THE Pickleball System
Pickleball Training Series

Three Sessions

To Help You Play
Best Pickleball

3 Little Known Secrets to Play Your Best Pickleball

A Free mini-series to help you unlock your pickleball potential

Ask questions and join the discussion in the comments below.

Session 1

The #1 Pickleball Strategy You Don’t Know AND How To Use It

Many, if not most pickleball players do not know this one concept. You're really playing two different games. Knowing it and, more importantly, applying it, will transform your game.

Want to watch the Q&A for Session 1?

Click this link.

Session 2

The Most Important Shot In Pickleball AND How To Hit It

What's the most important shot in pickleball? Go ahead...we'll wait. Now, go through this training, and let's see if your answers match ours. (Hint: It's not the 3 shot! 😜)

Want to watch the Q&A for Session 2?

Click this link.

Session 3

Why You Are Popping The Ball Up AND How To Stop It

We all love pop ups. At least when it is the other team hitting them. We're going to focus on the principal causes of pop ups and how to minimize them. 

Want to watch the Q&A for Session 3?

Click this link.

Bonus Training

Have you taken the Third Shot quiz?

There are five places you can hit the third shot from this short return of serve. Which are the best in order of importance?

The system logo


We’re thrilled to introduce you to THE Pickleball System, a step-by-step framework to play your best pickleball.

Whether you’re brand new to the game or closing in on 4.0, we’re here to help you reach your pickleball potential.

We’ve helped thousands of players improve their games, and we know that if you follow this step-by-step method, we’ll be able to help you do the same.

We hope to see you on the inside.

CJ and Tony

What THE Pickleball System can do for YOU


Self-assuredness and confidence that you’re getting the right things done, in the right order.


Master essential skills to build or fix your game and attain unwavering consistency.


A distraction-free, supportive, environment to maximize your time and achieve results.


Linda and Gary

We had a great time learning the mechanic, strategy and athletic pillars! You two are very patient, friendly and above all very learned in the sport of pickleball


Vicky S.

Thanks again for all the Pickleball information that you and CJ provide. It is worth its weight in gold.....🙂


Sudie A.

I just got off the courts and had some nice shots and vigorous rallies. Implementing the strategy of running right to the NVZ line has helped me most of all. Such a simple concept, too!

john b

John B.

Thanks to Tony, CJ and this entire group I ended up with a silver in mixed doubles 3.5 60-64 (at the US Open). I can say that what I’ve learned here changed the way I play and how to honor the game itself.

Edgar P.

Just wanted to thank you and CJ for helping me build my pickleball foundation and knowledge. Your videos and online technical chats and also your analyzing my playing video has elevated my game. I have strongly recommended to everyone to signup.

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About us

Hi, we’re CJ and Tony

We’ve been in your shoes before. When we started playing pickleball, quality instruction was limited.

Mostly a few people who played a little better than the rest of the group and were willing to offer a little free advice, and not all of it was good. 😏

That’s what prompted us to become pickleball coaches.

Now, we're obsessed with helping you reach your pickleball goals!

And to help you get there we produce the largest and most comprehensive suite of pickleball content available and have been doing it for YEARS.

  • THE Better Pickleball and In2Pickle YouTube Channels with more than 60k subscribers and 6.5 million views.
  • THE Pickleball System-world class online coaching program.
  • THE WeArePickleball Camp Experience.
  • THE Pickleball Summit, the largest online gathering of pickleball coaches and experts.
  • THE Pickleball Therapy Podcast and Pickleball Therapy LIVE on Facebook and YouTube.
  • THE book-Play Pickleball-A Beginners Guide

All of this is because we want to help you eliminate frustration and confusion to become the best pickleball player you can be.


  1. David Knapp on March 10, 2022 at 10:50 pm

    I watched video. It cut off before the question and answer session started. I have one burning question-Does the advantage/disadvantage issue disappear after the 4th or 5th shot? If the rally isn’t over by then, all players should be up at the line. Then the 25/75% becomes 50/50% . The strategy you present is great, especially not trying to get the point rather than getting the position.

    • CJ on March 12, 2022 at 1:10 am

      Hi David once the teams are both at the NVZ the advantage actually tips toward the serving team.

      • Patti Embree on March 16, 2022 at 7:11 pm

        Missed 2nd session, where can I bring it up before this eve?
        Patti E

        • CJ Johnson on March 16, 2022 at 7:13 pm

          Hi Patti, Just keep scrolling, it’s on this page. 😉

  2. Lynn C on March 11, 2022 at 12:04 am

    All this information was excellent and well presented. I look forward to the next session

  3. Suzzanne Green on March 11, 2022 at 4:58 pm

    I am looking forward to the next class. I have never played but I have a tennis ball court in my back yard.

