October 22, 2017

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Helpful advice when playing with your spouse!

I have heard lots of comments on the courts about this topic. I came across this article and felt it worth sharing.  Who knows, maybe it will save a marriage or two!  LOL


Playing Pickleball with A Spouse

Posted on May 1, 2017 by Sarah Ansboury

I recently read a Facebook post about playing pickleball with a spouse.  It seems one partner was giving his or her spouse a three tournament try-out before deciding if playing together would work.



The Challenges of Playing Pickleball with a Spouse

You probably have come across couples that just can’t play with their spouse.  It’s hard because our familiarity and comfort with the other person sometimes result in unfiltered comments.  We tend to act differently, often saying harsher words than we would dare say to a stranger.

It can be especially difficult when one partner is better than the other.  The higher skill level person feels that they have to do more;  while the lesser skilled player feels the added pressure of playing up to the other.  This added pressure on both partners, often makes each play worse.

Communication & Trust

Communication and trust are key to any pickleball partnership. However, I think it is even more important when you are playing with a spouse, family member or loved one.  You also need to set strong boundaries.  I often see the stronger player trying to coach too much.  This simply puts more pressure on their partner.  They hear the advice, not as counsel but rather as “you aren’t good enough”.  Keep in mind, your first priority on the court must be to support your partner.


Coaching Teams

When I have a couple take a lesson from me, I always ask them two questions:

1. What is one thing you feel you can do on the court to be a better partner?
2. What is one thing you would like from your partner on the court?

Notice the first question: “What can you do better…”.  In my experience, we often find it easier to point out the things our partner needs to work on before we reflect on ourselves. In the second question, I am asking the player to be willing to speak up and tell their partner exactly what they need to be successful.

I realize this may be uncomfortable, but it is absolutely necessary.  In the case of the stronger partner that overwhelms their partner with too much coaching during the match, it might help to say:

  • “During the match, let’s agree that you will focus your comments on just one item that we agree I need to be reminded of.” (For example, that one item may be, “remember to pick up your feet”, or “let’s get to the line”.)

  • “Also, I don’t want to dwell on a match…let’s agree when and for how long we will discuss a loss.” (When critiquing performance after the match, begin with yourself! For example, “I feel like I could have been more consistent” before talking about your partner.)


Non-Verbal Communication

I wrote more about the issue of communication in my e-book, Be the Best Pickleball Partner You Can Be.  As I was doing research in preparation for writing the book, I learned that only 7% of communication is the words we say. Far more significant is our tone of voice and body language when we talk to our partner.  This is further compounded when playing pickleball with your spouse, as they know your tone of voice and mannerisms better than anyone else.


Pickleball partnership can be challenging, but playing with a loved one adds a whole other level.  If you are finding it challenging, take the time to answer the questions above before you give up. You may just find it is fun to play pickleball with your spouse.



Original article:  http://rvpicklers.com/playing-pickleball-spouse



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