Pickler Pickleball

#1 pickleball tip from pro players ☝️

published8 months ago
12 min read

The pickleball world continues to evolve and grow by the day. More participation, more investment, more stories, and well, more pickleball. We are ready for it! And, we hope you are, too. It is going to be an exciting 2022.

Let's dive right in... 💦


What Is the #1 Tip from Pro Pickleball Players? | Pickler Pickleball

There are a lot of tips when it comes to the sport of pickleball (including in this free pickleball newsletter 🔥). But, there is one resounding tip that pro pickleball players note as their best tip. Pro pickleball players from Leigh and Anna Leigh Waters to Mircea Morariu all say the same thing...

Click here to learn what the #1 tip from the pro pickleball players is ☝️, as well as how to implement it on the pickleball courts.


Fiddlesticks! | Pickler Pickleball

If you spend time on a pickleball court, you will notice that the familiar sounds of the rhythmic thwacking of balls will occasionally be punctuated by a verbal exhortation of disgust. 🤬 However, these verbal exhortations can be a violation of the rules of pickleball, as there is essentially no profanity in sanctioned play.

Click here to learn how one pickleball player manages to comply with the rules, as well as effectively relieve his emotions on court.


Pickler founder, Stacie Townsend, and John "The People's Champ" Davison take a look at the evolution of pickleball broadcasting and fan viewership over the past decade in advance of John making his pickleball broadcast debut with the APP Tour at the APP Masters in Boca Raton. Tune in and catch up before the next episode drops... 🎧

And, don't forget to subscribe to Pickler's YouTube page, so you never miss another Pickler video - whether it be a podcast, pickleball tip video, or other can't-miss video.


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Adventure, the ocean, piña coladas 🍹, and pickleball games await...


Murmurs from the Losers' Bracket: Ball on Court? Maybe Not | Pickler Pickleball

The first edition of Murmurs from the Losers' Bracket (which, as a reminder, includes humorous tongue-and-cheek opinion pieces from Pickler's Frank Cerabino) took on the Ozempic ad that features pickleball. We here at Murmurs from the Losers' Bracket headquarters would now like to address the disappointing “ball on court” etiquette frequently on display. Generally speaking, Frank doesn't have a beef with that. But he does have a beef with the way some pickleballers handle this situation...

Click here to read how to, and how not to, handle balls on court - plus, determine whether you are one of the offenders in this situation. 🤔


Round robins are increasingly popular on the pickleball courts, as they are a way to bring many pickleball players with diverse backgrounds together to play in a social, yet competitive, manner. We have had a few questions recently about free tools to help create brackets to organize round robins, so we thought it would be a good idea to share with everyone.

Pickleball Round Robin | Pickler Pickleball

To note, there are other tools (both paid and free) out there. 🤗 If you have a tool that you particularly find useful, please share with us at


Finding the Best Pickleball Paddle for You | Pickler Pickleball

If you just started playing pickleball, then you probably ran out to Dick’s Sporting Goods to grab an entry-level pickleball paddle (like we did when we first started) or even purchased a paddle set on Amazon. The fact that you can purchase a pickleball paddle set (with 2 paddles) for less than $50 is amazing and what makes pickleball so accessible. However, soon after that first hit, you will likely become “addicted” and be hitting the pickleball courts much more frequently, so you will need a new paddle to match your new passion for the game (as a quality paddle really can make a difference on the court).

With hundreds of pickleball paddles flooding the market, it can certainly be an overwhelming process to find the right paddle. Pickleball paddles are not necessarily a “one-size fits all” product. Pickleball paddles have different sizes, grip lengths, textures, softness, weight, etc. to help match different players and different styles of play.

For instance, we recently received a new CRBN2 16MM pickleball paddle. It is a beautiful all-black paddle—which is a trend in the market these days (cue the Electrum, the Engage Pursuit, one side of the Paddletek paddles, and now the CRBN paddles). This CRBN 2 16MM pickleball paddle is exceptionally balanced and has some intense grit on the face, which makes it easy to spin the pickleball (particularly on dinks, drops, and slice returns). Plus, the core is softer than others, which makes it useful for players with more touch (i.e., players that like to dink and block). So, if you are a player that loves to manipulate the pickleball with spin, and focus on placement over power (although you could add lead tape to the edges to help increase the power), then this could be the right paddle for you.

