By Doug Hanson
I joined the pickleball crowd! I became one of the 36.5 million pickleball players in the United States. The first time I played two years ago, I was unimpressed with the game. Having played a lot of tennis, I didn’t think pickleball was worthy of being called a sport. I mean, what could be so challenging about hitting a wiffle ball back and forth over a net? I was wrong.
Pickleball is a game of strategy and skill, with patience being the key word. Unlike tennis, pickleball has a “kitchen” (non-volley zone), an area seven feet on each side of the net that you are not allowed to stand in while hitting the ball in the air (volley). Rather, you must wait for it to bounce or try to volley it from outside the kitchen. These restrictions lead to playing a strategic “soft game” to set up put-away shots.
The soft game is hitting the ball just over the net so that it lands softly in the kitchen. In doing so, your opponent can’t hit a put-away shot because the ball is so low and close to the net, so they must hit a soft shot back. The soft game continues with each of you hitting short shots low over the net. But patience pays off! Eventually your opponent will hit a shot that inadvertently flies high and far over the net, giving you the chance to hit a winner.
There is a correlation between investing in the stock market and playing pickleball. For the last two years, the stock market has been lackluster, rising and falling but moving sideways. It’s like the soft game in pickleball, delicately hitting the ball back and forth over the net. The soft game won’t win for you, but, with patience, it sets up the winning shot. Patiently investing in this sideways stock market will eventually pay off because the market has always gone up over time.
“Better to be patient than a warrior, and better to have self-control than to capture a city” (Proverbs 16:32). I’ve learned that one of my faults in pickleball is the lack of patience. I strive to be a warrior and conquer the city too soon. Instead of waiting for a high-floating shot to attack, I try to unwisely attack an unattackable ball, which often results in me either hitting it in the net, hitting it out, or popping it up for my opponent to be the warrior and conquer our city. Whoever my pickleball partner happens to be that day may say, “Be patient, Doug.” And if they don’t say it, then I’m sure they are thinking it because I’m thinking the same thing.
“Whoever is patient has great understanding” (Proverbs 14:29a). A person understands the game of pickleball when they can force themselves to play patiently. The same is true for investing. A patient investor understands the payoff will be forthcoming – eventually. And, in the broader scheme of life, practicing patience in one area of life should encourage being patient in other areas. But please excuse me now, I’m in a hurry to get to the pickleball court to practice patience.
Doug Hanson is an investment advisor with Christian Wealth Management in Boise, providing biblically responsible investment advice to Christians. For more information, visit investforthegloryofgod.com or contact him at [email protected] or (208) 697-3699.
Investment advisory services provided by Creative Financial Designs, Inc. Securities are offered through CFD Investments, Inc., Member FINRA & SIPC. 2704 South Goyer Road, Kokomo, IN 46902, 795-453-9600. Christian Wealth Management, LLC is not affiliated with CFD Investments, Inc. or Creative Financial Designs, Inc.