1 Pickleball Tip Your Friends Don't Know About...Feb 09, 2023
Ever lost a game you should’ve won? Even worse, ever been up big and let it slip?
That feeling is brutal. And it happened to me this past weekend. Ughh…
More on that below.
Before we keep going, welcome back to another edition of the newsletter. If you’re new to the newsletter and want to go back and check out past editions, go here!
Today’s edition has three parts:
1. A Helpful Tip – How To Defend The Around The Post (ATP) Shot
2. An Entertaining Video – Pickleball Ruins Friendships *laughs*
3. My Journey Playing Pro Pickleball – I'm Still Feeling The Pain Of That One...
A Helpful Tip:
A few weeks ago, I shared a video on how to effectively hit the around the post (ATP) shot.
Today, we’re going to talk about the flip side of that ATP equation.
See, here’s a problem I’ve noticed.
Someone hits a wide dink and when they realize their opponent is about to hit an ATP, they believe the point is over.
Well, I’m here to tell you, it’s not. In fact at the pro level, ATP’s are consistently defended successfully.
And there’s really no secret to it. Anyone can start to defend them with more success. As long as you understand a couple movements needed to put you in the correct spot.
Here's what you need to do!👇
My first pickleball content creator friend Shea Underwood and I have been making pickleball videos together for over a year.
And the guy has super creative ideas. So when he said, “Kyle I got an idea for us to film,” you already know I was in!
So we filmed it, he edited it and voila. A funny video. (At least we think it is)
It’s titled, “Ever since Shea started playing pickleball, he’s become distant.”
Long title, I know. Haha! I just came up with it.
Hope you enjoy it!
My Journey Playing Pro Pickleball:
This past weekend at the PPA Desert Ridge, mixed doubles didn’t go so well.
Last week, I mentioned I’d never played with my partner before, only against her.
We ended up going 0-2 in a couple matches I thought we should have won.
The truth is, it was my fault. I played poorly and didn’t do a whole lot to help us win.
So, that was a bummer.
On the men’s side, Michael (my men’s partner) and I were the #1 seed in the pro qualifier, where we had to win two matches to get into the main pro draw.
So we showed up at 7am. And truthfully, my poor play from mixed doubles the day before carried over into Saturday morning.
I played some of my worst pickleball ever. I mean that. I can’t remember a time when I played that poorly. I went into a pretty bad place mentally throughout that match.
Missing shots I rarely miss. Playing tentative and afraid. It was tough.
And while that sucked, a beautiful moment emerged.
The guy, who's an incredible player, was an even better teammate throughout the whole match.
He encouraged me, picked me up, and is the sole reason we won that first qualifier match. Our friendship definitely grew during that match because it reminded me how good of a guy he is.
In the following match, we won pretty handily 11-1 , 11-9.
Which put us in the main draw against AJ Koller and Eric Lange, the #5 seed.
I’ve known AJ for awhile now, but we’d never played.
About 30 minutes before the match, I saw AJ and he said, “looks like we're playing.” I immediately said, SCREW YOU, and walked away. I had to get in the right mindset, what can I say? 😂
Just kidding. (kinda).
Michael and I played them tough, losing, 11-5 , 11-8. It was another example of, “we’re getting closer.”
After that match, we went to the losers bracket and won our next match 15-9.
That win set up a match against Christian Alshon and Spencer Smith.
Spencer has been playing on the PPA tour for a while and is established. And, in the last few months, Christian has come onto the pickleball scene. He's quite the singles player and has become a really solid doubles player.
Before the match, Michael and I looked at each other and kept saying, “let’s ruin someone’s day today.” **Chuckles.**
Because we’re still a team that, when we beat you, you’re coming off the court thinking, “we shouldn’t have lost to those guys.” But that won’t last long.
So we started the match and punched them in the mouth. We were rolling. To the tune of being up 14-8-1.
They got a side out and regained the serve. Then rattled off 8 straight points to come back and beat us.
We used one time out during that stretch, but quite frankly, should have used the other one too.
I can’t remember everything that happened during that moment. But on their game point, I remember hitting the ball into the net. As the ball rolled back towards us, Michael and I dropped our paddles on the ground with a collective groan that told the whole story.
We were both distraught. We walked back to our bags, and just sat in our thoughts for about 20 minutes without speaking.
That was one of the toughest losses I’ve experienced in pickleball.
But after 20 minutes, Michael and I talked about it and discussed how incredible we played most of the match. We were the aggressor. We were in control. We had better energy. And it showed. If you just walked up and started watching that match, you’d have thought Michael and I were the two signed pros on tour. Not the other way around.
And here’s the moral of the story. And what I told Michael as we drilled a few days ago.
“This is just another chapter in the story.”
At some point, (hopefully), people will only know us as these two guys who are competing at the highest level in each tournament.
They won’t know the tough losses like this one we experienced in our pursuit of being one of the best. But we will.
Let’s be honest. Losing sucks, but it teaches you so much.
- It motivates you to get back out and train.
- It reveals weakness in your physical and mental game.
- It sharpens your mind and doesn’t let you get complacent.
- It forces perspective upon you. Because after all, it was just one match.
Whether you’re a rec player looking to improve, a beginner about to play your first tournament, or someone like me trying to move up the ranks — losing will be a huge part of your journey.
But that's the price you have to pay to become great at anything in life. Failure's before breakthroughs!
Until next week,
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