3 Habits to Play Like the Pros
It is a fact that not everyone can be a top level pickleball player. But that doesn't mean that we can't bring some of their habits into your own playing and practicing. Here are three things you can do right away to be more pro-like in your practice matches and training sessions.
Play Faster. Each ball you hit is an opportunity to learn and improve, so it is in your interest to hit as many balls as possible. As soon as the point is over, grab the ball and get back to work. Time is valuable and you don't want to waste it wandering around the court fetching balls. If you're serious about getting better, hustle to track down an errant ball and hit it (don't roll it) back quickly so you can start up the next point or drill. Spend your time playing, not waiting!
note: this is also good protocol when you are using courts that have other people waiting for their turn to play. Taking less time between points shows respect for the rest of the group.
Stay Focused. While PB can definitely have a great social aspect, if your goal is to improve then save the chatting for later. When a point is over say what need to (e.g "nice shot" or "good try") and then move on. Get yourself refocused so that you give yourself a chance to play the next point as well as you can.
Be Accountable. It is good etiquette to praise your opponent for making a nice shot. But serious players know the difference between a good shot by the other team versus an error by you. If you make a mistake, don't let yourself of the hook by saying "good shot" to the other guy. Privately acknowledge that you blew it and move on. It's ok to be dissatisfied with your performance -- in fact, it's necessary if you care about getting better.
Mark Renneson is a professional pickleball coach and the founder of Third Shot Sports. He competes at the 5.0/PRO level and tours North America working with players and instructors. Mark can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.