Pickleball Therapy

In this triple episode we address three different areas; things in the PPA that merits some conversation, hardwiring concept and, in the RIFF, we talk about putting your finger on the paddle.

1. On the PPA experience, I was watching two matches and I observed how flaws in the mental game spill over into your physical performance, shot making, execution, your thinking and ultimately decision making. There are good examples from those matches that I share with you in this episode. 

It's very important not to lose sight of the mental side of the game to feel better and play better.

2. The second area we discuss is that we're subject to an exchange of inputs and outputs through our processing systems; our minds and our bodies. That's hardwiring and we can't change that, but there are few steps I'll share with you that you can take to help your conscious mind overcome subconscious feeling while you're playing, especially when it comes to survival circuit. 

3. In the RIFF, I'm going to talk about putting your finger on the paddle, this is in response to a question that was asked recently by one of our system members.
Special episode reviewing Dayne Gingrich and Jill Martin's book, The Pickleball Mindset: https://betterpickleball.com/1516-the-pickleball-mindset-our-review/

Subscribe to the channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQxtrHYdJT1Iy_SHckPt6cg

Join us for the Live Game Studies: https://betterpickleball.com/live-game-study
Get on the court with us for a Tournament Game Plan: https://betterpickleball.com/tournament-prep-program/

And as always, thanks for joining us on Pickleball Therapy - the podcast dedicated to your pickleball improvement. If you have not yet subscribed to the podcast ... wait what?? you haven't subscribed? ... you know what to do.

What is Pickleball Therapy?

The podcast dedicated to your pickleball improvement. We are here to help you achieve your pickleball goals, with a focus on the mental part of your game. Our mission is to share with you a positive and more healthy way of engaging with pickleball. Together let’s forge a stronger relationship with the sport we all love. With the added benefit of playing better pickleball too. No matter what you are trying to accomplish in your pickleball journey, Pickleball Therapy is here to encourage and support you.

[00:00:00.000] - Speaker 1
Hello and welcome to Pickleball Therapy, the podcast dedicated to your pickleball improvement. Hope you're having a great week. Get ready for this week's podcast. This is a triple episode. We're going to be addressing three different subjects in this podcast. So sit down, put your seat belt on, and buckle in because we're going to be going over some different subjects that I think will really help you as you think about the mental game and also framing everything out, perspective. This is what we do here on the podcast. If you're new to the podcast, this podcast is dedicated to pickleball, but more importantly, it's dedicated to our mental processes. It's dedicated to our mind and to helping us navigate, not just pickleball, really, frankly, I mean, navigate life because the principles that we learn using pickleball as our tool are applicable well beyond the bounds of the pickleball court. If we haven't met before, my name is Tony Roig. I am the host of this weekly podcast, and it's a pleasure to be with you. I am a senior professional pickleball player, as well as Master Teaching Professional. My passion in pickleball is teaching, is coaching, is helping players who are genuinely interested in improving their pickleball as well as their lives.

[00:01:11.500] - Speaker 1
That's what we like doing, me and my partner, E. J. Johnson. This podcast is part of the betterpickleball. Com Network. We're part of the bigger picture of betterpickleball. Com, which is dedicated to, again, bringing you actionable, real content that will help you in your pickleball journeys and help you strengthen your pickleball relationships. All right, this week's podcast, we're going to cover three different areas, as I mentioned. First, we're going to start off with the PPA, and it's not so much the PPA itself. It's just some stuff that happened in the PPA that I think merits some conversation. Then we're going to talk about hardwiring. It's a part of the book that we have that's coming out in the not-too-distant future. These things always seem to take longer than one would hope, but we have a book coming out, and so I'm going to share with you some of the concepts that are in there, one of the concepts that's in there anyway. Then at the end, in the RIF, I'm going to talk about putting your finger on the paddle. It's a question that gets asked a lot, actually. We just got asked it recently by one of our system members First.

