Pickleball Therapy

I recently got into the Wordle craze (a bit late I know).

Got me to thinking though – why do we like games like Wordle, Crosswords, Sudoku, etc.? And does this same thought process apply to pickleball?

Start here: why do we play a game like Wordle?

Is it because of the game’s solution? The solution, itself, is what we are after.

Or is it because of the work it takes to get to the solution? The solution is relevant because we are working toward it, but the reason for the game is the steps it takes to get there.

Stay with me here because it might just be the mental breakthrough you need to hear.

Wordle does not teach me new words when I play it. In other words, I am not discovering a new word when I solve the puzzle. That is not the point of it.

In any event, in a few weeks I will forget the ones from this week. That is not the point of it.

The reason for playing Wordle is in the act itself of working to solve the puzzle. That is the point of it.

In a year I will not remember the exact words I work on this week, but I will have gained the benefit of a more nimble mind, having worked through somewhere around 300+ Wordles during that time.

Pickleball is exactly the same.

What were your pickleball scores when you played on April 10, 2024? June 15, 2023? You get the picture.

The scores do not matter. Neither do the outcomes of specific rallies (think it through – there’s no difference).

What matters is that you are playing. You are hitting the ball. Trying to do your best each time you swing the paddle.

The joy of pickleball is in the process – the playing. Not in the results – the winning or losing.

Each time you play, you try to do the best you can. If you want to play better, you can study the game and put in some work. Even in those moments you can embrace the journey – because there is value in that.

As you play, your life improves. Your body is better for it. Your mind is better for it. Your soul is better for it.

Don’t let the outcomes rob you of the joy that is present with every shot you hit on a pickleball court. Outcomes are not the point of it. Playing is.

Join us for the Summit. Get your ticket at pickleballsummit.com or just click here.

And for the best coaching available, join us inside The Better Pickleball Academy. Visit BetterPickleball.com and click on classes to get a list of all our courses. Or you can click here.

Join our email list: https://betterpickleball.com/

See you there.


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.

[00:00:00.310] - Speaker 1
Hello and welcome to pickleball Therapy, the podcast dedicated to your pickle improvement. Hope you're having a great week. My name is Tony Roig. I am your host for this weekly podcast. It's a pleasure to be with you. Again, we're on episode like 199, not including special episode. We've been around this game for a while, this process of the mental journey for a long time. If you listen to the podcast for any amount of time at all, you know that this has been a personal journey for me as well. It's not just me preaching to you, it's me living the same journey that you're on, hopefully, in terms of growth and development, not just as an athlete, which is important, but as a human being in terms of the mental part of your experience with this wonderful sport of pickleball. This week's podcast, I have a couple of topics that I think you're going to find really interesting. First, I want to talk about... We're going to talk about what is it that really matters? What is it that you really need if you want to play really amazing pickleball? I'll explain more about that because at the end of the day, it is about having more confidence and feeling more competent when we play out there.

[00:01:05.880] - Speaker 1
That's really important if we're going to have a strong relationship with the game. Then we're going to talk about Wurtl. If you know the New York Times viral game, Wurtl, Wurtl Connections, all those things on New York Times, I want to talk about how that relates to pickleball. Wurtl has finally caught up with our podcast and our sport. We'll talk about that in the Rift today. Before we dive into the podcast, If you're a podcast listener, you know that we have the summit coming up. If you haven't gotten your ticket already, there's no reason to wait. It's an online event. It's available to you anywhere you're at in the world. We have some amazing presentations. This is the first time that we have the number one doubles player in the world at the summit. Dylan Frazier is going to be at the summit with a really good presentation that's going to help you out. We also have Judy Castillo, and We have several other, Kwan Guang, who's a single specialist. If you play singles, you're going to want to be there. We have several presentations on the mind from Dr. K, Coach Dr.

[00:02:13.290] - Speaker 1
Scales. We have presentations on the Body, QiGong, and some other things. It's just jam-packed with amazing stuff. Like I said, there's no reason not to come to the summit. There's at least one presentation that you're going to enjoy. I'm going to bet more than one. So get your a free ticket to the summit. I'll put a link down below. Remember, it's online. Unless you're going to be in the mountains, in the Himalayas or something like that, and you can't access WiFi, there's just no reason not to come to the summit. So highly recommend you do that. All right, let's dive into the main subject of today's podcast, which is, what is it that we really need? We've talked about this before. If you remember the concept of the three spheres of the mental part of any sport, but a pickleball, specifically here. We're talking here about this is the improvement. This is the progress piece of the puzzle, of the mental spheres. The reason this is really important is because as pickleball players, if you listen to this podcast, as we've said before, you have more going on than just wanting to show on a Tuesday or a Thursday or Friday and play some pickle, right?

