News from the Region


Summer 2018

Making Your Recreation Play More Competitive

I love a competitive game of pickleball! How about you? But when playing recreation pickleball, it’s not possible to get those games as often as you would like. It took me a while to figure out that that winning isn’t always the goal, particularly in recreational play. Here’s what I do to try to make a game of mis-matched players more even. (NOTE: I’ve been the goat in many a pickleball game, but with all modesty, I’m writing this from the perspective of not being the goat.)

Weaker player on the other team:

  1. Huddle with your partner and set some guidelines.
  2. Don’t worry about winning. We all like to win, but this is recreational play.
  3. No smashes to the weak player. (I’ve been guilty of smashing when I shouldn’t in my earlier play…)
  4. Identify a shot where you are weak or that needs some work and direct that shot to the weaker player.
  5. Hit the more difficult shots to the strong player on the other side.
  6. Don’t go easy on all of your shots! You develop bad habits doing so.
  7. Identify one or two things that the weaker player could work on (position or strategy is a good place to start) and pass that along to them. As the player across the court, you can identify issues quicker than their partner can.
  8. Compliment good shots.
  9. At the end of a point, discuss what happened – and why.
  10. Don’t let the weaker player get down on himself.

All are weaker players:

  1. Let the weakest player, play with you – and NO POACHING!
  2. Work on a really difficult shot that you haven’t mastered yet.
  3. Play a couple of games with the same people, but rotate sides.
  4. Offer suggestions for improvement. Pick one or two items they could work on.
  5. Try to re-create an earlier teaching moment situation to see if the lesson was learned. If not, reinforce it.
  6. Have fun!

Bill Mc Spadden
Submitted by: Noel Lowery
SFS Pickleball Club Director
USAPA Ambassador
Stafford, Virginia