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Why You Can Stop Apologizing in Pickleball

Updated: Apr 21

Canadian Duo Pickleball Coaching Blog
Why you can stop apologizing in pickleball.

We Apologize All the Time in Pickleball!

Because we’re Canadian we apologize all the time anyways. But in pickleball, it seems like people apologize a thousand times a game. Sorry! So-rry! My fault, sorry! We even apologize for apologizing!

It’s time to start giving ourselves a break. Just because we were the last person to hit the ball before something bad happened, we need to start laying the blame where it should be – with our partners!

Here are some common missed shots and why they’re not our fault.

1.      The Ultimate Canadian.

Are you on your forehand? No? But your partner is? And the ball went in between you down the middle? It’s not your fault! Unless there is some compelling other reason (eg, your partner was drinking pre-game and fell over, or worse, they’re a leftie), shots down the middle should always be returned by the partner on the forehand side. Does your partner even have a backhand?! So don’t apologize when your partner is on their forehand and the ball blows by you both. It’s not your fault!


2.      The Sleeper.

Are you at the net? Where is your partner? In no-man’s land? And the other team is targeting them for being there? Then, suddenly an unexpected shot comes to you, and you blow it? That’s not your fault either!


Falling asleep at the net because your partner won’t move up is a common resting technique in pickleball. Why pay attention when your partner has grabbed the spotlight and is doing all the work? It’s more surprising – and even likely – that your partner hasn’t already blown it by the time the other team decides to pick on you. It’s not your fault you stopped paying attention! In fact, it’s perfectly understandable. No need to apologize!


3.      The Edward Scissor Hands.

Are you and your partner both at the net? And you’re up to what….at least one dink per side? Then your partner decides ‘enough, it’s time to speed up the ball!’? Of course, the other team returns it hard, and the ball goes back and forth at warp speed once or twice before you whack it into the river. That is definitely not your fault!

Speeduptus-prematurus is one of the most common afflictions in pickleball. Dinking is boring and it’s a pain. Most people aren’t even very good at it. It’s way more fun to whack the crap out of the ball, regardless of how high or how low it is. Unfortunately, most people aren’t very good at defending a firefight (when the ball is volleyed at high speed more than once over the net) either. By then, winning and losing is just a matter of luck. So. No. Not your fault. Blame your partner and don’t apologize.

4.      The Smashed Potato.

Is your partner a lobber? A bad lobber? Like middle of the opposing court, even-you-could-smash-from-there kind of lobber? Say no more. Regardless of what happens, it’s not your fault. Oh, you may get lucky and get your paddle on one of those million mile an hour smashes, but it won’t last. You will blow it. But no worries. It’s not your fault! There is nothing more you can do. And you did your best. It was your partner!


Not Setting Our Pickleball Partners Up to Fail

Kidding aside, we all make mistakes that lead to lost points. But often, those mistakes happen WAY before the point is lost. It may not seem obvious at the time, but not making those mistakes – and not putting our partners in a position to make a mistake - is a really good way to stop losing (and start winning!) more rallies.

Oh. One more thing. I just want to say that when we’re playing together, my partner is likely better than your partner. Sorry! 😊


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