Of course you do. Everyone does.
I know that only a very small percentage of players want to play competitive pickleball at the tournament level, however, as much as we call the rest of the sport “recreational”, I have yet to run into anyone who likes to lose every time they step on the court. It just ceases to be fun when you are losing, and after all, FUN it what we love about this game, right?
So let's have some fun winning.
But first, some really BIG news. After extensive research, we are pleased to announce that we have found pickleball to be a lot like...well, you know what? Pickleball is really a lot like PICKLEBALL.
It's NOT like tennis, it's NOT like badminton, it's NOT like ping pong, and it's NOT like racquetball. It’s really NOT like any other sport.
Pickleball is truly unique. The paddle is unique, the strategy is unique, the kitchen (or the non-volley zone) is unique, and - perhaps most importantly - the mechanics are certainly unique.
I tell you this because these unique pickleball characteristics dictate that you learn, understand, and practice some unique skills. If someone suggests to you that the stroke or shot selection or strategy in pickleball can be “whatever works” for you because there is “no right way to play pickleball”, then you should start singing to yourself and put your hands over your ears. He might not get the message, but it doesn’t matter. He is WRONG and you should know better.
The “whatever works” expression is not used for teaching in any other sport that I know of. Imagine your golf instructor looking at your swing and saying “OK, whatever works.” Simply not going to happen, unless he has completely given up on you! Golfers spend thousands of dollars in search of the perfect swing because they know that a good, consistent swing will make their game better and lower their score. It is exactly the same in pickleball. Good mechanics win games in every sport.
And yes, I hear you - there are a few exceptions where players become very good at executing bad habits, but trust me, that’s not really the solution you are looking for.
I will agree that there is no single set of mechanics that is ALWAYS right, but I AM suggesting that there is a way that is almost never wrong. This might sound like the same thing, but what it means is that when you learn to take most of your shots with the same reliable and consistent set of mechanics, then your success rate will definitely go up. This foundation of solid mechanics will keep you in every rally longer, allow you to get better, and win you more games. And that’s the “fun” part, right?
So you should go looking for an instructor who will admit to embracing good mechanics. You might have to work hard to find one, but you could ask each prospective instructor if he/she could help you perfect your “bowling ball” pickleball stroke. You know, the one where you walk forward into the ball, swinging your paddle out in front of you like you are bowling. If they agree to help you, say no thanks and walk away. Huh? In case you haven’t figured it out, the bowling ball stroke is about the furthest thing away from good mechanics as you can get. No one should ever agree to help you perfect it.
Find an instructor who will show you the best way to hit a ball. He should get excited when he talks about this, because there are so few players who actually do it correctly, and even fewer who are willing to talk about it.
So, do it right, get better, win more games, and have FUN!
You heard it here first, now go do it.
Owner/Instructor, Pickleball Strokes
Remember - you’re just one stroke away!
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I love pickleball, and Pickleball Strokes is my on-line home. I live in Ottawa, ON and have been playing pickleball since 2012. I am an avid instructor, referee, and 4.5 player.
I am a Certified Pickleball Teaching Professional, as designated by the International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association.
I play with a TMPR Tantrum GXT paddle and I am proud to be a sponsored member of the TMPR Sports Pro team.