Pickleball Superstitions: Fun Rituals and Habits

Pickleball is a sport that is beloved by many enthusiasts worldwide. The game has gained so much popularity, especially among the older generations, that it has become common to see people of different ages and backgrounds playing the sport. The game is simple to learn and play, but it takes time and practice to master the skills needed to become a great player. However, there’s more to pickleball than just the skills and strategies involved. Players observe certain habits and rituals that can bring them good luck and help them win matches. These

Pickleball Superstitions: Fun Rituals and Habits of Players

Pickleball players are known for observing certain superstitions and habits, which they believe can bring them good luck and help them win matches. Some players have a specific ritual they perform before a game, while others may have lucky charms they carry with them. These superstitions may seem insignificant to a non-player, but to these athletes, they can be the key to winning a match. This article explores some of the most common fun rituals and habits that pickleball players observe and how they may affect their performance on the court.

The Lucky Paddle

The most common superstition among pickleball players involves the paddle. Many players are convinced that their paddle can potentially help or harm their performance on the court. Some players demand the same paddle for every game, while others have specific preferences for the type of paddle they use. Players have sometimes even gone as far as to name their paddle or decorate it with stickers and other decorations.

While there is no scientific basis for how the paddle can influence a player’s performance, there’s no denying the psychological boost a player can experience when they have confidence in their equipment. If using a particular paddle helps a player feel more connected with their sport or gives them the confidence to perform at a higher level, it makes sense to stick with it. The most notable example is Tyson McGuffin, who has even gone as far as to release his signature paddle with a major paddle manufacturer, which features his design and is said to have contributed to his success on the court.

The Rituals

Many pickleball players have pre-game rituals that they believe can help them hone their focus and concentration. These may include listening to a particular music playlist, performing specific stretching exercises, or visualizing themselves playing a great game. It’s not uncommon to see players doing a lot of jumping jacks or even dancing to get their energy levels up and relieve any pre-game nerves.

If you’re a superstitious player, you may think that going through the same rituals in the same order will help you get into the right frame of mind to compete. Confident, relaxed, and intensely focused players often have an advantage in a sport based on quick reactions and decision-making. While the scientific basis for these rituals is limited, pickling enthusiasts agree that the rituals can create a positive mental state that helps with performance.

Good luck charms

Many pickleball players swear by the power of a good luck charm. It might be a particular necklace or bracelet, a piece of clothing, or even a lucky coin. The lucky charm provides a sense of security because athletes know they have the symbol that has accompanied them through all their victories. Using a lucky charm can help a player enter a kind of ‘safe’ mindset, reminding them that they have all of their powers for their game on board, provided they have faith in themselves.

It can be the player’s belief or reassuring feeling towards the lucky charm that enhances performance rather than it being the charm itself. While the charm itself may not hold any unique qualities or powers, its ability to comfort and provide a sense of confidence can help a player perform at their best.

The power of visualization

One of the most compelling superstitions has scientific backing – the power of visualization. To be effective, visualization requires more than a few random thoughts. Positive visualization entails a disciplined approach that creates the desired outcome’s detailed mental image. Players condition their subconscious and unlock their hidden potential by visualizing themselves winning the game or making a great shot.

While visualization is yet to be fully understood, many athletes use it to improve focus and concentration during games. Some players will close their eyes just before a match to visualize their playing style or particular shots they intend to use. By picturing themselves playing great shots or winning their game, athletes can create a mental roadmap that has the potential to lead them to success.

Pickleball players follow various superstitions ranging from quirky habits to deep-rooted beliefs. While the science behind many of these practices can be challenging to prove, it’s easy to see how following them can improve focus, confidence, and overall performance. You’re not alone if you believe in the power of the paddle, a pre-game ritual, a good luck charm, or visualization. As with many other aspects of sports and games, what’s going on mentally matters the most, not the physical action.

The History of Superstitions in Sports

Superstitions have been a part of sports since the beginning of time. From prehistoric civilizations to the modern day, athletes have been known to seek extra help from the supernatural to achieve their goals. Athletes have long-held beliefs and strange behaviors, from the lucky undergarments that Michael Jorden would wear during games to present-day gymnasts who wear the same leotard for every competition.

