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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

How to Practice

Posting about drills resulted in my finding an article from Sarah Ansboury called Focused Pickleball Practice. Having a plan before going to practice is important to achieving the desired results.

Focused Pickleball Practice

Last week we discussed how to identify what parts of your pickleball game you need to practice. Today we discuss how to move from mindlessly hitting some balls to focused pickleball practice.

We all multi-task…or at least we try to. We seem to take pride in the number of different things we think we can do at one time. But are we doing any of them well? Frankly, I think most of us suffer from PADD, Pickleball Attention Deficit Disorder. Especially when we think we are practicing.

Instead of focused pickleball practice we:
  • Arrive at the court without a plan or purpose;
  • Fill up the Tutor hopper…Pound balls…Gather balls…Fill up the Tutor hopper…. etc;
  • Chat aimlessly with our practice partner while dinking.
Focused Pickleball Practice

Instead let me suggest a few items which will improve your pickleball practice time:
  1. Have a Plan:  Before you get to the court create a plan based on your strengths and weaknesses. Know what specific area you want to practice and focus your attention on that. After practice, check yourself. Did you execute your plan?
  2. Know How Long You Can Maintain Focus:  If it is five minutes, then practice for five minutes and take a break. I’d never suggest that you shouldn’t practice as long as you want, but if you can’t maintain focus while hitting 50 balls in a row, hit fewer ball mindfully. You must have a clear purpose, and remain present in that purpose as you practice. Otherwise you are training yourself to not focus on the pickleball court.
  3. Learn to Increase The Time You Focus:  We all have heard stories about Tiger Woods father purposely trying to distract him during a putt or in the middle of his backswing. Learning to focus despite distractions is one way to improve your focus. Meditation is another.  It can be as simple as practicing focus. Sit quietly in a chair and practice focusing on your breathing. When you eat breakfast, focus on what you are eating.
In summary, judge your practice not by its duration but rather by how productive it was. You see, researchers found that concentration is not a gift. And it’s not about intelligence. Instead they found that focus is driven by interest, and interest is driven by attitude. If your attitude towards pickleball practice comes from passion, focus can be easy.

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