How to Play Pickleball Professionally from a Pickleball Professional

Fact: I can purse a pickleball career while working full time.

I’ve wrestled with this truth for a while now. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I could, or would, play professional pickleball; let alone get sponsored by a pickleball paddle company! But it’s happening, and now is the time to make some life shifts.

Have you taken a step back and thought you’d be in the position you are now? If you’re a pickleball junkie like me, it’s remarkable to see how much opportunity this sport brings.

But there’s no doubt pickleball is becoming a popular phenomenon, and the competition is getting more intense. It’s an addictive game to manage, especially when working a 9-5 job.

If you’re in a similar situation — where you want to ride this pickleball high while still killing it at work — you can go after both dreams!

The secret to diving in? Become above average. It’s possible to work and play.

David Goggins, a retired Navy Seal, ultra-marathon runner, and former Guinness World Record holder, made me believe anything is possible. He writes in his book, Can’t Hurt Me, that a 40-hour work week is equivalent to putting forth 40 percent effort. It’s a satisfactory workload, and breeds mediocrity. And for some, that’s the dream — to a live a content life.

But if you want more, I’m here to tell you, you are capable, and you are not alone. It’s possible, I promise!

The hardest part, and most daunting, is creating a plan. But now that I’ve been in the game for almost two years, and still ranked top 35 in the world, I’m starting to find my sweet spot. So, I’m here to help you start! Check out the tips below on how to pursue pickleball while adulting.

How to pursue professional pickleball while working full time

Work smarter, play harder. Start achieving your dreams with these tips:

  • Write down your goals. Be specific and keep them visible. I have mine posted on my mirror where I’ll see it every morning and night.
  • Take inventory of your schedule. Record each hour of your day for a week. You’ll be surprised how much time is wasted on frivolous activities. Replace these with actionable steps to take you closer to your goal. I found I watch way too much TV/scanning social media.
  • Set daily small steps. If you’re wanting to win your first medal, drill before practice for 10 minutes. Or maybe you aspire to become physically fit? Go beast mode with footwork drills in your workout.
  • Get creative with your training. Working in an office? Take some time to stretch or watch YouTube videos of professional matches and take notes on how you can improve your game.
  • Master your morning. Work on your weaknesses before most people wake. It frees up your evenings for quality time with loved ones or to double up on pickleball fun!
  • Practice better. It was a struggle to find pickleball courts near me, let alone find a solid group to play with. When you find time on the pickleball court, make sure you use your time wisely, no matter what level you’re playing against.

Trust the process

I’m not saying the process is easy. It might even take some schedule tweaking and time to see results. It requires sacrifice, dedication, and consistent effort. But it’s a small price to pay for doing what you love.

After working countless hours in route to the 2019 Pickleball National Championships, I ended up with poor results. I did better the previous year with less practice. I went down a deep negative spiral and contemplated giving up on pickleball. Why spend all my PTO, time, and money traveling to tournaments and losing, when I could be vacationing with my husband?

So, I stopped playing. Each time I got asked to practice or play in pickleball tournaments, I’d make an excuse for why I couldn’t make it. I told myself this was for the best, and my efforts would be well spent focusing on my writing career that made me money. The ironic part was the longer I went without playing, the worse my writing became, and my relationship with my husband started to slowly strain.

Why did this happen? The answer is simple. Pickleball gave me a purpose. It made me disciplined, which transferred into my writing career and made me more successful. And the time I spent with my husband was more memorable. I had to trust the process and give myself time to grow.

Whether you’re a pickleball beginner player or a professional athlete, finding balance with work, life, and is a challenge for most. Again, you are not alone, and together, we can find a way to make it work!

play professional pickleball from a pickleball professional

Written by Team ONIX pro pickleball player Jaci West Reynolds. You can read more from Jaci at her website or find her on Instagram here.


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