USA Pickleball Sportsmanship Guide

Pickleball was created to be a fun, competitive, and highly social sport. Since its inception, it has embodied an ethic of good sportsmanship that includes respect, fair play, and graciousness in winning and losing. The purpose of this guide is to encourage behaviors that reflect these foundational values. The Official Rules of Pickleball take precedence over this guide in any and all situations.


Treat all players, officials, volunteers, staff, and spectators with courtesy and respect.

a. Introduce yourself to any players you do not know.

b. Never use foul language or obscene gestures. Never denigrate another person.

c. At the end of each game, meet the other players at the net to acknowledge them in a positive manner. In officiated matches, thank the referee.

d. Accommodate players with adaptive needs when possible.


Know the Official Rules of Pickleball, apply them fairly and cooperate in any situation that is not expressly covered by the rules.


Practice good sportsmanship when making line calls.

a. Respect your opponents' right to make all calls on their end of the court.

b. Call your own shot “out” if you see that it is out.

c. If you question an opponent’s call, do so respectfully and do not argue.

d. If you defer a line call to your opponents, accept their call graciously.

e. Do not call a ball “out” unless you see it clearly and are certain it is out.

f. Promptly correct any wrong call your partner may make.

g. Resolve any uncertainty in favor of your opponents.


Call a fault on yourself or your partner as soon as the fault occurs, regardless of whether your opponents are aware of the fault.

a. Watch your own and your partner’s feet for service or NVZ foot faults

b. Accept your opponent’s and partner’s fault calls graciously.

c. Admit if the ball hits you or your paddle on the way out of bounds.


Claim a replay only if a hinder affects your team’s ability to play the ball.


In social play, rotate on and off courts fairly, courteously, and in accordance with local practice.

a. Don’t jump ahead of others who are waiting to play.

b. Don’t invite someone else forward in line or rearrange paddles so they can move up to play with you; move yourself back instead.

c. Don’t call a lower score or start a second game to avoid leaving the court.

d. Be prepared to play when it is your turn.

e. If you must cross over or behind an active court, wait until play is stopped and cross quickly in a single group to minimize disruption of that game.

Make safety a priority, while using common sense.