Are you a good player or a good partner?

Which is more important in the world of team/partner sports?

  • Being a good player
  • OR
  • Being a good partner

There’s been a lot written on this topic.  And while there are many who put winning ahead of everything, most pickleball players just want to play well, and with a partner who will lift them up when things aren’t going right.  You know……when it seems the net is 2″ too high, and you keep hitting the tape, or when the court seems too short and you keep hitting balls long!  We all make mistakes, don’t we!  It’s how we recover and move on from those mistakes.  And a supportive and positive partner sure helps.

Here’s a few thoughts on being a good partner:

  • Everyone is a good partner when things are going well and especially when you’re winning.
  • Stating the obvious doesn’t help.  Encourage, don’t coach during a match.
    • No to comments like “you have to get it over the net.” Duh…not helpful.
    • Yes to comments like “you’ve got this!” Encouraging is always good.
  • Body language often speaks louder than words.  Don’t sag your shoulders and turn away from your partner when they make a mistake.  Instead, go directly to them and tap paddles.  The connection between you for that brief second tells your partner that you’re a team.
  • Encourage your partner when they make a mistake……or two…..or three!
  • Acknowledge and take ownership of your own bad shots.  Don’t let your partner think they’re the only ones making them.
  • Always remember, you’re a team.  What you suggest something your partner should be doing, you might consider starting with “We.”  Such as: “We need to put the ball deeper” or “We need to get our shots down a little.”

Sure, it’s frustrating when your partner is having a bad day.  Imagine how they feel.  We all want to play well, but it doesn’t always happen.  Be a positive partner!  It could mean a turnaround in your partners play.

Can you add to this list?  What other suggestions do you have for being a good partner?  I would love to hear from you in the comments!

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