Playing with Purpose

Playing with Purpose

When most people begin playing pickleball they focus almost exclusively on hitting the ball back over the net, between the sidelines, and in front of the baseline.  In other words, beginners keep their eyes on the ball and try to hit the ball back to keep it in play.  Next, newbies focus on hitting the ball harder and harder – again without hitting it out or into the net.  As they continue on this evolutionary path, they become what is referred to as a “banger.”

There’s nothing wrong with being a banger, but as far as being competitive, bangers typically cannot progress beyond the 3.5 level.  After all, most people were originally drawn to pickleball because of the social aspects of the game, not to play in pickleball tournaments and other types of competitions.  Bangers can enjoy the comradery, get some exercise, and enjoy the great game of pickleball about the same as other pickleballers – thank you very much.   There is, however, another level of play that requires much more than hitting the ball in-bounds and with power, but it requires a different strategy and style of play.  This more competitive style of pickleball requires you to Play with Purpose.

To Play with Purpose, a players must master a variety of different pickleball shots, that range from powerful drives and overheads to soft dinks and reset shots. 

Those who are Playing with Purpose understand the competitive game of pickleball is won or lost, at the no-volley line.  This means a player must have the speed and fitness to move quickly from the baseline to the no-volley line and be prepared to turn and run back again to return lobs.   For this reason alone, many players remain bangers.

Playing with Purpose requires the player to learn where to target their shots on the court, what stroke to use given the situation, and have the skill to hit their target with a high rate of precision.   Playing with Purpose requires the ability to communicate with your partner and move with him/her in a coordinated fashion.  These players need to be able to hit “set-up” shots that create opportunities for themselves or their partners to hit “put-away” shots.  Bangers, by comparison, typically try to win the point with every shot they attempt or react defensively.

It can be great fun to be a Banger and enjoy the many benefits of pickleball, but if you want to have greater competitive success, I will provide some ideas on this website to help you Play with Purpose and play a more competitive style of pickleball.

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