Pickleball, Are You Kidding?
What is that? And how can I possibly learn about reaching business goals and creating success in life? Sounds like a silly game with a pickle-shaped racket or squishy ball. An avid tennis player, until the past few years, I would never have considered such a silly game except that there was an invitation near the elevator in my building. And the court is literally right downstairs. So, 3 weeks ago I ventured downstairs to see what this silly game was all about.
To my surprise, although the court is much smaller than a tennis court, I managed to miss every ball at the beginning. Yes, there was a strong wind that day but this game was not quite as easy as I had expected. Pickleball is a quick, easy to learn, and powerful game providing aerobic exercise, movement, eye-hand coordination and even stretching. And you can’t play it alone so it pulls you into a social environment which is good for your health.
What is Pickleball?
According to the USAPA, U.S. Association for Pickleball – yes there IS a Pickleball Association:
“The rules are simple and the game is easy for beginners to learn, but can develop into a quick, fast-paced, competitive game for experienced players.” (sound anything like internet marketing or home-based business?”)
Pickleball is a paddle sport created for all ages and skill levels. You play with a racket that resembles a paddleball racket. The court is designed like a singles tennis court. You use quick and often wrist shots like in badminton and ping-pong to hit a plastic ball that has holes in it. This game can be played indoors or outdoors, singles or doubles, but it not a solo sport. It requires connecting with other pickleball players, available and welcoming new players, in most cities around the U.S.
6 Lessons I Re-Discovered While Playing Pickleballl
1. Men will be men.
The first week the notice was posted inviting people in our community to come, learn and play pickleball, there were several men and about half the number of women. I arrived early and started hitting with Howard, the man who had organized this group. To my dismay, I actually missed every single ball. As a competitive tennis player, this was quite upsetting, but I rationalized that I had not actually played tennis for almost 2 years. True, it was a particularly windy day. My building complex is across the street from the ocean, adjacent to the intracoastal waterways, so it sometimes can get quite windy. But wind or no wind, I thought I was looking directly at the ball and missed it anyway.
Then a few women arrived. What a relief to see someone else completely miss the first few balls. The women were put together on the second court to practice, not actually play a game. The second week, a few new women arrived and I felt like a pro. I was able to hit the ball more often, still missing quite a few, and I could explain the game to the newcomers.
For the third week, none of the women came. I was the token woman. It felt like a bold move for me to approach the court, but one man offered to hit with me to practice. I got a great workout, was able to hit the ball more consistently, and the leader told me I was ready to join a game.
The following week, again, I was the only women there. Taking a breath, I opened the gate and was invited onto the back court. The arrangement was that the winning doubles team on the back court would move to the front court and the losing team on the front court would move to the back court. Not what happened when they had a woman on the court. We played 2 games at 11 points each and my partner and I won the 2nd game (due to my serving well and hitting my share of winners) in time for the other court’s players to be ready to switch. So, the organizer asked my partner who he wanted to play with on the other court – and they left me on the loser court.
MEN – Have You Ever Excluded Women From Work or a Game?
WOMEN – Have You Ever Been Excluded From Work or a Game?
Yup, the old boys club and men will be men. This reminded me of so many times in my earlier years playing paddleball or tennis, and even in my position as a professor at the college, when, no matter how well I played or worked at the time, the men would prefer to play or work with the other men. But I was happy that my game was steadily improving.
2. Keep your eye on the ball
From my very first day of playing pickleball, I realized how important it was to keep my eye on the ball, to actually pay close attention to how the ball was moving and how it had been hit. That first day, with the wind, the ball shifted to one side so even though I was looking at the ball itself I was not prepared for the angle at which it would bounce. My focus on the ball continues to improve.
Do you easily take your eye off your goal and get distracted?
How often have I taken my eye off my current goal, getting distracted and busy with activities that may or may not further my business objectives? And in so doing, I find I do not have enough time left to get the job done that I intended, such as a blog post by a certain date or an ad for the course I am planning to promote.
3. Plan your strategy
Pickleball seems like such a simple game but, just like any other game or life endeavor, it does require strategy. My strategy, as I started playing the game, was to serve the ball with a bit of spin. Unlike a tennis serve that requires full body motion, turning and a powerful thrust, the pickleball serve is an underhand serve. Power can be attained from arm strength but a ball that goes over the net with slice or twist or drops low at the opponent’s feet, is an easy miss for the receiver. Even a soft serve can be harder to return than a flat ball with pace.
Do you have strategic plans for your business and your life?
You need to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, the skills and flaws of your opponents, and how you can use your abilities to surprise them and catch them off guard. With internet marketing and coaching, we talk about discovering what our clients want and need, what keeps them up at night, what they are afraid of, what their objections are, and then plan our strategy to help them want what we are offering. In this game, my strategy is to help the opponent miss the ball and not understand what happened.
4. Be proactive and go toward your goal
In tennis, the top tournament players are proactive and hit the ball on the rise, not giving it much time after it lands. But some of us have gotten complacent. I love warming up and taking a nice full swing. I love the feel of smoothly turning my body sideways, taking a back swing and then gracefully gliding the racket so that the ball makes contact in the center of the strings. However, as the game gets faster, my movement has to get faster, with a shorter back swing.
For me, running side to side at the baseline has always been easy. My struggles would come when a ball drops short, closer to the net, and I have to run forward and bend down to scoop it up. Well, pickleball has that problem solved. In every game I have to run forward and scoop up balls. This game gives the perfect practice that I know will improve my tennis game the next time I venture out onto the bigger court.
Are you proactive or passive in your business and daily life?
If you want to meet the love of your life, it will probably not happen if you stay in your home or apt. You may have to join an online dating site, write an inviting profile, include a flattering photo of yourself, and also attend some local live social gatherings. For business, you may have to make a series of cold calls, you may have to take some refresher courses or inspirational programs to pep up your motivation. Being proactive leads to desired results.
5. Be prepared for the unexpected
As I was playing the game, my opponent hit a ball that appeared to be on its way out of bounds, but then it actually landed in. Instead of going after it, I just assumed it was going out, did nothing and lost the point. That happened a few times and I realized how important it is to be prepared for the unexpected and to be proactive – not passively waiting. I can’t wait to play again next week, moving more quickly toward those balls that seem to be going out.
How prepared are you for the unexpected in your business?
I always laugh when someone teaches about improving productivity. Inevitably there is something, often more than one thing, that takes a lot of time and energy to deal with and handle. For example, ordering a new table for my new computer. About 1/2 hour after ordering it, I realized it was not the right height. So I called the company only to be told they had probably already shipped it. So I called again the next day and was told to wait until the package arrives, call them again, and send it back. That is only one small example of a time consuming unexpected nuisance. and there are so many of those types of things in any given work week.
6. Work as a team
We played doubles games in pickleball and I was reminded, once again, about the necessity for teamwork. Each of my male partners went after every ball that was anywhere within his reach, even if it was really my shot – my backhand or my overhead. By so doing, they may have gotten that one shot but they were then out of position, on my side of the court, leaving a wide opening for the opponent to place the ball for a winner.
Are you a team player and have you created a team for your work?
I am a good team player. I know my role and attempt to work within the agreed upon system. However, for my business I have been attempting to do it all myself. Finally, I have begun to appreciate the value of working as part of a team. How much more could I accomplish with other people handling some of those nagging details or technical issues I still struggle to understand.
CONTACT ME to help you promote and market your business and get the results you desire.
P.S. Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts and responses to the radio show and the strategies recommended for success.
LET’S WORK TOGETHER
TO HEAL THE WORLD
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