LIFE LESSONS COME FROM ALL PLACES—EVEN UNEXPECTED PLACES, LIKE THE PICKLEBALL COURT.
Most people respond better to positivity, rather than negativity. This is the same on the pickleball court.
Have you ever had a partner that gets angry or belittles you after you make a mistake? Maybe this partner even rolls his or her eyes, or is overly critical and coaching you on every shot to the point that you feel nervous and out of your element? Even when you win with this partner, you probably are not having any fun, which is what pickleball is all about. Plus, you are not able to play your best because you are caught up in what your partner is telling you or worried about what your partner will say to you next.
Positivity Breeds Positivity
Pickleball is more commonly played as a doubles game, rather than as a singles game. As a result, not only do you need to play confidently and play your best pickleball, but your partner does too—at least if you want to be successful. A good partner is one that helps you, motivates you, and remains positive. Positivity is infectious. Positivity breeds positivity, and positivity is essential if you want your partner to have fun, play confidently, and play their best pickleball.
One way to breed positivity on the pickleball courts is to give credit to your partner for good pickleball play and take responsibility for your shots. In other words, voice credit for great shots—“Yeah! Great shot!” or “Keep it up, partner!”. Also, voice and take the blame for bad shots—“My bad. I won’t do that again.” or “My fault. I got the next one.” This includes possibly taking blame for a bad shot by your partner, as you may have contributed to the bad shot, such as by having a poor shot before to set up the bad shot. This will help breed positivity, as well as establish the lines of communication and build trust between you and your partner. And, if your partner makes a bad shot, remain positive and build your partner up so that you both are mentally ready to win the next shot. Remember to pay attention to your words and your body language, which can both send the same message. No one is ever trying to flub a shot. Remain positive. You are a team; stick together as a team.
Further, positivity is especially important in situations where one person in the pickleball duo may be targeted more than the other, which is a common strategy in doubles play—especially mixed doubles play. The targeted player may feel picked on and quickly get down mentally, as oftentimes teams will target the player with the weaker skill set. If you are ever this person, hang in there. You can do it. Your partner is depending on you to stay mentally and physically tough, and your partner will come in for the kill shot as soon as it presents itself. If your partner is ever this person, ooze of positivity for your partner. Your positivity will most certainly have an effect on your partner’s play.
And, lastly, remember, there is no such thing as a bad day on the pickleball court. Represent all of the positive things about the sport of pickleball every time you step on the pickleball court and no matter who you are on the pickleball court with. Your positivity will certainly breed positivity in others.
This Lesson from the Pickleball Court was based on an excerpt from Pickler’s pickleball e-book, “The Pickleball Mental Edge.” We wanted to feature this lesson again as a reminder to continue to spread the positivity on the pickleball court, especially as the sport of pickleball continues to explode in growth. If you liked this Lesson from the Pickleball Court, click here to download The Pickleball Mental Edge e-book for FREE!
LESSONS FROM THE PICKLEBALL COURT
Read past blogs from the “Lessons from the Pickleball Court” series:
- Integrity Is Everything
- Go Down Swinging
- Read the Room (or the Pickleball Court)
- Always Be Prepared
- Referees Are Impactful
- Never Judge a “Pickleball Book” by Its Cover
- Encourage the Kids to Play
- Learn to Share “Small Spaces”
- Strangers Become Quick Friends
- Pickleball Culture to Workplace Culture
- A Second Chance with the Next Phase
- Turning Defense into Offense
- Be Patient
What lesson have you learned from the sport of pickleball? Share with us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.