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How to Get Better at Pickleball by Watching the Pros Play

by Jason Flamm on

Most sports-watching is done for entertainment purposes only. However, we pickleballers are a different breed. We watch pro pickleball for entertainment and to see what we can steal for our own game.

We obsess over awesome rallies and pick apart incredible techniques. We also get to see once rare shots become part of regular, everyday play (like the ATP).

If you’ve hesitated to give pro pickleball a chance or just need an excuse to love it more, here are some reasons to watch.

They are just like us

The first reason to watch pros play might be the most unconventional. However, it’s important to understand that pros make mistakes every game, just like you and I. Too often, we beat ourselves up for making mistakes on the court, and once you see others making the same mistakes, it helps you to give yourself a break.

Witness their greatness

The flip side of watching the bad is getting to witness the good. Pros are amazingly consistent. Rallies in amateur play might last a dozen or more shots every once in a while, but at the pro level, double-digit shots are the norm.

When you watch, note how many of their shots aren’t attacking but are used as a reset to keep the point going. Not everything needs to be a winner, and the pros understand that they have to set their opponent up two, three, or six shots ahead of time if they want an eventual putaway opportunity.

Enhance your repertoire

Starting as kids, we learn by mimicking the people around us. Seeing others do things gives us the courage to try them ourselves. When you see a pro execute an ATP or an Erne, it opens up your world, and you might start to wonder if you could do that. 

I will never be able to dunk a basketball, but I can hit a backhand roll like the greatest pickleball player in the world … someday.

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Learn better positioning

Amateurs often stay in one spot on the court instead of following the ball. They also tend to leave too much or too little space between themselves and their partner. If you watch the pros, you’ll see them moving all around the court, almost non-stop.

To learn how to position yourself better, try watching one player instead of watching the ball. Notice where they put themselves before each shot and how they react to what their partner and opponents are doing.

How do they move their feet, and when do they retreat versus advance?

Hopefully, these reasons (though there are many more) are enough for you to give pro pickleball a chance. Next time you’re sitting around wondering how you might improve your pickleball game, turn on PickleballTV, and you might be pleasantly surprised by what you discover.

Jason Flamm

Jason Flamm

Jason is a writer from St. Louis. He’s been a coach in several sports and is currently working on his pickleball coaching certification. He loves to teach and share his passions.

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