Blazing Paddles - A Pickleball Podcast

Crushing It! with Al Arco

May 13, 2024 John & Karen Whitaker / Al Arco Season 1 Episode 11
Crushing It! with Al Arco
Blazing Paddles - A Pickleball Podcast
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Blazing Paddles - A Pickleball Podcast
Crushing It! with Al Arco
May 13, 2024 Season 1 Episode 11
John & Karen Whitaker / Al Arco

Ever wondered how an ex-Division II college baseball player would take to pickleball like a duck to water? Meet Al Arco, whose story of athletic legacy and newfound pickleball obsession unfolds in our latest episode. We delve into his move to Robson Ranch, the rapid growth of his pickleball prowess, and how his family's sporting history—from his mother's near inclusion in the 1963 Pan American swim team to his children's athletic feats—has seeped into his own passion for the sport.

This week's conversation also spotlights a pickleball tale of personal growth, competition, and relationship strengthening. Imagine stepping onto the court and not just improving your volley, but your communication with your partner too. That's exactly what happened with our guests, and they're sharing the highs and lows, from grasping the complexities of self-rating to forging deep connections within the pickleball community and beyond. Plus, we'll unearth strategies that have transformed our guest from a relative novice to local influencer in this close-knit pickleball world.

Finally, fasten your seatbelts as we zoom into the competitive landscape, where youth and strategy collide to reshape pickleball's future. We're dissecting the art of the third shot drop, getting personal with our favorite strategic moves, and even discussing the potential of becoming certified instructors to give back to the sport we love. From the local courts to the MLP Dallas Pickleball Club's season prospects, we've covered the gamut, giving you a front-row seat to the ever-evolving game of pickleball and the endearing community it cultivates. Join us for an episode that's as much about the thrill of the match as it is about the bonds formed beyond the baseline.

Special thanks to Crown Pickleball for their support and sponsorship! Don't waste money on balls that break, Crown pickleballs rarely crack, are more visible and have a higher spin rate than the competitors.
Use our link to receive a discount on your next purchase! https://crownpickleball.store/blazingpaddles

Have a suggestion for a guest or topic you'd like to see us address?
Hit me up at john@dink.pro or shout out on social:
Instagram
Twitter

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever wondered how an ex-Division II college baseball player would take to pickleball like a duck to water? Meet Al Arco, whose story of athletic legacy and newfound pickleball obsession unfolds in our latest episode. We delve into his move to Robson Ranch, the rapid growth of his pickleball prowess, and how his family's sporting history—from his mother's near inclusion in the 1963 Pan American swim team to his children's athletic feats—has seeped into his own passion for the sport.

This week's conversation also spotlights a pickleball tale of personal growth, competition, and relationship strengthening. Imagine stepping onto the court and not just improving your volley, but your communication with your partner too. That's exactly what happened with our guests, and they're sharing the highs and lows, from grasping the complexities of self-rating to forging deep connections within the pickleball community and beyond. Plus, we'll unearth strategies that have transformed our guest from a relative novice to local influencer in this close-knit pickleball world.

Finally, fasten your seatbelts as we zoom into the competitive landscape, where youth and strategy collide to reshape pickleball's future. We're dissecting the art of the third shot drop, getting personal with our favorite strategic moves, and even discussing the potential of becoming certified instructors to give back to the sport we love. From the local courts to the MLP Dallas Pickleball Club's season prospects, we've covered the gamut, giving you a front-row seat to the ever-evolving game of pickleball and the endearing community it cultivates. Join us for an episode that's as much about the thrill of the match as it is about the bonds formed beyond the baseline.

Special thanks to Crown Pickleball for their support and sponsorship! Don't waste money on balls that break, Crown pickleballs rarely crack, are more visible and have a higher spin rate than the competitors.
Use our link to receive a discount on your next purchase! https://crownpickleball.store/blazingpaddles

Have a suggestion for a guest or topic you'd like to see us address?
Hit me up at john@dink.pro or shout out on social:
Instagram
Twitter

Speaker 1:

Like to your point, the game's evolved and they bring a different level of athleticism. See, I totally disagree.

Speaker 2:

Karen, Totally disagree.