While some of these beliefs and rituals may seem silly or even downright strange, there’s something to be said for the psychological benefit of incorporating them into a pre-game routine. Athletes often experience tremendous pressure to perform at their best, and having control over their environment or destiny can be vital to their success.

Do Superstitions Work?

There is no clear-cut answer to this question. While some athletes swear by their superstitions and report heightened levels of success when following them, the science behind the practice is limited. The placebo effect may play into this phenomenon, where the belief in superstition alone is enough to improve performance.

Some of the most successful athletes in history have used superstitions to their advantage, from Michael Jordan’s lucky shorts to Serena Williams’ habit of bouncing the ball five times before serving. However, superstitions can become problematic when athletes become overly attached to them and refuse to adjust their behavior when necessary.

Where to Draw the Line?

While fun rituals and habits can boost players psychologically, they should never be used as a crutch. There’s a fine line between a healthy routine and a superstition that’s taken too far. Players becoming overly attached to a particular habit or ritual should consider how that practice impacts their mental game and overall performance.

Final Thoughts

Pickleball players aren’t the only athletes who have superstitious routines and habits. Throughout history, athletes of all levels and types have held beliefs and completed strange behaviors to help boost their performance. While it’s unclear how much a superstition can influence gameplay, the benefits of following a healthy pre-game routine are well-known. In pickleball or any other sport, the most crucial aspect is to find a balance between what works and what hinders performance. It’s best to enjoy the fun while not letting it adversely affect your gameplay.


Here are some frequently asked questions about Pickleball Superstitions:

1. What is a superstition?

A superstition is a belief that certain habits, rituals, or objects can bring good fortune or prevent bad luck.

2. Do Pickleball Superstitions work?

While the scientific basis for some of these superstitions is scarce, there is no denying the psychological boost they can create. Many athletes use superstitions to get the right mindset for a game and help them feel more confident on the court.

3. How do Pickleball Superstitions affect gameplay?

By following these rituals, athletes feel a sense of control over their environment and often experience heightened focus and concentration levels. It can be the belief itself or the reassurance of a lucky charm that enhances performance rather than it being the charm itself.

4. Why do athletes believe in superstitions?

Athletes often operate under incredible pressure, and having a lucky charm or ritual can create a sense of security that provides confidence and relaxation.

5. What’s the difference between a superstition and a pre-game routine?

While a superstition is a belief that certain habits or objects can bring good luck, a pre-game routine is a set of actions that an athlete performs before a game to help them focus and prepare mentally for their performance.

6. Are superstitions unique to Pickleball?

No, Pickleball isn’t unique in its association with superstitions. Many other sports involve pre-game routines and rituals, from soccer to basketball to tennis.

7. Is it necessary to follow a Pre-game routine to perform well?

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to performance, many athletes find that following a pre-game routine can help them settle into a mindset that allows optimal performance.

8. Are Lucky charms effective?

The science behind the effectiveness of lucky charms is limited, but the psychological benefits a player experiences from believing in them can be profound.

9. Can superstitions cause anxiety?

Depending on the player, superstitions have the potential to add stress or decrease anxiety levels. The excessive dependence on them typically leads to additional stress rather than relaxation.

10. Can superstitious behavior lead to addiction?

It’s unlikely that someone will become addicted to their pre-game rituals or lucky charms. Still, an over-reliance on these systems can lead to obsessive behaviors that eventually impact gameplay.

11. Should coaches encourage superstitious behavior among their players?

While every coach seeks the best for their players, exciting and encouraging superstitious behavior can be counterproductive. A better alternative involves helping players understand the importance of a healthy pre-game routine and convincing them to appreciate it.

12. What’s the connection between visualization and superstitions?

Visualization is a type of superstition that, when done correctly, can help focus an athlete’s mental energy and unlock their hidden potential. Players must create a detailed mental image of the desired outcome, including the setting, the opponent, and the technique used in executing a shot, among other details.