Pickleball Journey

Misadventures of Andrew Lenz and a yellow ball

New Indoor Courts in Campbell

Thursday, January 19, 2023. (Court Day #574)

Yesterday, I emailed Matt Babb about creeping in after his serve. It’s a little tweak that can make a big difference. Having to backpedal for the third shot is bad. Aside from that, I emphasized to him “Placement over Power” . . . a mantra of mine. On Tuesday, Matt had some likely winners that he simply hit past the baseline.

Skypark

My right wrist is still bothering me, but not enough to keep me from playing. I arrived at Skypark just before 6:45 p.m. There were six courts in use.

My first game was with Judy against Sharyl and Max. Max is getting better. He’s gone from cannon fodder to solid 3.0.

My play was “off”, but I got a little bit better as evening went on. Unlike Tuesday night, when I hit the white tape of the net 14 times, it was only 4 times tonight. However, I hit half a dozen of my serves out long and I also had one serve that hit the white tape. Very unlike me.

Harder Games

Matt Babb and Tim (the tennis coach) were playing a game against Casey and Nate. They were all playing very well. And the teams were fairly evenly matched. Paul and I announced that we would play the winners. Surprisingly, Tim and Matt won the game. I was fully expecting to see the others handily the win that game, but as we would learn, Matt and Tim were on fire.

So we took on Tim and Matt who quickly earned themselves a 10-1 lead. Paul and I were coming off of two lopsided games against two young college students, Nick and David. Nick and David did better in the second game, but still lost 11-5. That game was never in doubt. It took some adjusting back to the speed and skill of this new game. It was an entirely different level of play. Paul and I came back after being down by 9 points and made the game much more respectable, though Tim and Matt still won.

We switched sides and played another game and lost this one as well. There were some pretty impressive rallies in this game that I wish that we would’ve recorded, but, overall, not a game that I would want to highlight my skills! With the lights going out at 9:30 p.m., we managed to quickly squeeze in one last game. It went fast with Matt and Tim winning yet one more time. Well . . . it’s nice to win, but it’s more helpful to lose. Losing games educates you on your weaknesses.

Creeping

After a game of Paul and myself against Mark Dettle, and David (Minori’s friend), I told Paul that he had been creeping in after his serves and it was putting him out of position for the next shot. He’d have to scramble backwards to allow the service return to bounce. Paul looked at me and was very skeptical. He didn’t seem to believe me. I was quite amused by this. He said I should point it out during the game, so I agreed to. In a game against Matt and Tim, I pointed out that exact thing. He realized that I was indeed correct and he was indeed creeping in after his serve.

New Indoor Courts

Afterward, Matt, Paul, Aaron, Mike and I were chatting. Matt thanked me for my email with constructive criticism and that he’d worked on not creeping in tonight, as well as “Placement over Power”.

Matt mentioned that new courts are opening in the old Fry’s Electronics building in Campbell. That is a huge building, I was in it a few times over the years to get computer related products. It’ll be called “The Hub”. There’s one already open in San Diego. Matt said Campbell will be the largest indoor pickleball facility in the USA.


Friday, January 20, 2023 (No Play)

I did a hunt for more info on these indoor pickleball courts coming to Silicon Valley that Matt mentioned last night.

“The HUB Pickleball Club – San Jose

The HUB – San Jose Pickleball Club Pre-Opening Interest, Ideas & Suggestions.

We are excited to bring a world-class pickleball facility to the Silicon Valley area. The HUB – San Jose will be the largest indoor facility in the country. 20 professional courts with proper spacing, individual fencing, Acrytech court surface and Douglas Premier posts & nets. The HUB will also have a fully stocked pro-shop with over 450+ skus, restaurant with a beer, wine & seltzer bar, event party room and 6 suite courts. Leagues, lessons & clinics, ladders, organized play, tournaments and socials, The HUB is what pickleball is all about. Thank you for your interest and we look forward to your feedback.”

For now, you can fill out a “pre-opening interest” form here.

Here’s the link to the existing San Diego facility:
https://thehubpickleball.com/home/
(The “San Jose” facility in Campbell will likely be eventually added to this website.)

Ow!

I didn’t realize how sore my right wrist is until I needed to crawl on my hands and knees briefly to access something at work today. It is quite painful when I put weight on it.

Number of days on a court: 574
Number of total hours: 2,555.5

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More White Tape of Shame

Tuesday, January 17, 2023. (Court Day #573)

I had PT this morning and we learned an interesting thing. When the PT doctor Matt used tape to pull my kneecap down, it almost completely eliminated pain in my knee when I was doing the exercises. I left that tape on all day, so it was in place when I headed to Skypark after work.

