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How to Make Pro Pickleball More Enjoyable to Watch

by Jason Flamm on

Clutch your paddles, pickleballers. You're about to gasp.

Andy Roddick is right. Pro pickleball is hard to watch on TV.

The gameplay is too slow, and the broadcast is too fast.


Andy Roddick talks pickleball on the Served Podcast #pickleball #tennis #thedinkpickleball #tennistiktok #pickleballtiktok

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Why pickleball is hard to watch on TV

You can hear it from Roddick himself in the clip above.

But, essentially, what he's saying is that because each point happens so quickly, there is not enough time between plays to slow the presentation down for the audience.

This pace doesn't allow you to build drama or explain (with an instant replay) why the last point was so masterful.

Perhaps the real problem is this:

Everyone who has ever watched pro pickleball believes they could do this.

I can't think of another professional sport where this is true. Outside of elite athletes, no one watches pro football or baseball and thinks to themselves, "Yeah, that looks easy."

In the same clip, Kim Clijsters makes a great point. While watching it on TV is difficult, watching pro pickleball in person is more fun, and you can better appreciate the skills and speed of these athletes.

But not everyone is going to watch pro pickleball in person.

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How does pro pickleball fix this?

There are a few ways pro pickleball can make themselves more watchable:

  1. Allow more time between points. Yes, this will frustrate the players, especially when they are grooving, but if it helps increase viewership (and helps them grow their brand), they'll get used to it.
  2. Improve your production value. Instant replays need to happen regularly and, well, instantly. Why is Dave Fleming saying "Wow" for the 14th time during a match? I need an explanation, but it never comes.
  3. Grow your announcing crew. I'm a fan of most of the regular pickleball announcers. But, we need more personality. Find an announcer from another sport, even if they know little about pickleball, and pair them up with one of the pickleball experts.
  4. Stop making players chase down their own balls. Get some kids and tell them to take their time. This will inherently slow down the game. Having Ben Johns walk behind a planter to find his ball looks like pure amateur hour.
  5. Give the best players some PR training. The top players lack charisma and edge. Interviews after the match are clunky and oftentimes weird. Hire a public relations firm to coach these players on how to handle themselves in front of a camera. Even pro wrestlers are taught how to do that.

Of course, these ideas are just scratching the surface. Whether you agree with these fixes or not, we can all agree that if pro pickleball wants to grow, the sport must become more watchable.

I'm rooting for you.


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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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