Mastering the Art of “Percentage Pickleball”: The Key to Consistent Victory


In a recent conversation A big pickleballer revealed a game-winning strategy that may seem counterintuitive at first glance. The idea is basically to strive to limit your errors to a mere two or three throughout an entire game. Yes, you read that correctly! The goal for a doubles team is to minimize mistakes to just a couple per game. Surprising as it may sound, this approach holds true regardless of whether you’re a 3.0 player or a seasoned professional.

To truly grasp the significance of this strategy, let’s take a closer look at some eye-opening statistics compiled by Max Jolly for the 2018 Grand Canyon State Games. In the men’s doubles final, featuring Kyles Yates and Dave Weinbach against Aspen Kern and Matt Staub, the pros showcased their exceptional precision.

Over the course of three games, only two out of 110 serves were missed. Kern, displaying remarkable consistency, didn’t miss a single dink out of the 58 he attempted. Similarly, Yates missed just one dink out of 112, while Weinbach flawlessly executed every third shot drop. These professionals engage in lengthy rallies, making their consistency all the more crucial for achieving success.

Now, you may be wondering where the errors occurred in this seemingly flawless game. Surprisingly, the errors primarily occurred during the serve return, with only 92.7% of returns finding their mark. While Yates and Weinbach only missed one return each, Staub and Kern were responsible for the majority of the errors. Additionally, the ratio of winners to unforced errors was meticulously calculated.

Unfortunately, Staub experienced a challenging day, as his unforced errors nearly doubled his winners. So, who emerged victorious in this highly competitive match? It was Yates and Weinbach, triumphing with a score of 10-12, 11-5, 11-2.

The statistics of the winning team are undeniably impressive, underscoring the importance of what Matty Klein aptly refers to as “percentage pickleball.” John Sperling, a distinguished senior pro who also graced the Pickleball Fire podcast, concurred, emphasizing the need to play what he affectionately calls “boring pickleball.” Regardless of the terminology used, the key to winning in pickleball lies in minimizing mistakes.

By adopting the mindset of “percentage pickleball,” you can elevate your game to new heights. Focus on consistency, precision, and minimizing errors. Embrace the notion that each shot counts and that every mistake can have a significant impact on the outcome of the game.

Develop a strategic approach that prioritizes smart decision-making and calculated shots over flashy but risky maneuvers. Remember, pickleball is a game of strategy and finesse, and by playing with precision, you position yourself for consistent victory.

So, the next time you step onto the court, channel the spirit of “percentage pickleball.” Embrace the seemingly “boring” aspects of the game, knowing that each error you avoid brings you one step closer to triumph. With practice, determination, and a commitment to minimizing mistakes, you’ll witness a remarkable transformation in your game. Get ready to dominate the court with your newfound mastery of “percentage pickleball.”

What do you think?

Written by Billy Pickles

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