Racquetball Equipment

Tim Pennings: The Life Lessons of Pickleball

In case you haven’t noticed, pickleball has taken over the world. Invented in the early 1970s it sat idle for decades with little apparent growth, but in recent years it has exploded with (in my estimation) around three dozen courts in the Holland Zealand area and probably more to come.

Pickleball had a natural barrier to overcome – a kind of chicken and egg problem. No opportunity for people to play if there weren’t pitches and equipment, and no reason to craft equipment and build courts if there weren’t people to play. It was like a rock sitting in a depression on top of a hill. It needed a boost – what chemists call “activation energy” – to get it rolling.

Apparently, a critical mass of tenacious people in Washington State provided the activation energy, and now, like Starbucks and Apple and our country’s COVID-19 that started it all there, the sport is is prevalent across the United States.

Tim Pennings

One of the reasons for its success is that it is cost effective. The area needed for a pickleball court is a quarter of that of a tennis court, and because most pickleball is a team game (two against two), pickleball offers eight times the best value for money. in real estate. Plus, since his followers include middle-aged and retired people who sit on city councils, he has a voice at the table.

Pickleball isn’t just for exhausted tennis and racquetball players put to pasture in their later years. As a former fan of both sports, I initially viewed pickleball with a bit of disdain. No more. Certainly not as much running as tennis or ramming as racquetball. A different skill set is needed. Quick reflexes are essential and rotations can be useful, like in table tennis. Unlike tennis, the serve is not important; instead, the volley and coordinated team play are essential.

I converted two years ago – kind of a new religion. All religions have informal rules that are not spelled out in catechistic beliefs, such as when it is appropriate to clap or shout “AMEN!” I’ve discovered and listed some unstated pickleball rules below – which also provide great advice for living:

  • As with all hobbies, it’s more fun to play if you have to work. We were put on earth to be productive, whether it’s a job, community volunteering, or raising a family. But, as evidenced by human history, including the ancient Olympics and Native American lacrosse, we all need a break.
  • Any player who conscientiously learns from their mistakes will steadily improve. After each lost point, ask, “What should I have done differently?” »
  • Watch for opportunities to compliment. Complimenting your partner leads him to play better; criticizing often leads to self-consciousness and worse acting.
  • What initially appears to be your partner’s mistake is, with more thought, often realized to be yours.
  • The mark of an experienced player is not only the one who lands a good shot, but also the one who hides his surprise when he executes one successfully.
  • Be deliberate, but not shy. Strike with conviction. Boom!
  • Don’t hit balls that go out of bounds – something in life takes care of themselves.
  • Move your feet – you can’t hit a good shot from a bad position. An Olympic table tennis player once told me the order of importance: i) feet, ii) head, iii) hands.
  • Everyone, even good players, has an Achilles heel. In pickleball, it’s the heel. Aim for it.
  • Run for everything unless your partner is under 20.
  • Playing half-heartedly is worse for developing skills than not playing at all.
  • Line calls: Always give your opponents the benefit of the doubt, and give them the benefit of the doubt that they give you the benefit of the doubt.
  • Blasphemy: Mark Twain said, “In desperate times, blasphemy provides comfort denied even by prayer. My favorite is “BLAST!” It has a lot of spit consonants and can be used on all occasions without undue discomfort.
  • Patience is a virtue. This is actually written in the official literature. The description of a competent player (3.5) includes having developed the patience to wait for a good shot.
  • Better for both partners to swing than for neither. Take ownership and responsibility.
  • When returning a stray ball over a fence, it always takes two attempts. We often misjudge.
  • A good rally is fun for everyone – win-win situations happen in life.
  • Trash talk: I rarely hear it, so I have to limit it myself. Well, no sport is perfect.

– Community columnist Tim Pennings is a resident of Holland and can be reached at [email protected] Previous columns can be found at timothypennings.blogspot.com.