Christian Alshon throwing his arms out wide in celebration
Christian Alshon at the Veolia Austin Open. PPA Tour

Do the pros let their dates win at pickleball?  

DALLAS, TX – After I went on a pickleball date and he let me win, I wondered what the pros would do in a similar situation?

Think about it. A good number of the pros are young, single, and dating like I am, so do they go on pickleball dates, too? And if so, what’s their stance on going easy on their date or even letting them win?

Firstly, I asked Christian Alshon

“If we’re playing, I’d let her win,” said Alshon. “But, if we’re going to play something else like mini golf, I’m winning. There’s no way I’m losing in mini golf or bowling. I’m getting competitive with that.”

A competitive edge is critical for professional athletes, so it’s no surprise that Alshon wouldn’t take a backseat in a friendly game of mini golf. 

I had to ask Ben Johns for his take on this matter. 

Ben Johns slamming a pickleball
Ben Johns at the Fanatics Sportsbook North Carolina Cup. PPA Tour

“For sure I’d let her win. I’d just hit around, nothing competitive at all,” said Johns. 

That's funny to me. Here’s the No. 1 player in the world and he wouldn’t be competitive with his date on the other side of the court. 

A girl on a pickleball date with Johns can walk away after a match and brag to her friends that she beat the best of the best.

For his part, Connor Garnett had a different take on it. 

Connor Garnette hitting a twoey
Connor Garnett at the Veolia LA Open. PPA Tour

“I wouldn’t let her win, but I’m not going full-out. If she wanted to play some points, I’d give her a few, but I can’t have her broadcasting that she beat a pro,” he said with a laugh. “It would be fun if she’s pretty good. I like to be challenged in life, and if she can hang on the pickleball court, I think that’d be pretty cool.”

“I’d probably play at 70%, go a little easy on her,” mentioned Federico Staksrud

Youngster Luke Wasson chimed in, too.

“I’m too competitive, I’d never let her win,” said Wasson. “Although, it might be a good place to go after a fight and get all your aggression out on the court.”

And then World No. 1 Anna Leigh Waters shared her thoughts.

Anna Leigh Waters playing pickleball
Anna Leigh Waters at Fanatics Sportsbook North Carolina Cup. PPA Tour

“I’ve actually gone on a pickleball date before and I did not let them win. I did take it easy on them so they could have a point, but if they gave me the ball, of course I’m gonna put it away,” said Waters. “We only had one date, so that may not have been the right strategy.” 

I was a little intimidated playing against my date, but a pro? That would be daunting. Especially going head-to-head with the top players in the world? Good luck to their future dates. 

Either way, though, it’s good to get courting.

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