The following is a real posting on the USA Pickleball Seniors Facebook page:
I'm 68 yrs. old and have been playing pickleball for a couple of years now. I have played racquetball for many years and still do that also.
So, maybe it's from that, but, banging is the biggest and best part of my game!
I don't like the dinking at all, but, that's my opinion, so consequently I hardly ever do it. But, I enjoy the game and the way I play it, which is all that matters to me.
If you don't like being involved in games like that, that's your choice, but, play the way you like and enjoy it, or go elsewhere where you can have fun!
Don't knock others' because of how they want to play!
– Mike M—
We here at Murmurs from the Losers' Bracket (*for those new to Murmurs, this is a humorous tongue-and-cheek opinion piece - don't take us too seriously... we are trying to have fun, just like we do on the pickleball court) will like to refer you to our support group, Bangers Anonymous, a 12-step program designed to get you and others like you up to the Non-Volley-Zone line for some soft play.
Actually, you can do it in three or four steps, but if you’re a guy who minces around on the court like a rabid squirrel, it might take you 12 steps.
The point is, you can do it. We’ve helped many other people with a dinking problem to overcome their desire to smash and get smashed every time they step on a pickleball court.
The key is to give yourself up to a higher power. His name is Ben Johns.
As you can see from watching YouTube videos of his play, he’s big and strong and he can hit the ball hard from the baseline.
Yes, and he too started out as a racquet player, tennis in his case. But he learned to dink responsibly. And it has made him a better pickleball person.
You too can do this, Mike.
Your posting talks about banging being the “biggest and best part of your game.” We understand.
You’re not the first player who has gotten that pure rush of binging on bangers. Sure, you can hit it hard, downing lesser opponents with your meat volleys. But have you thought about what it’s doing to your loved ones?
And by that, I mean your doubles partner. There, he or she is advancing toward the non-volley-zone line, anticipating a strategically advantageous soft third-shot drop from you.
But instead, you stay rooted in the back court, content to just slam another one, leaving your partner at the mercy of a well-placed defensive parry from your opponents.
Have you taken the time to consider how you’re breaking your team’s defense? Does it matter to you that your banging habit has created a rift down the middle of your court?
Have you noticed that 68-year-old women don’t want to play with you anymore? You may consider yourself a “social banger”, but don’t fool yourself.
If you learn to dink responsibly, you will find that banging isn’t always the answer to every ball headed your way.
And that probably the greatest enjoyment of a hard-hit smash is the one you make after you get your opponent to carelessly hit a pop following a well-placed cross-court dink.
There’s nothing like a smash after a dink. But by banging all the time, you’re missing this.
Yes, being soft can be hard, at times. But it’s worth a try.
To quote the entrepreneur Andy Love:
“If you've been banging your head against a brick wall, wipe the blood off, take a couple of painkillers and try it from another angle. Failing that, use the door.”
Use the door, Mike.
MURMURS FROM THE LOSERS' BRACKET
Read past editions of Murmurs from the Losers' Bracket, including:
Frank Cerabino is a long-time columnist for the Palm Beach Post in Florida, a pickleball addict like the rest of us, and a newly published author. Check out Frank's newly released book, I Dink, Therefore I Am: Coming to Grips with My Pickleball Addiction (available on Amazon and a great read (or gift!) for any pickleball player), for pickleball tips and laughs!