On any given day, do you play pickleball to improve your game? If your answer is yes, I get to tell you that you’re playing REC pickleball. Maybe you knew that already! Well, that’s good because it’s a term that keeps popping-up, here and there, and is gathering speed. But what exactly is REC? First, what it isn’t:
COMPETITIVE pickleball at any skill level is easy to define. It is played at structured tournaments organized by age and skill level. Players compete at their highest level in order to win each game. Serious, purposeful, exacting.
FREEFORM pickleball is also easy to define. It’s all fun all the time, characterized by kids and newcomers on the courts running around smashing the ball in all directions with little concern for rules, scoring, understanding of the kitchen.
Then, in between competitive and freeform, there is REC (or more properly - RECreational). REC is played by the vast majority of players, like you, and me. Though, as is often the case, REC doesn’t mean the same to all people all of the time and it has three branches. See what I mean:
CompetitiveRec: Some players imagine they are in a tournament and go all out to win. This may involve pairing with a stronger partner against weaker opponents. They attack the weaker player on the opposing team. The most important thing for them is to win.
SocialRec: For other players the social aspect is the priority. Their game is filled with conversation, laughs, banter, and not much attention is paid to the soft game or the more subtle aspects of game play. Volleying the ball is the preferred shot.
JustRec: Many players want to improve their game as they play, For them, when they use the term REC, they mean fun, competitive pickleball but with a twist. The main goal is to strengthen and enhance their skills as a pickleball player and as a member of a team.
1. Ensure both teams are as evenly matched as possible.
2. Do not attack the weakest opponent.
3. Try to hit a good percentage of their shots to the best player on the opposing team.
4. Focus on being ready, making good volleys, the 3rd shot drop, dinks.
5. Have a strategic plan and use it; trust their partner to make plays.
6. Appreciate great rallies, consistant play, the exceptional shot, the impressive get.
Finally, JUSTREC players value most a game where both teams play well and the final score is close.