Dinks and Smashes III

Third edition of muses, thoughts and rants on pickleball…

If you measure your worth in recreational Pickleball by wins and losses, you are playing the wrong game at the wrong time.

I created an unscientific, no data included chart of how I view the estimated progress of many (not most) pickleball players in their first year of play. My chart is based on an older player, who plays 3-4 times weekly mostly for exercise and to meet new people and is not interested in tournament competiton. Every player is different and their rate of progress is contingent on the following factors below:

  • Health
  • Age
  • Experience with other racquet sports
  • Athletic Ability
  • Injuries
  • Attitude/Motivation
  • Level of Competition/Play
  • Practice
  • Mentoring/coaching

Chart Summary:

  1. The fastest rate of improvement usually starts when the player first starts learning to play pickleball. Credit beginner classes taught by Denise Donald, Cookie Sey, Lori Flickinger and others for the fast start in providing new players the basics of the game and more important, the encouragement to have fun and relax.
  2. One of the most effective ways to increase your rating from 2.5 to 3.0 besides lowering your unforced error rates is not hitting “out balls.”
  3. A performance plateau tends to occur between levels 3.0 to 3.5. Many of us start to pick up nasty playing habits and our performance tends to stagnate.
  4. Many players achieve level 3.0 within a year. Some achieve it within days. Depends upon the individual’s starting points, experience and talents. My guess is that Roger Federer would be a 5.0 as soon as he picked up a paddle.
  5. Many players are content with just reaching an intermediate level. Again due to age, health and time commitments, a 4.0 rating may be out of reach for many. However I am aware of the 60+ age players who invested the time, practice and dedication to reaching an advanced rating.

I’m amused by this description on Meet-Up describing an Advanced only session.  “Come play on 6 courts with like minded advanced players without worrying about the intermediates or beginners jumping on a court with you.”

For many of us, playing pickleball is a short time travel back to our youth…

Inflation: A Players Rogue 2 that I purchased for $89 in 2020 now retails for $124. It is a very good paddle but that is a 40% increase! Tournament fees, paddles, pickleball shoes, and classes are also experiencing significant rises in pricing. Given the sport’s popularity and growth, there must be a public company or companies that may be investment worthy??

Observation: I rarely see two of the same model paddle hanging on a fence or queue at Meet-ups.

Revised edition: With apologies to my past and future pickle ball partners, here’s what you may expect from playing with me (I have added two more to the original post shown in italics:)

  1. I will continually forget the score and you will have to remind me what the score is.
  2. I will poach at the most inopportune moments and leave you to cover the entire court.
  3. I will chase “out balls” like a dog chasing a flung chew toy
  4. My eyes are not what they used to be so my line calls may need a second review.
  5. I will play with anyone and at any level. Win or lose, I want my partner to have fun and to be willing to play with me again.
  6. I am not good enough to offer advice. My best and only advice to most players is to continue to play, have fun and your game will improve over time.
  7. When I “tag” someone on the opposite team, I will generally apologize and check to ensure they are OK.
  8. My hearing is as reliable as my third shot drop – – so you may have to repeat things to me.
  9. If I forget to bring it up before we play, let’s communicate how we will handle lobs and shots down the middle.
  10. I may sometimes forget your name if it has been awhile since we played. I apologize beforehand. The only two things I definitely remember are my wife’s birthday and our anniversary!

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