Speaker 1:

You disagree, disagree.

Speaker 2:

Why Compete? Well, okay, let's look at those matches.

Speaker 1:

They're destroying us. Okay, what is it?

Speaker 2:

What are they doing? So I think we look at what they're doing.

Speaker 1:

I don't know. I have to play them Saturday. I'll tell you.

Speaker 3:

Hello all you picklers. Back for more Season 1, episode 11, blazing Paddles. Last week we had a story of overcoming some huge problems in life with our friend Sutton Howard. This week we go back local to one of Southlake's favorites, al Arco. And Al's somebody that a lot of people in the Southlake Pickleball Club are familiar with, but he's got quite a story. His pickleball influence goes much bigger than just this little community. One of the nicest guys you'll meet, al Arco. Let's get a chance to know him a little bit better here on Season 1, episode 11. Saddle up, you'll be glad you did so. The idea was to just spitball a little bit about pickleball and talked about your, your leagues that you're playing in and some of the kind of cool things that are happening with MLP PPA. You, how long have you been involved in pickleball Like really involved, not not just playing.

Speaker 2:

So truly involved, john it um we moved to ropes and ranch, my wife and I in 2019. And so um we moved to Robeson Ranch, my wife and I in 2019.

Speaker 1:

Wait, you're not old enough to live in a retirement community. I am now.

Speaker 2:

I turned 55 last week, by the way, so I'm legal.

Speaker 3:

It's active. Don't.

Speaker 1:

Did you sign up with AARP?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, but I want my Denny's discount.

Speaker 3:

I can tell you that, don't worry, they'll send you stuff. They don't wait for you.

Speaker 2:

It's already coming, by the way. Yeah. So, um, one night early, um, I went to golf and the sprinklers were just demolishing the uh putting grain and the driving range, and driving home in the golf cart I hear this clink, clink, clink and it caught my attention. So I drove over to the pickleball courts, started watching. Our kids had given us those wooden monarch paddles. You know they used to sell at academy. So, like the next day, I tell my wife let's go, you know, bang the ball around. So we're on the baseline hitting back and forth and, um, a neighbor kind of walking by saw me and he's like, yeah, that's not pickleball. And gave us a couple of tips and really for a while there I think I was playing every single night after work, um, from, about, you know, late September, october, probably through 2022.

Speaker 2:

So you were totally hooked right away. Well y'all know it's an addiction, right? Uh, and I, I just uh, I'd missed that void right from being an athlete prior in life. And uh, yeah, I just, I just took to it, I was all in.

Speaker 1:

Well, so okay, let's go back prior life. What do you mean? An athlete? What kind of an athlete were you?

Speaker 2:

Well, not great. I mean, you had Alex on what a couple months ago and he was a phenomenal baseball player at what Indiana. But I played Division II college baseball, sonoma State University small school, northern California. So, karen, actually the local folks around here Larry Allen, who is a Dallas Cowboy, a Ring of Honor and Hall of Famer, played at Sonoma State, so he's our claim to fame.

Speaker 3:

I'm not quite in the level of Larry Allen.

Speaker 2:

Arco Right there's a little gap, John.

Speaker 1:

What position I played division. What's that? What position I was a middle infielder.

Speaker 2:

But here's what's funny. So I played ball, but as a kid there wasn't a sport I didn't pick up and I just gravitated to. I liked it. Things kind of came easy athletically for me, not bragging, but I was a joker of all trades. I wasn't great at any one thing, but what's funny in our family, I wouldn't even sit on the podium. My, uh, my youngest son. He gave up basketball I senior year of high school but he could dunk. I could never. I could barely touch the net for crying out. Uh, my older son played college ball. He played Division III baseball up at University of the Ozarks in Arkansas and he's got more home runs collegiately than I ever did. So you know he's got scoreboard on me there. But really our ace is my mom, my mom, both my parents came here from Cuba as teenagers.

Speaker 1:

Okay.

Speaker 2:

And this would be a whole different podcast, by the way. But anyhow, my dad was a jack of all trades athletically, but my mom was on pace to be on the 1963 Pan American swim team for Cuba.

Speaker 1:

Shut up. I swear that's awesome.

