Hacking Pickleball: Exploring the Dilemma Between Subversion and Innovation
Sports are filled with hacks, as players look for every possible advantage that doesn’t explicitly break the rules. My latest book, A Hacker’s Mind, has a lot of sports stories, and a great example comes from the game of pickleball. Pickleball is a sport that combines elements from tennis, badminton, and table tennis. In the game, players often look for loopholes in the rules to gain an advantage. This has become known as “hacking pickleball” and it creates a dilemma between subversion and innovation.
The Ernie Shot: An Example of Hacking Pickleball
One famous example of hacking pickleball is the “Ernie Shot”. In this shot, the player jumps completely over the corner of the No Volley Zone (NVZ) without breaking any of the NVZ rules. This allows them to volley the ball, making contact closer to the net, usually surprising the opponent, and often winning the rally with an un-returnable shot. This loop hole was found by Ernie Perry and it has become part of the game.
The Loophole Problem
The loophole problem has been addressed in a 2010 paper, “Loophole ethics in sports” by Øyvind Kvalnes and Liv Birgitte Hemmestad. This paper argues that the loophole problem can be addressed by operating with only a limited set of general principles, rather than a large set of specific rules. This leaves more room for personal judgement and wisdom.
Hacking pickleball is an example of how players look for every possible advantage without explicitly breaking the rules. The Ernie Shot is one example of a loophole that has become part of the game. To address the loophole problem, it is important to operate with only a limited set of general principles rather than a large set of specific rules. This will create more room for personal judgement and wisdom.
- Hacking pickleball is a dilemma between subversion and innovation.
- The Ernie Shot is an example of a loophole that has become part of the game.
- To address the loophole problem, it is important to operate with only a limited set of general principles.