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Monday, March 19, 2018

Don't Coach Your Partner

Just between us...

Yesterday's Recycle Sunday post was about the right kind of communication between partners. Today's post is a bonus DJ Howard post about the wrong kind of communication.

DJ's Weekly Tip: Do not "coach" your teammate during matches!

Your teammate is your teammate, not your student (unless, of course, you are a real pickleball instructor and your teammate IS your student, but that is rare and you get my point, so please go with me here). You are peers with your teammate. This is true whether you are a guy playing men's doubles, a gal playing women's doubles, or you're playing mixed doubles.

You ought not be TELLING your teammate what to do. If they ask for advice, you may give it. Exception: if you have a longstanding relationship in which you are the boss and they are a mouse who is willing to do the bidding of whatever the boss says, then I guess I'm not speaking to you. But my guess is that is a very small minority.

A good teammate will make suggestions. He/she will communicate well without bossing you around. A good teammate allows you to offer your opinion and discuss the suggestion he/she just made.

Try this: approach your teammate with a suggestion or something to think about. "Think about hitting to player A's backhand." Or, "next time my serve return is really deep and gets the opponent off balance, consider poaching. You good with that?" Or, "When is this (X) situation, I'm seeing this (X). Let's try (X)."

This non-threatening approach keeps your teammate in your good graces and won't make them feel badly for making a mistake and won't make you upset if they don't do exactly as you say.

Do NOT say to your teammate, "Help me out! You need to take those balls out of the air!" Or, "You're hitting too short. You need to hit your returns deeper!" Or, "Don't hit that shot. It doesn't work. You need to do X instead."

This approach does not breed comaraderie, but has the potential to put an emotional wedge between the two of you.

If you want to stay connected emotionally with your teammate, offer advice or make suggestions. But please save the coaching for someone else like a qualified pickleball pro or at least wait until you are done with your match when you have an opportunity to discuss things with your teammate.

Til next time, keep reppin'!


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