Thursday, May 18, 2023. (Court Day #595)

Today was one of two days that I volunteered to help with the club training sessions. This workshop was run by Karen Haselden, one of the two certified pickleball instructors in our area. We were asked to be there by 3 o’clock in order to help set up, but I had two people out sick at work so I got out a little bit later than ideal.


I arrived at Derby Park at 3:15 p.m., and in the corner far court, Karen was instructing the five other court instructors of which I was #6. She had originally planned for five drills for the session, but she determined that there would be time for only four. I missed her instruction of the first two drills, so she babysat my court briefly to help me get going with the first drill and, later, the second.

We took a short break between each drill as we were out in the sun and it was pretty warm. Water was very appreciated!

Karen (right) explaining the next drill. That’s Dan Bliss with his back to the camera.

Even for the two later drills that I did catch the pre-session instruction for, I was still at a bit of a loss as to how I was to precisely conduct the drill. Karen is a very good instructor—I was impressed, honestly—but I’m not sure how often she runs bigger sessions like this. I think more guidance on running the drills would have helped, but I got through it.

Private Games

After the formal training session was over, four of us decided to play a game together. Two of us staked out a city net and the other two helped take down some of the club nets.

Didier and I played against Eric Schmidt and a tall guy name Ken. Ken has very nice drives. I suspect he has tennis background. I didn’t play my best, though I got better over the course of the three games that we played. Didier and I lost the first game and the second game was even a bit more lopsided. However, for the third game we won 11-7, so Didier and I felt a little bit better after that!

Work to do

Court positioning is so important. I still have some work to do sometimes in covering the middle and also with covering the right side line. My biggest issues for these games were hitting a few of my drop shots into the net, not being in the best position, occasionally hitting shots up too high . . . and another, which is still my Achilles’ heel, was hitting out balls—although I think there was only two or three of those over the course of the three games.

It was 6 p.m. by the time we were done at Derby Park. And with the sun, I was pretty tired but with knee surgery coming up two weeks from tomorrow, how can I pass up a second pickleball session? I headed to Scotts Valley to play more.


By the time I got from the westside of Santa Cruz to Skypark in Scotts Valley, it was about 6:30 p.m. Conveniently, a car had pulled out just as I was pulling in so I got a great spot in the lot next to the courts.

When I walked in, things were hopping.

I warmed up with Tim H. with both of us at the net. Tim was doing fantastic driving volleys right to my armpit. Tim had a SCALPEL league playoff match so I left the court to them.

Kim and I played a game versus Francis and Wendy. That was a fun and evenly balanced game. I missed too many shots. Like hitting a kill shot into my side of the net. *sigh* At least it was my “warm up” game.

Mark Dettle got out the net bag, and we set up a net which filled the last open court bringing the total number of courts to eight. Mark and I played against TK—who I hadn’t seen for a few months—and Francis. Mark and I won the first game something like 11-6 and then we won the second game 11-3, I believe.

I have to admit after leaving Derby Park, I was tired. Even with a “drive break” of about 20-25 minutes, I was still beat. But, yes, I nonetheless went on to play another three hours of games! I was like the walking dead.

I played moderately ok early on but the telltale match later was Tim and his son Casey playing David—who is there by himself with no girlfriend Minori—and myself. We got creamed in the first game. We might’ve scored 1 or 2 points… maybe! We got completely clobbered. The second game was worse. I don’t think we scored a single point. It was really bad. Casey has gotten really good over the course of the last 6-12 months. He’s easily a 3.5 player, and may even be at 4.0 player at this point. I don’t know if I was even playing at a 3.0 level, let alone a 3.5 level tonight. I was dragging, and was not playing very sharp.

I played a few more games with TK as my parter against Danny and a new guy Chuck. Danny was funny, “The winners get Lenz Arts gift cards!” (Yes, Danny knows where I work!) TK did an Erne, but his shot was weak and Danny was far enough back in the court that he had an easy time hitting the ball back to the space that TK had just vacated. I tried to get there, but I had no warning of an Erne attempt and couldn’t. TK apologized, but I brushed it off. It’s a rec game!

I was so tired and also sore. My lower back was sore, even my feet were sore. And, you’d expect with chronic issues, my right wrist and right knee were sore. I’ve been regularly icing my right wrist after play. Sometimes, twice, about 1-2 hours apart, depending.

Closing Time

Tim E. and I hung out, each drinking a beer from the small cooler he brought. Tim airdropped an article to my iPhone that he found previously and I read it out loud, having to stop and laugh. Hopefully, you can read it, it’s hysterically cynical about pickleball:

Saturday, May 20, 2023 (No Play)

I’m still a little sore from Thursday, even a couple of days later.

This morning, this post appeared on Instagram, though the comments were mostly from two weeks ago:

This is the facility “up the road” about 30 minutes north in Campbell.

The Hub people themselves commented on the post with more details:
Opening June 2023. Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, 20 courts, 70,000 sq.ft. facility, sound damping acoustic system, extra large individually fenced courts (9 ft at baseline & 7 ft at sidelines) tons of room for ATPs & Ernies, larger championship court with stands, courts are single color for best visuals for competitive play, 2 large party rooms, huge proshop, a 2-court & a 4-court suite, 500+ parking spots, full programming for organized play, socials, leagues, 6 drop-in courts and designated levels, lots of gathering areas, artificial turf carpet to help reduce noice, controlled environment, 34′ ft high ceilings, professional coaches, clinics, exercise & stretching classes, super friendly HUB staff and more! Missing in the video: Wall art, acoustic systems, furniture in gatherings areas, and lots of happy people! @ See you at The HUB.

Me, being a stickler for accuracy, takes exception to “heart of the Silicon Valley”. I consider it at the south western edge of the Silicon Valley, myself.

There were a couple of additional viewer comments of particular interest:
– “Pickleball America will have 28 Indoor Courts.”
– “32 indoor courts coming to Macon, Ga.”

Oh, and someone complained about the impending lack of room to do ATPs at The Hub. I think he’s right. It looks a little snug, but maybe not.

Property in California is generally expensive, especially in the greater Bay Area, so there are bound to be bigger facilities built elsewhere in the USA where land and labor is cheap.

In The News

One of my staff shared an Instagram post with me this afternoon:

I tracked down the original article that post was copied from:

And, I shared some text of this quote, but here’s Andre Agassi on pickleball:

And some more fun from The Pickleball Slam with Steffi Graf:

Number of days on a court: 595
Number of total hours: 2,624.5
Number of paid coaching hours: 2

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