Tuesday, April 16, 2024 (No Play)

In case you are wondering, I took Sunday morning off from pickleball to help out a religious sister that I’ve known for almost 50 years. Then, against the forecast, around noon it started hailing, then raining. So much for resuming my much-delayed pickleball class in Aptos! After I had rain confirmed by text from a former student living in Aptos, I texted all my current students that we had to cancel. After I cancelled, it started to get sunny and nice. Nutty weather.

Rules Test

I took the USA Pickleball Player Rules Test again today. Still only 94%. In my haste, I missed the difference between forfeiting a game versus a match in a best 2 of 3 match. If you are 10 minutes late, you forfeit the first game. If you are 15 minutes late, you forfeit the entire match. In another question, if you hit an otherwise successful ATP, but it grazes the referee, it’s a fault on you. (A bummer, but it is what it is!) For the test, you’ll want to know the difference between a forfeit, a withdrawal, and a retirement.

Work, Food, Fatigue

We had a late customer at work plus I finished up a couple of things. I brought food—leftovers—from home, which I ate. Regardless, by 9:30 p.m., I was pretty exhausted, and dragging on the court. I’d always thought that was based on a lack of food, but I think it’s more of a case of me simply being tired. My wife is usually in bed before 9 p.m. As the first grade teacher, she gets up early and deals with small children all day and she’s pretty exhausted by evening. My wife is one of those people who go to sleep on a dime. Me, not so much . . . though if I’m super exhausted then I can sometimes fall asleep quickly. Normally, though, I need to crawl into bed and wind down. Sometimes, that’s before the lights would be off at Skypark.

But I’m ahead of myself!


I arrived a little before 7 p.m. There were people waiting to play, but it wasn’t as crazy as it has been lately. Forty people or less. Not fifty plus.

I got into in a game partnered with Ying against Avery and Tiffany. One of the better things I’ve learned in the past few months has been letting high ball at the net drop lower then hit them hard as more of a forehand drive instead of a downward slam. This tends to be very effective. When you slam a high ball, often times it’ll bounce high and provide a return opportunity for your opponent. When you let the ball drop lower, it’s less likely you’ll slam it into the net and you can hit it harder with more preparation towards your opponent’s feet or angle the ball off of the court. Ying gave me a compliment, “I see what you’re doing there. It’s like a lesson playing with you.” For those high shots, I was stepping to the side, giving myself more space to hit a forehand drive, and she was noticing that. It’s hard to return a drive from the net right at your feet, so that’s what I hope to force to my opponents to do.

I was playing very well until the sun went down, and then I went from playing very well to just good.

It was a strange muggy evening. My right wrist support was completely soaked through. People left early. By 8:30 p.m., there was no waiting, you could just immediately take a court.

I got into a series of games with Matt Babb, David, and Francis. We rotated partners after each game. Francis was the least strong player, but he was stronger than some others who were there tonight. I don’t know if he lost every game of that series, but if he didn’t, it was close. That said, he had some really good shots. He occasionally whips out a nasty cross-court shot during a dinking battle.

It’s not all the time, but I’m getting better hitting drop shots off of slams from the baseline. I can’t do it on every slam, but that’s two outings in a row where I’ve had at least one really spectacular drop shot off a slam.

Lights Out

After the lights clicked off, I was talking to Ofer and Spencer about the new Gearbox paddle. I was talking to Shawnte on Friday about the same paddle and he said that it’s a very hot paddle and balls have a tendency to fly too deep—and out! He also said that the paddle is also very unforgiving with the smaller sweet spot. Earlier in the day, I ordered a Gearbox backpack, that exact Gearbox Pro Power Paddle, a paddle cover, and assortment of grip tapes and edge guards. There are responsibilities that come with being a USA Pickleball Ambassador, but there are some perks. A number of vendors provide discounts, and Gearbox is one of those. I got 50% off on my order. I was going to order an extra pickleball net too, but the discount didn’t apply to the net, so I nixed that.


I didn’t wear my knee brace and my knee was bothering me partway through the evening. What’s odd, is that the discomfort was on the top of my kneecap instead of to one side or the other. Dunno. Weird.

Thieves in the News

Game-Set-Match, is a family-owned retail sporting goods business based in Colorado with three stores there and one location in Las Vegas. Over the last two months, thieves shoplifted thousands of dollars worth of pickleball paddles from all four of their stores. One was a $20,000 theft and this week was a $5,000 theft.

Here’s more about it:

Running a retail store for a living myself, low-life thieves are a fact of life. It keeps you from being able to pay your staff—and yourself!—as much as you’d like. And unless you are a corporate officer in a big retail chain, no one gets rich working in a retail business. I’d love to be able to pay my staff as much as I believe they are worth, but we’d go out of business. And shoplifters just make the matters worse.

All that said, it’s one thing to lose a steady trickle of $10 here, $100 there, $50 here. We lost $800 to one thief in one day once. But to lose $20,000? Or even $5,000? That’s painful!

Wednesday, April 17, 2024 (No Play)

I iced my knee this morning. It’s bugging me a bit.


Just a reminder in case anyone is interested in seeing what people are proposing for rule changes for next year:

Football to Pickleball

Another former pro pickleball player has taken up pickleball, Danny Wuerfell. Now, even as a football fan, I had to look him up. He played with the Saints 27 years ago, then went on to play in Europe before returning and playing for a string of teams no closer to me than Texas. He retired from pro football entirely after 5-6 years of being a backup . . . aside from his time with a German team where he won the World Bowl championship and was named the MVP. It’s kind of like winning a D-IV college championship . . . and yes, I know there is no D-IV!

New Paddle Delay

I got a notice today from Gearbox that my paddle is delayed 1-2 weeks. I also received a separate email that the paddle would take 1-2 weeks to “break in” once I received it. When I was talking to Spencer last night, he said it might really be more of making sure that the player gives the paddle enough time to get used to it before deciding that it’s no good. Spencer didn’t like his at all.

Big News!

USA Pickleball this afternoon announced that they are partnering with UTR to use their new UTR-P rating system. UTR is “universal tennis rating”. The “-P” is pickleball. I guess the association got tired of further developing their own system and decided to use a variant on a venerable respected system. USAP will also be using UTR’s tournament software and apps. That should be really good. Hard to fault that.

Coaching on the Docket

Next week, on Tuesday afternoon, I’ll be teaching at a corporate retreat at Chaminade. Then on Thursday at 5 p.m., I’ll be doing a short clinic as part of the Rec.us launch event at Skypark. It’ll be a busy week.

Number of days on a court: 646
Number of total hours: 2,780.5
Number of paid coaching hours: 24.5

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