Tuesday, September 6, 2022 (Court Day #544)

I left work about 6:30 p.m. and when I got to Skypark 10 minutes later, strangely the parking lot was full but not all the courts were set up. Firefighter Rob A. got there just before me, so the two of us warmed up across the net from each other on an empty court.

First Game

Soon, I got into a good game with Larry against Rob and Casey. I played very well in that game making only a few errors the entire time. A bit of a shock, Larry and I won by a decent margin. For Casey and Rob, and well, me too, it was our first game.

Psyched Out?

After that, I got partnered with Rob against Casey and Tim. Some people get the yips when serving. I think I sometimes have a mental block when I feel that I’m inferior and I want make a good showing. Tonight, when I partnered with Rob, I was speeding up shots that I should not have sped up and I made a bunch of other errors. Rob and I played two games against Casey and Tim and we lost both of them. For every mistake that Rob made, I probably made three or four. My play was disappointing and frustrating.

Newbie Dan

Eric, who is Ann‘s husband, brought a friend named Dan. Dan said he played many years ago and is getting back into it. He’s extremely rusty and he’s not too far off from being a beginner. I volunteered to partner with him and we lost both games we played in a lopsided fashion. Those results were expected and inevitable—unless our opponents were to unexpectedly implode! (Which they didn’t.)

The Return of Tristan

Tristan, whom I had not seen for a quite a long time, came tonight. I was able to partner with him for two games against Casey and Rob. That’s a pretty high powered combination against us. Tristan and I lost both games… well, more like I lost those games. Tristan is an excellent player which is pretty amazing considering he’s only 18-years-old. I was a bit dejected after two losses.

The Boys

Paul and his friend Matt were looking for a game but we need a fourth. Retired firefighter Matt Smith said that he and Tim just got clobbered by Matt and Paul. I talked Matt Smith into playing as my partner. This time, I was playing well and we went up pretty fast, leading 6-0. Matt S. started making more errors and I even made a couple myself, so Matt and Paul climbed back into the game and tied it up 8-8. Matt S. and I did go on the win, and that made Matt a happy guy—he said he could leave for the evening on a high note.

I played another game this time with Aaron as my partner against Matt and Paul. This was quite a battle. Aaron has come along way and is doing much better. While it was close, Aaron and I could not pull off a win. The game ended at 9:24 p.m., a few minutes before the lights clicked off at 9:30. I end up hanging out with them and talking for 30-45 minutes.

Lost Wallet

I left the courts and drove to Safeway in Scotts Valley to pick up 2% milk as my wife had requested. When I parked in their parking lot, I realized that I couldn’t find my wallet, so I texted Matt and Paul asking them if they could look. Then I drove back to the courts. I couldn’t find it on the courts or on the ground. It turned out that I had dropped it into the part of my backpack where I keep my paddles. I never do that. But it was unusual that I had walked onto the courts to warm up with Rob with my phone and my wallet still in my shorts’ pocket which I never do either. Lesson: take the time to put things were you normally keep them!

Thursday, September 8, 2022 (No Play)

It’s not uncommon for people to ask online how to know what skill rating they are. Others will respond with the USA Pickleball guidelines or the PDF created by “The Pickleball Guru“. I’ll often jump in sharing how inaccurate those are and how it often misleads to players into thinking they are a higher rating. Instead, tournaments—or indirectly, tournament players—tell you what you really are.

As far as a written guide, I believe one of the better ones is published by the IPTPA:

What’s typically not shared is the USA Pickleball skill checklists, which have a similar vibe to the IPTPA assessments:

Of course, in tournaments, the problem isn’t players assuming they are better than they are, it’s them sandbagging and signing up for a lower skill group so they can win and collect medals. Or so is the claim. I’ve never experienced that myself. Or it was never obvious to me.

Pipe band practice tonight, but I should be able to play tomorrow morning.

Number of days on a court: 544
Number of total hours: 2,468

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