I am often asked how I am able to appear so relaxed when I am playing competitive pickleball. For me, the key is my pickleball mantra…
Competing with Your Mind
As I discussed in more depth in my ebook, Be the Best Pickleball Partner You Can Be, we need to learn to control our minds to be successful in pickleball. It is so easy to lose focus or have difficulty closing out a game. We get jumbled up with too many choices: “Should I go for an
easy winner?”, “Should I play it safe?”, “Will they come back?” Instead of focusing on the game we focus on “what’s if’s”:
- What if I lose,
- What if I mess up,
- What if my partner loses it…
Our only real competition is ourselves. And learning to win the competition within our minds takes practice and discipline. To help me, I have adopted a pickleball mantra.
I have a pickleball mantra that I stick with every time I hit a ball: Balance, Breathe, Believe
- Balance: Before I hit any ball I want to make sure I am balanced. Balance gives me more control and enables me to hit the ball the way I intended.
- Breathe: When I am balanced, I take a breath. This relaxes my body which is essential to moving more naturally.
- Belief: I have to believe that I will execute the shot with the pace, spin and direction that I intend.
I try to do this on each and every shot I hit. I know if I am not balanced I won’t have the control to make the choices I want. If I’m holding my breath, my body will tense up and that stress will have a direct effect on my shot. Finally, if I don’t believe the ball is not going to go to the target I have chosen.
Instead of focusing on how my opponent is playing, the score or the shot I missed 30 seconds ago, my goal is the focus on my mantra. My goal is to simplify the process to just three words.
You may think it is impossible to execute your pickleball mantra while playing a match. If so, focus on a single word….breathe. Just by being aware of your breathing you will clear your head and relax. And we all know that we play better when we play loose.
I feel so strongly in my pickleball mantra, that I have even printed it on my new shirts.