By: CJ Johnson | November 28, 2017 |

Playing Tip: Silent Partners are for Business

Silent partners may be good in business, and sometimes in marriage, but they do not make good pickleball partners.

Communication between partners helps avoid unforced errors that come when you expect something from your partner, and he doesn’t do it. The best partners move as a single force, together at the baseline, together at the net, together in strategy.

Yours and mine are the most important words you can exchange. Get used to it by trying to call every shot. Even if you agree in advance that the partner on the left will take the shots in the middle, you should still call them.

Bounce it should also be used frequently. This means you think the ball may be out and you are alerting your partner not to hit it until you see where it lands. If they are going for a shot close to the lines and you think it may fall in let them know that too!

When you are not side by side with your partner, give directional clues. Tell him or her to move up, or to go back when necessary. Shout switch when you are behind your partner and want her to cross to the other side.

Complimenting good shots and shaking off errors also helps pump up a partner and makes a stronger team. Watch the top doubles teams and most of them touch paddles after every point. I make it a point to look at my partner after every single shot.

So work at being a “Chatty Cathy” on the court.

Bev writes a weekly email blast for our pickleball club. She delivers the rules with clarity and a sense of humor. If you have a rules question post it in the comments below.


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)