Today I was giving a lesson to a student that I think has great potential and is also a very hard worker. However, she doesn’t like the feeling of being uncomfortable. When I asked her to do something she said, “I’m just not there yet”.
She had said this to me in a previous lesson and I let it go. But today I told her, “You’ll never know unless you try.” It is one thing when a beginner attempts advanced shots that are difficult for the pros….but is a whole other situation when you try some new things that will challenge you.
Being Uncomfortable vs. Being Perfect
I know we want to perfect our shots and be able to hit them consistently. In fact, most people love being perfect so much that they spend most of their practice time working only on what they are already good at. You may be holding yourself back if you continue to try to perfect a shot you are already good at…instead of adding a new shot to your arsenal.
As we have discussed before, it is so important in pickleball to have a good third shot drop you can depend on. However, that doesn’t mean you should never drive the ball. Variety is not only the spice of life…but it is the thing that keeps your opponent off-balance.
The same goes for serving. I always hear people say, “I just want to get it in.” As the game has evolved, we are seeing the serve being used as a weapon, setting up a weak return that can be capitalized on. Practicing different ways to serve just to see what you can do is a great place to start challenging yourself.
Playing with New People Speeds Learning
One thing I love about playing with new people is seeing the things they can do that maybe I haven’t tried or haven’t even thought to try. We get so used to playing the same way, with the same group of players. Playing in different towns or with different groups of people exposes me to different styles or patterns of play. This helps me in two ways:
- I learn to react better to this different way of playing; and
- It gives me something to try to implement myself.
Of course trying something new will make use feel uncomfortable for a bit. Typically it won’t be easy and we might even feel a little silly at first. But that is part of our journey to pickleball mastery. Try something new…perservere through those rough times…and make it your own. In the process, you may learn something about your game, and yourself.