Without a doubt, the best way for you to keep improving is to play with better players. It forces you to play at the top of your ability, makes you pay for your mistakes, and puts you on the fast-track to a higher skill level.
But if you attempt to only ever play with players who are better than you, then you are, what I call, a pickleball snob, and I believe it will cost you.
Remember, someone took you under their wing when you first started playing, so pay it forward and make a point to regularly play with players who are weaker than you. Perhaps you regularly play a warmup game with them, or once a week you decide to dedicate the last half of your play to playing with them. Not only does it build community, it also helps raise the general level of play.
If players ask to play with you, and you opt to play a higher-level game, let them know when you WOULD be willing to play, perhaps later in the day, or later in the week.
Don’t be patronizing—or overly aggressive. Instead of focusing on who wins or loses, find a way to make it challenging for yourself. Pick a shot you want to improve upon and focus on hitting that shot. Or, try to reduce your number of unforced errors. Focus on keeping the ball in play rather than slamming every put-away shot.
Consider how YOU’D like to be approached when lower level players ask to play with you and approach the better players that way.
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