top of page

Pickleball Tournament Learning

In this YouTube video of Ben Johns, he is asked what advice he gives young player who want to get better. His answer is to play with good player and to play in tournaments. He says that tournament learning is the best learning.

This past weekend (March 17 – 19, 2023), three of our members played in the Pickleball Ontario, Eastern Regionals in Kingston. Sandy and Lorne played mixed 3.0. Hannah and Shannon played women’s doubles 3.0 but in a condensed bracket that also included 3.5.

Sandy and Lorne are experienced tournament players. This weekend wasn’t their first tournament experience. They did really well, winning the silver medal.

Hannah and Shannon were not only new to tournaments, they were also a new team with only limited playing time together. For them, this tournament was a fantastic learning experience.

After the tournament, we asked both teams what they had learned.

Sandy's pickleball tournament learning:

“The short game was really important! Also, we got reminded of the value of staying focused while ahead. Loose concentration, loose the game! All of the games involved tons of resets, drop shots and lobs.”

Hannah's pickleball tournament learning:

1. Games were powerful but controlled. No out of control banging.

2. The strategies we teach when coaching were very much apparent – getting to the net; staying calm; taking time away from your opponent

3. Patience! Waiting for the right time to win a point. Most if not all competitors were totally comfortable in a fire fight at the net, so waiting for the right time to try a winner is key, ie, after moving them out of position

4. Consistency! In all of the above and consistency on all the basics including serve/return was in my opinion what separated teams in our category.

5. This really emphasized the importance of practice and doing drills – not just playing.

We really appreciate Sandy and Hannah sharing their observations and learning from the tournament. Everything it seems comes back to the basics – and practice.

One other thing not covered here is overcoming nerves, especially in a first tournament. In a text between games, Hannah did mention that in the first game, they both experienced early nerves that passed quickly once the games got rolling. I believe experience is key.

It’s exactly what Ben Johns says in the video. The more you play tournaments, the better you will get.


bottom of page