The Definition of Insanity is Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again and Expecting Different Results.
The above quote has been misattributed to Einstein, Benjamin Franklin and Tony Elliot of the New Orleans Saints, among other notables, but it certainly applies to pickleball, as A.J.’s experience in last weekend’s tournament clearly showed. Both he and his partner were not playing their best, based on other, better performances they had had together. Nonetheless, his partner was consistently trying to drop balls to either Opponent A’s or B’s backhand, whichever seemed appropriate, while A.J. was consistently trying to drop balls into the middle. Where somebody always seemed to be lurking.
The middle is your friend, you say? Conventional wisdom often needs to be challenged, like here, for instance. In pickleball the middle IS your friend, but only when you are dealing with two righties or two lefties. In those cases the middle is generally a good bail-out position. In this case AJ and his partner were playing a team with one left-hander and one person with a verystrong backhand. They weren’t even bothering to stack, because there was always a weapon in the middle.
AJ has been sulking for two days since the tournament but when he has been able to talk about he’s shared that what he should have done was to target the few places they were missing…in both opponents’ cases, directly into their bodies. Instead it was middle, middle, middle, and point, point, point for the black hats.
Clearly changing tactics is a good idea when things go wrong. Gale Leach wrote about this recently as well. Perhaps in the future AJ will remember this mid-match when things appear to be a bit unsettled.