While pickleball has a lot of official rules, there are also some unwritten rules of pickleball etiquette that players should be aware of.
In order to make the rotation of players and courts as easy as possible, players should remove all their equipment from the court after they are done with the game.
However, many indoor and outdoor pickleball courts and pickleball centers have their own rules when it comes to etiquette and storage.
In this pickleball etiquette guide, we find out where you should leave your pickleball paddle before and after the game.
Should You Leave Your Pickleball Paddle On The Court?
No, it’s not common pickleball court etiquette that a player leaves his paddle on the pickleball court.
Once players are done playing, they should remove their pickleball paddles and the pickleball from the court.
This allows waiting players to access the court as soon as possible without having to tidy up after one team has finished playing.
Many pickleball courts don’t allow waiting players to wait with their paddles in their hands.
If a court is full and players are waiting, then these players should place their pickleball paddles into the paddle holder. This clearly indicates to others that they are waiting for the court to open.
Why Should You Not Leave Your Paddle On The Pickleball Court?
While there is no specific rule in the official USAPA rule book where you should leave your paddle, many pickleball courts have their own individual rules that players should follow.
Here are some of the reasons why you should never leave your pickleball paddle on the court.
Keep It Tidy
With the rising popularity of pickleball, there are more and more pickleball courts cropping up across the country.
This means that many courts are incredibly busy. It’s important to take all your equipment when you leave the court, so waiting players can quickly start their game.
Protect Your Paddle
While pickleball paddles are resilient, they can also easily get damaged if you don’t treat them in the right way.
If you leave your pickleball paddle lying around on the pickleball court, then chances are that someone might step on it. This could damage the paddle grip and material.
It’s important that you look after your pickleball paddle and keep an eye on it to ensure that it lasts for as long as possible.
Plus, unless you have a customized pickleball paddle, your name won’t be on the paddle. This means that anyone could pick it up and claim it as theirs.
Paddles may not be as expensive as tennis rackets but it’s still important to keep your paddle nearby to avoid any thefts.
Pickleball Paddle Rotation
Whether you are playing on your local pickleball court or you are enjoying a friendly match on vacation, most pickleball centers have certain rules in place to ensure the game stays fun for everyone.
Many courts choose a paddle and player rotation system to make sure that all players get enough playing time on the court. Plus, it also reduces bench time for waiting players.
In addition, these rules also regulate where players need to place their paddles when they are done with a game.
It’s important to remember that different pickleball courts have different rules. Some may vary the below rotation methods according to player numbers and their setup.
Two-Up And Two-Down
The commonly called two-up and two-down scenario applies when there are seven or fewer players waiting to get onto the court.
This scenario is also known as the “winners stay” method. This means that when a game is finished, the winners stay on the court and split up. The losers return to the bench.
Then, two new players come up from the bench to join the new match. If a player has won two consecutive games, then he also needs to go back to the bench.
Winners can keep their pickleball paddle in their hands while they are waiting for the two new players to enter the court.
Any new players arriving need to place their paddles in a paddle holder or on a designated bench.
Commonly player paddles are aligned all in a row. The players who arrive first place their paddles down and newly arriving players, place their paddles to the right side of the paddle pile.
If a new player can enter the court, he will simply pick up his paddle from the left side.
The losers who return to the bench need to place their paddles on the right side of the pile, similar to newly arriving players.
This paddle rotation system may be simple but it clearly shows who is next in line to enter the pickleball court.
Plus, it also provides a space for all pickleball player paddles, so they don’t end up on the court floor or the benches.
Four-Up And Four-Down
The four-up and four-down method applies to scenarios where there are eight or more players waiting to get onto the pickleball court.
When a pickleball game comes to an end, then all four players leave the court and go back to the bench.
Then a new set of four players from the benches can come onto the pickleball court and start playing.
Winners of a game should put their pickleball paddles on the right side, whereas losers place their paddles on the left.
Anyone new arriving to the court should place their pickleball racket on the right side of whatever pile has fewer paddles. This could be either the winning or losing side.
As the winner and loser piles grow, the same rule applies. New players should always place their paddles on the right side of whatever pile has the lower number of paddles.
Some pickleball centers also introduce a center marker paddle to indicate clearly what player is up next.
Wherever the handle of the center marker paddle is pointing, this player can play next.
There could be any type of other pointer used by different pickleball gyms, so make sure to check the rules at your center.
Paddle Rotation According To Pickleball Court Type
As every pickleball center is different, there can also be various rules in place for different indoor and outdoor pickleball courts.
It’s a good idea for players to make themselves familiar with the specific rules of their court.
Generally, pickleball etiquette around playing time is based on “Open Play”. This means that every player gets a fair chance to play on a court with other players.
This does not just provide a lot more fun but you can also experience different playing styles and techniques.
Some pickleball centers also provide specific competitive courts that players with a similar experience level can use to play against each other.
Competitive courts often require you to have your own pickleball paddle and your own rotation system.
As pickleball becomes more popular across the USA, there are a few unofficial rules that players should be familiar with.
It’s part of good pickleball etiquette (see also: Pickleball Etiquette [10 Things You Need To Know])that you do not leave your pickleball paddle on the court. This ensures that waiting players can access a busy court as soon as possible.