Improving your game usually involves putting in hours of dedicated and consistent practice. But knowledge forms a foundation for the skill you need to develop, so books about pickleball can definitely play a role in helping you improve!
Although a book clearly won’t give you as much value as private pickleball lessons with a professional coach, or even replace the importance of many hours of intentional practice, spending your time off the court on learning strategies and tips from a trusted author will give a boost to your training.
To make things better, you can even opt for the audiobook version of some of these books, so you can actually learn things while multitasking. How’s that for convenience?
Here are some of our top picks of the best pickleball books depending on your skill level:
Best Beginner Pickleball Books
The best pickleball books for beginners are those that cover the fundamentals of the game, such as the rules, scoring, and some of the easiest tactics.
1. Pickleball Fundamentals by USA Pickleball Association and Mary Littlewood
The first book that the USA Pickleball Association co-wrote and endorses, this will help you learn the basics of pickleball so you can get on the court soonest. It will teach you the proper execution of the essential tactics and skills the sport requires. You will learn all the shots (serve and return, groundstroke, lob, dink, drop, and overhead smash) that will help you form a solid technique from the getgo.
The book contains over 40 drills and actvities to help you learn and improve your performance. It also includes tactics for different scenarios, as well as strategies for singles and doubles.
2. How to Play Pickleball: The Complete Guide from A to Z by Joe Baker and Coach Mo
Joe Baker is a mechanical engineer by trade, but his pickleball videos have been hailed as some of the best around the world. In this collaboration with Coach Mo, known for training national tournament players, photographs, diagrams, and detailed explanations will surely be a great value add-on to your pickleball knowledge.
Starting with basic rules, this book then works its way through to more advanced strategies, such as shot selection that players can use at competitions.
3. The Pickleball Bible by Dr. Rick Lambson and Tim Finger
This short book is a great way to learn about pickleball, as it gives you the basic guidelines you need to start. It starts with the rules of the game, and then goes right into fundamental skills you need, such as how to serve, lobs, ground shots, and others.
But it’s not just a book for beginners. When you reach halfway into the book, it teaches you strategies that professional players use, and then includes a chapter called “Mental Game,” which drills your mind into figuring out how to respond to stressful situations in a game.
4. The Art of Pickleball by Gale Leach
Written by children’s adventure book author Gale Leach, this 216-page book explains the very basic aspects of pickleball, such as the gear you need to play it, all the way up to the strategies that professional players use.
This is a great book for both beginners and advanced players, thanks to its conversational and engaging style. Another advantage is that the book also includes chapters that deal with the mental aspect of pickleball.
Best Pickleball Mindset Books
Some pickleball books focus on explaining the mental facet of playing pickleball: after all, part of the fun in sports like this is being able to outwit your opponent. Strengthening your self-confidence and being fully immersed in the game are also two nonnegotiables for playing competitively and entering—and even winning—pickleball tournaments.
5. Mind Game by Neil Schulenburg
Written by a psychotherapist and a passionate pickleball player, this book lets you develop the discipline you need for playing a great game of pickleball. It includes lessons on perception, and how to treat victories and even coping with defeat.
The book includes chapters that delve into the psychology behind the game, such as the mental processing and key brain functions needed for the game.
6. The Pickleball Mental Edge by Stacie Townsend
This book that compiles learnings from pros in pickleball will help you learn eight key mental learnings you need to improve your game. It uses short anecdotes to share its powerful message, and also making the learnings easy to remember.
Best Pickleball Strategy Books
Lastly, some pickleball books focus on the strategy, explaining in detail the actions you take on the pickleball field. This covers topics such as shot selection, the return of serve, whether to dink or not, and third shot strategy, among others.
7. At the Line: The Winning Doubles Pickleball Strategy by Joe Baker
Despite being a mechanical engineer by profession, author Joe Baker is well known around the world for his pickleball strategy videos. This book will teach you various strategies for singles and doubles games.
Although a player of any skill level can learn from this book, it focuses more on strategies involving communication and teamwork between doubles. The great thing about this book is that it is highly interactive, with quizzes at the end of every chapter, making sure you fully understand what you’ve read.
8. Smart Pickleball by Prem Carnot and Wendy Garrido
Written by “The Pickleball Guru” Prem Carnot and Wendy Garrido, this book aimed at helping beginners and intermediate pickleball players features 166 pages of diagrams in full color showing different pickleball strategies and situations. Advanced players can also benefit from the book by retaking early steps if they skipped or forgot anything.
The book also contains a full explanation of the 3rd shot drop, using a whole section to teach you how to use it effectively.
Increasing your knowledge of pickleball, such as principles and mind-setting, will go a long way to help you improve your game. But remember, nothing can replace the power of purposeful practice. Take all that you learn from these books and take time to practice them on court, and you will be on your way to be a much better pickleball player for sure!