Tuesday, September 26, 2017 (Off Day)

One thing I remembered about that great game on Sunday was me being intent on watching the angle of my opponent’s paddle. In a game like that with quick serves and fast returns, the paddle angle can give you a split-second head start on a shot. Yes, they can get sneaky and present the paddle a certain way and change it at the last instant, but at my level, that’s rare. I saw it once all day on Sunday. I still got the ball back over the net, but—man—had I been snoozing even a little bit, that point would have been over! But you only usually see intentionally misleading one’s opponents by advanced players. I’m not there yet! Typically, paddle angles are a great tip-off.

Being a pickleball nut, I’ll sometimes spend some time late at night watching instructional videos. Here’s a good video about your feet:

And I want to learn how to do this!

The Los Gatos Tournament

So a little more about that quirky tournament in Los Gatos. It’s an indoor tournament. (That’ll be new.) What’s throwing people is there division of skill levels:

• Beginner – has never played any racquet sport
• Intermediate – has played a racquet sport (i.e. tennis, racquetball, etc.)
• Advanced – plays racquet sports frequently

Obviously, these are far different than anything you’d see just about any regular tournament which are either broken up by ages or by IFP skill levels (1.0-5.0)—or both. I suggested to Sophia (the organizer) that she reach out to a nearby pickleball player with tournament experience for advice and gave her the names of Terry and Karen Long in case she couldn’t one local to Los Gatos. The question will be where Eric and I end up once the dust settles.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017 (Court Day #74)

I’m on the mend from some kind of sinus bug that has given me a very slight sore throat. It just makes my sinuses sting a little. I’m not quite as perky as I normally am.

I arrived at Derby at 9 sharp. Only Dave and John P. were on the courts. I can’t recall for sure, but I think may have been Tom S. who filled out the foursome for the very first game of the day. Dale and Sandra appeared and warmed up over by themselves. Dave and I started slowly, falling behind immediately, but we came back and won the game as we got warmed up.

I played an assortment of games then Eric arrived. Since we’ll be tournament partners we figured we should make an effort to get more game time together.

Eric and I learned that  John P. and Tom S. had signed up for the Los Gatos tournament also. That’ll be fun! We opted to play against each other, kind of to test the waters. We won the first game 11-6.

Being that there were people waiting, we came off the court but we had a rematch once a court opened. Things didn’t go was well this second game. John decided that he and Tom were going to do stacking. It really disrupted the flow of the game. We’d have to wait while they consulted about who was on what side, what the score was, and where they should precisely be. I think they generally would have ok under tournament time restrictions and Eric and I need to get used to seeing that. Eric and I lost second game 11-7. I wanted to play a tie-breaker, but John had to go.

Later, Eric and I played a game against Grita and Ted. It was not close. We were all tired at that time, late in the morning and my game just disintegrated. I did video record that game. It’s immortalized here:

Here’s a chronology of my mistakes:

  • At 0:56, I take a blatant step into the kitchen—a complete bummer since I played pretty darn well on that point otherwise.
  • At 2:56, my 3rd shot drop is too high and allows Ted to do a great drop volley just over the net for a winner.
  • At 3:24, I hit an easy shot right into the net. I just have to shake my head on that one
  • At 4:43, my 3rd shot drop goes right into the net.
  • At 5:03, my intended crosscourt dink goes into the net.
  • At 6:00, you’ll see a sequence where I do a very bad 3rd shot—far too high and it leads to a lost point . . . though I could have still won it, but I while I had a nice 5th shot, it was followed by a gift of a 7th shot that Grita hit for a winner.
  • At 8:34, I make a dumb decision, it’s a shot that should have gone crosscourt to Ted instead of at Grita who powered it back for a winner.
  • At 8:50, I return a shot that was going to land out—we still won that point, but it was more work than it had to be.
  • At 9:16, I return a lob, but it goes too long.
  • At 9:30, Grita hits a ball in my direction and I wasn’t properly prepared and can’t react fast enough . . . with the paddle in a more backhand position—as I’ve been advised numerous times—I might have gotten it.
  • At 9:46, I jump at a lob and hit it down onto my own side of the court! (Sigh.)
  • At 10:00, I hit a shot that should have been at a sharper angle, as it was Grita returned it down the middle for a winner.
  • At 10:52, I hit it too high twice in a row and paid the price.
  • At 12:58, I step in after Eric serves, only to have to step backward to be able to legally return the 3rd shot.
  • At 13:20, I get fancy and hit a slice backhand with backspin. But it’s high and Ted takes advantage to win that point.

[14:29 is a bummer. A ball rolls onto our court when Eric and I have the net and are keeping Ted and Grita back . . . we lost the replay of the point.]

I guess the good news is that I didn’t make any noticeable mistakes the last 4 minutes of the game.

Ugh. I really wish I had recorded the game of Angie and Sycha against Greg and me from about a week ago. I played really well in that game. Not today. Today’s video shows an embarrassing plethora of errors. So bad. And I really need to fix the kitchen step problem. That’s twice in two outings!

It was funny after that game, I thought it was about 12:30, but when I checked the time, it was only 11:51 p.m. Yeah, fatigued, but I finished the morning off with yet one more game.

I thought I recorded this last game as well, but I’m not sure what went wrong. The camera should have been on and I pressed the remote, but when I checked tonight, the second game was not there. Bummer, not that it was all that great either. Grita and I won against Eric and Ted, but it was mostly Grita’s doing. I only played marginally better than the previous game and that’s not saying much!

Today was a “slide day”, not a “climb day” on my learning curve.

I left just after 12:00 and joined Eric and Ted for lunch where we talk a whole lot about pickleball!


During one game, my right elbow hurt. That was a new thing. Eric had complained about his elbow not long before. In the 1960’s Star Trek series, there’s an episode where there’s a woman who “takes on” the ailments of others which heals them, then she heals herself immediately after. If I didn’t know better, I’d think I had absorbed Eric’s ailment. It hasn’t bothered me since, but we’ll see if it reappears. My hips hurt a bit, but no sharp pains.

Number of days on a court: 74
Number of total hours: 213

Click here to start at the beginning of this blog: PickleballJourney