Keep a Pickleball Journal and How to Conduct a Self Audit

Reasons that you should start a pickleball journal today and tips to get going!

Keeping a work journal over the past 20 years has been a game-changer for me, transforming how I approach my tasks, track my progress, and reflect on my achievements. 

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Most importantly, it helps me reflect on how I handle situations and helps me learn from my mistakes. And most importantly, a journal helps keep me grounded in “what is” vs. “what if.”

And keeping a pickleball journal is great, too!

pickleball journal

It’s a space to jot down challenges, successes, and learnings, providing me a real-time map of my pickleball growth. This practice helps me recognize patterns, strategize better, and ultimately enhance my performance on the court. 

Journaling can also serve as an emotional outlet, helping people to manage stress and anxiety. This can be relevant for both work and pickleball. 🙂

Things to Include in a Pickleball Journal

Frequency of Play

  • How many days per week am I playing pickleball?
  • How many hours per session am I playing?
  • Have I increased/decreased my frequency of play over the last few months?

Performance and Improvement

  • How would I rate my overall skill level in pickleball? Has it improved recently?
  • What specific skills have I improved upon? (e.g., serving, returning, drop shots, dinks, volleys, etc.)
  • What specific skills do I need to work on?
  • How often do I win my matches? Has this rate improved recently?

Physical Fitness and Health

  • How does my physical fitness level impact my performance?
  • Am I getting physically tired during my sessions? If yes, at what point in the match does this usually happen?
  • Have I experienced any pickleball injuries or persistent discomfort?

Equipment and Gear

  • What equipment do I currently use? (Paddle, shoes, etc.)
  • How often do I need to replace my gear?
  • How much have I spent on gear in the last year? (This one may surprise you!)
  • Am I happy with the quality of my gear, or should I consider upgrading?

Costs Associated with Playing

  • What is the total cost of playing pickleball each month, including club memberships, court fees, equipment, and transportation?
  • How does this cost fit into my overall budget?

Training and Learning

  • How often do I participate in training sessions or lessons?
  • What skills or techniques have I learned from these sessions?
  • How much have I spent on training or lessons?

Competitions and Tournaments

  • Have I participated in any pickleball tournaments?
  • What were my results in these tournaments?
  • How did I handle the pressure of competition?
  • What costs are associated with participating in these tournaments?

Community and Social Aspects

  • Have I made new friends or connections through pickleball?
  • Am I part of any pickleball clubs or groups?
  • How has the social aspect of pickleball impacted my overall experience and enjoyment of the sport?

Goals and Future Plans

  • What are my future goals in pickleball? (e.g., improve a specific skill, increase win rate, participate in a tournament)
  • What steps do I need to take to reach these goals?
  • How committed am I to reaching these goals?

This comprehensive audit should give you valuable insight into your current pickleball journey and assist you in planning and improving for the future.

Tools to Start a Pickleball Journal

There are many ways to keep a journal, and the method one chooses can greatly depend on personal preference. I’ve been an Evernote fanboy for more years than I’d like to admit, but find a method that works for you.

Traditional Paper Journal: For those who enjoy the tactile experience of writing, a traditional paper journal is a great option. You can easily find a variety of journals in stores, ranging from simple, unruled notebooks to elaborate, leather-bound diaries. They allow for a more personal and artistic touch, with the freedom to sketch, doodle, or use color pens to organize and personalize your entries.

Digital Journal: Online tools like Google Docs, Evernote, or dedicated journaling software like Penzu and Day One offer the advantage of accessibility. These tools often provide features like tagging, indexing, and searching, making it easy to organize and retrieve your entries.

Smartphone Notes App: Almost all smartphones come with built-in note applications. These are handy for on-the-go entries. They can be synchronized across devices, making your notes accessible wherever you have internet access. Some popular apps include Apple Notes, Google Keep, and Simplenote.

Voice Journal: If writing isn’t your thing or if you’re constantly on the move, consider a voice journal. Use the voice recorder on your phone or a dedicated app to record your thoughts. You can then either keep these recordings or transcribe them into text for a written record.

Bullet Journal: A bullet journal is a combination of a to-do list, diary, and planner. It’s a flexible system that allows you to “rapid log” – making quick notes of tasks, events, and notes. It can be done in a physical notebook or digitally.

Blog or Social Media: If you’re comfortable with sharing your thoughts with others, you might consider a blog or even social media platforms. This can be a good way to engage with a community and receive feedback. Remember, however, that these platforms are public.

Email to Yourself: Some people find writing an email to themselves helpful. This is a simple method that doesn’t require any special apps or tools and can be done from any device that has email access.

Remember, the most important thing is consistency. Choose the method that feels the most convenient and enjoyable for you.

Sample Pickleball Journal Entry

Date: August 1, 2023

Location: New Community Park Courts

Duration of Play: 90 minutes

Participants: Played with a new group – Anne, Raj, and Mike.

Session Summary:

Today was a refreshing change of pace as I ventured out to the New Community Park courts for the first time. It was a little intimidating at first, stepping onto unfamiliar ground with new faces, but I quickly found my footing.

The courts were well maintained, spacious, and offered a fantastic view of the park. I played doubles with Anne, Raj, and Mike – all regulars at this location and experienced players. Despite the initial awkwardness of adjusting to new team dynamics, I felt we fell into a good rhythm.

We played for a solid 90 minutes. I felt my stamina holding up, but I did start to tire towards the end. Thankfully, no signs of the shoulder discomfort I’ve had in previous weeks, which I consider a victory in itself.

I felt particularly good about my serves today, landing them more consistently than usual. My volley game, however, needs work – I missed a few easy shots which I shouldn’t have.

The new group was friendly, supportive, and shared a few helpful tips. Raj’s advice on improving my backhand grip was particularly insightful. I think practicing with this group could greatly benefit my game.


The novelty of the location and the people brought a renewed excitement to the game. It reminded me that pickleball is not just about competition, but also about community and camaraderie. Playing with different people pushed me out of my comfort zone and offered fresh perspectives on my gameplay. I intend to play more sessions here.

Goals for Next Session:

  1. Work on volley shots.
  2. Implement Raj’s advice on my backhand grip.
  3. Maintain energy levels till the end of the session.

Overall, an exciting day of pickleball with plenty of positives and a few areas to improve. I’m looking forward to the next session!

Journaling your pickleball journey enhances self-awareness, fuels improvement, and brings joy in revisiting your progress. It’s your personal playbook, a testament to your passion, persistence, and the thrilling game that is pickleball. Keep playing, keep journaling, keep growing.

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