The Silent Symphony: Communication in Pickleball Doubles


Pickleball is a sport that demands split-second decision-making and teamwork. In the realm of pickleball doubles, where two players must act as one, effective communication is the key to success. Without clear and precise communication, even the most skilled players can find themselves at a disadvantage. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the crucial role of communication in pickleball doubles, examining its various facets, such as calls, signals, positioning, and strategies that can elevate your performance on the court.

The Importance of Communication in Doubles Play

Communication in pickleball doubles is more than just a courtesy; it’s a fundamental aspect of the game. It serves several key purposes:

Avoiding Confusion

Clear communication helps to avoid misunderstandings and errors on the court. Knowing who will take each shot is crucial for efficient play.


Communication is essential for coordinating your movements with your partner. It ensures that both players are in the right place at the right time.


Discussing and adapting your game plan based on your opponents’ strengths and weaknesses can give you a significant edge. Communication is the linchpin of strategic flexibility.

Mental Support

 Encouragement from your partner can boost morale, increase focus, and help maintain a positive attitude during challenging points.


Communication fosters a sense of unity between partners. It reinforces the idea that you are a team, working together toward a common goal.

Calls and Signals

Clear and concise communication in pickleball doubles often relies on calls and signals. These are the building blocks of effective teamwork.

Call Shots

 Verbalizing who will take a shot is crucial. Common terms like “mine” and “yours” are used to indicate ownership of the ball. This simple call can prevent confusion and collisions.

Positioning Calls

Communicate your position and intentions to your partner. Let them know if you plan to move to the net or fall back to the baseline. For instance, you might say, “I’m going to the net.”

Strategy Discussion

Discuss your game plan before and during a match. If you notice specific weaknesses in your opponents, communicate those observations to your partner. Adjust your tactics accordingly.

Consistency Calls

Regularly update your partner on your position and shot choices. Consistency in communication ensures that both players are on the same page.

Timeout Calls

 Use a timeout call when you and your partner need to regroup, refocus, or break your opponents’ momentum. Clear communication can prevent confusion about the purpose of the timeout.

The Role of Positioning and Court Awareness

In pickleball doubles, effective positioning and court awareness are paramount. Communication plays a vital role in ensuring that both players are in the right place at the right time.

Staying Visible

 Position yourself so that your partner can see you. Visual cues can enhance communication, especially when a quick decision is required.

Non-Volley Zone (Kitchen) Coordination

 Clear communication is crucial when both players are near the non-volley zone. Coordinate movements to ensure the court is covered efficiently.

Cross-Court Coverage

Position yourself efficiently to cover both the middle and your side of the court. Split the court into halves and work together to minimize open spaces.

Transition Game

If your partner is moving to the net, communicate your intention to cover the baseline. Effective transitions help maintain control of the court.

Eye Contact and Signals

Non-verbal communication, such as maintaining eye contact or using specific signals, can supplement verbal communication and enhance court awareness.

Strategies for Effective Communication

Mastering the art of communication in pickleball doubles involves adopting several strategies:

Active Listening

 Pay close attention to your partner’s calls and cues. Being an active listener ensures that you understand their intentions and actions.

Stay Positive

 Maintain a positive and supportive attitude on the court. Encourage your partner and celebrate successes, no matter how small.

Stay Calm

Keep emotions in check, especially during tense moments. Calm communication is more effective and less likely to lead to misunderstandings.

Quick Decisions

 In fast-paced rallies, make quick decisions and communicate them clearly. Avoid hesitations that can disrupt your flow.


Discuss and prepare for various scenarios in practice. This helps build a shared understanding of how to respond to specific situations.

Post-Point Discussion

 After each point, take a moment to discuss what went well and what could be improved. This brief debriefing can help refine your communication.

Challenges and Solutions

Challenges in communication can arise in pickleball doubles, but they can be overcome.

Noise and Distractions

In noisy or crowded environments, it can be challenging to hear your partner’s calls. Speak louder and use clear hand signals when necessary.

Language Barriers

If you and your partner speak different languages, work on a set of universal signals or use simple English terms for communication.

Miscommunications If a miscommunication occurs, don’t dwell on it. Instead, focus on correcting it for the next point and learning from the mistake.

Emotional Stress

During intense matches, emotions can run high. Stay calm and composed to ensure that your communication remains effective.

Communication Styles

Understand that different players may have varying communication styles. Adapt to your partner’s preferences to ensure a harmonious partnership.


Effective communication in pickleball doubles is the backbone of successful teamwork. It’s the silent symphony that allows you and your partner to perform in harmony on the court. By using calls, signals, positioning, and a positive attitude, you can ensure that you and your partner work together seamlessly, adapt to changing game situations, and ultimately outmaneuver your opponents. As you master the art of communication, you’ll not only win more points but also deepen your partnership, making pickleball doubles an even more enjoyable and rewarding experience. So, get on the court, communicate clearly, and let your teamwork shine in the exciting world of pickleball doubles.