Pickleball Tips and Tricks from the Pros and Their Furry Friend

Posted by Floyd Thomas on Oct 29th 2023

Pickleball Tips and Tricks from the Pros and Their Furry Friend

Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world, attracting millions of players of all ages and skill levels. It’s a fun, social, and competitive game that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. Whether you’re new to the sport or a seasoned veteran, you can always learn something from the pros who have mastered the art of pickleball.

But did you know that some of the best pickleball players also have furry friends who accompany them on the court? That’s right, pets are not only great companions, but also valuable partners in improving your pickleball game.

In this post, we’ll share some tips and tricks from professional pickleball players and their furry friend, who will show you how to take your game to the next level.

Meet the Pros: Stars of the Pickleball World

The professional pickleball players featured in this post are:

  • Ben Johns: He is widely regarded as the best pickleball player in the world, having won multiple national and international titles in singles and doubles. He is known for his powerful shots, precise placement, and strategic thinking. He plays with a JOOLA Ben Johns Hyperion Pickleball Paddle, which he helped design. His furry friend is a golden retriever named Cooper, who loves to chase balls and cheer for his owner.
  • Anna Leigh Waters: She is a teenage sensation who has dominated the women’s pickleball scene with her mother Leigh Waters. She has won several major tournaments, including the US Open and the PPA Championships. She is known for her aggressive style, quick reflexes, and creative shots.

She plays with a [Selkirk AMPED Invikta Pickleball Paddle], which suits her versatile game. Her furry friend is a black labrador named Luna, who enjoys playing fetch and cuddling with her family.

  • Tyson McGuffin: He is a former tennis pro who switched to pickleball and became one of the top players in the men’s division. He has won four US Open titles and two PPA Masters titles in singles and doubles. He is known for his athleticism, consistency, and mental toughness.

He plays with a [Selkirk Vanguard Hybrid Epic Pickleball Paddle], which gives him optimal control and power. His furry friend is a border collie named Ace, who likes to run, jump, and bark at his opponents.

Want to try out pickleball yourself? Look online for free pickleball courts near you to find a place to learn the basics and start playing this fun sport."

The Role of Furry Friends as a pickleball player

The pros love their pets as much as they love pickleball. They consider them as part of their family and their team. Pets play a significant role in their lives, both on and off the court. Here are some of the benefits of having a furry friend as a pickleball player:

  • Pets provide emotional support and companionship. They help reduce stress, anxiety, and loneliness. They also boost happiness, confidence, and motivation.
  • Pets encourage physical activity and exercise. They help improve cardiovascular health, muscle strength, and flexibility. They also promote weight management, blood pressure regulation, and immune system function.
  • Pets enhance social interaction and communication. They help break the ice, make friends, and build relationships. They also foster empathy, cooperation, and teamwork.

Pickleball Tips and Tricks from Pros

The pros have learned a lot from their years of playing pickleball at the highest level. They have developed techniques, strategies, and advice that can help aspiring pickleball enthusiasts improve their skills and enjoy the game more. Here are some of their tips and tricks:

  • Ben Johns: “One of the most important skills in pickleball is anticipation. You need to read your opponent’s body language, paddle position, and shot selection to predict where they will hit the ball next. This will help you move faster, react better, and hit smarter shots.”
  • Anna Leigh Waters: “One of the most fun aspects of pickleball is creativity. You can use different spins, angles, speeds, and placements to create variety and surprise your opponent. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new shots and combinations. You might discover something that works for you.”
  • Tyson McGuffin: “One of the most challenging situations in pickleball is playing at the net or the non-volley zone (NVZ). You need to have good hand-eye coordination, reflexes, and balance to handle fast exchanges and volleys. The key is to stay low, keep your paddle up, and watch the ball.”

How Their Pets Get Involved in the Game

The pros love to involve their pets in their pickleball routines. They find ways to make their pets happy while they practice or play pickleball. They also share heartwarming stories and humorous anecdotes about their pets joining in on the game. Here are some examples:

  • Ben Johns: “Cooper is my biggest fan and my best coach. He always comes with me to the court and watches me play or practice. He barks when I hit a good shot and wags his tail when I win a point. He also gives me feedback by fetching the balls that I miss or drop. He’s very smart and loyal.”
  • Anna Leigh Waters: “Luna is my best friend and my favorite partner. She loves to play pickleball with me and my mom. She knows how to hold a paddle in her mouth and hit the ball over the net. She also knows how to score and keep track of the points. She’s very talented and adorable.”
  • Tyson McGuffin: “Ace is my buddy and my rival. He likes to challenge me to a game of pickleball every now and then. He’s very fast and agile, and he can catch the ball in mid-air or on the bounce. He also likes to taunt me by growling or nipping at my ankles. He’s very competitive and playful.”

The Pros’ Favorite Pet-Friendly Gear

The pros use some equipment and accessories when they bring their pets to the court. They choose products that are durable, comfortable, and safe for their pets. They also share their recommendations and insights on what works best for them and their furry friends. Here are some of their favorite pet-friendly gear:

  • Ben Johns: “I use a [Kurgo Dog Harness] for Cooper when we go to the court. It’s easy to put on and take off, and it has a handle on the back that I can use to lift him up or restrain him if needed. It also has reflective strips that make him visible in low-light conditions.”
  • Anna Leigh Waters: “I use a [Chuckit! Ultra Ball] for Luna when we play pickleball. It’s made of rubber that bounces high and floats on water, and it has a bright color that makes it easy to see. It’s also durable enough to withstand Luna’s chewing and fetching.”
  • Tyson McGuffin: “I use a [Petmate Portable Pet Home] for Ace when we travel to tournaments. It’s a collapsible crate that has mesh windows, a zippered door, and a padded floor. It provides a cozy and secure space for Ace to rest or sleep in between matches.”

Training and Exercise Tips for Pets

The pros care about their pets’ health and well-being as much as their own. They provide tips and guidance on keeping their pets active, healthy, and engaged. They also offer advice on combining pet care with a love for pickleball. Here are some of their training and exercise tips for pets:

  • Ben Johns: “I like to take Cooper for a walk or a run before or after playing pickleball. It helps him burn off some energy, stretch his muscles, and relieve his boredom. It also helps me warm up, cool down, and relax.”
  • Anna Leigh Waters: “I like to play fetch or tug-of-war with Luna during breaks or after playing pickleball. It helps her have fun, release stress, and bond with me. It also helps me practice my hand-eye coordination, reaction time, and strength.”
  • Tyson McGuffin: “I like to do agility drills or obstacle courses with Ace as part of our pickleball training. It helps him improve his speed, balance, and coordination. It also helps me work on my footwork, agility, and endurance.”


Pickleball is more than just a sport; it’s a lifestyle that can be enjoyed with your furry friend. Professional pickleball players and their pets show us how to play better, have more fun, and stay healthy together. By following their tips and tricks, you can enhance your pickleball experiences and create lasting memories with your pet.

We hope you enjoyed this blog article on “Pickleball Tips and Tricks from the Pros and Their Furry Friend.” If you did, please share it with your friends and family who love pickleball or pets (or both). Happy playing!