[00:02:15.510] - Speaker 1
I told Kevin I would answer the question in the podcast, and that is what I'm doing today. All right, let's dive into the first part of the podcast I wanted to talk about was I had the pleasure of watching really amazing pickleball this weekend. Jill and I were in town, and whether we were cooking or cleaning or doing some working or whatever, we had the games on in the background. Obviously, you're not as you turn to the game and you maybe leave the task you're working on behind for a little bit while you watch because it's so entertaining to see the sport as it develops and as different strategies are brought to bear and if things are effective or not. But one of the things that jumped out was there were two matches that jump out, and it's not positive stuff, but I want to talk about it because it's how the mental part of pickleball, let's just say how the mental part can affect us, period, and then specifically in pickleball. The first match was Lea Jansen and Calleigh Smith against Jade Kawamoto and Andrea Coupe. That match got really testy. It got nasty, actually.

[00:03:26.990] - Speaker 1
This is not a dig at Lea. We We all have demons that we battle and deal with. She's dealing with her situation, her life, whatever it is that brought her to where she is today and however it is she processes information. But I can tell you that from a pragmatic standpoint, she cannot play to her fullest level, fullest ability, I believe, because she is distracted in her mind with noise. She's a tremendous talent. When you think about the different skills you need to play at the pro level, she has them all. She can defend, she has putaway power, she has discipline when she's playing. A lot of times, she has discipline when she's in a rally, she can stay disciplined. She has a well-rounded game. But what happens is these things will happen, like a call that she doesn't like, and it'll send her into a spiral. It really interferes with her ability to go out there and perform, go out there, getting past the unfortunate, again, negativity. It's just unfortunate to have that right when you're playing pickleball. But getting past that, just looking at it purely pragmatically, it really undermines her ability to perform to her fullest capacity.

[00:04:52.050] - Speaker 1
As an example, there were two calls that Leia disagreed with. You can agree or disagree with the calls, it's fine. I thought the first call was on the sideline. That one might have been in, and they had moved indoor just so they didn't have the replayability because they had moved indoor because of rain, and that wasn't set up indoor, which is understandable. But that one, okay, maybe disagree with that one. But the last one, I think it was pretty clearly out. Just the trajectory of the shot, even the announcement said the same thing. You're watching the shot fly and you're like, That's going to be out. When it lands, you're like, Yeah, that's out. I'm not clear to see, but Jade and Andrew are both firm on it and laid out blew a fuse. But would it help Leia to understand better that the agency that she has in those situations? Meaning she chose to hit the ball to that particular spot, creating a tough situation It's a tough call. Let's assume the call was wrong. One of those two calls or both calls were wrong. You just have to accept that that's part of this game.

[00:05:54.970] - Speaker 1
In other words, it's like being a baseball player and getting crazy about an occasional ball or strike call that you disagree with. That's how the game is built. Do we have human umpires in baseball? We have human beings calling the lines on the court, and they're playing. They have thousand things in their mind. They're trying to get set, hit the ball, where's everybody at? All these different things, and they have to make a line call while they're doing that. Mistakes are made. But allowing that to spill over and to then, first of all, again, create negative situations that are unfortunate, that are frankly unnecessary, where you have a negative relationship with other players, but also undermining your ability to perform the best you can perform. It's something that I think can be dealt with through perspective. We're going to talk about that in a second in terms of maintaining perspective when we play. Then the other thing that happened was Federico Saxroud. Federico Staxrude is an amazing talent. He's done a ton of good work to improve his play. He's one of the top players right now in terms of his shot making and everything.

[00:07:05.300] - Speaker 1
But where he falls down some is his mental side of the game. What happened was he was playing a singles match against Ben Jones. You're always going to feel pressure when you're playing against Ben Jones. Just to give you the full story. Federico has recently become the number one singles player, made a lot of splash because his numbers, he has more points than Ben. Most people who watch this and study this would say, Ben is still the best player. So Ben is still number one in terms of ability, but may not be in points. Think of in tennis, when you have a player like a Djokovitch or somebody like that who maybe doesn't play a few tournaments, or actually Serena is a better example. When Serena was semi-retired for a bit, she'd show up to a major and be like the 32nd seed or something like that, or the 12th seed. Everyone was like, Oh, my God, I don't want to play Serena because Serena was still favored. It's the same situation here. There's some pressure, and I can understand that with Federico, feeling pressure playing Ben in that situation and wanting to perform. But his Decision making was undermined by just, I guess, I'm going to say immaturity in terms of not being able to deal with those situations.

