We want everyone playing pickleball in Chapel Hill to experience an environment that is

  • Safe
  • Friendly
  • Fun
  • Provides opportunity to improve one’s game

Below are the common practices we ask you to observe to help us meet our goals for all players.  


Safety and Courtesy

  1. If in any way you feel intimidated, threatened or unsafe at the courts, we want to know this!  If there is immediate danger or concern, or someone is hurt, please call 911.   Otherwise, please report it to the director of Parks and Recreation (Jim Orr, 919-968-2785).  If you’re comfortable doing so, it can be helpful to address with the offending person at the courts so they are aware of effect their behavior is having.   You can also email or speak to the ambassadors to ask them to help with addressing bad behaviors at the courts.  We want everyone to feel welcome and safe.
  2. If you are crossing an active court to get onto a vacant court or to leave a court, wait until the current point is over.
  3. When your group moves across other courts to your court do so promptly when the ball is not in play on intervening courts. Pause between courts if necessary so as not to disturb play.
  4. When entering or leaving the courts by the front gate, do so when the ball is not in play on the center court.
  5. Scan the courts before leaving to check for trash and clothing articles. We are responsible for cleaning up after ourselves. Trash and recycling receptacles are located just outside the front gate
  6. Balls on other courts
    1. If you hit a ball into another court, immediately YELL “Ball!”.
    2. If a ball comes onto your court from another court, YELL”Ball!”, and STOP PLAY AT ONCE. Same if you hear “Ball!” yelled from another court.
    3. To return an errant ball, please throw or play it courteously to one of the players on the other court while you have their attention.
    4. If a ball is going towards another court, do NOT chase it ONTO the other court. Stop, yell “Ball”, and let the other people stop play and retrieve the ball.
  7. If someone falls on the court, all play STOPS until their needs are addressed.
  8. If ANYTHING falls on the court, quickly remove it.
  9. If you see someone who displays signs of dizziness, weakness, or lack of concentration, keep an eye on them. Recommend a time-out if you think it necessary for their sake.
  10. If you are near your partner with an overhead slam opportunity where you may hit them, don’t hit the ball unless you’re sure you won’t hit them. Let the ball drop if you’re not sure. Better to lose the point than hit your partner in the head. Stay conscious of where they are.
  11. Be careful when going backwards for a lob.  It is safer to turn and run backwards.  Shuffling backwards is a frequent cause of falls.


Friendly & Fun

  1. Pickleball is only a game.
  2. Begin each game by acknowledging the other players, introducing yourself if you don’t know them.
  3. If the ball is out, and it’s on your side, call it out. If it’s close, give the benefit to your opponent. This is hard to do when the game is close but do it anyway. If your opponent does not do it, suck it up and you do the right thing anyway when it’s your turn.  Do not make calls for your opponent’s side of the court.  
  4. Never ask for, or accept, line calls from spectators.
  5. During open play (mixed skill-levels), players play with all skill levels. No complaints. Good sportsmanship is the rule. If you are a significantly stronger player, if you have limited time available to you, and if there is an “advanced court” option, go wait there for a stronger game.
  6. In open recreational play, when the players on the opposing team are unequal in skill, avoid always playing the weaker player just to score points. Also, play the stronger player equally or he/she may get bored and not want to play with your team in the future. In addition, your game will improve by playing the better player.
  7. If YOU are the strongest player of the four, play to the weakest players in a way they can handle and learn from.
  8. Play your strongest game against better players but work on stuff you need practice on with the weaker players. We will often individually tell our partners “I’m working on (say) placement today” and they know that will mean that we’re not necessarily going to put every shot away. Saying this beforehand gives you a chance to gauge what your partner wants out of the deal. Recently someone had a friend tell her “But I want to win this game!” when she said that and so they played a bit harder – against a comparable team, and did win, and she left the practicing for the next game.
  9. Avoid taking advantage of a person’s physical limitations when you play them socially. If someone cannot go back for a lob when they’re at the line because of physical limitations, for instance, why lob over their heads? It’s a cheap shot, you won’t learn anything by doing it, and you certainly will not be respected for it.
  10. At the end of each game, find something positive to say to the other team at the net. “Nice game” isn’t always appropriate, but at least, “Thanks for playing with us!” is nice. NEVER leave a game without acknowledging the other team.
  11. Never criticize opponents or your partner’s play.
  12. Abusive language is not allowed; verbal comments of any detrimental nature during a game is unacceptable
  13. Compliment people on outstanding “hero” shots or on a really great game.
  14. At the end of a game, if you believe another player would benefit from an observation about  their play, DON’T OFFER IT! :-).  Most people don’t want observations about their play and may not take it well. If they want your advice they will ask.   
  15. When there are more players than courts use the Paddle Saddle holder to identify that you are waiting for open court to play.   Be available to go on the court when your paddle ‘marker’ assigns you to the next available court.


Our etiquette guidelines are based on common etiquette language from the USAPA and many clubs across the US.

Improve Game:

CHPB offers coaching and training opportunities for players at all levels, skill based play, and competitive leagues at different levels.  See the website for options and more details.