    • CJ Johnson on March 12, 2022 at 1:14 am

      Welcome to pickleball!

  4. Melissa W Batey on March 11, 2022 at 8:53 pm

    I have a question that is random at best. The other day I was playing pickleball when a serve hit the foot of the return person while she was behind the line. The server thought it was a good serve because it hit the player’s feet, but the rest of us thought since technically the ball was out of bounds when the hit occurred that the shot was a foul. Answer?

    Melissa Batey

    • CJ Johnson on March 12, 2022 at 1:14 am

      Hi Melissa, if the ball hits a player before it hits the court it’s a fault on the player that it hit. In this case it’s a point for the serve team.

      • Shalon on March 13, 2022 at 3:09 am

        Hi, I have learned so much from watching your videos and listening to the Pickleball Therapy podcast. This class is great. I do have one more random question though.

        This happened to my group this week….twice. If a ball bounces over the net and then a strong wind blows it back over the net the way it came (without being touched) is that a fault or what? Hopefully you can shed some light.

        • Georgeann on March 18, 2022 at 12:21 am

          Hi, that is not a fault.

          Here’s the rule: 11.I.1.
          Exception: If the ball bounces into a receiving player’s court with enough backspin or wind aid to cause it to return back over the net, the receiving player may reach over the net, around the net post or under the net to hit the ball, but only after the ball crosses back over the plane of the net to the opponent’s side. It is a fault if the player touches the net system or the opponent’s court while the ball is still in play. If the player does not touch the ball, the team that last struck the ball wins the rally.

          • Janice on March 19, 2022 at 2:20 am

            I have no idea what the above answer is trying to explain. I would have to see it and have someone walk me through it to understad this.

          • CJ Johnson on March 19, 2022 at 9:58 pm

            I think this was an explanation of what is the rule if a ball bounces on my side of the court and because of spin or outside factors travels back over the my opponents side of the court.

  5. Karen E. Schulz on March 12, 2022 at 4:26 pm

    This is a fantastic find for me. I have always watched random youtube presentations on certain shots and I was a beginner three years ago. I found myself getting an empty notebook and labeling it PICKLEBALL and starting to take notes because I wanted to figure out the progression to a better player and I needed a format. I was still all over the place with drills, specific shots, etc. I felt that I was not progressing other than becoming a banger because my group sets me up. They think I am a good player. I am not!! It was just they were giving me easy pop ups. Because my group of players is so random at getting to the NVZ line…did not know what that was…thought it was what we call the pickleball line or kitchen line. Anyway one player refuses to come to the NVZ line and last time I played with her I was so frustrated I just gave up and knew it was not right.
    Thank you! Now I know why this player mentality of not wanting to play up frustrates me sooo much. I can’t wait to play! You have also relieved my wanting to find a progressive line to follow for learning !!!!

  6. Janice Cutler on March 12, 2022 at 7:06 pm

    Is there a place to see the answers to the questions for the workbook from Session #1?

    • CJ Johnson on March 12, 2022 at 10:44 pm

      Hi Janice, the best place to locate them is in the Q&A after the 1st day. The link is on the replay page below the session video.

  7. Annie on March 13, 2022 at 12:18 am

    I haven’t received session 2 replay link yet, but love, love, love all the info you’re giving us. I was watching men’s pro play after the session and I noticed the Pros are all over the place on the Return of Serve. They often get in trouble when the RoS isn’t returned down the middle. Is it because they are serving harder and faster? It just didn’t look like they had a plan when returning serve. In rec play, I’ve been using different serve placement so my opponents don’t get use to one type of serve, back hand, forehand, wide (I know, higher risk) but I will see if consistant down the line, a little to the servers backhand, helps me set up my 4th shot.
    Can you please comment on what to do when a left handed player is serving. Still return serve down the middle??
    Many thanks

    • CJ Johnson on March 13, 2022 at 5:23 am

      Hi Annie, we recommend that most returns of serve are to the center of the court about 3 feet from the baseline. It doesn’t matter if they are left or right handed. A return in the center often cause confusion or the wrong player takes the shot. I’m not sure what you saw during the game. Pro’s will move the ball around to target an opponents weakness but even in pro matches it’s likely that you’ll see 70-80 percent of returns to the middle of the court and deep.

  8. ria burnett on March 13, 2022 at 9:09 pm

    Are ghost and mirror drills included in “The Pickleball System” as well as other solo drills to improve shot mechanics?

    • CJ Johnson on March 14, 2022 at 2:07 am

      Hi Ria, Yes they are both included. Ghost drills and mirror drills are similar, you’re simply repeating the movement pattern multiple times. The advantage of doing it in front of a mirror is reinforcing a visual image of the movement pattern. We also have wall drills which can be done solo.

