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The five pickleball love languages

The five pickleball love languages

DALLAS, TX - Relationship dynamics in pickleball - both on and off the court - can either be some of the healthiest partnerships or some of the most toxic.

Just look at the pickleball attachment styles and see how much your doubles partner can positively or negatively affect your partnership on the court.

There’s a popular book that coined the Five Love Languages that helps partners better connect and understand each other in terms of how they best receive love and affection.

And while you might assume that these love languages are strictly for romantic relationships, they can also benefit your pickleball partnership, romantic or not.

They are: words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, receiving gifts, and quality time.


In case you don’t know your love language, you can even take a quiz to help identify it.

To find out how you and your partner can best communicate and support each other, here is a breakdown of the five love languages and how they apply to pickleball.

Pickleball Words of Affirmation

A partner who's love language is words of affirmation thrives on written and spoken words of affection and encouragement. This is perhaps one of the easiest love languages to express on the pickleball court. It is most commonly displayed at the pro level. 

Some excellent examples to help build your doubles partner up are:

·      “Wow, what a great serve!”

·      “Nice shot!”

·      “You’ve been practicing your ace! Looks great!”

·      “Let’s go! You’re a pickleball champ!”

Simple phrases can go a long way towards building a happy and sustainable pickleball partnership. Compliment, compliment, compliment!

A creative sign featured at a PPA Tour event during the 2023 season.
A creative sign featured at a PPA Tour event during the 2023 season. PPA Tour

Pickleball Physical Touch

The physical touch love language is a little more nuanced than you’d expect. It's not all about intimacy. It just means that a hug, shoulder squeeze, or holding hands can be more meaningful to your partner than words of affirmation or receiving gifts. 

If your partner’s language is physical touch, here are some ways to show your love and appreciation for them on the court:

·      Tap paddles

·      Pat on the back

·      Hug after a victory or loss

A PPA pro who’s a master at this particular love language is Allyce Jones, who’s known to chest bump and jump up into the arms of her doubles partners. Now that’s the kind of supportive doubles partner you want.

Anna Bright and James Ignatowich share a special moment at a tournament.
Anna Bright and James Ignatowich share a special moment at a tournament. PPA Tour

Pickleball Acts of Service

If your doubles partner’s love language is acts of service, this language is all about small gestures that show your partner you care for them. It might be a little time consuming, but if it’s what your partner needs, it’s well worth the effort.

Acts of service can be showcased in a variety of different ways in pickleball.

Excellent examples are:

·      Taping up their paddle with new grip tape when you notice theirs is getting a little worn.

·      If it rained last night, get to the court a little early to mop up before your partner even gets there.

·      Reserving a court on a busy day to guarantee court time.

These options can definitely help solidify pickleball partnerships.

Allyce Jones and Dirk Nowitzki compete in the Deep Eddy Vodka Celebrity Pickleball Showdown in November.
Allyce Jones and Dirk Nowitzki compete in the Deep Eddy Vodka Celebrity Pickleball Showdown in November. PPA Tour

Pickleball Receiving Gifts

Receiving gifts can be a very misunderstood love language. This doesn’t mean that your pickleball partner is materialistic, it just means they feel loved when receiving a tangible item. Items can be as small as buying them a trinket, but it serves as a reminder to them that they’re appreciated.

Luckily for your pickleball partner, there’s all kinds of sweet gear to express your gratitude for them through gifts:

·      New paddle

·      New pickleballs

·      At-home pickleball sets

·      Portable net

·      Athletic wear

Thanks to sites like Pickleball Central, it’s unbelievably easy to pick out some gifts your partner will love with comprehensive lists and product reviews.

Lauren Stratman and Julian Arnold at work during the 2023 PPA Tour campaign.
Lauren Stratman and Julian Arnold at work during the 2023 PPA Tour campaign. PPA Tour

Pickleball Quality Time

The quality time love language is simply spending time with your partner. It’s not about going out to expensive dinners, it’s about how you spend your time. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, giving your partner some undivided and undistracted attention is the top priority.

This one might seem obvious, but sometimes the best way to express love for your pickleball partner is just to play together.

Here’s some additional examples:

·      Practice your serves together

·      Go out and dink around

·      Practice trick shots together

·      Play a game of skinny singles

Sportsmanship has always been an important part of pickleball.
Sportsmanship has always been an important part of pickleball. PPA Tour

If you want your mixed doubles partnership to last a lifetime, communicate with your doubles partner and discuss how to best support each other, because if there’s one thing we know about pickleball, it's that there’s going to be some days where you’re winning and feeling on top of the world, and other days where you can’t seem to return anything over the net.

A positive, loving pickleball partnership will be with you through all the ups and downs and in-betweens, so express your pickleball love languages and make that partnership last a lifetime.

If you’re looking for more information on pickleball doubles partners dynamics and breakdowns, read about the Pickleball Attachment Theory, or a successful romantic and professional pickleball partnership between Lauren Stratman and Julian Arnold.

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