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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Play and Practice with Intent

Be intent on improvement...

The new year is about resolutions. Last week, I posted about the most common of resolutions - fitness. Today's post will be about another resolution - improvement. A couple of months ago Sarah Ansboury wrote an article about goal-setting. The Pickleball Channel recently released Sarah in a video discussing similar issues. I have tied them together in this post to show one of Sarah's recommendations for making improvement.

I found I used to go to open play and sometimes would leave unhappy. I felt like I didn’t accomplish anything. I realized, I needed to be setting pickleball goals each and every time I stepped onto the court.

Open Play

For me playing aimlessly leaves me feeling a little lost. Every time I play I set some sort of intention. The goal does not need to be huge, but I need to have a defined goal.
  • If I am playing with one of my typical doubles’ partners, in preparation for a tournament, we might focus on developing a good rhythm.
  • Again, with my double’s partner, there may be a particular strategy we hope to exploit. We might work on it even though it doesn’t apply to the players we are playing against in open play.
  • If I’m playing with people I don’t know, I work to be a better partner. I work on my communication skills and maintaining a positive attitude.


I have also noticed, that more and more people are spending time drilling in addition to playing. I certainly think this is a good thing and would encourage you to take some time drilling if the court time is available. However, instead of just “going through the motions” set a goal for each and every drill session.

Setting Pickleball Goals

Every time you step on the court…whether you are working on a shot, a technique, working on partner communication or just your attitude… give yourself  a goal. Setting pickleball goals help you focus on the court. Focus on each and every match, like you were defending your spot on a challenge court. Setting pickleball goals will make your practice more productive, and I find it more rewarding.

If you are having difficulty determining what your pickleball goals should be, please take a moment to read this post on the 3 keys to better pickleball. And remember, concentration and focus need to be developed.

The related Pickleball Channel video is titled Change the Way You Think and Improve Your Game.

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