[00:08:09.710] - Speaker 1
But they're playing the first game of this match, and Federico didn't like a couple of calls. He appealed two calls and the score was 2-0. The game hadn't even started yet. He'd already wasted his replays and his timeouts. His replays and timeouts were gone at the score 2-0. If you're going to be a professional a well player, you just can't do that. That's an example, again, of just not being fully well-rounded on the mental side, in my opinion. Again, no criticism of Federico in a lot of respect for him and his work ethic and what he's done to improve as a player. But in those situations when you're playing a Ben Jones who's not going to get phased, he's just going to do his thing. He's all about the business, getting it done. I mean, business, not in the money sense, even though that sounded that way because of the recent developments with his... Or the recent announcement or revelations, I should say, about his income, which is well-deserved. I just mean business when he's on the court, he's all about to just get the job done. But if you're Federico Saxer and you want to play better, you can't allow distractions into your mind.

[00:09:11.720] - Speaker 1
It's that same as Lea. If you want to contrast that, I'd contrast that. Ben's a great contrast, but I like to contrast it with Dylan Frasher and J. W. Johnson, two of the younger players in terms of, I believe they're both right around 20-ish. But if you watch how they behave themselves, how they manage themselves on the court. They don't get flustered by stuff. Noise doesn't bother them. Antics don't bother them. They just go about their business. They're supportive of each other energy-wise. They're polite to their opponents. They're fair about it. They're just perfect ambassadors of the sport, very balanced. When you watch them play, they lost their first game in the finals against Matt and Federico, actually, in the men's doubles final. Then they came back on one of the next three and just did the job they had to do in a very professional way. Anyway, but the focus here on the PPA experience or what I observed was how flaws in the mental game spill over into your physical performance, spill over into your shot making, spill over into your decision making, spill over into your execution and your thinking when you're playing.

[00:10:26.710] - Speaker 1
Don't sleep on the mental side. I know that if you listen to this podcast, you obviously don't sleep on it because you're listening to this podcast. But it can be easy for us to get sucked into like, I need this shot or I need this strategy or I need this, whatever. That's fine. But don't lose sight of the importance of the mental side of the game and the mental side of yourself. Because you'll feel better, and also, you're pragmatically, you're going to play better. Speaking of tournaments, it's really exciting for us. This is a relatively new item that we have. We did at the US Open, we were able to offer this, and I could tell you that our students got a silver medal. I'm pretty sure it was, but they definitely medaled a silver medal at the US Open. It was pretty cool. They were new partners with each other, and they applied the principles that they learned during our tournament clinic before the tournament and medaled. If you're going to be in nationals this year, which is in Arizona, the USA Pickup Ball National is in Arizona, we have a really exciting tournament clinic that we're offering.

[00:11:30.900] - Speaker 1
It's basically like, it's not like, it's in person. You get the tournament game plan, plus you and your partner come out and we ride you through the gauntlet. This is what you need to play your best tournament. Because if you're going to play a tournament, you might as well give your best. If you want to check that out, I'll put a link in the description down below, and the show notes I should say down below, and check that out. But it's a really interesting opportunity to get on court with us and learn the best tournament strategy, tournament approach. All right, let's jump into this idea of... This comes from the perspective book that we have coming out on the mental perspective that you can use for pickle ball that will help you, again, feel better, stronger relationship, play better. The What it has to do with this hard wiring that we have as human beings. The way that we process information is hardwired into us. The best way to think about it is think about it like a computer. So Your computer or your phone or your iPad or anything that you use for that, a lot of it is hardwired.

[00:12:37.060] - Speaker 1
It has a chip and it has transistors and things like that running through it. Those parts are hardwired, the RAM. It's a system of zeros and ones that tell the computer or the device what to do. Those hardwired pieces then you take soft applications, if you will. Someone an application that's like a calculator or a weather app or things like that. Those then work together with a hard wiring in order to get the job done. When we play, we're subject to a lot of inputs and outputs. Obviously, we do things. We're subject to an exchange of inputs and outputs through our processing systems, our minds and our bodies. But our minds are a processing system, I should say, but our minds. When you think about it that way, your mind has certain pieces of it that are hardwired. We don't have enough time in our lives to rewire those. I'm going to give you one specific one. In the book, we cover three. I'm going to talk about one in this podcast. But the hardwiring one that I want to talk about is the circuit that is our survival circuit. It's our, I got to do this or else there's a chance that I may not make it through the winter.

