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Merry Christmas from Pickleball.Biz!

Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year from the extensive staff here at Pickleball.Biz! We (Irene and A.J., hereafter known as the “extensive staff”) are cozily tucked in here at Palm Creek (Casa Grande, AZ.), about as ready for the holidays as we need to be. We wish all of you as blessed a Christmas as we can possibly wish. True, one of us in the past has been a little grinchy around this time of year, but not so much today, and our wishes for you are thus filled with love and hope.

This, our last newsletter for 2016, contains a variety of things. First, we have two gifts for you. Second, we’d like to share some of our pithy learnings about pickleball (“Oh, be still, my beating heart!”, we hear you say). Third, we have two observations that may (or may not) improve your pickleball game. Lastly we want to bring you up to speed on what to expect from Pickleball.Biz in this coming year. And so, with such an agenda, let’s get to it so you have time for Christmas turkey or whatever you intend to over-eat.

  1. Gifts for You

We have two gifts for you, as said. The first we found to be both heart-warming and filled with hope, and we truly hope that you enjoy it as least as much as we did. And our second was originally a gift to us from Prem Carnot, IOHO one of the best pickleball clinicians operating today, and with his and Wendy’s permission we share it herein with you. Enjoy!

  1. Pithy LearningsWe observe some uncountable number of people attend clinics, and then, even if these are held by very, very good clinicians, get no better at all. Thus it’s clear that two reminders need to be offered. First, “it ain’t the paddle, it’s the paddler”, meaning it doesn’t matter what athletic equipment and gifts you possess, it matters only what you do with them. You can take clinics until the cows come home and until you practice what they preach you will not get better. “Good Idea, Poor Execution” is about as close you’ll come. How much should you practice? Heck, we can’t say, that’s your call. We enjoy practice, and sometimes we enjoy it more than playing, finding it somehow both meditative and relaxing for the most part. (That’s our two cents; your mileage may vary, of course.) Are we better players for having practiced so much? The jury cannot know the truth of this one as we DO practice and don’t know how good or perhaps not-so-good we would be if we didn’t practice. We don’t think we’re all THAT good anyway, so perhaps all we can say in conclusion is that we’d probably stink totally if we didn’t practice. Sigh.

Lastly, on this one, we remind you that great players do not always make for great clinicians (although Prem is both so it does happen!) and Caveat Emptor, please. An observation of this recently reinforced our very strongly-held opinions about clinicians who spend all the clinic’s valuable time preaching at their students. We observed (from the sidelines) a noted national player who was charging our beloved students here for a two-hour clinic directed at every skill level from 2.5 to 4.5. This probably wasn’t the worst clinic we’d ever observed but was among them. All preaching, no practice recommendations, directed at people who were (a) not ready yet to hear what the clinician was talking about and (b) not able, physically, to duplicate what was being recommended. Great player, national champ and all that jazz, but IOHO a crappy clinician. We were reminded of the old saying “Great Hat, No Cattle” for some reason. Not sure why. Recommendation to those of attending clinics – go into them skeptical, and look for just one or two take-aways. They’re usually there for the taking if you look. It’s your responsibility, ultimately, to pick what you want to work on and then to work on these things.

  1. Two observations that may (or may not) improve your pickleball game

Only two? Yes. (You know that at your age you cannot handle more than one idea at a time anyway. Or at least we, probably somewhat older than you, can’t.) First, please choose shots that allow you to follow up. For instance, there is a recent resurgence among very good younger players to hit a third-shot approach hard, ripping it at their opponent and expecting their opponent to return the shot but using it primarily as an alternative approach (instead of over-using drops or lobs) and yet another way to get to the net for the most part. Problem with YOU (or at least us) doing that is that you can’t get to the net that fast. Think about it. You rip a shot at your opponent and begin to move up, forgetting, for the moment, that you aren’t 20 any more. Thus they dump the shot back just over the net, you can’t get there, and you (at best) pop it up off the front edge of your paddle and they drill it back at your partner who was moving up too fast. Duh. Your mistake.

Second thing to suggest ties to this. Know your own limitations and anticipate the limitations of your partner. You do have some, don’t you? Not for us to judge, sharing only that we are well aware that WE have limitations, at least. But if you do, play around those things. To the above point if you can’t move backwards and cover a lob strongly, stop giving your opponents shots they can lob. Do we really have to go further with this? No, we don’t, and you get the point. Our ending suggestion; this next year, unless you are 20 (or 30), just play smarter, not harder. Try it; you’ll like it. Probably.

  1. What can you expect from Pickleball.Biz in 2017?

It’s been somewhat of a tumultuous year for your favorite pickleball site this year, recognizing that of course the game is changing fast and we’re often hard-pressed to keep up with these changes We were also presented in the last half of the year with a terrible site design problem that caused us to lose almost all of the (literally thousands of) free links that we share with you. (Remember A.J.’s previous post about how he hates Dropbox Pro?) This was eventually corrected, and so we will now focus on working through our backlog of other pickleball-related information to share and will be sending out more notifications of same in January. Another thing you can expect is that we will begin charging a small fee for our new subscribers in perhaps the second quarter. Being of limited income we find that our outlay on this site is too negative and have to defray some of our expenses.

Lower-cost option for you? If you are subscribed already, or subscriber within the first quarter, no problemo. You’ll continue to receive free information for at least another year thereafter, so sign up now and get all your fellow picklers to sign up as well and you can continue to download tons and tons of free stuff to your heart’s content, as always with the caveat that we ask that you credit us for the stuff and don’t use it commercially.

Lastly we are slowly launching a new business, Pickleball Associates, LLC. Originally we were going to have that be a stand-alone entity and focus on consulting with people about how to construct world-class pickleball courts at a reasonable price. Turns out there isn’t a ready market for that and we’re (truth be known) only about half as good at that as A.J. thought we were, so we’re redefining that business. It will become the new owner of Pickleball.Biz and we have other plans for it, hopefully with the end-game of our becoming rich and famous (right!) or more probably finding it easier to help grow our favorite sport through other partnership and such.

Clear as mud? In any event, we have a plan and are working it, and will stay in touch. In the interim, if there is anything else you would like us to write about, share information about, research or whatever, or any section(s) you would like expanded, please advise us here. And so here’s to all of us having a mah-velous 2017, dah-lings!