Welcome to Evan’s Pickleball Journal!
With this pickleball journal I’m creating a tool to help me set my improvement intentions and make progress in a structured way. As with all my journals, I’m basing this journal off my own research and aspirations but I hope it will prove as useful for you as it has been for me.
In creating it I want to make a resource that helps me move forward in all the varied ways pickleball can be challenging, from serves to drops, dinks to speedups.
Why use a pickleball journal?
Journals are my bread and butter, they’re how I get better at basically everything. By writing down my goals and progress I find I am able to focus more on what I want to improve and spend less time screwing around. Using my pickleball journal, I was able to self-direct myself to a very good serve, a strong forehand drive and I’m currently using it to improve my dink and drop.
Now let’s be perfectly honest, my pickleball journal is not fixing these things for me. I have to put in the time and work. But it does help me focus. It helps me direct my energy and stay on track. Without it I find myself playing endless games that are fun and delightful, but not moving my skill progression forward.
I use the journal to direct my skill acquisition and keep track of my progress. I’m not perfect about using it, but when I’m more diligent with it, I find myself improving much faster. And I like that.
What’s inside the journal? The Daily Page.
So the focus of this version of the pickleball journal is the daily tracking page. I’ve set it up similar to most of my other journals, with sections for tracking wellness, setting goals and recording the activities of the day.
The top section is about checking in on my wellness. That includes, nutrition, water intake, sleep and mood. I use this section to get an idea of where my head and body space is, and it helps me be a little more present into how I’m feeling. Sometimes I use this information to dissect why I played poorly (I have a history of under-hydrating in the first half of the day), or notice trends if I am plateauing.
Then I have a section for directing my focus for the day. I want to start out each day with a nice big and bold intention I can see easily as I glance at the page between matches. This allows me to work consistently towards my goals and keeps me from getting toooo distracted.
Below this top wellness and intention section is a quick Warm-Up bar. This is there to keep me thinking about a proper warm-up and includes the elements of the body most important to consistent play. I know, from painful lessons, that if I’m not warming up my wrists and knees, they’re going to be sore. If I don’t warm up my ankles and hips, I’m going to break something. And I don’t want any of that. Again…
Finally, the biggest section in the pickleball journal is for tracking my games. 6 games provided a nice balance of space to write and getting enough games on one page. And for me, 6 games is about 90-120 minutes of play. If I’m playing more than 2 hours a day, I’m probably getting in trouble. If I need to keep track of more games, I’ll just move on to the next page, ignoring the top bar.
I’ve put a spot to record my partner, score, and a big area to note how the game went. I’ve broken that down into a “Positive” and “Improve” column.
With the “positive” column I want to keep track of the things that I’m doing well. I really want to focus on those and think about how I’m doing those things well, using visualization and affirming self talk.
With the “improve” column, I’m trying to identify those aspects of my game that I want to see improve. This should relate back to my Focus and I want to be careful not to take on too much. I want to identify that item I’m trying to improve, and then visualize the right way to do it, maybe writing down the cues that I’ve learned from friends, coaches or my own observations. This would also be where I re-write those cues so hopefully I can take that intention into the next game.
Using my pickleball Journal for Game Progression
Hopefully with each game I’m taking my “improve” notes and applying them to the next game, and writing down what went well in my “positive” notes. By continuing to keep track, the goal is to have a solid, progressive session. And after I finish up (or finish recording for the day), I have a solid data set of my play that I can revisit before my next training session.
The very act of writing down my progress, both positive and improve, solidifies my intentions and helps me remember what I’m trying to get done.
I like that.