Thursday, June 1st, 2023 Written by Megan Hall
Riley Newman put out a statement Wednesday night expressing he will no longer be tapping paddles in between games and plans to save the paddle taps for end of match play.
In pickleball, it is customary for players to tap paddles in between each game as a sign of respect and good sportsmanship. In most other sports, we commonly see a handshake-like gesture at the beginning and/or at the end of competition, not during. Riley Newman is not the only pro player to speak out against this as Lea Jansen notoriously has gone without the mid-match paddle tap. Why people feel so strongly about a non-verbal tapping of a paddle mid-game to show good sportsmanship is beyond me. Newman and Jansen don't have to give their opponent a kiss, just a mere tap of a paddle. Pickleball does not have to mirror every element of all other sports that exist. Showing good sportsmanship throughout play whether you are a pro or amateur should be praised and that is what will "elevate the optics of pro pickleball". If players like Newman and Jansen decide to sometimes tap paddles or not will simply just provide a little more pickleball drama throughout pro pickleball tournaments that we are all here for and invested in. To tap or not to tap? Let us know your opinion.