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Sour Pickle

So we've been playing pickleball for quite sometime. Maybe it has been a few months or maybe a few years. We've definitely improved and we're nowhere near the rookie we once were. If we're lucky, we had a friend who introduced us to the game. They encouraged us when we performed poorly and continued to play with us even though we set them up to be slammed on. We earned our stripes and now we are 3.0+.

If you can't tell, I'm dropping this shot at a particular group of pickles. In a sport that became so popular due selling this idea that pickleball is this warm inviting social club, many players have become "too good" to continue the same warmth. Every game can't be this 15-13 dog fight and if you're still getting better, you'd like to think you'd be able to end games quickly. Some games will be charity. We have to give back to the game, the same way it was given to us. Pickleball is a game of patience. Let me repeat.... "PICKLEBALL IS A GAME OF PATIENCE" and either you have it or you don't. Not just on the court, but with people in everyday life.

Sometimes you'll have to coach the new kid, play a gentlemen's game with a person who is recovering from an injury, or maybe a entertain a group that just wants to learn some moves from you. Be honored, because you've come from such a long way. Remember when you played against all the ex-tennis players who just drove the ball on you and there was nothing you could do about it. Now you've learned how to block those or return the heat right back at them. Pass that knowledge on and bless the game. Never be too good to continue the growth of the sport. Never be too good that you gatekeep the court.

Every pickleball player needs these three people: 1) Your Partner. This is the person(s) you are growing with. The one who pushes you to be better. If you aren't keeping up with them, you just aren't trying hard enough. If they aren't keeping up with you, remind them they are them how good your duo is because they are your Scotty Pippen. 2) Your Mentor or Coach. This person is going to keep you honest. They will remind you that you can't open play yourself into a better player. You have to put some drills in there if you want to be the best player you can be. You get pointers and knowledge from this big brother/sister. 3) Your Student. You need someone to teach. You're the varsity player and they are your freshman. They look at every move you do, good or bad, and think "wow I want to get that good". They aren't aware of your weakness or mistakes. You are currently their goals. Let that be your motivation to continue to perform. The local "pro" has the opportunity to connect with the community the way those in the magazines cannot. You are their big sibling in pickleball. You teach them and feel good as they do better. Keep this group and pickleball will forever have the best community. Play more pickleball!

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