During competitive play, time-outs may be used, which can drastically change the momentum of the game (for better or worse for you). When time-outs are used, it is easy to forget where you were when you come back on the court. For instance, what is the score? Who is serving/receiving? Am I in the right position? However, there is an easy solution for this in competitive play with a referee—ask the referee! You may ask the referee to confirm these questions prior to the serve, so take advantage and confirm that you are in the right position with the right server/receiver, so you do not make any silly mistakes.
Even the pros can be guilty of this, as Mary Brascia and Erik Lange inadvertently mixed up servers in a crucial game 3 at the Tournament of Champions. This mental error helped to sway momentum enough to tilt the match in favor of their opponents.
If you do not have a referee, be methodical about putting your paddle in the right position that you should come back to after the time-out. And, if you are the server, make sure you track down the pickleball and place it under your paddle, too.
For a deeper breakdown on all of the rules of pickleball, check out Pickler’s Ultimate Guide to the Rules of Pickleball.