Sunday, November 12, 2023 (No Play)

And I left my house at 12:45 p.m, giving me 45 minutes before my class was supposed to start, which was plenty of time to get situated once at Willowbrook Park.


Arrived in Aptos about 1 p.m. and pulled up alongside the courts, parked and I got out, and noticed that all the courts were empty except for one man with a basket of balls. I grab my things from the car and walked over. It was then that I realized it was all tennis courts—nine private courts. Oops. (If figured out later that these courts belong to the Imperial Courts Tennis Club and apparently they do have one permanent dedicated pickleball court on the far side.) This was only my third trip to Willowbrook Park in nearly 7 years of me playing pickleball—it’s not a huge surprise that I forgot exactly where it was on the road! I put everything back into my car and drove two blocks further down to the real Willowbrook Park.

What’s kind of amusing is if you zoom in on the current Google maps image of the Imperial Courts, you’ll that every single one of the tennis courts are empty and the single pickleball court has people on it!


I saw there were a couple of women hitting a ball back-and-forth plus another couple of women milling about. One woman, Deb Diaz Menges, introduced herself to me. Rec, company organizing the classes and reservations, tries to make sure that there are still some free courts for drop-in in play whenever a class will occupy some of the courts. Mike told me via email with they accidentally reserved all the courts. Deb had three reserved for her group and I would have two courts for my class.

I wrote my first name on some white tape and stuck onto my shirt: “Andrew”. Most of the students arrived about five minutes before class was going to start. I wrote people’s names on tape as each one arrived. Once all the students were there, I had everyone introduced themselves and explain a little bit about their background with any racket sports. I passed around a form I’d prepared to get each student’s email address. 

I went on to talk about court safety . . . like not backing up for lobs . . . and I also talked about proper footwear. And eye protection. I also asked if anyone had any medical conditions.  None. 

I briefly explained some of the key rules of pickleball and I tried to keep that short so that I could get them onto the court and start having fun.

We started with controlled drinking just back-and-forth between two people across from that from each other.

Then them all back up midway between the kitchen line and the baseline.

We took a quick water break and I explained  serving.

We did that for a bit then took another water break then I explained scoring and had them play a game.

It went very well. I don’t think I would have changed a thing.

Shortly before 3 p.m., Sean Lynch showed up and I introduced myself to him. He’d be teaching the 3 p.m. class. Sean hasn’t been playing pickleball nearly as long as I have, but he has more general coaching experience . . . last year, he took over as the women’s basketball coach at Cabrillo College.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023 (No Play)

I had PT this evening with Dr. Matt. My knee was not perfect, but it was relatively pain-free going through the exercises. Not entirely pain free, but better. Hopefully, this is sign of things to come.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023 (No Play)

I pulled the trigger. I’m now registered for the PPR Certification Workshop in Sunnyvale on Friday, December 1. $145. It’s pretty close, less an hour drive away with good traffic.

Sunday, November 19, 2023 (No Play)

When I got to Willowbrook today for my second session of my 4-week class, a woman was there giving a tennis lesson and taking up the four main pickleball courts. She insisted in no uncertain terms that she had the tennis court reserved until 2:15 p.m. and that the court(s) had been double-booked and that she had the same double-booking problem earlier this morning around 8:30 a.m. When I checked the website, it only showed my class reservation and nothing else. When I asked her if she had received an email confirmation of her booking, she blew me off as a distraction to what she was doing. Rec had told me about a double-booking last week, so I knew that it was at least possible, but they hadn’t warned me this week. Regardless, this woman was absolutely not budging from “her” court . . . and I wasn’t going to get into a fight with her over it.

I ended up doing a 45-minute “chalk talk” over on the basketball court. I quickly shifted some of the things was going to talk about in my next lesson to this week. Then we moved onto our courts at the stroke of 2:15 p.m. (It didn’t seem that any of my students were overly upset about the delay taking the courts, one of the players later told me, “You are such a good coach.” It made my day!)

Relative Pickleball

My mother-in-law Bonnie from San Diego was visiting my sister-in-law Liz and her family up in San Carlos and they made a pickleball outing when my son drove up and visited for the day.

My niece, my mother-in-law, and my son Nicholas. They sent me proof!

Monday, November 20, 2023 (No Play)

I heard back from Rec today that that tennis instructor didn’t actually have the court reserved yesterday. She had emailed the county (the old system) only 1 or 2 days in advance asking to reserve the court but didn’t get any response. She merely assumed she had the court anyway, which she didn’t since our class had the courts booked weeks in advance. The court was not “double-booked” as she claimed. She was just presumptuous and bullheaded. Annoying, really. Rec said that they’d work with her to get her on the new system.

We’re Famous!

Riley Newman shared a short video on social media. If one looks carefully, one will notice that it was recorded here in Santa Cruz County during the recent workshop held out at Cabrillo College:


Here’s a really good in-depth video on the strategy of dinking I just discovered:


I’ve been watching the required PPR “Pre-Certification” videos. I don’t know about the rest, but the first few videos are not very “time compact”. They are informational and demonstrative both in the content and how the content is presented. It’s presented to a coach in real-time in a similar method to how you would explain topics to beginners. That makes it a little slow. The content could be delivered easily in half the time and perhaps even a quarter of the time. But it gets the job done.

Number of days on a court: 609
Number of total hours: 2,675
Number of paid coaching hours: 3.5

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