Tuesday, April 23, 2024 (Court Day #649)

Today, I was teaching at Chaminade. A woman, Aleksandra, had reached out to me on Facebook asking if I would be willing to teach beginners for her company during a recreational break during their corporate retreat. I debated, then said I would. They hired me for 1 to 3 p.m.


I arrived at Chaminade Resort at 12:47 p.m. and texted Aleksandra as requested. Even growing up locally, I’d never been up there, though I know it had at one time been occupied by a religious order and it was named after a Catholic priest. Having prepared via Google Maps, I easily found the tennis courts, which were completely empty. Aleksandra told me that they needed pickleball courts taped out so I had told her to bring blue painter’s tape. (The ideal line width is 2″, but I told her to bring cheaper 1 1/2″ but at least 1″ . . . it’s not a tournament!) I immediately got to work marking out the court dimensions with a pencil. Aleksandra appeared in short order and said that she was going to have someone come help me. Woman named Kim soon appeared and I asked her help hold the end of measuring tape while I marked things out. It wasn’t too long before I realized my quickly-wearing pencil was not going to last so I asked Kim if she could go find some more pencils for me. About five minutes later, a little out of breath, she helpfully returned with a box of chalk. Perfect.


I was supposed to instruct eight students, however, when we started, there were only seven. After about 5 minutes, two decided that they wanted to just hit a ball back-and-forth so walked over to the second court across the tennis net that I had taped out. That left five students. I couldn’t help but think, “Am I a bad teacher? Why are they leaving?”

I talked the remaining students through some basics and then we got to dinking then soft drives to get used to the characteristics of the ball. Then one, Julianne, explained that her back was hurting and that she couldn’t continue. That left four pupils.

Core Group

The good news is that the four that were left were very much interested in learning: Lena, Clarissa, Ann, and Prudence. I put them through a short series of drills, including serving, then serving and returning. It was getting quite breezy, with the net even threatening to tip over at times!

I got them into a game. Each had their strengths and weaknesses but they all enjoyed playing. Lena had a particularly hard time with grasping the scoring, that’s not too abnormal, but she had Clarissa—who pick up on it quickly—as her partner to help. But then Clarissa would hit the ball hard too hard and it’d fly out and rely on Lena to keep rallies going. I got them through two full games, stopping the game as needed to explain and correct things.

At 3:05 p.m., it was time for them to get back and be ready for their 3:15 p.m. restart. They thanked me and Prudence told me that I was a good instructor. It’s not the first time I’ve heard that from a student, but it’s still always nice to hear.

About to return to a tennis court state….

For the next 20 to 30 minutes, I was taking down the two portable nets and pulling the blue tape off the courts. I have to say there’s a part of me that was bummed that I had to pull the tape back up considering how much work it was been to put them down accurately in the first place!

Then it was back to work, where I changed back into work clothes in the bathroom, then started earning my keep again!


My box arrived from Gearbox this morning at work. It sat in my office unopened as I didn’t have time. But I wanted to try out my new paddle tonight. I carefully cut off the heavy paper packaging off the paddle, then put it all back into the box which I carried to the back of my car.


My wife had texted late this afternoon asking if I would be heading to Scotts Valley to play—with her blessing. With teaching today, I hadn’t thought about it. I did have all of my gear, so I told her that I would.

Just before 6:30 p.m., I was done with work for the day and on my way to Skypark.


As I was turning onto the street with the court at the end, there were two guys with pickleball gear, one of which I recognized, walking towards the courts. I slowed down and rolled down my passenger side window and asked “You guys had to park down the street? “ He replied, “Yeah, it’s super busy.“ I voiced my discontent, but since the courts were only another four houses down, I might as well circle through the lot. And with a little bit of luck, apparently someone had just left, so I pulled right into the parking spot next to the courts. It was very convenient. The two guys walked by, “Figures that everyone is leaving now!” A second car pulled out and drove away just then.

It was 6:38 p.m. and it was still pretty light, but overcast and chilly, clocking in at 57°F. It has been chilly and—as I mentioned—very breezy this afternoon. It wasn’t windy tonight, fortunately.

New Paddle

I got out my new Gearbox Pro Power Elongated paddle and peeled the plastic shrink wrap off of the handle. That was all that was left of the packaging I had removed right before I left work.

Larry and some others were eyeing my paddle. Spencer said, “You’ll either love it or hate it.” It’s true, there hasn’t been much in terms of interference from people lately.


My first game was with Larry against Rachel and Paulie. Initially, it was close, then Larry and I walked away with an 11-5 win.

Rachel and I played a game against Ofer and Larry. It was hard to stay in the game with Rachel making a lot of errors. She apologized but started to play better. We were down 1-10 and came back to almost win, losing 9-11. So close.


I played a few games with Tim F. against Matt and Paul. I really enjoy playing with Tim. He’s got such a positive attitude. Those were fun games. I’ve really got to be more aware of balls that would fly out if I let them. I’d say that’s my #1 weakness …hitting “out balls”. Tim was very polite, but I could tell that he wasn’t thrilled with me doing that—and he did comment a couple of times, like, “That one would have hit the fence!” It was all in good spirits however. But it wasn’t all bad, Tim pointed at me with his paddle after one hand battle and said “Nice play!”


Tim had been playing for a while today and said he was done for the night. We got David to take over for him. (David brought Minori tonight, though I didn’t get a game with her.)

By 8:50 p.m., there were four empty courts. People cleared out early.

David and I went on to play four or five games together against Matt and Paul, and they won the first one, but then David and I went to win the next three or four games.

In those later games, Paul was having a hard time returning my serves. After one game ended, he stopped and told me, “Your serves come in low and stay low and even with my putting my paddle down, I still couldn’t get them back.” There were at least three—maybe as many as six—serves over the course of those games that he returned my serves into the net.

We finished about 9:25 p.m., then took down the one portable net that someone had left up.


I have to say, I really love this new Gearbox paddle. I was expecting to not like it but with my style of game, this new Gearbox “gen 3” carbon fiber paddle is a good fit. There were a number of drops that I felt were successful that may not have been with my Rogue 2 paddle. The Gearbox sounds different too. I’d hit and instead of a clicking sound, the sound more resembles a thud. A little quieter.

Sure, in the first few games, there were some shots that I was hitting too hard, past the baseline, but then I started getting things dialed in.

I’m going to have to customize the paddle, beef up the handle, maybe a little bit of lead tape, and put on the protective edging tape.


I felt happy about my play tonight—that’s a rarity for me playing under lights.


My back is often tight when I get up in the morning, and can get tired, but it never bothers me in games. (Ok, there was those two times when I strained my back on the court, but that was years ago now.) But tonight, after running for an angled ball, I was returned to the the baseline and my back was complaining a little bit. Very unusual. It wasn’t crippling and seems to subside, but still a bit worrisome.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024 (No Play)

It’s odd. My leg muscles are sore. Sunday was a bust as far as strong games at Derby. And I just played my normal 2-3 hours at Skypark last night. Nothing unusual. It’s curious.

Another Trip

I’m going to be in Las Vegas for a trade show in June. I reached out today to the USA Pickleball Ambassador for that ZIP code, a woman named Jennifer. I also looked on Places2Play and it says that the Plaza Hotel has pickleball and to email them for information, so I did that today as well. Hopefully, someone will get back to me.

Number of days on a court: 649
Number of total hours: 2,790
Number of paid coaching hours: 29

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