Can non-tennis players be top tier pickleball players?

Lucy Kovalova

Yesterday I was listening to Lucy Kovalova and she mentioned that all the top pros right now come from a tennis background. This got me thinking. It’s true that most of the top pros right now have a tennis background, but is it necessary? Can non-tennis players be top tier pickleball players?

The short answer is Yes, with extra practice and dedication it is possible.

But the long answer is a little more complicated. Let’s talk about this.

First, I want you to know that I’m a huge fan of Lucy Kovalova and Simone Jardim. They’re both amazing players with incredible games, and it’s awesome to see them at the top of their game. So if you think they can’t be beaten, I get it—and I believe you!

But here’s the thing: we don’t know how they got there in the first place. Maybe they had a ton of natural talent and just needed to refine it with practice and drilling. Or maybe they spent years playing tennis and honed their skills there before switching over to pickleball full-time. Who knows?

But what we do know is that Players with a tennis background may have an advantage in pickleball due to the similarities in movements and strategies between the two sports, however, it ultimately comes down to an individual’s dedication, work ethic, and ability to adapt to the unique demands of pickleball. There are several examples of players who have transitioned from other sports to pickleball and have had success, proving that it is not impossible.

To excel in pickleball, players need to develop specific skills such as footwork, net play, and serve technique which are unique to the sport. These skills take time and practice to master, and players with a non-tennis background may have to put in extra effort to catch up. But with hard work and perseverance, it is possible to close the gap and even surpass players who have more experience in the sport.

In pickleball, as in any sport, it is the combination of natural talent and hard work that will determine the level of success. Those who are willing to put in the time and effort can become successful players, regardless of their background. With the sport continuing to grow, there are more opportunities for players of all backgrounds to showcase their skills and reach the top level.

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