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Pickleball Lessons

Posted on March 17, 2020 by under Hobbies.    

As you know (or maybe you don’t), I started taking pickleball lessons from Chris Heck earlier this year. We’ve been meeting weekly since about mid-January and he’s been teaching me things I don’t know how to do or don’t do very well like defending, speed-ups, overheads, and most recently I learned how to set up and execute an erne. The lessons are really fun and I enjoy them almost more than actually playing. I look forward to it every week.

Our schedule has actually worked pretty well except for a few weeks ago when he went to Missouri for a tournament. While we didn’t get to train together that weekend, it was fun following his tournament progress online.


He played mixed with Lindsey Newman (right) at the tournament. In case you don’t already know of her, she is amazing and a big name in the professional pickleball circuit. She played in the Franklin Pickleball Masters invitational tournament at Chicken N Pickle last year. The tournament is so exclusive that you could only participate if you were invited. And, to be invited, you had to be really good. Anyway, she’s a big deal. And, as big of a deal as Chris is (because he’s also amazing in his own right), she is an even bigger deal so it was really awesome that he got to play with her as his partner.

Here’s a video of their gold medal match from that tournament. He and Lindsey won gold against Quinton Birkeness and Rachel Chai-Wise.

In addition to playing in mixed, he also played in men’s doubles with our friend Jon Maugans. Chris and Jon lost to Brad Tursky and Quinton Birkeness and ended taking silver in this event.

Anyway, it is such a privilege to take lessons from a pickleball player of Chris’ calibre. He is amazing not just as a pickleball player but also at teaching skills, techniques, and strategies. Our training sessions have helped me improve tremendously. At least I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback about my playing of late. I think it’s because of skills I’m learning in our training.

Besides training with Chris, I’ve also started training with others in our pickleball community. We are very lucky to have so many talented pros in Wichita who offer instruction. Kimberly and I have had a couple of partner sessions with Kayla Keuter (Nahola Pickleball Club) and Debbie and I have had some group sessions with Lucy Kovalova (Wichita Country Club).


Here are a couple of pics with Lucy from our group session this Sunday.


This past weekend, I actually had training with Chris on Saturday afternoon, Kayla on Sunday morning, and then Lucy on Sunday afternoon. As addicted as I am to pickleball, I think I’m now also addicted to pickleball training. I especially love my one on one time with Chris. It’s like therapy. Plus, everyone I’ve trained with has been so motivating. All three are great at providing constructive feedback that makes you come away feeling encouraged. You can’t help but feel totally positive and energized after.

Speaking of training, I was really bummed when Ansboury Academy was canceled. I was looking forward to traveling to Hilton Head Island next week and training with Sarah Ansboury. However, I understand that, given the current situation with the Corona Virus pandemic, everyone needs to buckle down and do their part. That means limiting all unnecessary social contact. Everyone needs to be in isolation so as not to spread the virus. At first it was just no gatherings of 250 people or more, then over 50, and now it’s down to 10. It’s gotten so serious that work has even mandated that everyone who can work remotely should work from home for at least the next two weeks. And poof, no more South Carolina trip just like that.

I’ve canceled our hotel and Brian is working on canceling our flights. I have also reached out to Sarah Ansboury to begin the refund process. Once we have contacted everyone, it’s just a matter of waiting for all the refunds to come through but I’m less bummed about that than not having the opportunity to train with Sarah. Hopefully, an Ansboury Academy will be offered again later this year that fits my schedule and I’ll be able to attend at that point.

In the meantime, I’m stuck in Wichita which won’t really be too bad as long as I can still continue my training sessions with Chris and others locally. However, almost all the gyms have shut down so there may not be anywhere to train. If we really shut everything down and we are all stuck at home for several weeks, at least we have YouTube. Until next time. GNG.

Related Stories

  • Frozen Pickleballs on February 22, 2020
  • The Franklin Pickleball Masters on October 18, 2019
  • Matt and Lucy Day at CNP on February 8, 2020
  • Meeting Pickleball Friends In Person on September 6, 2020
  • Meeting the Legendary Jack Oxler on March 20, 2020

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