Should you play pickleball with your spouse?

If you are considering playing pickleball with your spouse or other significant other, you may want to consider a few things before getting started.

Jaclyn Brandt



April 8, 2024



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If you are considering playing pickleball with your spouse or other significant other, you may want to consider a few things before getting started. If you want to make it work with someone different than you, there are some concessions you may have to make so that you can play pickleball with your significant other:

Understand what type of player you are

If you have played sports at any point in your life, you likely have a good understanding of how competitive (or non-competitive) you are. Your partner probably knows this about themselves too.

Before you begin playing pickleball with your significant other, discuss with them your level of competitiveness and see how it matches up with theirs. If you are a very competitive player (ie you hate losing) and you find that your partner just wants to have fun and get some exercise (or vice versa), you may not be the perfect pickleball partners.

If you are both incredibly competitive, then you may also get upset with each other when you lose — even if you both did everything you could to win.

Alter your competitiveness

No matter how competitive you are, it’s a good idea to remember that you are all here to have fun. If you take things too seriously, you probably won’t have any fun anyways.

If you are here to spend time with your significant other, even if you are a competitive person, you may have to remind yourself why you signed up in the first place. If you cannot do that and just want to win, maybe the two of you should play separately.

Play near each other

If you know that you and your partner have very different skill levels, but you still want this to be a couples activity, consider courts that have different levels of play at the same time. For instance, a beginner league may start as mixed beginners (all levels under 3.5), but then based on play, they put you in a group closer to your skill level.

This type of separation helps people play in groups close to their skill level, which is more fun for everyone. If this happens, you can still consider it a couples activity, even if you are playing on courts near each other.

Play together only in non-competitive situations

If you are a competitive person and your partner is not (or vice versa), there are still many opportunities to play together in non-competitive situations. Open play, beginner leagues, and pickleball courses are great ways to have some couples time and not worry about your rating or if you win or lose.

Play with your own rating level (without your partner)

If you are truly competitive, but really want to play with your non-competitive partner occasionally — consider doing both: finding your own competitive leagues to play occasionally, and playing in less competitive leagues with your partner occasionally.

If you can be competitive on your own in leagues and tournaments, you may be more able to take it easy and play a fun game of pickleball with your partner.

Playing pickleball with your spouse

Playing pickleball with your spouse or significant other can be a fun experience, but you need to change your mindset before you ever start playing. Unless you are both pro pickleball players (and even if you both are) you may have to choose between having a good time and winning all the time.

But if you have the mindset that you want something social to do with your spouse — and can let go of any differences in playing style, skill, and ratings — then it could be a good activity that you can do together.