Many of us make New Year’s resolutions, and along with that, many of us unfortunately don’t stick with them for too long.
The changes that we are attempting to make are usually motivated by a feeling for a need for self-improvement and are generally viewed as a kind of self-inflicted punishment to make us feel better about ourselves, and it’s usually something we don’t really want to do, or necessarily enjoy doing. However, if you are like me—as an athlete—you are constantly trying to improve your skills and grow your game.
With that said, you should make a yearly resolution for yourself in your particular sport, which brings us to pickleball. Everyone wants to improve and up the level of their game, but I see a lot of players who just want to play and expect their level to improve just from playing a lot.
While competitive match play is a vital part of improving our game, we must also address the surrounding aspects related to our game. It’s like going to high school or college—you can’t just go to class and expect to graduate, you also have to do your homework.
Here are some fairly simple resolution suggestions to help improve your game.
Drill & Practice
Make drilling and practicing a part of your regular routine/playing schedule. Find yourself a practice partner and have a specific day and time that you drill and practice. Motivate each other to stick with your resolutions.
Off Court Strength Conditioning
You don’t have to go out and hire a personal trainer or join a gym, just keep it simple. Go for a long bike ride or a brisk power walk a couple of times a week. Do some basic calisthenics.
If you have a pool, start swimming laps or doing water aerobics.
Take Up Yoga
Keeping your body limber and flexible will reduce the chances of injury, help your muscles recover after a hard day on the courts and can eliminate minor aches and pains we experience from playing.
The above-mentioned resolutions will take a firm commitment of time and effort in order to stick with for more than a few weeks or a couple of months; but here are a couple of easy ones that honestly, should already be part of your daily routine.
By that, I mean lots of water on a daily basis. Most sports drinks are really designed for recovery rehydration and are loaded with sugar and sodium.
Don’t deprive yourself of things you enjoy, however, everything in moderation. Monitor your portion sizes on a daily basis and then splurge and treat yourself to something special that you really like every once and a while.
Be consistent in the schedule and length of time of your sleep.
Most importantly, whatever you do, have fun in what you’re doing. Make sure that it is not a burden for you to have to accomplish. Don’t make yourself feel like, “Oh, I have to do this.”
The last thing I want to say on the subject is that all of the above-mentioned resolution challenges are free, and if that doesn’t make them fun and easy to accomplish, I don’t know what will!
Wayne Clark is a professional tennis instructor with over 25 years’ experience coaching players on all levels of the game. Wayne is also qualified in pickleball instruction and is on staff as an instructor with the Naples Pickleball Center and Training Academy at East Naples Community Park. Contact Coach Wayne by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone or text at 239-450-6161.