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Yell At Your Own Risk

Rules Refresh Stacie Townsend 04-18-2022

Distractions… we get a lot of questions of whether something is a distraction or not on the pickleball court. These can be tough questions to answer because whether something rises to the level of a distraction is ultimately a “facts and circumstances” analysis. And, whether something is a distraction is important because a distraction results in a fault and a loss of the rally.

So, let’s give an example… do you see (or, better yet, hear) the distraction in the video below?

As a reminder, you may not distract an opponent when the opposing team is about to play the pickleball. One type of distraction would be yelling at your opponent as your opponent is about to go for a shot, as Anna Leigh Waters did in the video above. As shown in the video, Anna Leigh quickly ended the rally and agreed that, although unintended, she distracted her opponents with her premature yell of celebration. So, Anna Leigh (and her women’s doubles partner and mother, Leigh Waters) committed a fault and lost the rally.

To summarize… Distractions are prohibited. Yelling at your opponent that is about to hit the pickleball would likely constitute a distraction. However, be aware that this is a “facts and circumstances” analysis and there are some circumstances where this may not rise to the level of a distraction (for instance, with certain forms of team communication). So, exactly what is, and what is not, a distraction may be tough to concretely identify around the edges.

For a deeper breakdown on all of the rules of pickleball, check out Pickler’s Ultimate Guide to the Rules of Pickleball.

Have you had an interesting rules issue on the pickleball court? Send it to us at, so we can share with the rest of the pickleball community in a future newsletter.


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