Silveridge Pickleball Court Etiquette
- Good sportsmanship is the #one rule. Remember it is not about winning it is about having fun.
- Wear your Silveridge RV Park name tag while playing pickleball.
- Pickleball is only a game. At “Club All Play” sessions (skill levels are mixed, and it is considered social play), players play with all skill levels without complaints.
- 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. Ask them for permission to cross their court.
- When players are unequal in skill or physical limitations, avoid always hitting the ball to the lower skilled player just to score points. Play to both opponents and work on skills you need practice on.
- Tell your partner “I’m working on deep backhand returns today” and they know that will mean that you’re not trying to put every shot away. Saying this beforehand gives you a chance to gauge what your partner wants out of the game.
- For some, a fierce battle on the court is fun. For others, not so much. Round robin play is designed to be competitive. That is what those who sign up expect and in most instances desire. For others, pickleball is more of a social event. A fun way to get outside, to get some exercise, to play with friends and to make new friends. Club All Play, Ladies’ League and Mixed Doubles are open to all members, regardless their age, strength, experience, or level of talent. We want all participants to have fun. To that end, it is imperative that every participant at these events adjust their level of play according to the circumstances. There simply is no reason a younger, stronger or more talented player should ever blast a shot at someone who is incapable of reacting due to their age or ability. The thrill of victory will be short-lived. The hurt will endure.
- Wait until everyone is ready and then call the score loudly before serving.
- NEVER smash a ball that is returned too high by the weaker player in social play; make a challenging return for the stronger opponent or give the weaker player another shot to try to get it down lower.
- ALWAYS compliment people on outstanding shots or on a really great point during the game.
- At the end of each game, tap the bottom of your paddles and find something positive to say to the other team at the net. “Nice game” isn’t always appropriate if despite your efforts at sportsmanship you have won 11-0. But “you made some great shots!”, or “much closer than the score”, or “wow, we were lucky today!” would be just fine. At least, “Thanks for playing with us!” is nice. NEVER leave a game without acknowledging the other team.
- If the ball is out, and it’s on your side, call it out loudly and raise your arm to indicate it is out: palm flat or finger extended to show it is in. If you are unsure, it is IN!
- If you step into the kitchen on a volley call it on yourself. Be very cautious about calling the kitchen or serving faults on others – you should be watching the ball and not your opponent’s feet.
- Since we are playing a social game, please apologize if you swear, belch or break wind.
- Abusive language and negative behaviour will not be tolerated on or around the courts. NEVER yell at, swear at, or say a hostile or sarcastic word to your partner or your opponent. This makes everyone feel uncomfortable and it can make your partner feel like it’s their fault.
- Trash-talking, which is teasing your opponents in a fun and light-hearted way, is part of pickleball. But be careful – don’t trash-talk someone who is sensitive, who you don’t know, who is a lower skilled player. Don’t trash-talk someone’s physical or mental limitations, use racial or other politically incorrect statements. Please be careful.
- Spectators should quietly watch the games in play. Never ask for, or accept, line calls from spectators. If spectators continuously comment on the play itself, politely ask them not to comment on your game. It may become disruptive, argumentative, hostile and combative.
- Don’t give lessons on the court (unless they were agreed to by all beforehand) during regular play time. Any observations should be one or two liners in order not to detract from the play. Let them work on that. Even if they ask, be very cautious.
Playing with Stronger or Weaker Players
Playing when there are clear differences in level.
Everyone seems to think the best way to improve your game is to play with better players. Silveridge Pickleball Club maintains that this is not the case unless the stronger player wants to play with you. We strongly believe that four equally matched opponents will improve their game faster, as everyone will typically bring a special shot/skill to the game that will force you to focus harder and result in a highly competitive game.
The Club offers formal clinics for those wishing to improve their skill level. Everyone will take away new skills from a clinic (typically different) which will again enhance the experience of level play.
As for playing with stronger players, this is only enjoyable for a stronger player that is interested in developing others, otherwise it is a great distraction to their game and they will start developing bad habits. They need a proper mindset to help you practice shots that are important to improving your game. Playing with you keeps them from having to play at the top of their ability, keeps them from paying for their mistakes and keeps them from improving their skill level.
The culture of pickleball has always been very welcoming and inclusive of new players but, as you become more intent on improving your game, you DON’T normally want to play with less-experienced players. Recognizing everyone has to start somewhere:
When you want to “Play Up” with players who are STRONGER than you are:
Ask Politely and Give Them an Out. For example, “Do you all mind if I get a game in with you, or would you rather play on your own?”
Ask at the Beginning or End of the Day. Approach when they are warming up or cooling down. DON’T go when they are in the midst of a streak of higher-level play.
Accommodate Their Flow. If you do approach them in the midst of higher-level play, accommodate their flow. Ask, “Hey, do you mind if I get a game in with you all before you quit today?” so that they can continue playing, but will hopefully commit to playing with you later.
Be Conscientious. If they do play a few games with you at the beginning of the day, make it easy for them to bow out and play with other higher-level players so that they will be more likely to want to play with you again in the future. You might say, “Hey, I see you can get a good game in against those guys, I’ll sit this one out and maybe we can play again later if you have a chance.”
Hit to Them! No one likes to watch their partner hit all the balls during recreational play. The higher-level player is doing you a favour by playing with you, so hit the ball to them at least half the time. It will make you a better player, make it more fun for them, and make it more likely that they will play with you again next time.
Don’t Be Obnoxious. Remember the stronger players may not be playing at the top of their game or they may be focusing on improving their own shots, rather than on winning. Don’t assume that because you did well that you are stronger than you thought!
Show Your Appreciation. If they give you feedback on your game, have an open mind and be appreciative of them taking the time to play and help you.
Don’t Take It Personally. Some people just aren’t going to be very friendly about it. Don’t let them get to you. Remember, it’s only pickleball!
When you agree to “Play Down” with players who are WEAKER than you are:
Remember Where You Came From. Who took you under their wing when you first started playing? Chances are you’ve improved your game since then by getting to play with better players, so pay it forward and make a point to regularly play with players who are weaker than you. You could regularly play a warm-up game with them, or once a week decide to dedicate the last 30-45 minutes of your play to playing with them, it’s up to you. Just find a way to pay it forward.
If Now’s Not Good, Say When. If someone asks to play with you and you opt to play a higher-level game instead, let them know when you WOULD be willing to play, perhaps later in the day, or later in the week.
Give Them a Head’s Up On How Long You’ll Stay. When you do play, let them know in advance how long you’re planning to play, you might say, “I’d love to play with you all for a game or two, but then I’d like to get in with those other players.”
Don’t Be Patronizing — Or, Overly Aggressive. Instead of focusing on who wins or loses, find a way to make it challenging for yourself. Pick a shot you want to improve upon and focus on hitting that shot. Or, try to reduce your number of unforced errors. Focus on consistency and keeping the ball in play rather than slamming every put-away shot you get.
Limit Your Feedback. If you notice something they could be doing better, limit your feedback to one aspect of their game during play. Giving them too many pointers can overwhelm them. Plus, they’re probably already a little nervous about being on the court with you, so don’t be too critical. Afterwards, if you want to give them more background info on your pointer, or give them one additional pointer, go ahead, but start out by asking permission first, “Would you like to hear more about what I noticed about your game?”