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Junior Pickleball Places to Play & The Unspoken Rules

Updated: Aug 2, 2019

Have you been introduced to pickleball and want to play more? This happened to one of my friends. While visiting grandparents, my friend became wild about our sport. The problem was when he returned home he didn't know how to get involved locally. The best way to find out where pickleball is being played near you it to check this website:

https://www.places2play.org


There is also an app called "places2play" for your iPhone. Located here:


One thing to know up front is that there may not be many kids in your area playing pickleball yet. Hey! That is ok...One of the best things about this sport is that you don't have to be a certain age, gender, height or what ever to play. The main thing you will want to do is find a group that has similar skill level as you. This is really important because it keeps the play fun and safe for all players on the court. Just like any other sport there is pickleball etiquette that you will be expected to follow. If you aren't already aware of these unwritten rules, take a moment and let's review....


1. You will at some point hear "BALL!" screamed if you are playing pickleball with two or more courts with active play. This is the alert that a ball may be rolling on your court. If it does, play on your court stops. The closet person to the ball retrieves the ball and tosses their ball to a player on the court it came from. Be sure to send their ball, not the one you were using on your court. Once the ball is returned, there will be a "do over" of the point that was in play when the adjacent courts ball interrupted your play. Conversely, if your ball rolls onto another active court, do not...I repeat DO NOT go onto their court to retrieve it. Call "Ball" and let them send your ball back to you. The only acceptable time to walk to get your ball is if it is behind the service line and the players on that court are up at the kitchen.


2. Most facilities you will play have an unspoken rule that the only time to cross behind or along side a narrow path next to the court is when the play has stopped. The main reason is for safety but it is also distracting to the players.


3. The facility you visit will have a system for who plays next on the courts. Usually this is a paddle stacking of some sort. Just ask someone to show you the ropes with this. I have been to many locations and they don't all do it the same. You may find out that there is an advanced court or courts assigned a certain skill level. Congratulations! This means you have players in your area that know what they are doing. Do you know what your skill level is? If not, check your skills against the USAPA Skill Rating Definition Chart.


4. If you aren't sure or you disagree with your partner about a line call (is the ball in or out), the benefit of your doubt goes to the opponent. Which means they will make the call for you. The rule of thumb is that if you can see the ball ‘out’ (a gap between the ball and the line) it is ‘out’. If you do not see a gap and can’t determine if the ball is out, call it ‘in’.


5. Eventually you will want to know "The Rules of the Court". There is a USAPA Official Rule Book. You can always use the PDF version to look up things like, "Is it legal to step in the kitchen once you hit a volley?". The answer is no by the way but I had someone insist it was legal to take the ball out of the air mid court (after the serve and return shots were completed) while running then steps in the kitchen before the ball bounces. This would be considered a fault and you might need to show someone a rule occasionally.


Another idea you may want to utilize to find out where to play is to contact you local USAPA ambassador. They will be able to point you in the right direction. Plus they may be able to help you with things like putting a junior league or club together. As an ambassador of the sport they are dedicated to helping the sport grow.