Need a date for Valentine’s Day?
Before you use pickup lines like, “I hope you know CPR ‘cuz you just took my breath away!” or “Do you watch Star Wars? Because Yoda only one for me,” here are some helpful tips to help you find love on the pickleball courts this Valentine’s Day:
- Find an OPEN PLAY session in your area and put yourself out there! Grab your paddle, muster up your confidence, and show up. You will not meet anyone if you are endlessly YouTubing “How to Master Third Shot Drops” and don’t get on the court and play people you don’t know. Many local parks (use this court finder from our friends at Bounce) and civic centers have free Open Play sessions. Go! Don’t talk yourself out of it. With Open Play, you get to place your pickleball paddle on the court you want, to challenge who you want. Try an Open Play on a Friday or Saturday night. If you find someone who’s fun to play with, you might have a shot at extending the evening. Love is right around the kitchen corner.
- Join a Pickleball Singles Mingle Facebook page, like this one in Southern California. This is not only a place for conversation and posts, but the group also sets up pickleball play times, events, and even pickleball trips. The first step is hitting that “join” button. You don’t even need to make a profile stating you like sunset walks on the beach and Pinot Grigio, these people are your people! They love pickleball just like you, and they want to meet you.
- Put aside the worn-out Lululemon pants, Bill Belichick cut sweatshirts, oversized gym shorts, and that faded AC/DC t-shirt. Wear something that fits and flatters. Wearing clothes that are clean, fit well, and match not only helps you to look your best, but makes you feel your best, and most likely, play your best. How you dress on the court is a key indicator of your style and how you probably dress off the court (and how clean your car and home are!). Treat yourself to a new fit.
- If you find someone you might be interested in, do not whale on them. Even if they hit a ball that’s served up perfectly for your forehand smash, consider a different shot that doesn’t body bag them. This way, your new potential love interest won’t hate you, even when you say “sorry” unapologetically. Trust this advice! Think smolder rather than smash, flirt rather than frustrate, romance rather than ruin. Remember, when trying to find love, no one wants to get beaten up. It’s not a great place to start from.
- Participate in a Pickleball League or Ladder Play, alone. Win or lose, you split up with your assigned partner after every game and get to meet someone new. In both league and ladder play, you’re guaranteed to play with many different partners. There, you can see who is a freak, and who is normal; who has good sportsmanship, and who doesn’t; and who has a good sense of humor and who is too serious. This translates to life! How will they handle a win or a disappointment in their personal life? Is this person’s raw, unbridled, uncalculated emotion something you would like in a partner? If it is, tell them you like how they play and ask for their number to set up another game. If not, you just dodged a bullet, and you can thank The Dink later.
- Before a game, introduce yourself. Take a quick moment to remember the names of who you are playing with. Remembering someone’s name is a thoughtful way of letting them know you care. In Mindprep Health’s 13 Tips to Help You Remember The Names of Everyone You Meet, Dr. Preston, a licensed clinical psychologist states, “Remembering someone’s name demonstrates basic respect and is also an investment in communicating and creating a connection.” If what you are looking for is a connection, remember their name! Try, “Okay Pat, it’s 5-2, and I’m the second server.”
- Loosen up! Don’t take every pickleball point so seriously. Pickleball is a social game, intended to be fun for people of all ages and types. That point you are throwing a John McEnroe about didn’t really matter in the grand scheme of life. ESPN is not watching, but your partner will be and will notice if you act like an ignoramus.
With over 36 million people playing Pickleball in the United States, surely there’s a soulmate out there for you. Stay positive. Heed these tips, and if all else fails, just go ahead and use, “Let’s commit the perfect crime. I’ll steal your heart and you steal mine.”