With the rise of the two pro pickleball tours (the PPA and the APP) and Major League Pickleball (MLP), you have the ability to watch live pro pickleball almost every weekend on YouTube and sometimes on cable channels like Fox Sports or CBS Sports. If you are not already watching pro pickleball matches, you may want to consider streaming or otherwise tuning in from time to time. Here’s why:
- Learn from the Best – The professional pickleball players are pros for a reason—because they are the best in the game. It can be helpful to your own game to watch these pros. You can learn how the pros move on the court, how they position themselves, how they move with their partners, what strategies they deploy, what patterns they like to follow, how many different styles of play there are at the highest level, etc. You can also even learn something from the announcers for the pickleball broadcasts. By seeing all of the pickleball intricacies in action—by those that do it the best—you can better visualize what you should be doing on the pickleball court and then implement those techniques, strategies, and styles of play in your own game. This is especially true if you are a visual learner. If you want to improve your own pickleball game, watching the pro pickleball players will certainly help.
- Appreciate the Game – If you are just starting out with pickleball, it can sometimes be difficult to appreciate how fast, strategic, and exciting the sport of pickleball really is. However, if you have a chance to really watch the pros, you can see these qualities on full display (especially if you are able to watch the pro pickleball players live—sometimes, it is difficult to see the speed and athleticism of the pros on your television or other device).
- Be Entertained – Professional pickleball is, at its core, a form of entertainment—just like any other sports broadcast. When watching the pros, you can see the entire spectrum of human emotion—excitement, elation, defeat, frustration, anger, happiness, etc. You can also be entertained by partner relationships or tensions between opponents. All of that is on full display on the pickleball court, and it is all relatable because, as pickleball players, we feel those emotions and dynamics every time we step on to the pickleball court. Also, you can see amazing play with long rallies, incredible defense, and action-packed hands battles. So, grab your favorite snack and beverage and prepare to be entertained with quality pickleball.
- Support Pickleball’s Continued Growth – Professional pickleball players—and those, like the two pro tours and MLP, that give a platform for these pros to play—are promoting the growth of pickleball. Yes, they are trying to commercialize and make a profit from their play, but they are also constantly out in the world playing and promoting the sport. This benefits every pickleball player, as the more buzz and promotion of pickleball, the more the game will grow—such as more communities will build more pickleball courts (and we have never heard a pickleball player say there are enough pickleball courts yet!), more businesses will invest in better quality equipment, and the more the game will advance. Further, it is important to support the pros because a successful pro tour is important to the continued growth of the sport. Other sports similar to pickleball have fallen flat on their growth trajectory after the respective budding pro tour failed. While the pros are a small component of the pickleball population, they are a very visible component. With that said, it is important to support the pros by doing something as simple as watching them play.
Watching pro pickleball players is a novelty that can sometimes be taken for granted because pro pickleball is so readily available every weekend. This past weekend, I was able to see pro pickleball through the eyes of two first-time players, as I took some family members to a recent PPA pickleball tournament. These family members were excited, impressed, had a better understanding of the game, and had a new appreciation for the sport—which looked very different when the pros played compared to their first-time playing earlier that week. They also noted particularly how open and welcoming the pros were in talking to them face-to-face around the courts. Because of this experience, these first-time players will now be long-time players, which is a great example of how the pros can impact the growth of the sport. So, if you have a chance, whether it is on a broadcast or in-person, watch the pro pickleball players to improve your game, be entertained, and help continue to grow the sport.
And, if you want to get to know some of the pro pickleball players better, as people both on and off the court, be sure to tune in to Pickler The Podcast, as I and my co-host, John “The People’s Champ” Davison, have conversations about their pickleball experiences and insights from time to time.