a. Don’t overplay your current physical condition. (“JUST ONE MORE GAME” has caused way too many accidents!)
b. Hydrate. This means “drink water”. This means YOU. Especially where people don’t seem to sweat, but in other places as well. Drink BEFORE you are thirsty. Otherwise, it’s too late.
c. If a ball comes onto your court from another court, STOP PLAY AT ONCE. Same if you hear the yell “Ball On Court!” Plus, on your court, don’t just swat it back. Pick it up and toss it to the player on the other court unless the nets are tied high enough above the ground to allow the ball to go under the net. Then swat it courteously in the direction of the opponent.
d. Stretch before and AFTER playing. We know, we know, everyone says that, we all say we do it, but we don’t. So be a trend-setter and do it.
e. If you hit a ball into another court, immediately YELL “Ball On Court!”.
f. If a ball is going towards another court, do NOT chase it ONTO the other court. Stop, yell “Ball on Court”, and let the other people stop play and retrieve the ball.
g. If you are crossing an active court to get onto a vacant court or to leave a court, wait until their current point is over. Ask them for permission to cross their court. Like a few of these, this is both an etiquette and a safety issue but I put it here, in safety, as it’s obviously unsafe to do otherwise.
h. If a ball breaks, safely remove it from the court.
i. If ANYTHING falls on the court, quickly remove it.
j. 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.
k. If you see someone playing with “bad” shoes…sandals, non-court-shoes, leather soles of any kind, stop play. Bad shoes are disaster on the hoof.
l. If you are near your partner with an overhead slam opportunity where you may hit them, stop play. Let the ball drop. Lose the point. Do NOT hit your partner. Stay conscious of where they are.
m. If you can go back more safely for an overhead than your partner, (if their mobility is limited), YOU cover the overheads. Likewise let them cover for you if the situation is reversed.
n. When going backwards for a lob, turn and run backwards, DON’T SHUFFLE BACKWARDS. This is how SO-O-O many falls happen because someone shuffles instead of turning and running. This is a hard thing to do correctly, btw, and needs to be practiced.
o. Only a few of us need to be reminded of this one, but don’t dive for balls.
p. If someone falls on the court, all play STOPS until their needs are addressed. If they have hit their head on the court, concussion protocol should necessitate them ceasing play until evaluated further. A full-blown pickleball club should also have a DeFib unit as well as a full-blown first-aid kit. You should also have people trained up on the DeFib and on CPR. Every year, there should be ADDITIONAL people trained up on both processes.
q. LASTLY, AND PERHAPS MOST IMPORTANTLY, IT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED THAT YOU WEAR SAFETY GLASSES WHILE PLAYING! There are far too many serious eye injuries that have occurred without them. Play smart!!