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Archive for "Pickleball"

USAP Newport Beach Highlights

Posted on August 7, 2022 by under Pickleball, Travel.    

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I had a blast playing with my friend Ramon Lozano at the USAP Newport Beach Championships pickleball tournament. On the one hand, we wanted to win gold but on the other, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to go to Nationals since I’ve already committed myself to going to the Diamond Amateur Championships in Florida this year. Plus, I didn’t want to go if I only had one golden ticket. We took 3rd and, while we could have done better, I’m totally okay with it.

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One of the best parts of the trip was meeting Ramon’s wonderful family. Uncle Ramon decked everyone out in Chicken N Pickle gear. What a great uncle he is!

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The group pic above was taken in the morning and then this second group pic is after we got our medals.

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Here are some pics of Back Bay, a beach that’s literally just a five minute walk from our hotel room. We walked over a couple of times. We didn’t get in the water but we took some pics and people-watched.

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The area was breathtaking and the weather was absolutely perfect (as it often is in California – they are fortunate to have wonderful weather year-round). I would totally go back if Brian is up for it next year.

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Here are some pics we took at Back Bay. Thank you to Lucky in Love for the cute outfit in the next pic.

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Back at the tournament, I met some really fabulous people and made new friends (as always). I may not bring a bunch of medals home but I can always count on making new friends.

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Above is a Filipino lady from Illinois that I met at the tournament, Michelle Chow. Below is my blind date/new friend and women’s doubles partner Nancy “Moondust” Kaplan.

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I met the amazing founder/creator PlayTime Scheduler, Reine Steel.

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And, I also got to watch my friend Jenna Doffer (Hessert) kick major butt in the pro division.

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Meanwhile, Brian got a cool new ball cap from the Zelus booth.

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Brian and I also got to go to Fashion Island.

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I’ll end it here for now and share pictures of our hotel/resort in the next post. Until next time, GNG.

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Best Day with Jay Devilliers

Posted on August 6, 2022 by under Pickleball.    

Here’s a highlight video from the best day ever hanging out with one of our professional pickleball players Jocelyn (Jay) Devilliers.

We started at Chicken N Pickle. From left: Matt Nola, Nico Acevedo Olmos, Chie Cline, Jay Devilliers, Huyen Nguyen, and me.

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Then continued on to Zach’s house, where we played some additional games.

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Jay is so fun. At one point, he told me not to come up to the non-volley zone because were working on our baseline and transition zone drop shots.

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It was super fun and a day I won’t soon forget. Until next time, GNG.

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Ramon in Wichita

Posted on August 4, 2022 by under Community, Food and Drink, Pickleball.    

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My friend Ramon Lozano came to Wichita on the last weekend of June so we could play some games together before the Newport Beach tournament. We decided to play in the Y’s Men charity tournament benefiting the Greater Wichita YMCA so that we could kill two birds with one stone – we’re helping the community raise money for a great cause and we are getting to practice.

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We didn’t fare as well as I’d hoped in the tournament but it’s always a good time playing with Ramon. There’s a reason “Everybody Loves Ramon” – LOL. That was our team name for the tournament.

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Ramon drove into town early on Friday to get some games in with Kyle (Starkel, aka “Soapdish” also “Pornstache”) and a couple of other guys. Brian and I needed stamps for our Wicked Brew passports (something that we do every summer) and so we were game when Kyle suggested we meet up at Norton’s.

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Here are some pics of our delicious food… BTW, you cannot go to Norton’s and not get bacon crack. It is a must!

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Here are some pictures from the charity tournament at Chicken N Pickle the next morning. I had to get a picture with my friend Erica Lopez because we both were playing with Joola paddles that day. Formerly, we both played with Electrum Pro paddles. So we still managed to match somehow.

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Here’s a pic of the top two teams of the tournament: Ian Carr and Jen Reifschneider vs. Karen Fox and Chris “Sexy Legs” Heck.

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Karen and Chris won, obviously. Chris always wins. But, not too shabby for Ian who has come in second to Chris every time.

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Anyway, that’s all for now. Until next time. GNG.

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Helping Pickleball Players Get Accurate Ratings

Posted on July 27, 2022 by under Pickleball.    

As a USA Pickleball ambassador, I can rate other players based on official USA Pickleball player skill rating definitions and assessment sheets. However, because most people think they are way batter than they truly are, even though there are objective checklists and assessment sheets that I can use, I have always found this whole business awkward. People often get butt-hurt and offended if you rate them lower than what they perceive themselves to be so I avoid this whole business at all costs. Thankfully, there’s DUPR to the rescue!

With DUPR any player can get a rating and you don’t need a third party to do it for you. You simply plug in the results of your matches and voila — a few matches later — you’ve got yourself a pickleball rating. I know I’m oversimplifying it here, which is completely unfair, because DUPR’s algorithm is sophisticated and beautiful. You can follow this link to learn more about it.

Anyway, nowadays if anyone wants me to tell them their rating, I just invite them to play in one of our DUPR Match Sessions. Then the amazing DUPR algorithm assigns them a rating based on how they performed against the other players. It’s not a rating that is subjectively assigned by me based on how I feel they performed but rather it’s assigned by DUPR after the algorithm crunches its complex calculations from the inputs (reported scores).