To help you find the right paddle for you, try the following: 🤓

  1. Click here to learn more about how to choose the right pickleball paddle and what to be thinking about;
  2. Ask your pickleball friends to try their paddles;
  3. Read reviews (such as the brief one above) to learn more about the paddle; and
  4. Buy from companies like Fromuth Pickleball that have a decent return policy if you have buyer’s remorse. Plus, grab 10% off with the code “10PICKLER” (some exclusions apply).
Fromuth Pickleball | Pickler Pickleball


Off-Court Essentials | Pickler Pickleball

It is common knowledge that two of the best pickleball players - Anna Leigh Waters and Ben Johns - will now be joining forces and become partners on the same side of the court. Ahead of their long tournament season, Anna Leigh and Ben arranged for a weeklong practice session, as they have never played together as partners. Ben, and his men's doubles partner (and older brother), Collin Johns, flew in to South Florida to practice with Anna Leigh and her women's doubles partner (and mother), Leigh Waters. Talk about pickleball being a family affair!

Anna Leigh and Leigh note how important it is to practice and gain some comfort with a partner before hitting the court "when it counts" (i.e. a tournament):

I feel like it's very important to practice with your partner before a tournament because it provides that comfort level and confidence that you need before tournament day. You get to learn your partner's movements and where they choose to place the ball on various shots. You can work on set plays during practice, which always comes in handy during tournaments. You can also work out any issues, such as stacking, switching sides after the return, middle balls, lobs, and anything else that can take a little getting used to with a seasoned or new partner.

This is exactly what Anna Leigh and Ben worked on during their week of practice, which is especially important given some of their opponents have been playing together for years (e.g., Lucy Kovalova and Matt Wright). However, all signs indicate that Anna Leigh and Ben will be a formidable team. We will see how their partnership evolves - and whether their practice pays off - over the long 2022 tournament season (we think it will be an "all-systems go" situation 🚨).

Continue to follow Leigh's and Anna Leigh's journey here in Pickler's free pickleball newsletter, as well as on Instagram and Facebook. Also, mark your calendars 🗓 to watch Leigh and Anna Leigh compete at the first PPA pickleball tournament of the year in Phoenix, Arizona on Thursday, January 27th through Sunday, January 30th! You can catch them in action on the PPA Tour's YouTube channel.


Headlines from the Pickleball Court | Pickler Pickleball

Things are really heating up! Catch up quick on the pickleball headlines... 🗞

  • Pickleball continues to make some noise in the world of celebrity. 💥Notably, Phil Mickelson (golf legend) was spotted on social media on a pickleball court (which was interestingly a wet court, leading to many pickleball players voicing their concern that playing on wet courts was dangerous - good looking out!). The PPA Tour even announced a celebrity exhibition at its first tournament of 2022, with a showdown between Michael Phelps and Larry Fitzgerald. Plus, other former stars, like Abby Wambach, are considering getting into the sport.
  • Speaking of the PPA, the founder and commissioner of the PPA, Connor Pardoe, was highlighted in the New York Magazine.
  • More and more sponsors want a piece of the pickleball community 💰, as companies from Consumer Cellular to Day One CBD products are partnering with USA Pickleball, as well as Hyundai and Guaranteed Rate connecting with the PPA. These partnerships will lead to more eyeballs and more spotlights on the sport of pickleball.
  • Randall Emmett, Hollywood producer, announced that he will be producing a pickleball documentary (with a $1 million budget 🤑) that will hit the Sundance Film Festival in 2023. This may be the second documentary in the span on just a few years, as there was a film crew on site at the Major League Pickleball event in 2021. The more, the merrier for the pickleball community!
  • The PPA v. APP/MLP feud continues... 🥊 The APP Tour announced new investors in the form of a marketing agency out of Chicago, as well as increased stipends for pro players. Plus, the MLP announced a new players commitment (and increased prize money), which seems to be in response to the PPA's hard stance on exclusivity around pro players. This commitment was stamped by the line, "When pickleball wins, we all win." With the first PPA tournament this coming week, plus a promised announcement on February 1st, this pickleball drama is certainly to be continued...
  • Pickleball tournaments are back! The APP Tour had back-to-back tournaments with the APP Mesa Open, followed by the APP Masters. There are already some rising stars on the APP circuit (which will be missing the pros that are exclusively contracted with the PPA). Nevertheless, some takeaways of note over the past two weeks include:
    • Dekel Bar and Vivienne David won back-to-back gold medals 🥇🥇 in mixed pro doubles, which could be projecting a winning year for this pairing.
    • The Mesa Open showcased a number of new partnerships on the men's pro doubles and women's pro doubles brackets. None were more exciting to watch than JW Johnson and Austin Gridley, who grabbed the gold 🥇 in an emotion-filled performance (at least with respect to Gridley).
    • John Cincola (age 42) snagged a gold medal 🥇 in men's pro singles at the Mesa Open, showing that age sometimes isn't a factor on the pickleball court.
    • Simone Jardim made her 2022 tournament debut at the APP Masters (signaling that maybe Simone will be playing more APPs than PPAs this year). Jardim, along with her women's partner, Andrea Koop, took home the gold 🥇 in women's pro doubles after a whopping 10 match points! Jardim noted that it is easier to play loose when behind, which is exactly what her opponents - the Kawamoto sisters - did to stay in the game. To learn more about the struggles with the #10, check out the Lessons from the Pickleball Court below! 👇
    • And, last, but certainly not least, the Johnson family started a new kind of "triple crown," as the Johnson kids (Jorja and JW) took home gold in each of women's pro singles and men's pro singles. Not to be outdone, mother, Julie, capped it off with gold in senior women's pro singles. Incredible! 👑
  • Mark your calendars 🗓 for live pro pickleball at the first PPA pickleball tournament of the year in Phoenix, Arizona on Thursday, January 27th through Sunday, January 30th. Plus, look forward to more major pickleball tournaments and events in February:


