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Monday, November 6, 2017

The Importance of Strategy

Hope is not a strategy...

A lot of my articles are labeled "strategy". But they really are more about micro-strategies related to what target to hit or what stroke should be used. Very few articles are about macro-strategies, meaning what you and your partner plan to do during a match. Sarah Ansboury had a great article in her blog called Pickleball Strategy: The Importance of Having One in which she discusses the topic.  Excerpts are shown below.

I have found that many players have difficulty learning how to develop a successful pickleball strategy in a match. There is a tendency to just keep dinking without purpose, or to get bored and try to create something out of nothing. Today we discuss the basics of creating a pickleball strategy.

Whether you play with someone regularly or are with a new partner, it is important to create a plan for every match.  In both cases, talk about your respective strengths and weaknesses. Talk about how you might work around those weaknesses. Also, talk about each of your strengths and how you might set up your partner to succeed. For example, if I have someone with a really strong forehand I want to find ways to get them that shot. I would want to encourage them to poach when an opportunity is created. And I would be trying to create that opportunity...

Squirrels, Waiting, and Creating

While it may be necessary to change your strategy, some teams go into what I like to call “squirrel” mode. They get so distracted by something that they start creating new strategies in the middle of a point. That results in sudden changes in direction and one partner not sure of what the other is doing.

When you watch high-level players we are working certain strategies over and over again. Look closely to see them isolating a backhand…a person… trying to hit deep to their feet to create an upward angle, or shorter to pull them in. The more you watch players and notice the patterns the more you will see the strategies at work.

When I first started playing pickleball I didn’t understand the strategies as I do now. I call that my days of “waiting” in pickleball. I was always waiting for something to happen but didn’t really understand why it was happening. Now I call it my days of “creating”! I am constantly working some strategy to open up  the court, set up my partner or create an error. I like to be in control of the outcomes rather than reacting to my opponents.

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