There isn’t much time to think in pickleball, but with practice. . .
You can learn to slow down – to take your time.
I find I play my best pickleball when I get in to a sort of meditative state. I try to say less – to interact with the people less. I feel almost as if I am an observer in the middle of the court, especially just before a serve. I just let the game unfold as it will. I try to eliminate all thoughts of winning the point, the game, being cool, performing well, or anything at all other than just being ‘there.’ Then when the ball comes to me, I generally do the right thing, which may include utilizing all the information I have gathered.
You can learn to get information such as about opponents’ positions during the critical parts of a rally.
You can recall information even before the rally, such as who is left-handed,
who has trouble with backhands, who returns serves short, etc.
You can then start deciding what to add to defensive shots to make them offensive.
For instance, if you’ve been driven outside the sideline, you know that your opponent will try to take advantage of the opening you vacated. How can you thwart that? Even though you may be racing across the floor just to reach the shot, and even though you may have trouble with accuracy at that point, what can you do? Is there a passing shot opportunity? Is the opponent’s teammate out of position? What about a lob? Etc.
If you can slow down your game, or your perception of the game, these are the kinds of decisions you can execute.