Misadventures of Andrew Lenz and a yellow ball

Month: March 2022 (Page 1 of 4)

College Boys

Tuesday, March 29, 2022 (Court Day #481)

News happened yesterday…

I had to work late so I didn’t arrive to Skypark in Scotts Valley until about 7:20 p.m. When I arrived there wasn’t all that many players, and I ended up having to wait a little bit before I was able to get into a game with Tim against a couple of other players. I started out shockingly and frustratingly poorly, I kept missing shots inexplicably. It was horrible and perplexing. But is the game went on, I did gradually start putting together a respectable game. Tim and I did go on to win.

Later on in the evening, a group of young men arrived. It turns out most of them are UCSC undergrads. There was Ryan, Francisco, Alfred, and TK.

Paul W. and I played a game against Ryan and Francisco. We won. The game was 10 to 0 but then they scored a couple of points before we finished off the game and went 11 to 2. The outcome was not a surprise. Francisco said that he’s been playing only a month. However, Francisco played OK, although not as good as Ryan. I’d say Ryan is a solid 3.0 player.

Alfred and Paul taking on T.K. (nearside) and Matt.
Francisco (white shirt) and alumnus Ryan (far, white paddle) with other college students.

We headed out when the lights clicked off at 9:30. Nothing of great note tonight. No stellar play, no injuries.

I guess I can say ”boys” in as title since my son is 25!


Number of days on a court: 481
Number of total hours: 2,275

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High Praise #$%&@!!

Thursay, March 24, 2022 (Court Day #480)

My right elbow where the bones meet was bothering me all day. Even driving home at lunch hurt some. This is very worrisome. I haven’t experienced this many months now. I hope it’s a fluke and gets better quickly. Scary.

Skypark

Arrived at Sky Park about 7 p.m. It was a light crowd and parking was easy. But a few more people were there than Tuesday. There were five courts set up and busy.

Larry and Sam in a hotly contested game against Matt S. and John.

I had to wait about 10 minutes before I was able to get into a game, but my first game was a good one with Tim against Matt S. (retired firefighter) and John, whose girlfriend is Robin. 

They asked if I wanted to warm up and Matt even came to the net expecting me to dink. Tim tried to convince me to take at least 2-3 warmup shots. I turned them down and went right into a game. 

Tim and I clobbered Matt and John—I think they scored just one point. We went on to play a second game and the result was similar, though they scored a few points the second game.

The Compliment

During the first game, Matt S. paid me a supreme compliment. I hit forehand drive from my position at the left of Tim, and the ball rocketed with topspin about two inches over the net between Matt and John. Matt could barely get a paddle on it and my drive was a winner. Matt, in hilarious frustration, with a smile, unleashed a very brief expletive laden rant which included calling me a “m****r f*****g c**k s****r. Tim and I just looked at each other and I doubled up in laugher! Matt’s a good guy. Swears like a sailor, but has a heart of gold.

I got into a series of games with Scott as my partner against Matt and Paul (they have a tournament on Sunday if it doesn’t get rained out) and a game against Randy and Daryl whom I’ve played against once before. Scott and I handily beat Daryl and Randy by a 2:1 margin—good game, but after a few points the result was not in doubt.

Server?

At the start of one game, I asked Matt and Paul who their regular first server is. They looked at each other and Matt said that they didn’t have one. I told them they need to pick player to always be their starting server. There are a few reasons for this but the main one is it always allows the pairing to know where they should be for a given score. After I made that suggestion, Paul was always their starting server.

We finished our last game with a few minutes to spare and the lights clicked off at 9:30. Paul, Matt, Scott and I talked about drilling, tournaments, and other pickleball things until 9:53.

For all the aching leading up to my play tonight, my elbow didn’t bother me a bit.

Tonight, I felt I played really well. My play sagged a bit the last few games, but I was quite delighted with my play prior to that.


Sunday, March 27, 2022 (No Play)

There was enough rain last night to keep the Derby courts wet enough to prevent club play, so I had to cancel it, unfortunately. Later, I texted Eric S. about drilling but he said he was heading home after he had played anyway. He said at 10 a.m. only one court was completely dry—hence, I made a good call—but they did mostly dry out by 11 a.m.

Paul and Matt

Just before 7 p.m., it started to rain as predicted this week. I texted Matt B. to see how Paul W. and he did at their tournament in Sunnyvale. He said it was really windy—I’d though of them when I experienced that here in Santa Cruz—but they’d won four games and lost three. I was expecting them to do better, but they must have had some strong competition. It must have been a large tournament. I’m looking forward to hearing more when I see them next.

Briones Analysis

Jordon Briones recently shared some of his pro games at a recent tournament. I remember watching part of it and recognizing the shot selection errors … or at least not what I would do and the result was bad for his side. (It’s easier to see the shots to make when you are not playing yourself!) Well, Jordon posted a new video breaking down a doubles game shot by shot. It’s nearly an hour, so I didn’t watch all of it (yet?), but still interesting.

One thing he pointed out (at 14m43s) was always ready ready for the attack. This hits home. A week ago, Rob attacked a ball hitting it right at me and winning the point. He told me, “I saw your paddle was down.” I was not ready for an attack.

Jordan went on, saying if you are going to attack a ball below the net and hit it at your opponent’s ”dominant side”—that is, create a chicken wing scenario. Something for me to work on!


Number of days on a court: 480
Number of total hours: 2,273

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

Up and Coming

Tuesday, March 22, 2022 (Court Day #479)

I got to Skypark at 7:10 p.m. The courts were lightly attended once again. When I mentioned it, someone said that now that it’s light in the evening, people are playing at Brommer Park instead. Maybe so, but it was lighter attendance the week before the time change too.

My first game was with three unfamiliar players. One, a tall fellow, is named Andrew. I ended up switching to my left hand midway through the game. These were 2.5/3.0 players.

Better games

I did get some good games in. I have to give kudos to Paul W. tonight. There was a high ball where I had a fantastic slam opportunity about head height that I took full advantage of. I hit the ball very hard down in the space between Paul and his partner. Paul and I were both on the right. But Paul was able to reach out with his long right arm and get the ball back over the net in the direction of my partner. I was really impressed. I was fully expecting that rally to be over. Of the players I regularly play against, at least 49 out of 50 would not be able to return my slam successfully. Nice work, Paul!

Overall, I was not thrilled with my play tonight. I should start keeping track of errors that I need to correct.


Wednesday, March 23, 2022 (No Play)

Mark Renneson put out a pointess but amusing 9 minute video.


Number of days on a court: 479
Number of total hours: 2,270.5

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

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