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you're a Budding Benchmark 4.0 Player
It is all starting to come together, and you are in search of the final pieces.
You're in the process of moving from a sub on the higher courts to a regular there. Your friends and peers are starting to ask you for suggestions and help with their games.
You're gaining a real sense of what strategy to use in different situations, and you're often managing to do it in real-time.
The serve side game is no longer a complete mystery. It's coming together – fewer slams against you, and you're starting to get comfortable in the transition zone. You're learning to anticipate your opponent's shots, and you're feeling more agile on the court
Your goal is not just to be a 4.0 – but the sort of 4.0 who can play on the same court with a 4.5 or 5.0 player and have a good game (a Benchmark 4.0). You may not always win, but you make it very difficult for the players you regularly play with to beat you.
As pleased as you are with your improvement, you know that there is always more to learn to elevate your game.
Your opponents are getting tougher, and they are challenging your transition zone skills. You know you need to get better at softening the shot and controlling the speed of the ball. They are also challenging your ability to get to the shot. Minor errors in footwork and athleticism show up as large holes as you play against better opponents.
You've been playing more often at the non-volley zone, but you're not always dinking with a purpose or controlling the point. In fact, sometimes you're just trying not to miss before the player on the other side of the net does. You see others with the ability to force an error and want to be better at applying this strategy.
You've also noticed that you need additional physical and mental stamina since your rallies are going longer and your games are extended and more intense. The farther along you are in this stage, the more critical it becomes to develop the Athletic Pillar. If you want to play your best, you need to develop the skills of an athlete.
The mental part of the game is becoming more important to you. It has always been there; just now, you can turn some attention to it. You understand that it can make the difference in a tight game.
We’re CJ and Tony
Before we go any further, let us introduce ourselves...we’re pickleball experts.
We help players just like you play their best pickleball. Players love our YouTube content so much that we have amassed more than 90,000 YouTube subscribers and 9,000,000 views (and counting). We teamed up in 2020 to create a success-focused online pickleball learning machine that extends far beyond YouTube.
The centerpiece of the learning machine is THE Pickleball System which has helped thousands of players understand the game better and improve as players.
Spoiler alert: We don't believe in secrets; we believe in three pillars to learning pickleball, filling in the knowledge gap, and then showing up!
We'll help you eliminate the noise and focus on YOUR journey.
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Want to know more about how to reach 4.0?
When you know exactly how to play your best
nothing can stop you
You'll still be working on your Strategic Pillar, but you'll benefit by improving the mind/body connection or what we call the Athletic Pillar™.
You understand the objectives of the return side; you've locked it down and stopped giving away those free points to the other team. Sure, you miss one occasionally, but you've no longer giving up several free points every game!
Now it's time to turn some attention to the Serve Side. The serve team has one objective, to overcome the return team's positional advantage, but the sheer number of variables makes that much more difficult. (It's good that you've already locked down the return side because the serve side is more complex!)
Since you're spending more time at the NVZ, you need to learn how to be a protagonist on a new area of the court. How can you place your dinks and volleys to pressure the other team into a mistake?
Game study is taking on a whole new meaning. You may not be a pro (yet), but you're watching them with a unique perspective. You're no longer spending hours trying to learn low-return moves like an Erne. Instead, you're laser-focused on learning to master the advanced strategies of the game—like "Respect the X." Your objective will be to solve the puzzle that each partner and game present, knowing what to change or modify.
In addition to improving your serve side game, you find yourself looking for small advantages. Things like balance, strength, better footwork and agility will help you get to shots quicker.
Adding off-court training to your weekly regimen will help you consistently execute the 7th dink in a rally at 9-9 after 2 hours of play.
You will spend some time studying techniques to help you remain calm and positive when you play. Not only will you have better results, but you will also enjoy the game more.
As you continue to work on the Athletic Pillar, you will gain confidence on the courts and be less worried about major injuries when you play.
By the end of this stage, you'll be at or near the top of your pickleball community.
You'll be as comfortable as you've ever been on a pickleball court, including in the more "difficult" parts like the transition zone. You'll be able to hit all the fundamental shots and know where to hit them most of the time.
You may not always win, but it is tough for most players to beat you.
The sky is the limit now. You can work to becoming a 4.5, 5.0, or even higher.
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