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There is something special about coming together with people in your community, and I’ve discovered it’s even more rewarding to meet your neighbors on a sport court for some friendly and fierce competition. I’ve written about my recent Pickleball obsession, but I’d like to dig a little deeper on the power of learning something new alongside your community.  

Because it is a community sport, you never know who you’ll meet up with on the Pickleball court. You may play a match against a six-figure CEO, or partner up with an amazing tradesperson, teacher, or bartender. You really have no idea who has accomplished what in their lives – you are all just there to play the great equalizing game of Pickleball!

It’s no secret that learning something new is good for your brain. Adding a new skill to your “arsenal of knowledge” is a powerful mind/body benefit. I’ve reached a level of success in my professional life that I’m proud of. It has been humbling to start learning a sport as a complete novice and have to push myself in new ways to grow as a Pickleball player.

As I’ve improved, I’ve had to ask myself…am I just here to have fun? Or do I really want to improve? The way I am wired, I want to keep getting better. There certainly are some days that are frustrating!  But I have decided that it is more than just a cardio workout so that I can have cookies and milk at the end of the day (which I love). It is something I want to learn to do at a high level and be successful at. 

This particular new hobby has also forced me to tend to my body like I haven’t before. I’ve played for almost a year but have just started being more mindful of taking care of my body. There is the warm-up and a cool-down, which need to be tailored to different climates. I have invested in purposeful stretching, recovery creams, and a massage gun. I am investing in my health so I can play again tomorrow! All of this has come along with the challenge of learning something new.  

~Gina Cotner