Pickleball is the perfect example of a fun and engaging yet strategic sport for this generation. It’s fast-paced like table tennis, strategic like tennis, and energy-consuming like badminton. Over the years, pickleball has gained popularity as a recreational sport. People like playing it in local communities or in their backyards to blow off steam. Excitingly, the professional scene of pickleball has also gained traction.
If you are wondering how to become a pro pickleball player, then there are certain steps you need to follow. To help you out, we have prepared a detailed outline of the game and answered some of the fundamental questions you might have.
The sport is still in its budding stages, so now is the perfect time to capitalize on it and take your shot at becoming a pickleball pro.
Understand the Rules
To become a professional pickleball player, you need to get acquainted with the basics of the game, such as the proper grip and swing technique. Being familiar with these techniques will enable you to play the game correctly so you have a fair shot at winning
The sport also has specific rules regarding serving, scoring, and court dimensions, among other things. You need to know these rules inside if you want to compete at a higher level since they will give you a solid foundation to build on as you work towards your pro goals.
10 Steps to Become a Pro Pickleball Player
Once you are familiar with the know-how of the game, you can start your journey of becoming a professional pickleball player by adhering to the following steps.
Get Your Fitness in Check
If you are already into sports and play regularly, chances are your stamina level is higher than the average. However, you still have a long way to go to reach the fitness level of a professional pickleball player.
In order to increase your overall fitness, you must work on building up your endurance. This includes both your stamina and muscular endurance. You can do this by hitting the gym regularly and performing cardio along with weight lifting. Consult with your gym instructor to prepare a personalized routine. Ideally, you want to train between the 20-25 rep range to enhance muscular endurance.
Even though pickleball is played on a relatively smaller court, it still requires you to think on your feet and react instantly. Having a high fitness level will enable you to connect those near-impossible shots and bag as many game-changing points as you can.
Track Your Rating
Tracking your rating while playing will let you gauge your performance level. For starters, you can use the USAPA guidelines to give yourself a rating.
Once you have a baseline rating for yourself, you should follow a professional rating metric to judge your performance in ladder leagues and other tournaments. You can follow any of these two rating systems.
- UTPR (USA Pickleball Tournament Player Ratings)
This pickleball player ranking system is based on how well you’ve done in competitions that have been sanctioned by the USAPA. It falls between 0.000 and 6.999. Professionals need to have a rating of at least 6.0.
- DUPR (Dreamland Universal Pickleball Ratings)
The DUPR is a newer rating system. A player may self-report their own victories and losses in any matches they participate in, provided that one other player confirms the outcome.
This implies that even if you never participate in an official event, every game you play counts toward your pickleball player rating. Your DUPR score falls between 2000 and 8000.
If you are honest with yourself and track your ratings regularly, you will be able to make progress and become a pro sooner than you think.
Prepare a Training Regime and Stick to It
Becoming a pro pickleball player is the end goal. However, you won’t be able to reach it if you aimlessly train and just hope to get there somehow. Instead, it is better to follow a structured and consistent training regime.
Of course, preparing a training routine as a beginner will be difficult, and hiring a coach even before you are semi-pro will be expensive. The easy solution is to go on the internet and follow the instructions provided by professional coaches on their websites or YouTube channels.
Select a training regime that best fits your schedule, and set small attainable goals at a time. For example, set the goal to do 20 serves on the first day, 30 on the next, and so on. This will make training more rewarding and you will be able to stay consistent.
Hire a Coach
Hiring a personal coach is still one of the best, most straightforward ways to become a professional pickleball player. Apart from boosting morale and helping you develop a winning mindset, a coach can easily identify your strengths and weaknesses, help you develop a personalized training plan, and give valuable feedback and guidance that can improve your game.
With the right coach by your side, you will be able to avoid common mistakes and correct bad habits or wrong forms that you may have developed while still starting out. These mistakes will be replaced by more effective techniques that will cater to your strengths and defend your weaknesses.
Enroll in A Pickleball Club
The next step is to sign up for your local pickleball community. We cannot stress enough the importance of mixing with fellow pickleball enthusiasts. Meeting like-minded people with the same vision helps you stay on track with your goal.
You’ll be able to discuss the game, analyze different strategies and organize local tournaments. Not only will it give you a platform to gain more knowledge about the sport, but you can also build lifelong friendships with players you can play against to improve your game.
