Mastering Doubles Dynamics: 5 Essential Tips for Excelling with Your Pickleball Partner


Playing doubles in pickleball can present unique challenges, especially when you find yourself paired with a partner you may not know well. Even if you have previously played together or competed in tournaments, navigating the court successfully can still be a daunting task when things aren’t going as planned.

In a recent conversation with senior pro Scott Fliegelman on the Pickleball Fire podcast, he generously shared invaluable tips on how to maximize your performance and foster a harmonious partnership with your doubles teammate.

Preemptive Sorries: Setting the Tone for Success

When playing with a new partner for the first time, Scott suggests starting off on the right foot by addressing potential mistakes upfront. He humorously recommends saying, “Let’s get the preemptive sorries out of the way now, shall we?”

By acknowledging that both of you will inevitably make errors and hit a few questionable shots, you can create an atmosphere of understanding and camaraderie. This lighthearted approach helps to maintain a positive mindset throughout the match.

Positive Encouragement: Boosting Confidence

In moments when your regular partner makes a mistake, it’s crucial to offer positive reinforcement. For instance, if they miss a shot that they typically make with ease, provide words of encouragement. Let them know that you have confidence in their abilities by saying something like, “I know you usually make nine out of ten of those.

Keep hitting them, and they’ll land in court.” This reassurance helps your partner understand that their occasional slip-up is merely an anomaly and encourages them to continue performing at their best.

Adapting Strategies: Overcoming Challenges

If your partner consistently struggles with their third shot drops, it may be time to suggest a new strategy. Scott advises hitting the ball higher, accepting that you may need to engage in some scrappy defensive play.

By doing so, you create an opportunity to move up to the kitchen line on the fifth or seventh shot drop. Communicate with your partner about the importance of not obsessing over the perfect third shot drop, relieving any unnecessary pressure and allowing for a more fluid and adaptable game plan.

Paddle Taps: Unifying and Energizing

A simple yet powerful gesture, tapping paddles between points can help bring you and your partner closer together. Take a moment to discuss strategy, offer words of encouragement, or simply acknowledge each other’s efforts.

Observing senior professionals Dayne Gingrich and Dave Weinbach in action, you’ll notice how they come together after every point, reinforcing their partnership and maintaining a strong sense of unity. Watch this video to witness the power of paddle taps in action.

Strategic Timeouts: Regrouping and Refocusing

In the heat of a tournament, when things aren’t going according to plan, don’t hesitate to utilize your timeouts effectively. This valuable break in play provides an opportunity for you and your partner to regroup, discuss the game, and inject some positivity into the situation. Use this time to recalibrate your strategies, offer support, and reinforce the belief that you can turn the tide in your favor.

By implementing these five essential tips, you can enhance your doubles performance and forge a strong partnership with your pickleball teammate. Remember, effective communication, encouragement, adaptability, and unity are the cornerstones of a successful doubles team. Embrace these principles, and watch as your game reaches new heights of excellence and enjoyment.

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Written by Billy Pickles

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