Drop-in Pickleball Etiquette


It’s fascinating how many pickleball enthusiasts prefer playing with others of similar skill levels. However, in drop-in pickleball sessions, you’ll often find a mix of beginners, intermediates, and advanced players sharing the court. This diversity raises an important question: How can you make the most of these situations and foster a mutually beneficial experience?

Embracing the Mixed Skill Environment

Opportunities for Advanced Players

If you find yourself as the more experienced player on the court, consider it an opportunity to both assist others and refine your own skills. Here are some tips to navigate this scenario effectively:

  • Wait for Questions: Instead of offering unsolicited advice, wait until lower-level players ask for guidance. As professional player Vicki Foster mentioned in a recent Pickleball Fire Podcast interview, being a good partner means respecting others’ space and readiness to learn.
  • Practice Precision: Use the opportunity to practice shots that require finesse and accuracy. For instance, instead of focusing on powerful third-shot drives, work on the precision and consistency of your third-shot drops.
  • Drill with Different Levels: Professional player Altaf Merchant shared that he enjoys drilling with players of varying skill levels, including 3.5, 4.0, and 4.5. In fact, he often practices with two players at once, creating a two-against-one scenario that challenges and improves his game.

Tips for Beginners and Intermediate Players

For those who are newer to the game or still honing their skills, playing with advanced players can be incredibly beneficial. Here’s how to make the most of it:

  • Observe and Learn: Pay close attention to the techniques and strategies employed by more experienced players. Watching their footwork, shot selection, and positioning can provide valuable insights.
  • Ask Questions: Don’t hesitate to ask for advice or clarification on specific aspects of the game. Most advanced players are happy to share their knowledge when approached respectfully.
  • Practice Consistently: Use the opportunity to practice consistently, focusing on improving your weak points. Whether it’s your serve, volley, or footwork, consistent practice will lead to noticeable improvements.

The Essence of Drop-in Pickleball

Ultimately, drop-in pickleball is about enjoying the game, meeting new people, and helping everyone improve. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Have Fun: The primary goal is to have a good time. Enjoy the social aspect of the game and the opportunity to play with a diverse group of people.
  • Be Respectful: Respect the skill levels and learning curves of all players. Encourage and support each other to create a positive and inclusive environment.
  • Foster Growth: Whether you’re an advanced player or a beginner, focus on mutual growth. Share tips, celebrate improvements, and enjoy the journey of becoming better players together.


Drop-in pickleball offers a unique and enriching experience for players of all skill levels. By embracing the mixed-skill environment, advanced players can refine their techniques while helping others, and beginners can learn and grow from playing with more experienced partners. Remember, the essence of drop-in pickleball is to have fun, meet new people, and foster a supportive community where everyone can improve their game. So, step onto the court with an open mind and a positive attitude, and enjoy the wonderful game of pickleball!

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Written by Billy Pickles

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