Pickleball Mental Exercises and Strategies That Help Win Games

Est. Reading: 3 minutes

Pickleball's got this crazy addictive vibe. No wonder it's spreading like wildfire across America. It's like the lovechild of tennis and chess - not as crazy on the body as tennis, but it surely can mess with your head.

Forget just whacking the ball and crossing your fingers for an opponent slip-up; this game's a mind-bender, too. So, let's dive into some brain-boosting exercises and sneaky strategies that can help you win games.

Mental Exercises Before the Match

Let's be real. No matter how good you are, those pre-game jitters can hit hard. And trust me, they can mess with your game. But don't sweat it - here are some mental exercises you can do before the critical day. 

Level Up Your Practice Game

So, you're practicing, cool. But are you really pushing yourself? Refrain from settling for mediocrity. Aim high! Find someone better than you to play against - it's like leveling up in a video game. Get out of that comfort zone and find your weak spots. If you're good at dinking strategies, fine-tune those skills. Long story short, make every practice count.

Know Your Opponents Inside Out

Know your opponents before game day. If you can't catch them in action, stalk their online presence. Figure out their game and strategize how to beat them. Also, remember to check out the weather forecast for match day. It could throw you a curveball. Lastly, prepare yourself for the crowd - their reactions can mess with your head, too.

Boost Your Confidence

Confidence is key; no amount of training will save you if you don't feel it. Take charge, stay consistent, and believe in yourself. If your opponent looks stronger, gear up to be faster and more rigid. Don't ever let that confidence spill over into cockiness. Every match is a new game, and anything can happen.

Build the Winning Mindset

Repeat after me: "I will win." Seriously, it's all about that winning mindset. Forget about past losses, they're just part of the journey. As pickleball pro player Sarah Ansboury would advise, "Develop a long-term memory for success and short-term memory for failure." It's like having a superpower but for your brain.

Stay Healthy

Though not a mental strategy, being physically fit is essential. Ensure a proper diet while training and before the match. Better yet, create a nutrition plan and include carbohydrates. Stay hydrated by drinking 6-10 ounces of water every 20 minutes of exercise. Have enough sleep, rest if you're too tired, and take breaks regularly. 

Mental Strategies During the Match

Have you ever felt like your brain's on lockdown mid-game? Yes, it happens to the best of us, even the pros. Especially when you're up against a seasoned opponent, and the crowd's going wild. But fear not, here are some mental hacks to get you back in the zone and focused on the game.

Size Up Your Opponent

Once that ball bounces, it's time to decode your opponent's playbook. Watch their moves like a hawk. Have they got a favorite shot? Clock their footwork. Knowing their strengths and weaknesses is vital. Then, use that intel to your advantage. It's like having a secret weapon hidden up your sleeve.


Chat with yourself if you're playing in singles. Teamwork makes the dream work in doubles, so always communicate with your partner. Keep that line of communication open, whether it's calling shots or just a nod and a wink. It's all about staying in sync and having each other's backs.

Stop the Self-Blame Game

Have you made a blunder? Yes, it happens. But beating yourself up over it won't help and can worsen your play. You've witnessed some players showing tantrums once they make errors, and I'm sure you know what happened next. So, tune out the booing crowd and focus on the game. Learn from your slip-ups and move on.

Recharge Your Mind

Are you feeling the pressure? Call a timeout. Step away from the noise, grab some water, and breathe. Ignore the bashers - their negativity won't do you any favors. Use that downtime to reset and recharge. You might not realize it immediately, but that one-minute break can significantly help you regain momentum in the game.

Experiment with a Winning Shot

Like in our daily lives, some of our plans inside the pickleball court don't work out as expected. The next best thing to do is to think of some deceptive shots you can try. Instead of repeating the same dink that doesn't work, try adding depth or switching between backspin and topspin. In short, awe your opponent with an element of surprise.

Final Thoughts

Pickleball's a bit like chess - it's all about strategy and outsmarting your opponent. Power and speed are essential in winning a pickleball game, but a clear mind should be your ultimate weapon. So, instead of being just another tough player, be unpredictable and show some mental toughness. That's your ticket to victory.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Related Reading

Go To Blog
About Us
Picklepow started when a group of friends came together over a shared bond – Pickleball! After playing for years, they created a resource to teach others and connect them to courts across the country. Need a new hobby? You might've just found it!
© 2024 Picklepow – All Rights Reserved
Affiliate Disclaimer
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram