Written by: Doc Savarese Cartoons by: Peter Copen
The quality of play in pickleball is cyclical just like life. When life is going well, you are most likely experiencing feelings of peace of mind, self-satisfaction and euphoria. With your game going well, the ball appears to be the size of a volleyball: you see it well and you can hit anything. Then gradually or sometimes immediately it all slips away. What happened? How do I get it back? You are in a slump.
The first realization when you are in a slump is accepting that both life and pickleball play are cyclical and therefore normal; everyone has crests and troughs. An old saying states that you are only as good as you are on your worst day. So it becomes paramount that one has to develop the resilience to cope with the damage of their worst day. It is important to understand that it is up to each person to accept and manage the challenges that they are facing.
Second, don’t complain or whine. Sure, we can all have feelings of anger and injustice due to the slump. I can assure you that these negative feelings won’t move you forward whether it be in life or on the pickleball court. For example in pickleball, complaining about not hitting the ball due to the wind is magnified if you are not watching the ball closely. Such as in life, if you are not prepared early, a fast pace or a virus can be punishing. Don’t blame external conditions.
Third, a written plan is an excellent means to implement a constructive way to work out of a slump. A written plan can help you stay focused. It should be short but include what you wish to achieve; i.e. tactics/timelines and measured results. In pickleball, it may be working on a drop volley. When you work on a new shot you tend to be more focused and enthusiastic just like you were in the beginning. This is a good metaphor for dealing with life’s slumps. Fixing the problem is up to each individual. As Bill Haley aptly put it in his song, “Get out of the kitchen and rattle those pots and pans.”
I hope that these recommendations will assist you in moving out of your slump and be on the rise once again.