  9. Lynn C Sawyer on March 14, 2022 at 1:14 pm

    CJ, the replay videos play from beginning to end well but is it possible to include the ability move back and forth in the videos so we can review sections at will? That would be a great boost to absorbing all of the great content you’re offering. Pretty please?

    • CJ Johnson on March 15, 2022 at 12:29 am

      Hi Lynn, you’re already able to do that. Simply move the cursor at the bottom of the video player.

      • Lynn C Sawyer on March 17, 2022 at 12:13 am

        Thanks. It doesn’t work on the phone but dose when viewed in the computer screen.

  10. sharon corcoran on March 17, 2022 at 12:58 pm

    Dear CJ and Tony,
    The Mini Series was super and I was thrilled to find it since I’m the one who broke her back and unable to come to the March camp. (Can’t say I’ve been able to practice.) After that I was thinking I might give it up, but you have given me confidence to soldier on!!!. Tony I needed the lesson on energy because my injury was caused throwing myself into the wall on a return serve.

    I absolutely think you did what you set out to do….I’m looking forward to the Seminar…I’m on the mend and will try to come to camp next fall.


    • CJ Johnson on March 17, 2022 at 1:40 pm

      Sharon, glad to hear you are doing better! We look forward to finally meeting you in person.

  11. Gerry De Jong on March 17, 2022 at 1:37 pm

    I just loved the three sessions. I have been approaching this game all wrong. I have a tennis background and have been identified by my winter group as one of the better players in our group, mostly because of athletic ability. When we move to our summer camping location my weaknesses are exposed by the more skilled players that are there and I get frustrated because my athleticism no longer overpowers my opponents. Approaching the game by use of the foundations and pillars will make a difference and I am really looking forward to making that application with the second group. I have already applied it with the first and it is amazing. Thanks for that.

  12. Stuart Foster on March 17, 2022 at 11:17 pm

    Each of the three sessions have had valuable insights. It states the “replay” will only be available for a limited time.
    I would love to be able to review these three sessions and hope you would post them in the “Videos” section of your web site.
    Again, good info! Thank you.

  13. Wally on March 18, 2022 at 12:07 am

    You guys are on to something special!! Just finished the third session. Enjoyed all of them very, very much. It was thoughtful, detailed, and made me think differently about the game and it gave me ideas how to make and try out small but significant changes. Two weeks ago, before your sessions, during league play mostly 3.5 and 4.0 players, I was on the winning team 5 out of 7 games. Yesterday with the first two sessions under my belt I was on the losing team all 7 games which was new for me. However it was different. I was calmer inside, not pressuring myself to score with the 4th shot that I often try to do, and just approached the game with a renewed understanding that I believe will take some time to incorporate. The losing didn’t bother me last night which was also nice. I started playing PB at 68 and could not run or jump because of lower back issues and could not tie my shoes tightly because of foot issues resulting in pain. I can now run forward to get short balls, run back to get lobs after one bounce, and jump but still not very high. My PB age is 75 and would like to improve and be a solid 4.0 player. Playing into my 80s would be a dream. Thanks so much for all your critical thinking, insights, detailed analysis, and good all around work.

  14. Georgeann on March 18, 2022 at 12:26 am

    Great mini-series! Been playing for 4 years and have just had my mind blown by the serve/return as two different games, and that the return shots are the highest priority shots of the 4 shots.
    I absolutely love the mantra “Get past 4”. That will be in my head from now on.
    Thank you!

  15. Greg Hammons on March 18, 2022 at 3:57 am

    Watched the replay of the third session and Cj mentioned the Compete – Learn – Honor video link. I could not see any link in the replay and would very much like to see this. I bought the book after hearing about it from Cj sometime ago.

    These sessions are great. I am excited to find out more about the pickleball System.

    • CJ Johnson on March 18, 2022 at 6:39 am

      Hi Greg you’ll find it at Enjoy!

  16. sharon corcoran on March 18, 2022 at 2:21 pm

    Hi I don’t see where to sign up for the System starting on April 7th

  17. Ninja Steph on March 25, 2022 at 11:37 pm

    In session one you did a recap of the return side and included what we should fill out in the workbook but I didn’t hear what should go in page 3 after he talked about the drop shot. The part that’s in bold. I am guessing it is referring to pb can’t be won from
    Baseline but it won from NVZ. Is that correct?

    Thank you for recapping this foundation. Since I took lessons from the get go when I started pb & continue to take lessons and go to clinics I know and try to implement all of these principles but I like how you articulated it and it’ll help me with my word choices as Beginners ask me for advice. It reinforced what I know and that can never be a bad thing.

    • CJ Johnson on March 27, 2022 at 9:28 am

      Yes Steph you are correct.

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