One of the best things about pickleball is that it’s a sport couples can play together, even into their golden years. But when a husband and wife step onto the court in hopes of sharing a fun experience while enriching their relationship, they might be surprised to find how challenging “fun” can be. So how do you and your spouse achieve an attitude of respect when your game is less than stellar? Here are a few tips:
Be on the Same Page: Before stepping onto the court as a couple, know exactly to what degree your partner is playing competitively, or if he or she is simply out there for the exercise, social interaction and fun. Then, respect that choice and play accordingly.
Poaching: Just because you’re the better player of the two, or even if you’re not, do not show up your partner by poaching his or her shot unless this strategy has been agreed upon ahead of time. If you accidentally poach, apologize—even if you make a shot worthy of applause.
Giving Advice: This can be touchy. Once again, only give advice if your partner has indicated that he or she is receptive to it. And even then, proceed with tact and love and preferably in a voice of a television spokesperson pitching a sleep aid.
Leave the Baggage at Home: This can be difficult, but remember that playing pickleball together can be an opportunity to leave petty grievances behind and begin a fresh start. If this may be difficult to do at some point, then don’t play together that day. But if you do choose to play together, show your spouse the same consideration you would show to someone you’re playing with for the first time. Respect, patience and encouragement all help to make the experience an enjoyable one for all.
Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously: Remember, this is not the Olympics. Pickleball is about competition, great exercise and building social communities and, for the vast majority of couples, it’s about having fun!