Why you’re not improving (at pickleball) as fast as you’d like.
I have a confession to make.
But before I share that, I’ll say this:
Anytime you pursue mastery in a thing, you learn a lot about that thing and even more about yourself.
You learn new ways of thinking and acting.
You update beliefs and change behaviors.
You fail a lot and get pissed often.
But that’s all part of the journey.
Because the truth is, as James Clear says:
“Mastery requires both impatience and patience.
The impatience to have a bias toward action, to not waste time, and to work with a sense of urgency each day.
The patience to delay gratification, to wait for your actions to accumulate, and to trust the process.”
Back to my confession.
See, for the last 5 years, I’ve traveled the country leading summer camps for college basketball hopefuls. Teaching kids the steps to take, actions to follow, and mindsets to adopt.
It sure is easy to tell a kid and assume they’ll go do it. But what happens when the tables are turned and it’s time to take my own advice? When I’m the one back in the arena.
Well, I’ll confess, I’ve failed (for now).
I’ve fallen short of how I know I should show up each day.
Well, why does anyone fail at anything? It gets hard. Life gets busy. We get sloppy. You know the drill.
And maybe you’ve heard this, but I’ll share again. The greatest distance in the world is the distance between knowing and doing.
I know I should work on skills and not just play games, but I haven’t done that.
I know I should go into a training session with a plan, but I haven’t done that.
I know I should track things so I can measure improvement, but I haven’t done that.
So, much of the advice I’ve given these kids, I haven’t done myself. And it’s quite clear it’s the primary reason I haven’t improved as fast I’d like to.
If I truly want to become a pro, I can’t keep acting like an amateur.
So I’ve decided right now (with you as my accountability) — to change.
To hit the reset button on my approach.
I’m not overhauling everything at once. But there are 3 specific things I’ve already started to do this week.
Say no to 90% of “recreational games” that won’t challenge me - I work a full-time job and am committed to my skill work time 4-5x a week right now. There’s just not enough time to do it all and become great.
Approach each training session with a focus area — and write it down on an index card to keep in my pocket as a reminder during the session.
Track total days, time I drill, and what I focused on and improved in that day.
Now, is this the perfect plan? No. But what it is, is the restart on my pursuit of pickleball mastery.
A journey that will require:
focus and heart
grace and poise
patience and impatience
And that’s what I plan to show up with each day.
So what does that mean for you?
Well, thanks for asking. Over time, I’ve read a lot about fulfillment in life. And listen, I’m no expert, but I know this.
We gain meaning when we make progress doing things we love.
And usually, when asked, people can identify at least one thing they love to do. So why not seek improvement in that thing - with a little more focused effort. Whether it’s a skill at work, sport you play, or family you have — making progress will will bring you joy and energy.
Because the truth is, no one wakes up in the morning and says, “I hope I get worse today.”
I hope I paint worse.
I hope I treat patients worse.
I hope I communicate worse.
Not consciously anyway. But we often do get worse by how we approach our daily work (on whatever the craft may be).
And for me. I don’t want to get worse. I want to become one of the top pickleball players in the world. (woah, that was kinda scary to say)
So my choices need to align with what I say I want to happen. And for you…
Ask yourself — do your choices align with what you say you want to happen?
Until next time,
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tips to improve
interesting pickleball stories
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and a little about my journey from never playing to pro pickleball in 12 months!