Pickleball Hand Signals – All You Gotta Know

You might have seen players giving each other hand gestures in a doubles match. Surely you have asked yourself at some point “What is going on?”. These hand signals can be very confusing for the audience as well as the new pickleball players. In that case, we have decided to explain each and every single there is to know about Pickleball Hand Signals.

We have observed quite a number of professional pickleball players using this strategy. Hand signals are a great way to communicate your game plan to your partner without letting your opponents get a hint about your next move. Since the motion of your hands is a way to remain in contact with your teammate. Be sure to give them the correct signals as it is pretty common to misunderstand your ally’s intentions.

Pickleball Hand Signals:

In a doubles game, hand movements are a channel of communication between the teammates. This secret language of hand signals is one of the most efficient ways to plan your next move during intense pickleball games.

Pickleball Hand Signals

Hand gestures are also a great way of communication for people that suffer from hearing loss. Along with that, hand movements have made it pretty easy for the individuals that are mute, to convey their strategies to their partner without saying a single word.

Let’s Get Started!!!

Before we jump into the details. There are a couple of things that you must remember in order to use the hand signals like a pro on the pickleball court. First of all, there are 5 basic hand signals that are generally accepted in a pickleball game. These pickleball hand signals are:

  • Open Palm
  • Fist
  • Index Finger
  • Pinky Finger
  • Pointing upwards/downwards

The hand gestures are not limited to the motions of fingers and palms. You can also come up with your own unique and creative signals to have better coordination with your partner.

Open Palm – The Switch:

Whenever you see your partner doing the open palm gesture. Know that the partner wants to switch as soon as possible. This codeword works like a charm when both you and your partner are on the same page. Plus, this is one of the best ways to signal your next switching move with your teammate without letting the opposing team know what is going to happen.

Fist – The Stay:

When the player standing near the kitchen line makes a closed hand sign behind their back. Know that the player is not going to exchange their position with their partner. Instead, the player is going to stay on their side of the court. In addition to that, this gesture indicates that the player is not going to poach as well. 

(Poach: To intercept a shot intended for your partner)

Open & Close – The Faker:

One of the most interesting pickleball hand gestures that we observed is the fake hand sign. This hand signal is used when you plan to make a fool out of a rival team. Professional pickleball players make the most out of this hand gesture when they purposely let their partner know that they would like to switch sides. But in actuality has no intention to go over to the other side.

Players in doubles match only opt for this technique when they want to confuse their foes. If put to use accurately, this tactic is one of the best ways to throw your opponents off their game. The proper way to utilize this signal is to open and close your palm over and over again. 

Advantages Of Hand Signals:

There are multiple ways in which one can avail of the opportunity to use hand movements. These gestures can actually lead you to your next victory.

  • The tactics of hand gestures can come in handy during tough situations.
  • You are able to puzzle your opponents with the help of hand movements.
  • You can convey to your teammate what you are about to do next.
  • Verbally challenged or mute people can get the most out of using hand signals.
  • Deaf individuals take full advantage of hand motions to stay in touch with their partners.

Disadvantages of Hand Movements:

This tactic has many benefits. But one should be aware of all the consequences that might arise when the hand gestures don’t go as planned.

  • There is a pretty high probability that you can miscommunicate with your partner.
  • You might not be able to execute the moves you planned.
  • Your partner might have missed the signals that you have just given.
  • If your partner is a pickleball beginner. He or she might not understand what it means.

Line Call:

According to the USAPA Rulebook, players are allowed to call the ball “In” or “Out” even when the game is being monitored by the referee. In order to call the ball IN the index finger along with the thumb and palm is faced towards the ground. While on the other hand, to call the ball OUT, the player is supposed to signal the fingers either upward or directly at the ball.

Couple More Tips – How To Implement This Correctly:

First of all, the server is the one who has to decide whether to go for the options his or her partner has proposed in front of them. The server is responsible for communicating with their teammate at the net to either say YES or NO every single time the signal is given.

The most common mistake that many new pickleball players make when trying to use the signals for the very first time is a misunderstanding. Because the server is not very clear whether he or she has received and has confirmed what the plan is.

So, when your partner is giving you signals, say a clear YES. Or if you want something else say NO depending on the situation. This is the key because now you and your ally have some sort of plan under your sleeves for every serve.

Another blunder that a lot of doubles make is that they do have a strategy for the first serve. But there is almost never any tactic hidden for the second serve. Now your team has lost the service and the chance to get an upper hand, resulting in a sideout.

Final Thoughts:

The game of pickleball is not all about power, control, skills, and finesse. It is only one aspect of the game. There are plenty of other factors that also influence the dynamics of the game. Using hand movements is one of them. Now that you know everything about Pickleball Hand Signals make sure you keep practicing these gestures in order to take your game to the next level.

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