Nick Castellanos wearing a Phillies hoodie playing pickleball.
Nick Castellanos playing pickleball. @Phillies on X (formerly Twitter)

Phillies play pickleball to train for upcoming season

DALLAS, TX – I'm not the least bit surprised that Philadelphia Phillies coach Paco Figueroa has players playing pickleball to help with movement and communication on the field.

Look, we all love pickleball here and know the incredible health benefits associated with America's fastest-growing sport, and seeing other professional athletes pick up a paddle and dink around a little bit is simply delightful. 

In this case, Coach Figueroa combined elements of pickleball, foursquare, and squash and created his own game called “Pacoball.” 

“It helps with a lot of things,” Figueroa told Sports Illustrated. “Moving different directions, agility, you gotta drop to get the ball, go in to hit it. I envision our three outfielders [playing across from another three outfielders] doing a lot of communicating – ‘I got it, I got it’ – and you’re switching positions.”

Johan Rojas holding a pickleball paddle on a baseball feild
Johan Rojas playing pickleball on the baseball diamond. @Phillies on X (formerly Twitter)

Figueroa is exactly right.

Pickleball helps with a variety of skills that can help in any sport, including hand-eye coordination, quickness, dexterity, and flexibility.

Pickleball isn't overly strenuous, either, so there's no major risk of injury involved in Figueroa adding it to the mix in Florida. Remember, pickleball began with an older demographic, so it can be as relaxed or intensive as people on the court want it to be.

So, this could be an active recovery day activity for the players, or a great way to blow off some steam after a long workout day. NASCAR drivers already take full advantage of it.

Like Figueroa mentioned, pickleball can also enhance the squad's overall communication. Any team, especially at a pro level, needs sound communication to achieve success.

As the cliché goes, communication is key. 

Pickleball is a fluid game. Watch any pro match and see how doubles partners strategically move across the court in preparation for their opponent’s next move. This ease of movement can certainly apply to any other sport since it revolves around being both physically and mentally flexible and adaptable.

In short, pickleball can benefit baseball players in a variety of ways. And with so many former professional athletes embarking on a second career in pickleball, it’s entirely possible that we’ll see some of MLB's finest make the transition down the road.

In the meantime, keep an eye on the Phillies this year because pickleball could be the secret ingredient that takes them back to the World Series for another shot at baseball's top prize.