[00:13:53.770] - Speaker 1
It's just here in a second. Then we'll talk about how that messes us up before playing pickleball because We just don't have the right perspective on where you play pickleball. I want you to go back in time. I'm not talking like 10,000 years ago. You're maybe longer, 50,000 years ago, 100,000 years ago. You're living in a cave, and wherever you're at, it's July, August. You know winter's coming, right? You've lived long enough to know, Okay, it's going to get cold soon, and there's not going to be a lot of food. You know that you need to get food before the winter comes. You know there's a cornfield Nearby, there's a field that has corn in it, so you're going to go and get corn. You're approaching this field, and as you get near the field, you see another human being who you don't recognize, walking from an opposite direction towards the field. So your brain says, Oh, crap, I better get to the field quick and get my corn. Now, if the field is big enough, then you can navigate it with the other person and get your corn. They get their corn, everything's fine.

[00:14:58.850] - Speaker 1
As you shrink the corn field, it gets a little more challenging. As you shrink the corn field some, you have basically... Maybe there's enough corn, but you want to make sure you get enough, so you have to compete for the corn. Meaning like, Okay, I better hurry up and do it quicker than my opponent in this situation, get the corn before they do in order to ensure my survival. As you shrink it down even further, say there's two stocks of corn, then you might even the other person. Because survival is key. That's that survival circuit kicking in, saying, I got to get this corn or else I may not make it through the winter. These circuits still exist within us. We have not evolved away from them. They still sit there in our minds. Imagine you're on a pickleball court. Now, on a pickleball court, sitting here, having this conversation on a podcast, this is silly. We're just sitting a ball, and no one's dying, no one's at risk. But does your brain know that? Does your ancient brain, you can think about it like your lizard brain, your reptilian brain in the back of your like the mingdal.

[00:16:11.240] - Speaker 1
Is it sitting there back there going like, I need points. I got I accumulate my points because I need them. I'm fighting my cornfield competitor to get these kern of corn in order to prepare for the winter. If that's happening, which I guarantee you it's happening because of that survival wire circulating, and you don't know it, it can get carried away. Basically, you start giving excess importance to the event that you're participating in. Now, pickleball is important. I'm not suggesting to you that pickleball is not important to you. It is, and that's okay. But why is it important? It's important because you imbue it with importance. In other words, you bestow importance onto pickleball. Without you giving it the importance, it's not important. It doesn't change anything for anybody. If you know that, if you understand that, then the next time that you lose a match and you're feeling bad about it, you can check yourself and just make sure that your feelings, your emotions that are bubbling up about that loss, are the result of this circuit getting triggered. If it is part of the circuit getting triggered, then you know it, and you're able to then use your conscious mind to overcome the subconscious feeling.

[00:17:38.500] - Speaker 1
I'm sorry, the feeling generated by your subconscious mind, is the better way of saying it, which is this hardware getting tripped. These hardwired circuits are a part of you. There's nothing you can do about them. They're there. Again, they're hardwired, so you can't change them. But you can understand them, and you can know they're there, and you can adjust your emotions and react. Get yourself out of holes quicker. Get yourself out of bad feelings quicker by understanding that these are there and then being able to apply your conscious mind to it. You're your thought process to it to say, I know what's happening here. I'm not in a cornfield. I'm not competing for my survival. Everything's fine. We're playing pickle ball. It's all good. It's a process, right? You little by little. But recognition is That's going to be the first step in that process. If you're interested in the book, be on the lookout. We're going to be making some more announcements. We're looking at potentially doing a presale of the book is what we're thinking about doing. If we do that, and you're a pickleball therapy podcast listener, we'll let you know so that you can get on the ground floor, if you will, and then get the information sooner rather than later so that we can get you on that progress forward in your mental journey in pickleball.

