“If you’re an amateur your focus should be on avoiding stupidity, not seeking brilliance.” – Charlie Munger
While Pickleball is NOT Tennis, there may be some lessons we can draw from Tennis and apply them to pickleball.
The quotes below discuss elements from the book Extraordinary Tennis for the Ordinary Tennis Player by Simon Ramo, but are not necessarily directly from the book. The quotes were copied from the article linked below.
It has been my experience that the word pickleball can just as likely be replaced with pickleball!
“Although players in both games [ amateur and professional tennis ] use the same equipment, dress, rules and scoring, and conform to the same etiquette and customs, the basic natures of their two games are almost entirely different. After extensive scientific and statistical analysis, Dr. Ramo summed it up this way: Professionals win points, amateurs lose points. Professional tennis players stroke the ball with strong, well aimed shots, through long and often exciting rallies, until one player is able to drive the ball just beyond the reach of his opponent. Errors are seldom made by these splendid players.”**
“The amateur duffer seldom beats his opponent, but he beats himself all the time. The victor in this game of tennis gets a higher score than the opponent, but he gets that higher score because his opponent is losing even more points.”**
“In expert tennis, about 80 per cent of the points are won; in amateur tennis, about 80 per cent of the points are lost. In other words, professional tennis is a Winner’s Game – the final outcome is determined by the activities of the winner – and amateur tennis is a Loser’s Game – the final outcome is determined by the activities of the loser.”**
**Avoiding Stupidity is easier than Seeking Brilliance
According to the above, amateur pickleballers (and of course I include myself in that group) win their games not necessarily because they make the best shots and have the best skills. They simply make less errors than their opponents. If this is not new and it is “good enough” for you, no need to read further.
For some, this might be a different way of looking at things and an inspiration to “win” the points rather than have your opponent lose them.
When I introduce people to pickleball, I often encourage them to avoid trying for the “perfect” shots within inches of the lines or those that just clear the net. Instead, I advise them to make solid shots and force the opponent to return the ball.
There will be times when their amateur opponent will miss a simple overhead, easy dink or block-volley simply because they take their eye of the ball.
Remember, we aren’t relegated to this scenario for ever. As we gain experience and improve our skills, we can seek levels of pickleball brilliance!
How to Improve so You Can Avoid “Pickleball Stupidity”
Joe Baker has provided excellent videos for aspiring pickleballers. Watching or re-watching them will help avoid many pickleball errors.
Doubles Pickleball Strategy 102 – Smart Pickleball Vol. 2, Power
We can start with the videos above and hopefully play a “smarter” amateur’s game!
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