Thursday, April 25, 2024 (Court Day #650)

I was out walking the dog today and once again took the USA Pickleball Player Rules Test. After over a dozen attempts, I finally got 100%! I’ll admit there were two questions that I wasn’t totally confident in my answer, but still a milestone!


Today, I was hired by Rec to do a clinic for beginning players at their afternoon launch event. They hired a different instructor to coach serving in tennis. I was supposed to start teaching at 5 o’clock. I left work and arrived at Skypark about 20-30 minutes early. When I got there, there was a pop-up tent with a couple long tables set up, there were roughly 30 people milling around and talking in little groups. I spotted Mike from Rec behind one of the tables—he had a laptop in front of him and was answering questions. I caught his eye and let him know that I was there. He stopped for a second to let me know that we’d likely be starting late.

Ten minutes after I arrived, they started their presentation. Allison, the head of Parks & Rec for the City of Scott Valley, started talking explaining her role and that she was trying to balance the desires of the pickleball players as well as the neighborhood around the courts. There were a couple of pickleball women who were interrupting with contrary comments or pointed questions. I found it kind of rude. At least let them finish talking first, people! I know I certainly want wouldn’t want someone behaving like that if I was speaking to a group. When she was done speaking, she turned it over to Mike of Rec then Mike’s coworker who did his best answer questions and respond to criticisms. They were all very professional. The only moment of apparent frustration was when Allison broke from her answer to someone to tell another person to please let her finish first. I don’t blame her.


Mike wanted to get the clinics going. A woman appeared saying that she was there for my clinic. Her name was Michelle. She said she wasn’t actually a beginner—which is what Rec wanted me to teach—but she was the only one, so we could do whatever Michelle wanted.

As Michelle and I were about to start, a local woman, a certified referee, came over and started grilling me about—as an instructor now—how I was teaching the non-volley zone to my students. I was confused. I had no idea what she was getting at. “That it’s a 2-dimensional space?” I then remembered that I meant to share with her that I got 100% on the player rules test this morning and I did. She just looked at me and told me that doesn’t mean I teach correctly. I can see that in the context, she thought I was defending my knowledge, but I was just sharing my milestone. We went back and forth a bit as I tried to understand what she was after. Eventually, it sounded like she wanted to make sure that I emphasize that players can be in the NVZ whenever they want as long as they are not volleying and that they should go in early if they know the ball is going to bounce in the NVZ. That’s pickleball 101. Yes, I teach that. Every time. In detail. She certainly meant well, but I did feel a touch insulted.

Michelle and I got to work on her dinking and I did my best to kind of correct her form. She was using way too much wrist on her dinks and she was also doing a sidearm motion . . . neither which are good for dinking. And since someone had once said something to her about her serve, she also wanted to know if it was illegal or not. I asked her to do a serve and it seemed fine, if a bit close. Then I recorded her with my iPhone in slow motion and then showed it to her pointing out why her serve was legal. We worked on dinking for a little bit longer and then got into a game with her and a couple of relative newbies. I gave them all a few tips and pointers during the game . . . like trusting your partner and positioning oneself on the court correctly. But just a few, I don’t want to overwhelm people with too many things to adjust.

Standard Games

When we finished that instructional game about 6 p.m., I figured I’d fulfilled my 45-minute obligation to teach and moved on to games for me instead. Mike and his coworker stayed and played a few games before heading back to the Bay Area.

Francis and Mark Dettle on the far side facing off against Larry “Lars” and Mike from Rec.

I got into one unmemorable game . . . honesty, typing this two days later, I haven’t the foggiest recollection. Normally, I compose these entries the same day, but not this time.

I spent a good chunk of the evening playing with or against David and Minori with a mix of other players. Ofer and some others. For the most part, it was an evening of challenging games.

I felt overall pretty good about my play. There was a little dip in performance at sunset, but I managed.

The lights clicked off a few minutes after 9:30 p.m. Soon, according to the new city policy, it’ll be 8:30 p.m. for Monday through Thursday and only 9:30 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.

When I checked my phone, I had 44 text messages! Family (my parents and siblings) text thread, work, wife, etc. Ugh.

Saturday, April 27, 2024 (No Play)

My right knee is bothering me a bit and my lower back is bugging me some too. Sheesh.

Number of days on a court: 650
Number of total hours: 2,794
Number of paid coaching hours: 30

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