Training with Intelligence
It is very gratifying to see how many people don't just play pickleball, but want to play it better. The fact that our clinics are full, our e-book is flying off the virtual shelves, and that our YouTube channel just hit 900,000 views, tells me that there is a thirst for improving. And that makes me happy.
But as more and more people start to train (as opposed to just play), it is worth remembering a few things about how to practice well. Here are some considerations.
1) Practice Deliberately. If you want maximum gains, you need to be clear when you are practicing and when you are playing. Ideally, you have allocated specific time to practice (e.g. 9am-10am on Wednesdays) so that it gets built into your schedule. It should be clear to everyone on the court that this is a practice session, not competition.
2) Practice with Purpose. What exactly are you working on? A training session focused on third shot drops looks very different from one about serves and returns. Have a conversation about todays topic(s) and stick to it.
3) Do Great Drills. Whether it is something from our Drill Guide or an activity you invented yourself, make sure the drill is effective. I've written more about what that looks like here.
4) Remember: Failure is Part of Growth. You should practice things you struggle with -- otherwise, what's the point? And if you do, that means that you'll probably miss a lot of shots. That's okay. Try to see each missed shot as getting one step closer to mastery.
I get that playing the game of pickleball is fun. But training to get better can be fun too! And the gratification that comes from seeing marked improvement is, for me at least, very rewarding. So, get out there and start training!