It Takes a Thousand Hours

Malcolm Gladwell convinced us that 10,000 hours of practice leads to greatness. Do the math. Many of us don’t have 10,000 hours of pickleball left! That’s twenty hours per week for ten years. Plus, while my skills are improving, my body seems to be declining… slowly, I hope.


Credit: Kylesteed

But one thousand hours is a reasonable goal. I have probably logged about 1,000 hours.

My pickleball journey is a long series of plateaus. Advancements came quickly at first, than much more slowly. But my comfort level with the soft game and in nearly all other aspects of this quirky sport is high after 1,000 hours of play.

Hitting third shots and kitchen dinks, for example, simply takes practice for most of us. Doing this in a competitive situation where there is some pressure might accelerate the learning curve.


Keep track of progress! (Credit: CeresB)

Start logging your hours and see whether you agree that, at the 1,000 hour mark, you have reached a level of pickleball play that is quite enjoyable. Hey, that’s still a lot of pickleball!

In doing so, you may find you’ve also reached a new fitness level and developed a few new friends.



2 thoughts on “It Takes a Thousand Hours

  1. Matt, I love your perspective and agree that our focus and concentration in play is key. I felt a bit foolish after writing this blog as even 1,000 hours sort of reveals my addiction. A hundred hours is more appropriate for most of us! So many things in life other than pickleball deserve more attention…like relationships! I am finding satisfaction in making pickleball an intentional social activity in which I enjoy my friends.


  2. Great post. I really liked Gladwell’s book but also found the 10,000 discouraging. As you say, we don’t all necessarily even have that many hours left. I like the 1,000 hour goal better! I think it’s more realistic and really for me a lot comes down to how I spend those hours not just the number of hours.

    If I can put 10X effort and concentration in the hours I do have I notice huge improvement. Also the power of compounding is huge, you may not see immediate results but practice a few hours a week over the course of a year and at the end when you look back the difference is huge.

    Liked by 1 person

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