Safety and Court Etiquette Guidelines:

An important part of SOPA’s mission is to provide equipment, facilities, and instruction that encourage newcomers and players at any level of expertise to have a successful, healthy, and fun pickleball experience. It is in this interest that we provide the following guidelines for play.


Make friends.
Be a good sport.
Help others.
Know and follow the rules.
Communicate well.
Keep in mind that we are playing a GAME. Win or lose, it doesn’t matter in the end.


1) Don’t overplay your current physical condition. Playing “just one more game” can cause accidents and injury.

2) Hydrate. Drink BEFORE you are thirsty.

3) Stretch before and after playing. With drop-in play, even if others are warmed up, welcome newcomers to warm up.

4) If a ball goes toward another court, do not chase it. Stop and yell “Ball on court,” and let the others stop play and retrieve the ball.

5) If you need to cross an active court, wait until the current point is over.

6) If another team’s ball is in your court during play, for safety, stop your play and have the server re-serve.
7) If ANYTHING falls on the court, quickly remove it. There is a broom in the equipment box at Lithia Park.
8) If someone displays signs of dizziness, weakness, or lack of concentration, keep an eye on them. Recommend a time-out if you think it important.
9) When running for a lob, never run backward. Instead, turn around completely and run forward toward the baseline. Running backward may cause a fall.
10) Out of control play (excessively hard serves, etc.) that is likely to result in injury will not be tolerated.
11) If someone falls, stop all play until his/her needs are addressed.
12) A first aid kit will be located in the equipment box at Lithia Park.

Guidelines for Play:

1) As you enter and exit the courts, close the gate behind you.

2) Please do not bring bikes or pets onto the courts.

3) If available, help set up and breakdown nets before and after play. Treat nets with care; they can bend and break.

4) Please post the “SOPA Safety & Court Etiquette Guidelines” (stored in the gear box at Lithia Park) by clipping the ring to the chain-link fence near where folks congregate and return it to the box when play is finished.

5) Be ready to go on the court when your paddle ‘marker’ assigns you to the next available court.

6) Wait until each player is ready, then call the score prior to serving. This lets the receiver know you are ready to serve and helps all players keep track of the score. As per USAPA rules, pause between calling the score and serving.

7) Be courteous and return other players’ balls that stray onto and behind your court.

8) Extra balls are kept in racks along the fence. Remove all errant balls from the courts and place in the rack.

Court Etiquette:

1) Re: Mixed/Drop-in play: All levels of players are welcome. Please make everyone feel so:

–If you are a skilled player, consider adjusting your level of play to accommodate the skill levels of others on the court. This is how we grow and improve as a club.

–If you are skilled, consider playing against weaker players so they can learn. Ask people what they are working on (e.g. drop shots, lobs, backhands, etc.) and then hit shots to help them work on those skills.

— Play your h2est game against better players but work on skills you need practice on with weaker players.

2) Beginner play: Encourage beginners in all aspects of play. Courts will be designated for beginners as needed.

3) Challenge play: (for skilled players who want to play with others of similar ability) Only players of a specific skill level will play on designated challenge courts.

4) Be aware of the number of players waiting to join in to decide whether rally or regular scoring is appropriate.

5) Begin each game by acknowledging the other players; introduce yourself if you don’t know them.

6) Congratulate others on great shots.

7) As per USAPA: Players on the side of the court where the ball is in play call the ball in our out. If in doubt, be generous and call it in.

8) As per USAPA: If you step into the kitchen on a volley, or if your partner does, call it. Be cautious about calling kitchen or serving faults on others.

9) Don’t give lessons/advice to others while on the court, unless requested.

10) If input about skill development is requested, one piece of advice at a time is typically most helpful.

11) Verbal, emotional outbursts, and rude behavior of any kind have no place on the courts. (yelling, swearing, hostile or sarcastic words…)

12) When play is completed and you are leaving the court, ensure ample clearance behind courts that are in play.

13) Refrain from wearing scents, and wash your favorite pickleball clothing between game days.

14) Meet at the net after the game.

Players who consistently disregard these guidelines will be warned and then potentially asked to leave the courts.