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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Adjusting your Strategy

Hope is not a strategy...

Have you ever been in a match where one team had a comfortable lead, e.g., 8-1, only to have it all fall apart and the game swings to the other team? It seems to happen a lot in pickleball. That situation calls for a change in strategy and that is today's topic. Sarah Ansboury and the RV Picklers recent article called Adjusting Your Pickleball Strategy in which she discusses the topic.  Excerpts are shown below.

Good teams will adjust their pickleball strategy if it isn’t working. Being able to recognize a situation is not working is a huge part of your journey to pickleball mastery. It is also important that you recognize when your opponents have decided to try something different.

Adjusting Your Pickleball Strategy and Stacking

I have been in matches where we were winning from our preferred positions. For example, we may have decided at the beginning of the match that I should try to be positioned cross court from a particular player. When our opponent figured out that our strategy was working they started stacking or otherwise switched things up so they could go down the line on me.

Suddenly, our comfortable lead is not as comfortable as before. When this happens, it is important to assess the situation and perhaps adjust your pickleball strategy.

Assess the Situation

If you need to adjust your strategy you must discuss it with your partner. When I watch newer players in tournaments, I find that many don’t utilize the time-outs available to them. In a sanctioned tournament, each team has the ability to call two time-outs during a game to 11. If your score was 8-3; and it is now 8-7….call a time out! Take time to assess the situation. Talk about what you are seeing. What has changed? What is working for them now? Discuss your observations and the options that may exist...

Slow Down, Think and Talk

We have all played in a match when suddenly the score is 8-11; and we can’t remember how we got there. Take your time. Slow it down. As the ball is retrieved and tossed to the server, consider what is happening. You may have had the right strategy, but suddenly (inexplicably) abandoned it. Perhaps you need to adjust. Call a time out and rather than walking separately to get a drink, talk to your partner. Often times, simple reassurance that we have the correct plan and are on the same page will turn things around.

The best doubles teams talk after nearly every point. Get into the habit of slowing yourself down and talking to your partner about what is going on. What are we doing at that moment? Is it working? Is there a better strategy for dealing with the current situation? Are you comfortable? Do you need a time-out?

Create a checklist that works for you. Then listen to yourself and your partner. Together you can determine the best pickleball strategy for any situation.

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