The PPA Atlanta Open was a wild ride. Weekend recap | Week 24

May 26, 2022

Last weekend was a wild ride.

In today’s edition, I’ll talk about: 

  1. What happened in my first pro tournament

  2. Playing Men’s doubles with the guy who got me into pickleball

  3. A mixed doubles 5.0 19+ tournament to remember. 🥇

To start, I wrote the below sentence in last week’s edition and it didn’t age well. ha!

 

The upset I foreshadowed was against Kyle Yates and Jessie Irvine, two top players in the world.

And well, we lost, badly! They beat us 11-0 11-0 on center court in what felt like, a 10 minute blowout.

But the good news is, the only direction I can go from here is up, right?

Now, a lot of my pickleball friends have asked, “what was it like? Were they really that good?”

The short answer is yes. 😂

They’re incredibly good. In pro matches, you see a LOT of dinking around the net.

In this match, there was very little dinking. The reason being? We struggled to get to the net on our serve and they attacked us early on theirs. If we made a mistake, we paid for it! If we popped a ball up, it was point over. If we hit a third shot drop high, they kept us back until they won the point.

When I tell you it was hard to win even one point, I mean it. 

 

 

After losing that match, we moved to the losers bracket where we lost 14-16 and were knocked out of the tournament.

On day 2,

 

I played Mens doubles 5.0 19+ with my good friend TJ, who’s actually the guy who got me into pickleball.

We had fun and competed well for our first time playing together. Unfortunately, we lost 6-11, 11-8 ,12-14 to the team that went on to get silver in the tournament.

And then, we got knocked out in the back-draw a couple hours later. That was tough, but sometimes, that’s just how the cookie crumbles.

On day 3,

 

I was back to playing mixed doubles with the same partner I played with in the pro division. Just now, we were playing one level below in the always challenging 5.0 19+.

We won our first match handily 11-4 11-4. Then we won a tough one in the second round 14-12, 11-8 , then won again 11-5, 11-9 in the third round.

In the fourth round (winners bracket semis), we lost 11-6, 2-11, 9-11 which put us into the “losers bracket final.”

Basically, the loser of the next match would secure the bronze medal and the winner would go to the final to play the team that had just beat us.

We went on to win that match 11-0, 13-11, setting up the rematch.

Despite it being our 6th match in a 90+ degree temperate day, we came out with a ton of energy firing on all cylinders.

Because we came out of the losers side, we had to win best two out of three to 11, then play one game to 15 and win that as well

And we did just that. We won…

Game 1 - 11-6

Game 2 - 11-6 and

Game 3 - 15-10 to capture the title.

It was an awesome feeling — winning my first gold medal at the 5.0 level.

My partner Jennifer was fantastic all day and is a huge part of the reason we won!

In closing,

 

I learned that, even though I’m progressed well enough to win a 5.0 tournament, I still have a ways to go to truly become a pro.

My friend TJ, (mentioned above) said something to me in the car after the tournament that stuck with me.

He said,

Kyle, in that first match against Jessie and Kyle, you just looked excited to be out there and they looked ready to play. There was a noticeable difference.

They warmed up different than you, they stood in their ready position different than you, and they ultimately played different than you.

So know, that every time you practice, or even warm up — you’re building a habit that will show up in games. So make sure you’re building the right habits.

Dang 🤯

Every time I play a tournament, I learn something new, and this may have been the mindset shift I needed to keep me going in the right direction to reach my next level!

Until next time,
Kyle

PS: It’s pretty cool how pickleball can reconnect old friendships. This weekend, I got to see an old college basketball teammate I hadn’t seen in 6 years. Check out this video we made together.

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