We want to take a minute and explain why we feel so strongly about wearing some form of eye protection when you play pickleball. The first reason is self-evident. The other three may surprise you.
While a pickleball doesn’t move as fast as the ball in some other sports and isn’t very heavy, it can still do a lot of damage to an unprotected eye. You may feel like you have cat-like reflexes and quickness, but the speed and direction of the ball can still surprise you. It can get deflected off the net or a paddle and leave you with no time to react. We saw two top-level pros get hit in the face with straight shots just recently. One has a black-eye and the other has a broken pair of glasses. Just sayin’…
The second reason (as Joe described in the video) is because, from a neural perspective, the right (for you) colored glasses can improve your performance. Many of us who have experimented with different colored lenses have found improvements in flexibility, strength, speed and reaction time when wearing a color that our brains find relaxing. One pro mentioned to me that he instantly felt an improvement in his vision and play when he tried a pair of colored glasses under the lights. Now he wears them every time he plays.
Thirdly, whether you are aware of it or not, you will feel safer at the kitchen with a pair of glasses on and, therefore, play better. Many of our clients have told us that they don’t feel comfortable at the kitchen with a banger across the net. Glasses help. It’s hard to play aggressively if you are not comfortable. If your brain feels safer, you will relax, reduce the subconscious flinch reflex, and play better.
The final reason you should consider wearing eye protection is simple consideration for your opponents. While simple pickleball etiquette dictates that you shouldn’t be aiming at your opponent’s face, errant shots happen all the time, even at the pro level. No one wants to hurt an opponent, so why not minimize one of the most likely causes.So by simply putting on eye protection, you can:
- Protect one of your most valuable assets
- Increase performance with the right colored lenses
- Allow you to be more confident at the kitchen
- Have your opponents appreciate the opportunity to play with you even more
If you’d like to know how to find out what glasses work best for you, try one of the approaches below. You can’t always judge just by color, you have to try specific glasses.
- Try to work it out on your own. There is almost always a discernible difference when you change glasses. Expect to feel a difference.
- If you are a NeuroPickleball member and/or have taken a clinic, click here for content that will show you how to test glasses more accurately
- If you’d like to be coached through the process (it takes less than 15 minutes), click here to schedule a remote coaching session ($25).
Viewer Discretion Advised
(But, If you're going to watch, we recommend fullscreen)
With great respect and thanks to the players involved, we want to share two incidents that happened within days of each other. The players are of the highest caliber, so if you think you’re too good, or too quick to get hit, think again. Thanks to Scott, Bill and Ken for letting us share in a good cause.