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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A Hard Habit to Break

Ego can be your enemy...

Finally, today's post will end the Sarah Ansboury lessons on keeping your paddle up. Ironically - or maybe not - the article is about Sarah performing a self-analysis of her play and finding that even she has has fallen into making the deadly mistake of dropping her paddle. She states that it is a hard habit to break. We will learn in a couple of days that it may be even harder than she admits.

A friend commented recently that I wasn’t playing like I was teaching at the past Nationals. So I took a step back and did some analysis. Today I’ll share with you the pickleball lessons I learned in the process.

Pickleball Lessons Learned:  Start with Analysis

We all have a tendency to forget the basics…forget the things that enabled us to have success. So when several different people commented that they didn’t see me doing the things in competition, that I emphasized in my lessons and clinics; I had to do some analysis. Fortunately, it is pretty easy for me to find videos of my tournament play so it is just a matter of having the courage and taking the time to do the analysis.

I took some time in early December to analyze the video…comparing my play in April 2016 with that from this past fall. It isn’t always fun to do this. Frankly, it is easier to spot weaknesses in someone else than in yourself. But it is critical if you want to maintain what is working, and improve in other areas.

Pickleball Lessons Learned

The first thing I noticed was my body. I was much stronger at the beginning of last year. I was just in better shape. So in December, I started forcing myself to workout more. To get my body stronger, to improve my stamina and flexibility. By remaining committed to this fitness routine, I will be better prepared to weather those long tournament weeks.

When I am teaching, I focus so much on body mechanics and how to use your body properly. It was frustrating to watch myself not using my body effectively. I wasn’t using my legs enough and not tracking the ball as well as I should. I always tell my students to capitalize on their strengths. In my case, this is my forehand and by staying offensive. What I observed was I was taking away my own forehand, and separating my feet from the ground too much. This prevented me from remaining balanced and caused me to make too many mistakes.

Frankly, I hated every moment of the analysis because I know better. I know I should take care of myself, I know how to set up points. I know what I want to do…but I saw myself unfocused and off balance too often.

One Step Backward, Two Steps Forward

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