I have been spending a lot of time watching, learning and practicing new Pickleball skills and drills. Actually to be honest I have switched my Pickleball play time from about 95% to about 10% and my drill time to about 90%. Now why would I do that you ask? I get this one question each week during clinics and Pickleball drilling sessions each week and I have tried to answer it several different ways to see which way would resonate the best with most players. The question is “how do I change my game and add the slow game, slowing the ball down, resetting the ball or get out of a out of control volley rally?” I think the best way I have found is to respond with playing “Purpose” Pickleball.
It is interesting because I have answered this question many times but recently I was watching a video that had Kyle Yates breaking down a Pickleball point from some local players and he made this interesting statement about adding a new skill or learning something new to add to your existing game and this is what he said “You must have a purpose when you step onto the court. You have to decide that you will purposely try and slow the game down” and that confirmed to me that what I have been sharing on the court during instruction is right on. Basically what Kyle said was that you must be purposeful or intentional when you step onto the court that you will work on this one skill during this game or during this session. You must make a decision that you will make this a priority and as long as you have committed to it you should work on incorporating that skill into those situations that occur on the court court during play.
I think there are a few reasons that this is important and here are a few that you can do to help make this more of a success for you as you navigate this mindset.
First, think of it as you “adding” this to your already existing game and not trying to change anything. It really does work better if you think about adding a new skill or adding something new than it is to think about trying to change anything. You feel like you are giving yourself options instead of trying to cut something out.
Two, sometimes giving ourselves to many options will actually work against us rather than work for us. If you go in with the mindset that I will work on slowing the ball down no matter what shot I get then you don’t have to decide if a ball is attackable or should I put this ball away or not. All you have to focus on is slowing the ball down and then slowing the ball down again. Your body will start trying to find ways to make this happen especially your mind and hand connection. You will start seeing the ball clearer and you will start feeling that paddle more in your hand. This is exactly what I did to learn to slow the ball down. I just made my mind up that I was going to slow the ball down and keep it slow. Now it is something I can do more consistently.
Third, forget about anything anyone will say to you on the courts. Not everyone will want to learn a new skill and will be content to play their game whether it is successful or not. Some players are just never going to make it to the kitchen line or work to get into the short game and maybe because it doesn’t seem fun for them and this will just have to be okay. Believe me, I have to play with those players each week as well. In these cases the victories will be counted in how many times you were successful in slowing the game down than what the final score will be. This will be a great opportunity to learn to play “YOUR” game and not let anyone on either side dictate how you will play. This will also be a great growing experience for most of you.
Fourth, if you don’t know where to start or not sure of the proper skills necessary and need some direction attend a Night Train Pickleball clinic and we will gladly help you with this new skill. Yes, I know. This might have been a small commercial for Night Train but you knew it had to come sometime. Hehehehe!
Listen, at the end of the day you need to have fun. For most it will not be learning a new skill but if this is you then it might be time to start incorporating being “Purposeful” when you step onto the court next time. I hope this helps and adds some value to your growing Pickleball game and if there is something you would like us to write about or share more on then please let us know and we will be happy to add it in a later post.
See you on the courts!