The general rule on the pickleball court is that if you drop your paddle into the Kitchen while in the act of volleying, then you commit a fault (i.e. a Non-Volley Zone violation). This is true even if the ball becomes dead (e.g., sails out of bounds) before you drop your paddle into the Kitchen while in the act of volleying. But, when does the act of volleying start and finish? For instance, in the video below from the APP Mesa Open’s gold medal match in the pro mixed doubles division, did Dekel Bar commit a fault when dropping his paddle into the Kitchen after he hit the volley?

The ruling on the court was “no fault.” Here’s why…

  • The act of volley is defined by the rules of pickleball to include the swing, the follow through, and the momentum from the action. Also, the momentum from the action ends when a player regains balance and control of his or her motion.
  • So, once a player finishes a volley and regains balance and control of his or her motion, then that player may enter into the Non-Volley Zone (or even drop his or her paddle into the Kitchen). However, exactly when this moment occurs may be a judgment call.
  • In the video above, the ruling was that pro pickleball player Dekel Bar had reached that moment. He finished his volley, had balance and control, and was simply switching paddle hands to give his partner a high-five after his winning shot. So, when he dropped his paddle into the Kitchen, Dekel was not in the act of volleying and, as a result, no fault occurred.

Do you agree? 🤔

For a deeper breakdown on all of the rules of pickleball, check out Pickler's Ultimate Guide to the Rules of Pickleball.

Have you had an interesting rules issue on the pickleball court? Send it to us at, so we can share with the rest of the pickleball community in a future newsletter.


Pickler Pickleball

Question: Is it better to play with a partner that has similar or contrasting styles of play to you?

Answer: Like any good answer, it depends. 🤷‍♂️🤷‍♀️

If you and your partner have similar styles of play, then that may be effective against opponents that have a weakness against that style. For instance, if you and your partner both like to speed up the pickleball, and your opponents do not like pace, then you and your partner could be a good match (with similar styles). However, if your opponents like pace, then you may not be able to manipulate your style of play as easily. Also, if you and your partner are both alpha players and constantly crashing into each other on the pickleball court, then those similar styles may not be a good match.

On the flip side, if you and your partner have contrasting styles of play, then you may be able to manipulate your game based on your different opponents. But, you could be so different that you conflict on your basic approach to strategy and do not jive on the court.

Rather than looking for a partner with similar or contrasting styles of play, look for a partner that is complementary of you. In other words, look for a partner that highlights your strengths and covers your weaknesses (which is more important than how similar or different your styles are). For instance, if you like to play fast and move around the court, do you have a partner that will set you up for those shots, as well as handle the pace when it comes back? If you are more reserved on the court, is your partner more vocal and “directing traffic” in the middle of the court? Does your partner have a strong forehand to help cover your weak backhand (or vice versa)?

Looking for a partner that is complementary of your skills is important to make your partnership greater than the sum of its parts. Just because you and your partner are the two best individual players on the court, doesn’t mean you will mesh well and, in turn, play well. So, find someone that boosts your strengths and dims your weaknesses. And, most importantly, find a partner that you will have fun with. If you are having fun, you will probably play better, too.

Pickler Pickleball

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Lessons from the Pickleball Court – The Number 10 | Pickler Pickleball
📸 Credit: Lannis Waters

All too often, pickleball players crumble at the number 10 (1 point short of winning) and fail to finish the pickleball game with a win. The last point is seemingly always the hardest to get.

Click here to learn why, as well as how to overcome the number 10 on the pickleball court. 😎


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