Third Shot Drop

The Unwritten Rules of Open Play

February 11 2024

While we know pickleball to be a fairly laid-back scene on the recreational side, rec play is just like any other scene: there are unspoken rules you should probably follow.

So whether you’re new to the game or think you’re experienced enough to know everything about it (spoiler: you’re not), here are some of the “rules” of rec pickleball at most local courts:

Sportsmanship & Fair Play

Winning at all costs at the expense of sportsmanship rarely goes over well in pickleball circles. Players should make honest calls and exhibit good conduct even under the pressures of a competitive match.

Player Conduct & Attitude

Temper and ego have no place on a pickleball court. Respecting your fellow players, as well as the game itself, is paramount.

The pickleball community is growing rapidly but is still tight-knit, and word passes around quickly. Everyone will know if you're not someone who's great to play with.

Shot Placement & Court Positioning

Effective shot placement involves observing your opponents, finding their weak spots, and smartly placing your shots in open spaces.

If a player has shoddy footwork, pull them out wide. If someone can't handle a lob, send it flying over their heads.

Reading Opponents & Adjusting Gameplay

Adaptability is key in pickleball, as every opponent brings their unique style to the court. Learn to read the body language and strategy of those across the net, and quickly adjust your style to keep them guessing. The easiest opponent is a predictable one.

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