Sophie Chiche chats with Ben Johns, one of the professional pickleball's top-ranked players at the 2022 USA Pickleball National Championships.
Benjamin Johns was born on March 18, 1999, and is an American professional pickleball player. He is ranked No. 1 in the world for doubles, No. 2 for mixed doubles, and No. 1 singles by the Pro Pickleball Association (PPA) as well as by the World Pickleball Rankings and Global
Get to know Ben's insights and mindset when playing pickleball. Ben's performance mindset is on autopilot when playing to avoid the mind getting in the way.
We absolutely love the way Ben talks about playing on autopilot. Why? Because to master a skill like playing pickleball, one has to invest hours in it, which you will later refer to as muscle memory.
Have you ever wondered why top athletes rely on muscle memory and why this is important to perform your best? To perform an action faster, accurately, and smoothly takes many hours of practice. Repeating this action many times over time—even the simplest skill in athletics or everyday life requires motor learning. Motor learning involves synthesizing a specific movement or motor skill into our memory by repeating this action repeatedly. Is this what professional athletes do all day? They repeat this action many times to rely on their muscle memory or play on autopilot, as Ben refers to here in his talk with sportsEdTV.
Even though playing pickleball at a professional level requires certain athletic abilities and muscle training, it is essential to understand that the process of memorizing and learning skills such as Dinking, Pickleball Serving, driving the ball, occurs predominantly in the brain, not the muscle.
Over time, dedication, and investing many hours of practice, actions as complicated as playing pickleball can be performed on autopilot and without thought, thanks to autopilot or muscle memory.
Why is this all so fascinating? Thanks to muscle memory, a skill that took you, let's say, one year to master, after the athlete suffers an injury and is forced to rest for an entire year, it might take him two months to get back to where it left off.
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