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Saturday, October 5, 2013

MapQuest and Pickleball. Old School Coaching.

Our Paso Robles Pickleball Website:  www.pickleballpasorobles.shutterfly.com

I had my camera out this week and I was doing burst shots of our players hoping to get a good sequence of photos so that I could show them what they are doing and how they are preparing for those close quarters shots when all four players are up near the net.  A funny thing happened.  I could not get a burst of shots because the points were over BEFORE all four could get to the NVZ line.  Poor serves, poor returns of serve, poor dinks, poor placement, impatience---all the important points of emphasis on the Top 10 list of Pickleball Commandments.  The teams (at least in that 20 minute photo session) could not get an extended rally going.....and, it dawned on me that as the instructor/Ambassador for our Paso Robles/Central Coast group, I was not getting some teaching points across.

The MapQuest Analogy.

I felt like these players do the same thing with my pointers as they do when reading MapQuest directions....they skip to #5 because they "already know how to get out of their neighborhood." Somewhere along the learning curve, many of our players have forgotten the importance of Steps 1-5 in the How To Be Successful At Pickleball In Paso Robles manual---a good DEEP serve, a good DEEP return of serve, a good DINK, patience and placement when DINKING, the fun that comes with an 8-10-12 hit rally.

I'm no expert, but as an Ambassador, I feel my expertise can be helpful.  1% improvement for 100 days.  A little progress each session.  Getting back to basics.  Having attainable goals each day.  Having fun.  It isn't much fun if you walk off the courts feeling like you haven't played up to your capabilities.

Growing up, I had some great coaches.  They were old school and I loved it---in retrospect.  One of my coaches, when we were not practicing well or seemingly not listening, would line us up, smile, and say his memorable quote, "Ignorance Ought To Be Painful."  He would then run us until he thought we were smarter.  I never forgot the quote or the lessons.  Everything is learned in sequence.  There is a progression to mastering a skill.  Winning (or playing well) is about keeping things simple.  It is about repetition.  It is not about cutting corners.  I'm not lining anybody up, but I am reminding everyone that there can be figurative self-inflicted pain if you are not willing to follow ALL the directions as you maneuver yourself out of the Picklehood.

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