Find Your Tribe: Pickleball Edition

Find Your Tribe: Pickleball Edition

When I decided to start teaching pickleball over 2 years ago, I had a lot goals and visions in mind that I wanted to see come to fruition. Some of my goals were coaching/teaching oriented, some competitive in nature, but my main goal was to make sure that I was having fun and enjoying pickleball for the game that it is. I wanted to make sure I never lost sight of the happiness I felt when I first found pickleball. I'll be honest, as pickleball became more competitive for me and I started taking on coaching as a full time job, there have been (and still are) some moments where it hasn't been as enjoyable as I want it to be.  Most of the frustration I have felt during these stretches has come because I was trying to accomplish all of my goals by myself. But as I have gathered more people around me and have built more valuable friendships and relationships along the way, I've realized that I'll never be able to accomplish the things I want to accomplish alone. In my eyes, the moment I start trying to do it by myself is the moment I fail. 

Finding your tribe is not only important for reaching goals and being successful, it's imperative to have people around you that care about you for your own well being. Encouragement, support and tough love are all things that we need as competitive players and as individuals in general. For most of us, it's hard to give ourselves what we need in one of these areas, let alone all three. Everyone needs different types of tribes. We all have different goals and we need certain things based off of what those goals are. I have many goals and things I want my life to look like when it comes to pickleball, so my tribe is full of all kinds of different people that help me accomplish different things. It's imperative to figure out what is important to you and surround yourself with those that can help be about those things. This isn't just pickleball, this is in anything that you do. I want to share some of my tips with you for finding your tribe and selecting the people you add to it!

Set your goals and be selective - Whether you are a competitive player or a social weekend warrior, knowing how you want pickleball to add to your life is crucial for choosing the right people to surround yourself with. If you are a competitive player and want to improve your skill level, only hanging out with social players is going to be a disservice to your goals and hard work. You'll need to find some players who have the same desires and work ethic to grow with you. Surround yourself with these types of people. If you are a social player and just enjoy hitting the ball and giggling a bit, you'll need to find some players who are as amused by missing the ball into the net as you are. If you find yourself playing with only hardcore competitive players, it's going to be frustrating for all involved. If you enjoy playing pickleball to get your daily cardio in, find other individuals who you mesh with that also want to play for several hours a day and will hold you accountable for getting out and playing. Common goals are the base of finding the right people to join your tribe. Maybe you have a combination of goals like I do. It's okay to have different types of people in your tribe to help you accomplish your goals, you just have to know how to separate them and not expect the wrong thing from the wrong person! Don't expect the hit-and-gigglers to drill with you 3 times a week. Know who in your tribe can help you with that. And lastly, it's okay to exclude people from your tribe. If someone doesn't help you reach your goals, don't feel obligated to bring them in. That's your choice.

Don't use people - This one is kind of simple but it doesn't need to go unsaid. When you are looking for tribe members, know that you aren't just looking for someone to add value to your life, you are also looking for someone that you can add value to as well. Even business partnerships understand this for this most part. When one business comes to another for help or a potential partnership, they are always willing and excited to offer what they can to help the other party. When you bring someone into your tribe, know that they are bringing you into their tribe as well. There are things that they need and can use from you; support, encouragement, a drilling partner, Friday night drinking partner. Whatever it is, know that it is your obligation to find ways to add to their goals and successes as well. If you find that all of your tribe relationships are one-sided, you'll soon see your tribe dissipate. Healthy tribes are all about give and take. Be willing to give more than you take!

Some things can go unsaid - You don't have to send someone an official invitation to join your tribe. You don't have to create a private Facebook group for it either. Let your tribe grow organically. Unfortunately, people will come and go, but seasons are a way of life. Build trusting and healthy relationships with those you consider tribe members and you will find that your tribe will step up for one one another in situations you never expected. Also remember, just because two people are in your tribe, it doesn't mean they are in each others. They can be and that's a great thing, but your tribe is YOURS! Find the people that help you achieve your goals and become the best version of your self that you can be.

Having people around who share common goals, interests and chemistry with us is vital to our overall well being. We need people just like we need air, water, and food. Find people you simply enjoy being around. If you have a drilling partner but you cant' stand their personality and you get frustrated when you are hitting with them, maybe it's time to re-evaluate their belonging in your tribe.

Make sure your tribe members help you accomplish these 3 things; your goals, your happiness and your accountability. If they don't bring you these three things, they probably don't belong! If you have a good tribe, good for you :) If you are looking for pickleball people to surround yourself with, I hope that my advice in this article helps you find your tribe to allow you to thrive in the things you are looking to accomplish. My tribe is expansive and all of my students/followers are in it!  Always feel free to reach out to me with any questions you have. I'll be glad to respond and help however I can!

Mitchell Johnson

I am excited to announce that I have partnered with Good Get Apparel to bring pickleball players all over the country the freshest pickleball swag! Please use this link to check out their clothing line and receive 15% off of your order! 


Get 15% with this link or by using code: JOHNSON on Good Get Apparel's website!

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