[00:19:05.070] - Speaker 1
All right, let's talk about the RIF. If you're watching this on YouTube, I'm going to take my paddle up in a second and show it to you. If you're not on YouTube, I'll walk you through it. You'll be able to understand it anyway, but visually, you'll get the visual better if you check it out on YouTube. If you haven't done so yet, you go to YouTube on the pickleball Therapy channel on YouTube. Make sure you subscribe to the channel. It helps us grow the channel and reach other players. The question that we got asked was a question that has to do with holding your finger on the paddle. I'm going to reach over here and grab my old-school Bantam XL, old-gen technology from PaddleTec, but it really pops the color, so it really shows it. I'm holding it up to the camera. But basically, what's happening is I have my hand on the grip, and then I have my pointer finger up on the paddle. Basically, it creeps up onto the paddle as opposed to being wrapped around the grip. I have it up on the my finger on the paddle itself, on the paddle face.

[00:20:05.650] - Speaker 1
The question Kevin asked is, should I do this? It seems like I've been doing this, and there's a concern about doing that. Now, here's the answer. The answer is, don't worry about it. What I mean by that is it's not going to change your game one way or the other. If you were like me, I put my finger on the paddle the way I showed it a second ago, my finger goes on the paddle face. I've been playing for eight years. It plays fine. It does fine. There's no downside to it. That makes a difference. That's a big deal. If you don't put your finger on the paddle, that's fine, too. It's one of those things, and this is the bigger conversation I wanted to have about this. It's one of those things that there's no reason to spend any bandwidth on. Don't occupy your mind on it. Don't spend precious mental focus and time and energy on finger on or finger off the paddle face. If you naturally put it on there, good for you, great. If you don't naturally put it on there, good for you, great, no problem. Another example of this area is like, for instance, it's stepping forward with your left foot or your right foot to hit your thirds.

[00:21:13.350] - Speaker 1
Should I step forward with my left foot or my right foot? Can you make an argument, perhaps, that one is better? Does it make a big difference? The answer unequivocally is no. That was if you're comfortable, your natural way of doing it is your right leg, then use your right leg. If natural, left leg, do your left leg. We'll do a quick, excuse me for that. We'll do a quick demonstration here for you. Again, if you're on the YouTube, you'll see it, but if not, you'll do it anyway. What I want you to do is cross your arms naturally. Right now, just cross them. Okay, you got that? Now, release your arms, put them back normal. Obviously, make sure you're not driving. Then cross them the other way. So cross them backward. It's going to take me a second here. That's normal. This is not normal. It took me a second. I I kept on going back to my normal because I'm trying to remember the podcast and focus on what I'm doing. This is really hard for me to come into this position, opposite arm crossing if you want. Why am I going to spend time on that?

[00:22:12.540] - Speaker 1
Trying to learn that. It's just not going to add a lot to my game. Focus on big pictures. Keep your eye on the big picture. That's going to give you much better results. This is the thing that, frankly, you can see when you do game studies. We do live game studies now pretty regularly inside our academy. If If you go to, I'll put a link in the show notes, you can check out our next upcoming live game study. Super good way of seeing the game. You can ask me questions during the live game study and say, Tony, I see them doing this. Is that something I should be doing? More likely than not, I'm going to say, they actually probably Don't worry about it. It could be something that I'll say, worry about it. Short return or serve, deeper return or serve. Yeah, worry about that one. Put that one very high up. Finger on paddle. I wouldn't worry about it. Just do whatever is comfortable for you. All right, so that's this week's podcast. Hope you enjoyed it. If you missed a special episode, we did a special episode reviewing Dane Gingrich and Jill Martin's book, The pickleball Mindset.

[00:23:05.090] - Speaker 1
You can find that here on the string of podcast episodes earlier than this episode. Like I said earlier, if you're interested in our book on perspective, it's going to be a really good... It's not going to be. It's already mostly read, it's just going to be edited. It's a really good book on giving you a really nice perspective on pickleball, and I would suggest also on life, because that's what it's all about, right? Pickleball is a part of our bigger picture. As always, if you have a minute to rate and review the podcast, really appreciate it. We're continuing to reach other podcast listeners. I didn't do a shout out this week. I promise I'll do one next week. I'll find one of the reviews and read it back to you because we really appreciate you taking the time to do that. As always, remember to share it with your friends. If you enjoy the podcast, they probably will, too, and perhaps they can continue to grow as well as you are in their pick-a-ball journeys. I hope you have a great week, and I will see you in our next episode of Pick-a-Ball Theory. Be well.