covering the court
By: CJ Johnson | January 4, 2017 |

Covering the Court as a Team

Ever play a team that covers the court so well it’s hard to score a point? They always seem to get a paddle on the ball no matter what?

In my quest to play better pickleball and become a better partner, I’ve been watching how the best 5.0 players move. Covering the court as a team is one of the things that the top teams seem to do with ease.

Once you and your partner are at the net what do you do?

When I first started playing, I was so focused on the non-volley line and not stepping on the kitchen line that I barely moved. Then someone with a tennis background reminded me of the strategy in doubles tennis, you and your partner need to cover the court by moving together.

It wasn’t until I got a little better that it finally dawned on me. The best players weren’t necessarily the most mobile, although that helps. The best ones played it like a game of chess, keep moving your opponents around until there was an opening and then pounce!

Two key points help me get better covering the court

1.   Create a Wall

Stand with your partner at the non-volley zone on each side of the court in the center. Have the partner on the forehand side reach their paddle to the middle and have the backhand partner reach toward the center too. Think of the imaginary wall you have created. If you keep the wall it be difficult for your opponents to find an open court.

2  Bungee Cord

Now that you have created a wall imagine you have a bungee cord between you and your partner. You need to keep it taut as you move from side to side. If it’s to lose you are probably to close together and too tight you are too far away.

Here is a great point with Laura Fenton Kovanda and Stephanie Lane. They move to the net as a team and then continue their great team work moving from side to side at the non-volley zone.


Next time you play set up your smart phone and take a video. How well do are you covering the net?

IF this was helpful, feel free to share!


CJ Johnson

Hey there — I’m a professional three-sport athlete and coach who has spent my entire adult life earning a living from playing and coaching sports. Since I started coaching more than three decades ago, one thing has remained the same: My commitment to see students not as they are but as what they can become and to move heaven and earth to help them realize their untapped potential. You should know that when it comes to helping pickleball players over 50 live their best lives on and off the courts, I'm an expert. Good pickleball is not just technique; it's the mind and body working holistically. That's why I'm also a personal trainer and weight management specialist. When I’m chillin', you'll find me watching Star Trek with my husband John and our two fur babies, Shirley and Ralph. (Yes, Happy Days)