One of the things I love about pickleball is that you have to use your head at least as much as your body to play effectively. There isn’t just one answer for every shot…we have choices.
Pickleball Choices: Problem or Benefit
Of course, too many pickleball options may be a major stressor in your game. Some studies suggest that the human mind is actually able to think of four things at once. If you have four targets in mind as you are striking the ball, it is likely your body won’t produce any of those as a result.
But you need to change it up every once and a while. You don’t always want to hit what is expected. I may love to hit, and have confidence in my ability to hit, a cross-court dink…but sometimes I also want to surprise my opponent with a hard shot down the line. During a long rally, side to side, cross-court to cross-court…the “other player” may get a little “sleepy”….if you know what I mean.
Having Choices…Given Them Something to Think About
We have a lot of options to consider in a relatively short period of time. Rather than stressing over it, let’s start with something a bit more simple. Perhaps drive your third shot and then attempt to come in on a 5th shot drop. I am not suggesting you do this all the time. Rather, every so often, instead of hitting the expected third shot drop, drive the ball down the middle. You may not win the point, but you have given your opponent a different look. You have given him something to think about. Keep in mind, when he is trying to figure out what you are doing, he isn’t thinking about his own game.
You can hit your serve with different pace. If you have consistently hit deep hard returns, throw in a lob serve or a shorter, off-pace serve. Likewise, you can add variety to your return of serve. These things can be decided before you hit the ball…thus no confusion…no stress.
Perhaps someone will pop up a dink too high. They are expecting you to slam it back at them and have prepared themselves for that shot. Instead, hit a deeper off pace attack making it harder for them to get back.
Use your mind when you play! Do the unexpected. Take advantage of the many choices pickleball has to offer.