I started hosting DUPR Match Sessions last month in an effort to get as many of our recreational players rated as possible. Here’s a video from our most recent DUPR Match Session over the weekend.

I was originally hosting these events at Riverside Tennis Center. All of the players would split the cost of the court fees. Each session was about two hours. Players would have a different partner each round and I would record the scores and input them into DUPR later.

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Here are some pictures from our sessions at RTC last month.

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We typically have 16-24 players who participate. At Riverside we can book 6 courts but they don’t open until 9 AM on Sundays and lately it’s been too hot. I decided to move the sessions to Wichita State University where there are 4 public courts that are rarely used in the mornings. We start at around 7 AM and go through 10 AM, right before the temperatures get too hot. The nice thing about doing these at WSU is then it’s completely free for anyone who wishes to participate.

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Here are a few more pictures from another session at Riverside.

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These sessions have proved to be quite popular. Players not only want to establish ratings but they want to continue to improve and increase their ratings. Currently the Wichita Pickleball club on DUPR has about 300 active members and half of them are now rated. Until next time, GNG.

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This Blog is So Far Behind

Posted on July 18, 2022 by under Pickleball.    

I’m going to attempt to catch this blog up.. maybe.

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Here are a couple of pictures from the Memorial Day cookout/gathering at Seneca Park. I wasn’t part of the planning/organizing because I was out of town for the Middle States Diamond Regional pickleball tournament in St. Louis but I did get back in time and was able to swing by. It looked like there was a great turnout and everyone had a ton of fun!

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It was a super windy day but people made the best of it.

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I think the best part was that #TeamModel #TeamEurope Jocelyn Devilliers and Patrick Smith (two of our local pickleball pros) came by and played some rec games. It’s always so special when they come around.

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These two amazing guys, Jay and Pat, held a clinic at Chicken N Pickle the next day (Tuesday, May 31). I couldn’t go to it since I had already taken time off work the prior week to play in the regional tournament in St. Louis so I felt bad about taking off another day.

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It looks like everyone who attended had a great time, though.

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The weekend after that was the ICT Classic Pickleball Tournament, which seems like so long ago now that registration for the ICT Fall-out is open. The ICT tournaments are great for pushing your limits. At least for me, I don’t feel significant pressure to medal so I can just play and enjoy myself.

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I played 3.5 singles, 4.0 women’s, and 5.0 mixed (don’t ask – lol). I was supposed to play with Judy Nola for women’s and Matt Nola for mixed, so I got both wife and husband; however, Judy had wedding obligations and couldn’t play on Saturday. I picked up Jenny Pinkston who I had met at Chicken N Pickle. She happened to be playing in the Riverside league I was in the day Judy canceled so I asked her and she agreed. I thought we played pretty well together overall. The other teams just played better and cleaner.

Playing 5.0 in mixed was a huge stretch but that’s what Matt wanted to play and I wanted to play with him so I just had to roll with it. Admittedly, it wasn’t terrible. Even though it was my very first tournament at 5.0 level (I think it might have been Matt’s first also), we didn’t feel completely out of place. Also, Matt is super nice and chill and didn’t make me feel bad for not being quite up to that level.

My takeaways from that tournament (and this is actually an observation that I’ve made about myself and pickleball in general):

  • I find that we rise to the occasion. No matter what skill level I end up in, I find that I play at that exact level. So if I’m in 3.0 division, I play just like a 3.0. If I play in 4.0, I play just like a 4.0. When I played 5.0 with Matt, I played my best possible self. Given this, it really doesn’t make sense to play down in skill because it doesn’t bring out your best self. The only way you’ll discover how great you can possibly be is by playing up in skill level. I think others came to this conclusion much faster than me. And, even after knowing this, I still don’t want to skip any steps. I have it in my mind that I need X number of medals (podium finishes) at a certain skill level before I feel like I can move up. I don’t know why my brain works this way (I wish it didn’t), but it just does.
  • At any given skill division, with a very competitive bracket where everyone is of similar skill, it’s ultimately the team that makes the least number of errors that prevails. Granted, there are those times when there are some teams that are leaps and bounds better than the rest of the field — but, removing those outliers — if everyone is entered in the appropriate skill level, it really is anyone’s game and the team that wins is the team that makes the least mistakes that given day. It’s this type of mentality that helps me sleep at night and not take my losses so harshly. You win some, and you lose some, and that’s just the way it goes. I’ll keep working at becoming more consistent but it’s not the end of the world if I don’t medal in my events.

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We wore blue that day and, although we went 0 and 2 in our division (which is not a good thing), I wasn’t blue. I was happy for the opportunity to play with my friend Matt (who is always so much fun to play with) and I am eternally grateful to him for believing in me enough to invite me to “play up” with him.

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I feel like I’m either winning or I’m learning. And lately it seems I’ve been doing a lot more of the latter but, as a life-long learner who always wants to be better than I was yesterday, I would not have it any other way. It’s helpful when you surround yourself with positive people who believe in you and push you to be the very best you can possibly be. You can keep on “learning” without feeling down or discouraged or doubting yourself.

Winning is fun but getting better is funner – lol, I know it’s supposed to be “more fun” but saying/writing funner is “more fun” to me.

I know I want to catch this blog up and I didn’t get very far this time but, honestly, there’s not enough time in the day. I guess I will have to save the rest of the updates for tomorrow. Until next time, GNG.

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