Are you forgetting some etiquette rules on the court?

When it comes to sports, including pickleball, etiquette rules play a crucial role. It’s important to be aware of certain guidelines, especially during community play when there are other players waiting. Sara Ansboury discusses some essential points in a video that you should definitely watch.

Traveling through gates and courts to get to an open court or a lesson

Wait until the group playing on that court is between points before making your way to your destination. Walk swiftly through that area once the point is over. If there’s another entrance or gate available, it’s better to use that instead of crossing through playing courts.

If your ball travels to another court, make sure to yell “Ball on!”

This will alert the players on that court to stop play, as they might get injured if they step on the ball. Failing to announce this could lead to someone tripping and getting hurt. In such a case, the interrupted point will simply be replayed.

Avoid running onto another court to retrieve your ball

This can be distracting to the players, and there’s a risk of someone colliding with you. Even if your ball ends up behind the players, wait until they finish the point to retrieve it or announce “Ball On.”

Roy Watson, center, of Indio returns the ball to Jenna Bley of Palm Desert on one of 16 pickleball courts at Fritz Burns Park in La Quinta, Calif., on Wednesday morning., Oct. 18, 2023.

If your ball goes behind the adjacent court and doesn’t disrupt play, wait until the point is over or announce “Ball On” to retrieve it

The players on that court can decide if it was a distraction that warrants a replay.

When lessons are being held at your facility, remember to mark your balls with your initials

Often, one of your balls might end up on an adjacent court, and the students attending the lesson won’t know which ball belongs to you.

One request that players can make in their pickleball community is the installation of gap barriers. Many courts are built on preexisting tennis courts, which have nets or fences with gaps used as barriers. These gaps allow pickleballs to pass through and enter other courts.

In Palm Springs, our ad hoc pickleball committee successfully advocated for the city to provide these gap barriers. We now have them installed using PVC pipe and tennis netting, which are weighted down with sand or water to prevent movement due to wind. This setup significantly reduces balls traveling onto other courts, minimizing the risk of injuries and interruptions in play.

Coach Mary’s Tip of the Week

Take a look at the dreaded “chicken wing.” In this week’s tip, Sarah Ansboury presents another great video. Even in my more advanced classes, I’m noticing this mistake happening more frequently.

At the non-volley zone (NVZ), many players prefer to reset or block using their backhand. It’s easier to add backspin and soften the ball on the backhand side.

However, a problem arises when they end up with a “chicken wing.” This happens when the elbow rises above the paddle, leading to punching or jabbing at the ball instead of softening and resetting it. The elbow may even move laterally, causing discomfort and throwing off balance for the next shot.

Tennis/pickleball elbow occurs when the arm and elbow are positioned away from the body during exertion. To prevent this chronic injury, it’s crucial to keep the elbow down.

Ensure that your ready position doesn’t favor either the backhand or forehand side. Maintain soft knees, be on the balls of your feet, hold the paddle in front of you, and maintain a relaxed grip. Use your forehand if the ball is on your right (for right-handed players), and use your backhand if the ball is on your left. If the ball is directly in the center, defend and reset with the backhand, but try to recover to a neutral position instead of relying solely on the backhand side.

A reminder that the first outdoor round robin will take place this Sunday, Oct. 22, at the new outdoor courts in Civic Center Park, Palm Desert. With over 130 registered players, it promises to be an exciting event showcasing some great pickleball skills.

If you’re interested in taking lessons, be sure to visit the Desert Recreation District website and use to sign up for drill classes or semi-private lessons. Get ready to paddle up!

Remember, always keep your elbow below your paddle!

Pickleball columnist Mary Barsaleau in Palm Springs, Calif., on September 29, 2021.Pickleball columnist Mary Barsaleau in Palm Springs, Calif., on September 29, 2021.

This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: Pickleball: Are you forgetting some etiquette rules on the court?


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