[00:03:32.890] - Speaker 1
You have a deeper relationship with the game. Part of that is likely wanting to feel more confident when you play and also more competent when you play. In other words, you feel that you go out there and you can hang, you can do the things. You're not going to feel embarrassed. You're not going to feel like, Oh, my God, I missed so many shots compared to my friends, and things like that, which is normal human reactions to things. But the better we can play, the more we can, again, be competent in our sport, the better we're going to feel about it. I was having a conversation today with a new friend, Mike, his fellow coach up in Georgia. We were talking about how the key is in enjoying the moment, basically, and having fun in the moment. He went through some conversation, the way he explains it to his younger players who he works with. He comes from tennis to pickleball, so a lot of his background has been in tennis. But when he works with young tennis players, they'll talk about they just want to have fun, and then it gets into, Well, what is fun?

[00:04:41.580] - Speaker 1
Then at the end of the day, it's not necessarily about winning. It's about learning how to better master a shot. You're going to see there's a commonality in today's podcast, even though the rift is about Wurtle and connection, the thing like that. It's a similar concept, the idea being enjoying the moment that we're in and also enjoying the process, enjoying our progress as players. But part of that is when we think about that, we think about as humans, we have limited time, we have limited energy, and we have limited focus, limited bandwidth, if you want to think about it that way, in terms of what we can focus on, in terms of what we can get done. In our pickleball. We want to play, I get that, right? You're probably spending most of your time playing, and that's perfectly fine, right? Enjoy the sport the way you want to. But let's say that you have 30 minutes or an hour, or maybe a couple of hours in a week, right, to work on your game. It could be a small chunk, 10 or 15 minutes before you step out and accord to play, a wall near the facility where you're at, anything like that, right?

[00:05:49.250] - Speaker 1
That'll help your game. We need to prioritize, right? We need to say, Okay, what is it that I need to focus on right now? We've been talking about this idea about figuring what's right for you right now and things like that. That's important. We have some blog posts coming out soon on our website. If you're on an email list, you'll get notified when they drop, but basically, they're going to give you some tools in terms of navigating information out in the information system, out there in the world of pickleball. But in terms of prioritizing, we need to figure out, Okay, what is it that I should spend my time on? What I want What I want to lean into here, the shot I'm going to lean into here is a shot that if you listen to the podcast, you know that we believe is not fundamental, not important to your game, not important to your results. But I want to talk about this shot because I want to explain to you how not impactful it is in the world in which it can be the most impactful and how the players who issue that shot, who stay away from that shot, do better than the ones who chase it.

[00:06:59.600] - Speaker 1
We're talking about at the pro level of pickleball, we're talking about the erne. The erne is where you jump over the kitchen of the non-bolly zone. You jump over, you hit a... It's a super aggressive, very exciting shot where you can execute it because you're hitting the ball so close to the net, you're smashing it, and then you jump to the outside, and it's great. But what you notice is that the players who do the best, the players who win the most, for the most part, do not have a very low earnings per game attempted number. I'll give you an example. This last Sunday, watching J. W. Johnson and Dylan Frazier, who are expected to be, once the ratings, the numbers of points are settled after this last tournament, will be probably the number one men's doubles team in pickleball. J. W. Johnson executed an earning. When he did it, it was super noticeable. I was like, Oh, my God. J. W. Did an earning. Why? Because he doesn't earn you that often. Why? Because the ernie is just not important. What is important is his dinking. What is important for him and his player, his hands, and his power on his shots, on his volleys, and things like that.

[00:08:17.110] - Speaker 1
That's what matters to him, not the ernie. When you watch players who ernie a lot, usually they're not in the finals. They're just not. Even Ben Jones, arguably, if not the greatest, one of the greatest players of all time of all, he earnies every once in a while. Every once in a while. You want some other players at the pro level, they're just jumping over the line, jumping over the line, jumping over the line. It's tiring, right? It just doesn't really do much for them. Let's extrapolate from that to our games, right? Let's come back down to the amateur player level of thinking, right, of the sport. That's not a bad thing. It's just, obviously, earnies are even less impactful at this level, at our amateur level. But at the amateur level, what we can get distracted with are things like spins we've talked about before, are things like power serves or power Power Shots. There's nothing wrong with power shots. In fact, one of our summer presentations is about a powerful serve. If you're at a place in your life where I got everything else down pretty good and I want to add that, there's nothing wrong with that.

[00:09:25.990] - Speaker 1
But if there's other things that you need to worry about, then you need to worry about those first. I will also say things like a power serve. Don't think the power serve is just something that makes you smile. It makes you happy. Fine. Do it for that reason. But if you're trying to say, You know what? I'd like to play a more well-rounded, competent game. Power Serve is a fine thing, but it may not be what you need right now. You may just need to get your serve in more deeper and consistent, which will also be covered in the same presentation as in the summit, how to hit a high deep serve, which is super safe and just a nice serve. The point of this is that when you think about your game, when When you think about your progress in the sport and you think about becoming more confident and more competent, think about fundamentals. You've probably heard me joke about this before, but C. J. And I and the Better pickleball Coaching team, we stay away from that word when we talk out in the public. Not because it's a bad word. It's a fantastic word.

