Pickleball Magazine 6-1 | Page 44

Medicine for the Mind

Pickleball encourages positive mental health and improves mental performance in several unique ways .

By Kent Lindeman

We all love pickleball for its challenge

of combining physical skill with tactical , strategic thinking . It ’ s important to recognize that pickleball is an extremely mental game , whether you are competing in a high-level tournament or trying to improve your third-shot drop in rec play . While participating in any sport can boast mental health benefits , pickleball encourages positive mental health and improves mental performance in several unique ways .
Pickleball has an advantage over many sports in the manner that it develops self-confidence . Consider that a new pickleball player can walk onto the court and pick up the basics in a very short time . In addition , any age or skill level can learn the game and enjoy it , regardless of previous racket sport experience . “ When we learn a new skill or improve upon a skill we already have , our self-confidence gets a boost ,” says Dr . Scott Barnicle , a Certified Mental Performance Consultant with the Association for Applied Sport Psychology .
Pickleball ’ s tournament structure allows many positive self-esteem opportunities . Since there are brackets across both skill and age categories , players have the opportunity to compete against others of similar ability and experience for a place on the podium . The medals may not be worth much , but it sure feels good winning them , right ?
Team Players
Pickleball attracts people of all types and walks of life to both rec and tournament play . Meeting new friends and competitors is always beneficial to your mental health , even if you only meet in the heat of battle and tap paddles at the end . “ Like any team sport , having a partner can provide a sense of camaraderie and belonging within a competitive setting . Especially during the time of COVID , when many are feeling separated or isolated , having a partner — even for a short period of time — can be a welcomed change ,” states Barnicle .