Doubles Pickleball Strategy
By: Tony Roig | December 5, 2022 |

Doubles Pickleball Strategy

Doubles pickleball is all about partner play. Who hits what shot? Where should you move on the court? Where is your partner on the court?

If you are not playing with your partner, you are playing 1 vs 2 and that is extremely difficult, particularly in the tough matches.

The men’s finals of the 2022 PPA Takeya Tournament featured Ben Johns and Collin Johns, as the first seed, against Matt Wright and Riley Newman, as the second seed. This rivalry is one of the best in the game today. And it has evolved along its long arc with each team bringing different strategies to the game as necessary to overcome their opponent.

Good stuff for sure and fun to watch.

In this match, Ben and Collin raced out to win game 1 fairly handily. Matt and Riley then took control of the match and won the next 3 games in short order. It was all done in about an hour.

So what happened? The answer is three things in particular. In this video we break down rallies to show you a strategic/positioning error committed by Ben Johns during the match (no criticism of Ben is intended – he is an amazing young athlete and the best pickleball player on the planet. He is, however, not immune from making errors that players of Matt and Riley’s level can exploit).

In the next two videos we will show you a difference between the teams in terms of their approach to the games and last we will look at some smart stacking adjustments that Matt and Riley made to maximize their chances of winning.

0:00 Introduction to this Powerful Pickleball Doubles Strategy

1:02 The Strategic/Positional Error by Ben Johns

2:19 Ben Johns stretched on his backhand volleys

3:25 Comparison of stretched to not stretched volleys

4:49 Ben able to use his best weapon – the backhand roll volley

5:08 The impact on your partner (Collin) of not hitting shots

6:41 When it is good to come across and poach the ball


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Tony Roig

Hola. Hello. Konichiwa. After 40 years playing tennis, I am now a full-time pickleball player and professional. As a 5.0 rated Senior Pro Pickleball Player and an IPTPA-certified Master Teaching Professional, my focus is on helping players like you learn to play their best pickleball. In 2016, shortly after starting to play pickleball, my friend Tom and I jumped into the highest division at the first US Open in Naples, Florida. That morning it became clear just how much there is to learn in this seemingly simple sport – a lifetime of learning if you so choose. Since 2018, I have been on a mission to share my knowledge of pickleball so other players can enjoy the game at a higher level and attain their pickleball objectives. When not studying or playing pickleball, I like to travel with my other half, Jill.