[00:10:21.480] - Speaker 1
It's a really good word in the English language. The reason we do is because it's not sexy. It's not algorithmically pleasant. And because when players hear the word fundamentals, think about it. What's the first thing that comes to your mind? Beginner, right? Or this is basic. And so what do players think? Not for me. I'll tell you another side story. When I went to the courts today to meet Mike and some other folks, there was a gentleman there who is a flag football coach here in Florida, and he's won nine state championships. I don't know exactly what league or what group, but I know he's won nine state championships. I asked him, I said, Coach, let me just ask you a real general question. I said, Just a coaching question of cross sports. I said, The way that we view it, the way CJ and I and the better pickleball coaching team view pickleball is that it's all about fundamentals. That's what matters. That's what wins. He looked at me and goes, That's exactly right. He says, If you can get the fundamentals down, you're going a long way towards being just a better-performing unit, a better-performing sports unit.

[00:11:29.490] - Speaker 1
In In this case, he was talking about, I tell my players, I'm like, It's flag football. He says, Grab flag, catch pass, probably going to be a lot better than most of the other teams out there because you're focusing on what you need to focus on. As you think about your game, maybe think about the razzle-dazzle, putting that off to the side, and leave the razzle-dazzle to other players. Focus on fundamentals, focus on aspects of the game that will actually elevate your game. If you want one shot, I'll If you with one shot, it's your return of serve. There is no shot in pickleball that has more impact on the entire outcome of a game than a return of serve. If you're a system member, you know this. If you're a system member, you have some materials inside your course that you can go to to specifically dive into it more, into your return of serve, and how to hit it, and where to hit it, and all that type of thing. But just focus on getting your return of serve in and deep, and you're going to be amazing. You're going to see big improvement in your game.

[00:12:29.070] - Speaker 1
All All right, so that is the main subject. In the RIF, I'm going to jump into Wurtl and Connections. So stay tuned for the RIF. As I do, right after our summit in July, so the summit is July 14th or 16th, the online summit I mentioned. We are rolling out a awesome batch of new courses with several guest pros, some new courses from us and some new courses from guest pros. I think you're going to find the courses really good. There's different voices in there, different ways of thinking about different parts of the sport. If you think about the academy, you just already mentioned the system. The system is our A to Z system. It's the whole thing, whole kit and caboodle, as they say, that'll get you to really good 4.0 plus pickleball with what you have in there. In fact, some of our students inside the system have been senior pro players, players who are now playing at the senior pro level who learn the core of how they play their game inside the pickleball system. The academy is more of a specialized course place. Basically, you're having trouble with lobbying. We'll have a course on that.

[00:13:41.300] - Speaker 1
You want to learn how to stack, which is super powerful, right? If you're ready for it, we have a master class on that, not just a course, because I will tell you one thing. I know a lot about pickleball. Say out of pickleball, the pickleball knowledge, I'm a seven or something like that. Out of 10, if you want to, I'll be humble. Let's say seven out of 10, right? In stacking, I'm an 11 out 10. We have a stacking masterclass. We have several courses in there. So check out the academy. You go to betterpickleball. Com and just click on, I think it's classes and it's academy in there, and you'll see the list of courses that are available for you. And then right after the summit, end of July, we're going to have a whole new batch of courses launching. And we'll also have a really nice panel that you can join. If you join the summit, there's a really nice panel on the 18th. Put it on your calendar on July 18th with several of the pros that are going to be talking about we're going to be going over three major areas of the sport and areas to concentrate on if you want to really, not, if you really want to focus on your game for the latter part of 2024 and see what you can do, see how well you can play, you're going to want to join us for that pound.

[00:14:52.020] - Speaker 1
All right, let's talk about Wurtl. Let me tell you what it is real quick, just in case you're not familiar with it. Wurtl is a game that comes out every Basically, it's five-letter words, and so you have five squares and you put in a word. As an example, a lot of people who play Wurtl will put down learn as their first word because that's an L E, N, A, R, net. Those are pretty good letters. Then you get feedback. You get either a green means that you have a letter in the right spot or gold means right letter, wrong spot, things like that. Then if it stays black, it's not a letter for the You got, I believe it's six tries, and you go down, and it's really cool. I mean, you basically have to really... I don't think you have to struggle with it. You're sitting there going like, Okay, I know three letters. I know this one's in the right place. These two are in the wrong place. What else could it be? These letters aren't available now by the time you get to the third or the fourth try. That's a really good, challenging game.

