I wanted to share this picture with the title “You’re not stuck” because it resonated with me this week both personally as I prepare for a tournament later this month in Las Vegas AND because of what I continually hear on the Pickleball courts each week during open play.
If I had to pick one piece of advice I give more than any other on the courts it is this. Slow the game down and reset the ball into the kitchen. The response is nearly always the same, “The ball gets going to fast and I feel like it is out of control”. Ironically the same person who has this response is usually the culprit who starts the ball fast and then it becomes a game of survival rather than of strategy resulting in the point ending quickly. Maybe our team came out on top and maybe it doesn’t. Usually when I am sharing this advice it means that the points are not going in our favor and the game is getting very lopsided.
Now let me stop here for a moment and say this, It is NOT about winning. What I think my point is here is that IF you want a different outcome you will need to let go of the old way you played the game. What I mean here is that this usually means the way you learned when you started playing the game from day one when “just getting the ball back over” was the immediate goal. Now we want to start learning some new skills that will start serving where you want to take your game. Everytime the ball starts fast and you keep it going fast it is because when you first started playing the game you may have had some instant success so it made sense to keep playing that type of game. However, now that you want to take your game forward it will be time to reassess your game and see what needs to be changed.
Yes, before I venture any further that means that you may have to drill. I will say it again for those in the back. You will need to drill. You didn’t learn the necessary skills for your career or any other sport by not practicing so why would it be any different now? Hint, it is not.
I will also offer a solution if you are open to it. If there are multiple courts and not all of them fill up right away why not put one extra court up at a time and use it as a warm up/ drilling court? We could use it to for the next 4 players that are next in the cue to play. Of course two at a time but as the next two go in the the next game the next two in the cue go to the warm up court and start warming up until their turn to play.
If you are someone who would like to see your game improve and grow then this message might be for you. When you read this if it sparked something in you are you find yourself thinking about this all weekend then let’s talk about what you can do to adopt some new skills and mindsets that will help grow your game.
Oh, so how does this apply to me as I prepare for this tournament? Well, if I want to have a different result that I am looking for at this tournament then that means I have to change my approach to how I prepare for it. My old approach is not going to work with the level of play that is expected to be competing at this tournament. So yeah, even now this quote describes me as well.
See you on the courts!