Adventures of Andrew Lenz and a Yellow Ball

Swing Win and Sick Time

Thursday, May 4, 2023. (Court Day #592)

My wife was sick and wanted me home to take care of the dogs, so I didn’t play on Tuesday night, returning home with my pickleball gear unused.

Stats of the Pros

Yesterday, some interesting stats appeared on social media. It’s from the Instagram account. It shows that pro players are roughly twice as effective for serves, returns, dinks, and third shot drops than even 4.5 and 5.0 players—and are significantly better on third shot drives and speedups.


Tonight, I left work at 6:38 p.m. and headed to Skypark. When I arrived I got a pretty easy parking place and when I walked in, there were seven courts set up and six in use.

Typical Skypark evening.

I was able to get into the game fairly quickly against Avery and Marcus with Tim, Casey’s dad, as my partner. I have to say, Marcus has gotten so much better. He might even be a 3.5 level player now. Those are some pretty good games, Although I was not playing that great.

I went on to play a game with Wendy against Larry and my former high school classmate Rachel. Not a stellar performance on my part but I made some good shots in that game.

USAP Ambassador Time

By that time it was 7:40 p.m. I had told a fellow named Michael, that I would call him between 7:30 and 8 p.m. Michael lives down in Watsonville and teaches tennis and pickleball. He contacted USA Pickleball about starting a pickleball league in conjunction with the city. This inquiry was sent to Connie Thrasher who is in charge of our region as “Sector Leader – West”. Given that I was the closest ambassador to Michael, she reached out to me and asked me to address Michael’s needs. It took about a week for Michael and I to connect up but I ended up having a 25 minute conversation with him tonight. I shared how tournaments are run, how leagues could be run, and answered all the questions he had for me. He seemed satisfied with the conversation and I told him to contact me should he have any more questions in the future.

Back to Play

I got back into some games, but by this point, I was stiff, cold, and had to warm back up.

The last series of games was mad at myself against Tim and a tall fellow named Zach. Zach said he’s only been playing for seven months. He’s playing pretty well.

In the first game, Matt and I were solidly ahead, but Tim and Zach came back to win.

We played a rubber match, switching sides, and this game was a slaughter. Matt and I got creamed. Final score with something like 11-2 or 11-3. Fortunately, we are able to play one additional game before the lights went out.

We switched sides once again, and this time again went entirely differently. Matt and I quickly pulled out to a quick lead and I believe it was even 10-0 before Tim and Zach scored a point. But there would be no come back like the first game. The final score was 11-1 and Matt and I felt much better with that win to close out the evening.

I got Zach three times tonight on speedups. Twice hitting him in the chest, and a third he got his paddle on but the ball flew high off to his right out of bounds.

Matt’s buddy Paul is a home brewer and brought a keg of beer that he made. It had a little sign on it stating that was a hazy IPA, but it had a pretty nice fruit aspect to it. It was actually quite good. I was impressed. Many times when people bring their own wine or their own beer some of that it’s less than stellar. That was not the case this time. Good job, Paul!


There was a young woman there tonight named Mackenzie. I saw Mackenzie twice before at Derby Park and this is the first time that I’ve seen her at Skypark. I talked to her for a few minutes and she is from San Francisco. She’s a student at UCSC majoring in environmental studies biology. She was a wrestler in high school as evidenced by her wrestling T-shirt. Matt said he wrestled in high school was well and commented about the “5 on 2” move. Mackenzie knew what this was though it left the rest of us puzzled. Matt explained it had to do with a wrestler using his hand (5) to gab parts of his opponent’s tender anatomy (2) to gain an advantage! That brought a laugh. When I asked how she got into pickleball, Mackenzie explained that her mom turned to pickleball when her mom got injured and could no longer play tennis.

As I left, I saw a notice on the gate near the pickleball storage bin. Neat. Too bad that I’ll be 15 days out of knee surgery. Not for me.

Monday, May 8, 2023 (No Play)

I’ve been home with unhappy sinuses and chest congestion since Saturday morning. It’s not crippling but it’s unpleasant.

Speaking of unpleasant, I ran across this news report from a couple of weeks ago of vandalized pickleball nets. A tennis coach admitted to collecting all the pickleball nets and throwing them in a heap. Others had nets cut in half.

Unfortunately, we’ll probably see this for some years to come as pickleball continues to grow and works to get its own space.

Tuesday, May 9, 2023 (No Play)

Still home today sick. I woke up early with little sleep and felt like I might end up at urgent care. But a few hours later, my throat and tonsils were feeling better . . . not good, but better.

I’ve been sleeping more often than not with a brace on my right wrist to keep me from tweaking it while sleeping. If I try pushing myself up with my palms against the floor it’s too painful to even put pressure on my right hand.

Wednesday, May 10, 2023 (No Play)

Still not up to going to work. I made an appointment for urgent care and they did a strep throat test which came back negative. They did one other test, I think bacterial, but that would take a day or two. The doctor said it’s probably viral and it would likely take 5-7 days to get through it. It’s been 5 days so far.

Thursday, May 11, 2023 (No Play)

Once again home today sick. I had scheduled a video appointment with my GP to discuss two things.

One, is a rare genetic issue on my mom’s side of the family that gradually affects the ability to walk. It’s a recessive gene. It affects only roughly 15,000 people in the USA, or about 0.005% of the population. He said it’s probably not worth bothering to test for, since it’s not treatable nor avoidable. I decided to not bother. It’ll be what it will be.

Two, I asked him about my right wrist. If I were to try to do a pushup, I can’t even put weight on my wrist, it hurts too much. He asked how long it’s been like that, I told him a couple of months. He said to give it through my pending recovery from knee surgery, then let him know if it’s still a problem.

Friday, May 12, 2023 (No Play)

I returned to work today. I’m not 100% but good enough to get some things done. I arrived to work shortly after opening and then stayed until about 2 p.m. then headed to an EKG heart test in Watsonville that was required for my upcoming knee surgery. [Later note: It came back all good.]

Number of days on a court: 592
Number of total hours: 2,611.5
Number of paid coaching hours: 2

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  1. Conner

    Fine post sir!

    I think I mentioned this in one of my early SCALPEL intro emails, but here’s some great trivia regarding the ‘pklmart analytics’ stats you referenced:

    Since Fall of last year, Myself, Nolan, and a dozen other volunteers have been offering our time/expertise towards improving pklmart (i.e. adding to the database by processing match footage, doing our own ad-hoc analyses using the dataset, testing, etc).

    But because we all use online username aliases instead of our real full names in Discord, Nolan and I actually had no idea that we knew each other in real life until I looked deeper into his Github and put 2&2 together.

    Considering this group was comprised by only a dozen or so people scattered across the country, the fact that two of us had been playing pickleball against each other for weeks without even knowing it is a pretty remarkable coincidence.

    I have done some great analysis with the pklmart data, and plan on adding some SCALPEL matches to the database.

    • andrewlenz

      Hey Conner, thanks for sharing the fun story! Yes, your email tipped me off to the pklmart project. It’s great that there are talented techie folks helping the greater pickleball community by working on it. I always enjoy the insights that get shared via social media. Keep up the great work!

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