Tuesday, January 11, 2022 (Court Day #453)

The Santa Cruz Pickleball Club sent out an email today to members sharing that there are two openings on the city’s Parks & Rec Commission. They are hoping one of the members will join the commission and give an ear to our call for more courts!

Yesterday, I received an email asking me to complete the background check authorization as required for my role as a USAPA Ambassador. I’ll do that this week.

I had an appointment at 7 p.m. and got my COVID booster at CVS in Scotts Valley, near the courts. I had to stick around—no pun intended—for 15 minutes afterward to make sure I didn’t have an adverse reaction. After that, I headed directly to Skypark and arrived at 7:30 p.m.

On the near court: Judy and Matt playing Tim and Mike B.

Things were hopping, three temporary nets were set up for a total of seven functional pickleball courts with nets. But there was a problem. The lights at the end of the complex illuminating the two nearest permanent courts were either out or only very intermittently working. No one wanted to use them. Mark Dettle said he would be reaching out to the City of Scotts Valley to let them know that three light are out—one at the opposite end over one of the tennis courts.

My first game was not great. But my play got better and better as the evening went on.

There was only one game tonight where I was playing with weak enough players that I switched to playing left-handed.


Paul and his friend Matt are getting so much better. Tim and I played three games—well, 3 1/2 since the lights clicked off mid-game—we won two, lost one by a slim margin, and were leading in the last one 8-4. But this was the second game I’ve lost to Matt and Paul when I was paired with a decent player. The first time was with Larry—Larry is relatively new himself and sometimes inconsistent, but is a decent player. Those were challenging and fun games. As we left, I mentioned expecting to see them in a tournament someday and they said they have already been looking at doing that and mentioned a couple upcoming tournaments.

I played a game with Larry earlier against Matt and Mark Dettle and Larry was definitely “cold” from sitting. He missed a lot of shots, but he got better and we came back and won the game. That was a fun one.

In one game with Tim against Matt and Paul, Tim said, “Andrew is tricky!” While we were all at the net, I’d brushed up on a low ball to add lift and topspin and Matt’s return of my shot ended up in the net. Yes, I made a very nice shot.

What did I learn?

I have yet to eliminate slamming a high ball into the net. It’s a 100% reliable way to turn a winner into an immediate loser!

Wednesday, January 12, 2022 (No Play)

A graph came in my work email . . . the email message was completely unrelated to pickleball. But it very much has applications to pickleball. It’s called a J Curve. Say you are learning a new serve, say, the spin serve. You have “Historical” as seen in the graph., this would be your solid “middle of the pack” serve. But you decide to work on the spin serve. Oooo, and it’s bad. You miss a lot of serves. You hit bottom quickly: Valley of Death. Then you have two choices: quit playing, revert to your historical solid serve, or persevere and gradually get better at the spin serve and, sooner or later, you hit your target of a new better serve that’s a weapon.

The key is to understand that the saying, “It’s always darkest before the dawn” applies . . . expect a lot of challenges when learning a new skill. Be patient and persistent.

Background Check

Tonight, I completed the USAPA background check authorization. It didn’t require nearly as long as I was expecting. It was a few screens of legal stuff, but it only took about five minutes.


My forearm is bothering me a little bit, hopefully, that’s not a trend. I’ve been very blessed to be able to play with my right arm lately with virtually no issues.

Number of days on a court: 453
Number of total hours: 2,192.5

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