you ask? Because it's SUPER distracting and you're on the same team! Let your teammate call the score if they are SERVING. The Pickleball rules state you have 10 seconds once the other team is ready for the serve, so give your teammate ample time to get settled, state the score, and serve the ball with accuracy. If they ask for the score. Offer the score to them nicely and then get ready for the next play. Simple as that!
2) Calling for The Ball: This is one of the strangest aspects of Pickleball. For some odd reason, a lot of people tend to call out, "YOU GOT IT" when they can't get to a ball. If you're a player and you're moving towards the ball rapidly then abruptly stop and say, "YOU'VE GOT IT" -- it's very likely your team just lost a point or got sided out. When you're playing a sport (any sport btw), it's okay to call, "I'VE GOT IT" -- because you control your own body and mind and your teammate can react to that. But if you're yelling to someone during a play telling them what to do, especially if they were already doing it -- you're only distracting them from the shot (during the shot) they were most likely already taking! So you have two choices. A) Call out "I've GOT IT" then take the shot or B) Keep your mouth shut ;)
3) Missing A Shot: This is more of an etiquette thing but something to marinate on. In the heat of battle, people feel bad after missing a shot. But they are often NOT looking for sympathy. Much like a bad pass thrown in basketball, sometimes players will say, "My bad." What that person doesn't need is their teammate responding with, "It's okay." No shit it's okay Dad! "My bad" or "Sorry" means, "I recognize I missed that shot but I'm moving on to the next play." This is not a time for consoling. Just accept your teammate is being self-critical and allow them to accept the blame with no comment. If you are going to say anything, try something such as, "All good!" -- which keeps it light and simple. Even, "Don't worry about it" -- is an extremely annoying response so keep that to yourself as well. Editorial Note: Most of us have played sports our entire lives -- so we're definitely not worried about what happened if we just recognized it ourselves. So just know your teammate is self-aware of their own gameplay, which is a good thing! Encourage your teammate when good things happen. But don't OVER sympathize on their behalf after they just acknowledged a BAD SHOT. It's all about the next play!
4) A Ball Rolls On To Your Court: If your ball rolls on to someone else's court, do not finish the play! Safety is more important than one point in a PIckleball game. So when you're ball rolls on to another court, yell out, "Help! Ball On! Ball on!" -- whatever it takes to get their attention so someone doesn't roll their ankle stepping on your ball. And when a ball rolls on to your court. Stop the play. Be nice and give it back to the other court nicely. Do not bat at it with your paddle like you're swatting a fly. Or glare at them if they're lower level players. Pick the ball up. Find out which side is serving. And get the ball to them nicely. If you don't have good ball control YET. Hit the ball softly with your paddle in the appropriate direction or just throw the ball or hand it to them, with more accuracy.
5) Player Falls Down: When someone falls down on the court, especially outside -- it's best to stop the play and re-do the point. People can get seriously hurt if you keep playing the point after someone falls to the ground awkwardly. If someone makes a conscious decision to DIVE at a ball -- well, that's their decision and you CAN keep playing until the point is over. It's fairly easy to tell the difference, so use your best judgment when someone goes down. If you're playing in a tournament. Then all bets are off! But that goes without saying.
There are more rules of Pickleball etiquette to keep in mind, but hopefully, some of these will help you play better with the spirit of the sport in mind.
Comment below if you have any good advice, comments or additions to these topics!