Have you ever come away from pickleball clinics confused? When I started playing pickleball, people told me all the things I was supposed to do. I held my paddle in ready position, as I do in tennis, and I was told that was wrong. I was told not to hit a backhand, “You want to run around it, and hit more forehands.”
One of the best things about pickleball is the fact that everyone wants the sport to grow! We are all, constantly, recruiting new players…introducing people to the sport we love! There are pickleball clinics popping up all over the country. And that’s great. But here is where is gets confusing. “Yesterday so and so told me I should do this.” “Today someone told me to do the opposite.” Then on “Thursday Bob is going to tell you another thing.” The result is a lot of confusion and frustration for some players.
Play to Your Strengths
I was playing with someone the other day who is well versed in being aggressive. She comes from tennis and has really great topspin attacks . She let a dozen opportunities in a dink rally go by that she should have attacked. During a break in the action I asked, “Why aren’t you going after some of those?” Her reply, “So and so told me I need to dink more.” She was so focused on what she was told she was supposed to do, that she forgot to take the opportunity, to end the point, that was right in front of her.
What somebody tells you doesn’t work, may actually work very well for YOU! Look at top players and each one has a different way to serve or dink or hit their third shots. Some hit a traditional backhand; while some have brought a two-handed backhand to the sport of pickleball.
The key to improving is to determine what can you take away from someone that can help your game. When I give a lesson I always want the person to leave with at least one thing they really get. They don’t have to take absolutely everything I said as gospel. I typically am not asking a student to change everything. I want them to take away as much as is possible, but sometimes it’s a lot of information for one session. We need more time to go over things.
When you go to pickleball clinics you want to take away what makes sense and leave the rest. I found when I started trusting my instincts in pickleball, I improved the most. I was able to start somewhere and do things that came naturally to me and develop a lot of skills around those things. Of course, good fundamentals are essential to develop your skills. You want to make sure when you are learning you are getting the right information … but the fire-hose approach won’t work. We can only focus on one thing at a time. Not ten! One thing at a time … then connect the dots.