Skypark

When I arrived shortly after 6:30 p.m., it was 48°F when I pulled up into the parking lot. Things were pretty busy with all the temporary nets set up and all eight courts being used.

It probably took an hour or so before I got into some games with all strong players. I spent this evening playing with Paul W. and his friend Matt with assortment of players as our fourth.

Chris

We played the last few games with a youngish guy named Chris who’s tall and thin with curly black hair and heavy stubble. Chris has quick hands and gets around on the court very well.

Bullet

Paul drove a ball hard at me and, fortunately, instead of my face, it hit the brim of my cap then my protective glasses—knocking my cap off in the process. I was no worse for the wear, but Matt, Paul, and Chris were very concerned. I assured them that I was fine. “That is one of the reasons I wear a cap all the time!” (And eye protection!)

And?

Tonight, I had a regular problem judging the height of the net, since I hit the white tape with the ball 14 times. Yes. I kept track. Tonight was bad. Playing under lights has its challenges for me. It’ll never be my favorite.

It is 43°F as I headed home after the session. I want to play again soon to rinse my performance tonight out of my mouth. I had my moments, but overall I was not pleased with my performance.

One bright spot is my right wrist. It was still sore, but it wasn’t super bad. It did hurt noticeably for one or two shots tonight, but it didn’t bother me quite as much as I did last week on Thursday.

Matt is suffering from mild tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow on the inside of his forearm. I strongly recommended to him that he pick up Black Ice cooling pack and also the Bandit forearm strap. We’ll see if he heeds my advice.

Paul and Matt and Mike chatting over beers.

Number of days on a court: 573
Number of total hours: 2,553.5

To start at the beginning of this blog click on “1st Post” in the menu above.

Another League

Thursday, January 12, 2023. (Court Day #572)

My lower back left molar has been hurting for a few days. It’s been mild, but enough that I made a DDS appointment yesterday for tomorrow. I feel like my teeth are constant battle. When I get my checkups and cleanings, they say I’m doing a good job brushing and flossing, but, boy, that doesn’t keep roots from cracking or other problems. By this time next year, I’ll have three implants. As long as this doesn’t require another! Sheesh.

Wrist

My right wrist has been bugging me the last couple of days but not enough to keep me from playing.

Today was a dry day, it’s supposed to rain again tomorrow for another stretch of days. But when it came time to leave work this evening, I felt exhausted. I was ready to go home and my right knee was hurting a little bit from my PT appointment this afternoon and also played Tuesday night. Regardless, I decided to play anyway.

With my knee not feeling the best, I went ahead and opted to wear the knee brace that I have on loan from Ted. My PT doctor Matt, when I asked him about it last week, recommended against wearing it. But I felt that I needed the extra support tonight. Maybe Matt thought that I meant wear it all the time . . . that would definitely be bad . . . the knee needs to strengthen.

Skypark

I arrived at Skypark shortly after 6:30 p.m. and they were eight courts going. It was nice to see all the courts full again—it’s been a while.

I spent every game this evening playing with Matt B. and Paul W. and assorted fourth partners. There was one game where Matt tapped out to allow someone else to play but that was it. He was back in afterward.

There were some really good games early on with Nate in the mix as well as Tim, the tennis coach. About half the evening were games like that and then later it was a mix of lesser-skilled players to be the fourth in the doubles games with Paul, Matt, and myself.

The last game was Paul and the tall fellow named Marcus, who lives in Redding. Marcus came down to visit his family and I partnered with Stair. Markus went to Soquel High School and has siblings that live in Aptos and mid county and his parents live down in Corralitos. Marcus is playing better than I remember him playing the last time that I was on a court with him some months back. He played pretty well tonight.

We finished up that last game and a few minutes later the lights clicked off at 9:30 p.m.

Another Local League

Afterward, Paul, Matt, Larry and myself hung out for a few minutes and Larry was talking about a league that he was playing in that he referred to as a “beta league”. It has nothing to do with the league that Hugh and Conner are organizing that hasn’t started yet. Larry says that his league—which he is organizing with a guy named Ken—would be wrapping up their initial test at the end of this month, and then everyone would be invited.


Monday, January 16, 2022 (No Play)

Yesterday, it rained overnight and there was no sun to dry the courts so I canceled Sunday club play at Derby.

I got an email from Mike Ballard, who moved to Texas. He said he misses us and he has to drive at least an hour to get challenging players. That must be a complete bummer. Around here, getting good play isn’t nearly that difficult. I hope to get to play with and against Mike again someday.

Number of days on a court: 572
Number of total hours: 2,550.5

To start at the beginning of this blog click on “1st Post” in the menu above.

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