Lessons Learned: Pickleball
I just returned from a trip to Palm Springs and boy is pickleball on the rise. If you are from the Pacific Northwest, there is a good chance you know what it is because it was created on Bainbridge Island in 1965. It has been around the region and I even remember playing it in Jr. High. Outside of our pocket of the world it is fairly unknown. If you don’t know what it is the quick version is it is a ball, similar to a Wiffle ball, paddle, and net. The size of the court is half the size of a tennis court and play feels somewhere between tennis and Ping Pong.
A few days into playing, while talking to a teammate, we realized that a lot of the lessons learned from playing pickleball translate to life. Like life, pickleball is easy to play, with little effort you can be present and go through the motions. To leisurely hit it back and forth is something that most people can show up and do with no problem. However, to master this game is a whole different deal. It takes speed, quickness, finesse, strategy, and team work. The nuances of the game require you to make decisive movements while implementing the perfect amount of force and power. Making the right choices and executing them properly results in great rewards and much success will follow. The smallest error is magnified as the ball comes streaking back across the net with little chance to recover. Avoiding costly mistakes is as important as making a great shot. You can have points that will go back and forth and be a great struggle or quick results that leave you bursting with pride or licking your wounds.
In a game that is played to 11 with only the server scoring you never know how long a game will last. This means that until that final point is scored you always have a chance to win but no matter how large the lead a few mistakes and all can be lost. It requires hard work and focus from start to finish with no opportunity to sit on the sidelines. If enough time is devoted the most unsuspecting person can have great success on a pickleball court and those who look the part may find themselves struggling.
Whether you decide to become the next pickleball champ or just want to crush life find remember it takes more then just showing up to win!