Thank you Pickleball
By: Tony Roig | November 22, 2023 |

Thank You Pickleball!

Thank you, pickleball, for the games, the friendships, and getting me out and about.

Think about what you get out of your relationship with pickleball:

    • You get friends (persons you would not have met but for pickleball)
    • You get exercise (for some of us, it is our primary form of exercise)
    • You get activity (related to, but not the same as, exercise – this is getting out of the house, getting some sun – circulating some, if you will)

There may be something missing from this list that is important for you. The key takeaway is that pickleball gives. And when it is done giving, it digs deep and gives some more.

As we are in the season of thanks and reflection, let’s take a moment and thank pickleball for everything it has given us this past year.

BUT (by now, you probably know there is more to this message) …

Why not take it a bit deeper? Let’s spend a few moments exploring how we can expand this gratitude we feel to a year-round experience and also get the most out of it – not just in how we feel but also in how we play.

Year-Round Gratitude

Thanksgiving is a great word. It is a mouthful, though. We will use “gratitude” instead.

Start here: gratitude is always there. It is available to you whenever you want to draw on it.

When we do not feel grateful, it is not because gratitude has left the building (as they say). It is because we are unable (or sometimes even unwilling) to see the gratitude standing right there in front of us. It is up to us to interact with the gratitude that is there.

Try this: pause this article for a moment and sit back. Is there a gratitude sitting there next to you right now? Did you just finish a meal? Having a coffee? Get a text from a friend? Have pickleball scheduled this week?

Give it a moment and find something to be grateful for – it is there.

Where was the gratitude the moment before you paused to do the exercise? Did it all of a sudden appear out of nowhere? No. The answer is that the gratitude was always there. You just had not taken the time to see it sitting (or standing) right there.

It is the same when we play pickleball. Each time we go out to play, there is something to be grateful for. If there weren’t, you would not head to the courts.

The key is to take a moment to find it. Here is a checklist with several options you can use to get you started:

    • Today, I saw _[insert the names of player(s) who you are particularly fond of. There is at least one ]___.
    • I just finished playing [insert time] of pickleball. That was a solid workout.
    • Were it not for pickleball today, I would have probably just watched [insert your show of choice]
    • Today, I learned [insert lesson of the day] about myself
    • Without pickleball, I probably would not have met CJ or Tony (imagine how sad that is for a moment).

There are an almost limitless number of ways we can be grateful for our pickleball experience. You can start with one of the above or jump straight to your own. The key is to take a moment and express that gratitude. You can do it in your mind or verbalize it to yourself for even better results. When you are ready to go to the next level, verbalize it to others.

Imagine a player approaching you and saying, “I am so glad I got to see you today. I hope we have a chance to play on the same court or, better yet, play one as partners.” How does that make you feel?

You have 100% power to give that gift to someone you know. I guarantee they will feel as good as you imagine it to be.

You, too will get a gift in return: your friend’s smile and the feeling you will get knowing how you brightened their day. All in exchange for an intentional gesture and a few words. Doesn’t get much better than that.

Following this process will allow you to build a gratitude practice. Whether you express it to others – or in your mind – it will become a habit for you. It’s the same as tying your shoelaces before you play. Or (CJ wanted me to make sure this was in here) spending a few minutes warming your body up before you play (you are doing that, right?).

Eventually, you will have 365-day pickleball gratitude in your life, and your relationship with pickleball will be stronger than ever.

Gratitude Juice

The article could stop here, and we would be complete. But there is yet another layer to this that might tip the scales in favor of your starting down this path of gratitude. And we want you to know all the juice you get from this squeeze.

It is true that you will feel better when you practice gratitude. You will also play better.

There are a gazillion studies that show athletes perform better with a calm mind. This should not come as a surprise. It is the same with life in general: when our minds are busy, we are more likely to get into an accident, make a mistake, etc.

Gratitude allows you to move your mind away from that missed shot or popped up ball. Instead, you are focused on your friend’s smile, the ability to get out there and play an awesome sport, whatever it is you are grateful for. This positive and constructive focus will allow your natural mind (the one that actually does the things – Self 2 if you are savvy to it) to do its thing. And your natural mind wants to do the thing as well as you can.

Gratitude offers a full glass of juice: you get to feel better, probably make someone else feel better too, enjoy your day more, keep what’s important front and center, and avoid the mental muddling that comes from “oh my God, I cannot believe I missed that shot!”

CJ and My Gratitude

CJ and I are grateful to you.

We know that there are plenty of pickleball content options out there. We are grateful that you are open to the depth and breadth of the information shared in our blogs, podcasts, videos, and coaching (both online and in-person).

Without pickleball players who want to learn more about pickleball and have a more meaningful relationship with the game, we would be speaking to an empty room. CJ and I are thankful to have found a community of players who remain curious and open to growth.

We will continue to do our best to bring you relevant and actionable content that you can use to better yourself and your pickleball. And we will also continue to do our best to find others, like you and us, who share our passion for pickleball and invite them into our community.

So when we say “thank you,” know that it is heartfelt and sincere.

Have a great beginning to the season.

Tony Roig

Hola. Hello. Konichiwa. After 40 years playing tennis, I am now a full-time pickleball player and professional. As a 5.0 rated Senior Pro Pickleball Player and an IPTPA-certified Master Teaching Professional, my focus is on helping players like you learn to play their best pickleball. In 2016, shortly after starting to play pickleball, my friend Tom and I jumped into the highest division at the first US Open in Naples, Florida. That morning it became clear just how much there is to learn in this seemingly simple sport – a lifetime of learning if you so choose. Since 2018, I have been on a mission to share my knowledge of pickleball so other players can enjoy the game at a higher level and attain their pickleball objectives. When not studying or playing pickleball, I like to travel with my other half, Jill.