Pickle with a Pro: 4 Pickleball Tips from YouFit’s Olympian Tennis Player Brian Vahaly


The pickleball craze is quickly sweeping the nation, and was named the fasting growing sport in the US during 2019-2021. YouFit has just announced the launch of this fast-paced indoor sport at 22 of our gyms nationwide, which combines attributes of badminton, ping-pong and tennis. Today, over 5 million Americans play pickleball, a number that has nearly doubled since data was first collected in 2014.

Pickleball is a fantastic way to stay active, and helps boost the cardiovascular system in a low impact setting. Although highly desired by participants of all ages, the sport helps prevent hypertension, strokes, and heart attacks in senior citizens, while reducing unwanted stress on your joints and muscles. Available in both singles and doubles matches, YouFit is making it easier than ever before to try this popular sport for yourself.

To celebrate our indoor pickleball launch, we spoke with YouFit’s resident Olympian Tennis Player Brian Vahaly to learn his Top 4 tips to get your “foot in the court”, and get playing today! Vahaly is a former professional tennis player, achieving a career high of being ranked 57th in the world. Starting a new sport can sometimes be overwhelming and daunting, but with the help of Brian, you’ll be a pickleball pro in no time!

Olympian Tennis Player Brian Vahaly in the US Open
  1. Loosen Your Grip

By loosening your grip on the paddle, you’ll be able to feel and control the direction and speed much better. Pickleball is played on a smaller court than traditional tennis (44 feet long, by 20 feet wide), so control is key! Much of the game is played close to the net, so having as much control of your paddle as possible is key to defeating your opponents.

2. Put Slice on Your Return, and Keep It Deep & Low

After you return the serve, run upwards towards the net (but be sure to stay out of the kitchen!) Keeping your return low ensures your opponent will likely hit a ball up for you to put away. Your side of the pickleball court is divided into 3 sections – the left & right service areas, and the kitchen. Players are only allowed to step into the kitchen (the front area by the net), if a ball first bounces there when returned by the opposing players.

3. Don’t Take Your Eye Off the Ball!

Make sure to keep your eye on the ball at all times when playing pickleball. It is critical that you focus your shot, not on the opponent and what they are doing. Like many racket sports, pickleball can be very fast-moving. Although spikes aren’t allowed when serving the ball, you’d be surprised how quick the ball can move! By lifting your head and breaking your kinetic chain, you are proven to start making more errors and mistakes.

4. Keep Your Paddle Out In Front of You

To make sure you’re constantly bringing your A-game, you don’t want to be on your back foot. The ball can often come at you very fast, so its important to keep your racket in front. This will ensure you have a better shot at a return, and can quickly swoop down to send back any low balls quickly. 

Pickleball is a very easy sport to learn, which is part of the reason it has been so enticing to so many players. Slower paced than tennis, a standard pickleball court has less ground to cover, all while ensuring you’re still guaranteed to work up a sweat! 

Pickleball is included with all YouFit Premium and Premium+ memberships, and is the perfect supplement to any existing workout routine. For more information and to find the closest gym offering pickleball to you, visit www.youfit.com. We promise…you’ll be addicted in no time, and well on your way to be reigned king (or queen!) of the court.

Ready to try YouFit for yourself? Sign-up today for A FREE 3-DAY PASS and try pickleball on for size. Visit https://youfit.com/free-pass/ to register, and start your fitness journey with us,

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