[00:15:46.300] - Speaker 1
There's another game called Connections, which I won't describe it, but it's basically another type of game where you have to make associations and things like that. But here's the point of this. I've fallen in love with Wordle and Connections. I play them every day. It's like I look forward to it. I get up in the morning, I'm like, Oh, let me look at the word hole. Let me see what I could do. It's a good way to get the brain going and things like that. But here's the question. Because, for instance, the Wordles, I think I've gotten the Wordles right so far, and I'm fairly new with it. It's just 12 or 14 days. But the connections, I have not. I have made errors on connections. I'll tell you what happened. A couple of days ago, I got stuck. There was a word. I associated these trees, these words for trees. But there was one word that wasn't a tree. It's chestnut. Chestnut comes from a tree, but it's not a tree. I'm sitting there going like... I had chestnut, cherry, ash, and gum, I think. I click on it and it says I'm one away.

[00:16:40.460] - Speaker 1
I'm like, Oh, man. Then I'm like, Oh, ebony. I think ebony is a tree. I dropped, I think I dropped gum. I was like, Ass cherry chestnut, ebony. I'm still one away. I'm like, What is going on here? I could not get chestnut out of my mind. For some reason, I just couldn't drop it. I could not drop the word chestnut. I ended up striking out because you get four tries, and I tried something else, and then I was done. So I lost. I'm putting that in quotes. You can't see it, but I'm quoting it. I, quote, unquote, lost. But did I lose? Because here's the thing, and I'm going to relate this to pick a ball in a second. Don't lonely me yet. Why am I playing word? Why am I playing connections? Is it to get the word or even the associations and connections? I say no. I mean, that's what I'm trying to do, right? But it's not about the word, and it's not about the connections. Because frankly, I don't remember the connections from a week ago. I just can't remember them. I guarantee you that six months from now, I won't remember how many connections I got successfully and how many I failed at, right?

[00:17:50.880] - Speaker 1
How many I struck out. I'm not going to be able to remember what words I've done in Wordle. I mean, that's not the point. The point is, I know it's good for me. I know that my brain is firing, and I'm like, if I was on one of those brain scan machines, it would be all lit up. I'm struggling with what... Even today, the word today was a little bit It's not a common word. The letters I had identified, I had identified an A in the next last spot. In the fourth spot, I had an A. I knew I had an L and an N that were in the wrong place. I'm sitting there going like, How many words have... I couldn't use an E, I couldn't use There was an E was out of it. There was an R was out of it. All these other letters that I thought were good were out. I'm sitting there going like, I'm struggling. I'm like, Man, what word works here? Anyway, the point is, it's the process. I know it's the act of working on it that is where the joy is. It's the act of trying to establish those connections, of sitting there struggling and going like, What word goes with what?

[00:18:59.490] - Speaker 1
Trying to make sense of it, right? Is where the joy is. Here's where a pick-a-ball comes in. It's the same thing. No, it's not the score. It's not the end result of even the rally. It's the playing. It's the trying. It's the doing your best. It's the hitting the forehand, hitting the backhand, running, trying to figure something out on the other side, trying to hit the best spot you can, trying to learn something new every day if you want to. You can. You just add another little layer, add another layer. That's the joy of the game. Not did you win the game or lose the game. Because the same way that I can't remember my wortels from last week, and I definitely don't remember in the future as I move forward, we can't remember our scores. Frankly, I don't want to go too far on this path, but as an example, I have a hard time remembering what tournaments I've played that I've won medals in because I have lots of medals, but I can't tell you where they're from. Some I can. I mean, there's a couple that stand out, right? But you know what I mean?

[00:20:12.770] - Speaker 1
I guess in four years from now, I'd probably want to remember where those are from. Because that's not the thing. It's not the medal or the winning or the score or whatever. It's the activity itself. The more you embrace the activity itself and find joy in just doing the wordle, just playing the rally, the more you'll get out of it and the more you'll enjoy pickleball. I hope you like that message. I enjoyed giving it. It felt even better than I was thinking about it as I delivered it. So hopefully it landed as well as I think it did. If it did, maybe let us know. Yeah, ready to review us, let us know. If you're on YouTube, throw a comment down below and let us know whether you like this, the Wurtle idea. Because I know sometimes like bowl of ice cream is That's probably our most resonant podcast. Maybe Wurl will be number two. Maybe it'll be number one. I don't know. Anyway, so I hope you enjoyed this week's podcast. As I already mentioned, rate and review if you can. Comment on YouTube helps us reach other players. As always, I cannot ask enough.

[00:21:16.780] - Speaker 1
Please share with your friends because my guess is you have friends, just like I have friends, who sometimes struggle with their relationship with pickleball, and hopefully, pickleball therapy can help them find little nuggets of joy and wisdom in the sport we all love. I hope you have a great week, and I look forward to seeing you next week during pickleball therapy. See you then.