Follow Professional Pickleball Games
Watching professional games is a great method to acquire new strategies and keep up with the most recent developments and modifications in the sport. See how the world’s top players approach the game. Pay close attention to how they move, choose their shots, make decisions, and apply their techniques to enhance your own game.
It’s crucial to remain educated as the sport develops and new tactics and plans appear so that you can modify your approach.
Following professional games can also help you understand the competitive landscape and identify players who you may eventually compete against. You’ll be able to stay ahead of the curve and improve yourself as a player.
Sign up For Pickleball Ladder Leagues
Let’s say you are consistently training and playing with the local pickleball community. But how do you become a senior pro pickleball player from a professional? The answer to this is to sign up for pickleball ladder leagues.
These matches are monitored carefully by referees, so they’re good practice for players with ambitions to become a professional. Join ladder leagues for the opportunity to play against tougher opponents.
Your target should be to climb up these ladder leagues and win against as many as you can. Regularly participating in these tournaments will give you a good idea about the mindset of a professional pickleball player. It will also help you control your nerves better in the long run.
Record and Rewatch Your Game Footage
Recording your games is a valuable tool for self-improvement. It allows you to review your performance and identify areas where you need to improve. When you rewatch your footage, try to analyze your technique, shot selection, and decision-making processes to see what worked and what didn’t. View your games with a critical eye and identify as many weaknesses as you can so you can work on correcting them.
You will also be able to study your opponent’s tactics and adjust your moves accordingly.
Recording your games is also a good way to see your progress and growth as a player. If you’re ever in a rut, just rewatch some clips from your first few games and compare them to your most recent play. Sometimes, progress is slow and hard to see, so actually seeing the results of your perseverance and hard work may be just what you need to keep you committed to your objective.
Maintain a Balanced Diet
As a professional pickleball player, a balanced diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy grains is essential for your body to function at its optimum. You will have all the nutrition and energy you need to improve your overall athletic performance and gain muscle mass, endurance, and strength.
A balanced diet also requires discipline, which is a valuable trait for any athlete. Sticking to a healthy diet requires planning, preparation, and self-control. For the best results, try consulting a dietician who will be able to give you a personalized meal plan.
If you’re careful about providing your body with the nourishment it requires and maintaining your discipline, it will pay off in the long run!
Don’t Stop the Grind
You must have already heard the phrase: practice makes perfect. Regular practice is needed to hone your skills, perfect your technique, build your endurance and reflexes, and develop the muscle memory needed to perform at your best.
By committing to regular practice, you can improve your skills over time, putting you on the path to becoming a professional player.
Regular practice is not easy and requires the correct mentality. It’s difficult and exhausting, but it’s critical to maintain motivation and attention. Set definite objectives for every practice session and diligently pursue them. Celebrate all your victories and take the opportunity to learn from your setbacks.
Keep in mind that consistent practice promotes not only physical but also mental and emotional development. By developing a positive and growth-oriented mentality, you’ll be able to push yourself to new limits and realize your dream of being a professional pickleball player.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Pro
There is no definite answer to this question. If you are naturally gifted and diligent, it might take less than a year. But it might also take more than a few years. It completely depends on how much effort you are ready to put in and whether you are consistently working to get to your goals.
Even naturally gifted players will not be able to get far without constant practice and discipline, so stay the course and do your best. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it!
How Much Do Professional Pickleball Players Make?
Professional pickleball players’ incomes can vary significantly based on a number of factors, including their talent level, tournament victories, endorsements, sponsorships, and other sources of revenue.
The top professional pickleball players can earn six-figure incomes annually, with some earning up to $200,000 per year from tournament winnings, sponsorships, and endorsements. However, most professional pickleball players earn less than that, with many earning annually in the low to mid-five-figure range.
It’s worth noting that professional pickleball is still a young and developing sport. As it gains popularity and draws more sponsors and viewers, the earning potential for players is expected to rise.
Most people play pickleball recreationally. But ambitious and talented players have been breaking into the pro scene, which is steadily on the rise. With all the hype around the sport, it won’t take long before it becomes a global phenomenon.
If you are wondering how to become a pro pickleball player, you need to follow a structured plan. We hope our guide gave you a good idea about the course of action you need to adhere to. Remember that there is no shortcut to success. If you are honest with yourself and train diligently, you can achieve your dream of playing pickleball on a pro level one day.