The biggest draw to pickleball is how it brings people together. The biggest pleasure for me about the game, besides meeting a lot of wonderful people, is seeing people not involved in any athletics at all taking up the game.Barney McCallum - Pickleball Co-inventor
Social Play events are designed to allow all pickleball players the opportunity to socialize and work with players at all skill levels. From the beginning, the culture of pickleball has been to be welcoming and inclusive of players at all skill levels. As player skill levels advance, higher skill level players don't always want to play with lower skill level players because one of the best ways to improve is to play with better players.
It forces lower skill level players to play to the top of their ability, makes them pay for mistakes, and puts them on the track to playing at higher skill levels. It does almost the opposite for higher skill level players. It keeps higher skill level players from having to play at the top of their ability, from paying for their mistakes, and from improving their skill level. Everyone has to start somewhere, and even the best players in the world were beginners at one point.
How can weaker players graciously get to play with better players in order to improve their game? How can better players ask weaker players to in order to improve their game?
WHEN YOU WANT TO PLAY WITH BETTER PLAYERS
- Politely ask at the beginning of play if they mind you joining and give them an out.
- Be conscientious about giving them a chance to play with other higher-level players.
- Ask higher-level players to join a game with you. Hit the ball to the higher-level players at least half the time so that you can improve.
- Be a good sport during and after the game. Remember, the higher-level players are probably not playing with the highest intensity.
- Ask for feedback and be open-minded when higher-level players provide feedback.
WHEN WEAKER PLAYERS ASK YOU TO PLAY
- Pay it forward to grow the sport
- Consider dedicating a time at the beginning or end of play to work with weaker players
- Offer other times to play if you are involved in a higher-level game
- Set expectations about how long you can play
- Find the balance between patronizing and overly aggressive
- Instead of focusing on winning or losing, find a way to challenge yourself by
- working on a particular shot
- reducing the number of unforced errors
- keeping the ball in play
- Limit feedback to one or two aspects of their game. Providing too many pointers can be overwhelming.