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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Pickleball Statistical Analysis - Honest Self-Awareness

We have spent more than a week discussing the statistical analysis of pickleball play as performed by Noel White. Noel offered one last observation from his research and I will present it below without comment.  From Noel:

The Palm Creek pickleball players who know me, are aware that I spend my pickleball time, when not playing, observing the play of others and primarily asking these observed others how they think they just played. Another variation is asking other game watchers what they are seeing going on in the playing in front of them.

When I can be diplomatic, rather than nosy, I am soliciting people’s perceptions and estimates of what is and is not working for them. I compare what they tell me with what I have previously witnessed.

In brief, I would estimate that we under and over-estimate our own playing behaviors by as much as 50+ % particularly when we are at our lowest pickleball esteem or when we are at our perfect day pickleball esteem. And sometimes when we forget to take our medicine we are even worse.

Our largest misperceptions of our playing behavior tends to be in the unforced error category. It is not unusual for me to hear estimates that are ½ of what I know were the actual unforced errors hit.

With pickleball we have continual data presenting itself in terms of game scores, wins and loses, etc. that should help us have more accurate self-assessments of what we are actually doing versus what we would like to think we are doing. But pickleball players tend (at times and I mean just at times) to be the kings and queens of rationalizing -- the wind did it, my partner got in the way, the sun…..

I am somewhat biased on this perceptions point because one of my early 15 minutes of business fame came by doing the first study that produced results showing that 80% of a large sample of business managers and executives considered that their communication skills were in the top 20% of all managers and executives. (Read the last sentence again if the point didn’t sink in.) We followed this research by getting equally ridiculous estimates of business executives, teachers, doctors, lawyers, etc. abilities in leadership, problem solving skills, diplomacy, ability to influence others, common sense………. Do you realize nearly 70% of us have a hard time identifying anyone else that has more common sense than we, ourselves, do!!!

And for myself ----- Even though some would say I can be a better observer of my own play than most. I consider my awareness of my own playing to be mediocre compared to what I can do when observing others. And my self-observing can lead to playing messes at times where I know too much and can’t seem to get anything to work.

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