Speaker 2:

She was a really good and she was a tomboy. She played squash and this and that. But she came here at 16 with her nine-year-old sister and you know, 62, 63 years later she's still here. But anyhow, ping pong. She was a stud in ping pong, she played squash and whatnot, so I didn't beat her till I was like in my 20s she was 50 something when I finally beat her in ping pong.

Speaker 1:

Oh wow, so you played ping pong. That translates exactly over to pickleball.

Speaker 2:

It does care, like the, you know, especially dinking and around the net, um, I mean, and not high, high level. You know there's, there's, there's folks that are way better than me, but I was pretty good, you know, um, and so it was quite an achievement in the family to be mom, finally Right and and and so really translate that to pickleball, you're, you're right, like some of the skills around the net, it's just something I'm comfortable doing, you know, whether it's flicks, rolls, dinks, yeah, that's awesome.

Speaker 1:

So your parents did they meet here after they came over from Cuba?

Speaker 2:

So interestingly, my dad's grandmother lived across the street from my mom's family. They were from different towns so he would go visit and they would just play sports together. My mom and my dad they were just friends in Cuba. Once they were both here they both came separately through Catholic Charities. They hooked up via the old snail mail sending letters to each other. My dad ended up at university of St Thomas in Houston, my mom was in Southern California. She finally got reunited with her older sister and husband and and so they started pen palling and then my dad literally asked her to marry her, drove to California, married her and drove her back to Houston and little Al came around 10 months later.

Speaker 1:

Oh, that's awesome. I love it. That's so cute, though I mean we'll never have stories like that anymore.

Speaker 2:

Well, I kind of screwed things up because I'm an only kid, so it must not have gone too well.

Speaker 3:

Okay, so now that we're in a different day and age, have you been back to Cuba?

Speaker 2:

No, and actually our State Department, even though things, I think relations have opened up a little bit, our state department still they recommend expatriates, like my parents and their direct descendants, me, not go back. My kids and even my wife would have the ability to. I know people have gone to visit, but because it's not recommended, then yeah, it's just not going to happen.

Speaker 3:

I'm going to say a show of hands. If we said hey, would anybody guess Al Arco is Cuban-American? There'd be no hands up. That's a great story. I mean your dad, through the postal service, found a bride. That's awesome. I mean they knew each other, they were friends.

Speaker 1:

They knew each other, they played sports.

Speaker 3:

I mean because, they were riding back and forth. I didn't know. I didn't mean it was a mail-order bride.

Speaker 2:

It was like MySpace or Facebook before Facebook.

Speaker 3:

All right, let's take a break for a minute so I can plug Dink Pro. You need some cool pickleball apparel. You need a cool pickleball apparel. You need a cool Blazing Paddles trucker hat. You need some Dink Pro God Bless Pickleball shirts. We got it all and I want you to keep your eye on our site. Right now at Dink Pro, we're going to be running some special promotions. We're going to be doing some giveaways. Memorial Day is coming up later this month, so we will have some promotions tied to that as well. So go to DinkotPro, get your gift shopping out of the way. You've got Mother's Day right around the corner. Nothing says I love you, Mom, more than pickleball clothes. Am I right, or am I right? Let's get back to Al Arco DinkDotPro. Now back to your story, because you and your wife picked up. Now is your wife still playing? She is.

Speaker 2:

So what's neat is she was never an athlete, so she's quite kind of the opposite. Um, and so, moving there, we started playing. So she, yeah, she, she, I mean she takes lessons, you know, several times a week and she's done league, she's done like that at league, um, and while she, um, you know she gets nervous when she competes and whatnot. Uh, we still have a lot of fun. We play in different social groups together. At Ropeson there's an upcoming MLP team competition and you guys are familiar with that with Southlake Battle Club. So we're going to be on the same team together and playing mixed doubles together, and that'll be fun.

Speaker 1:

Aw, what do you mean? She's taking lessons from somebody other than you. Yeah, wow.

Speaker 2:

That's probably good for our marriage. Karen, that's smart honey.

Speaker 1:

Okay, one thing that's funny. So I love it that you guys are doing that together, because you're a really high-level player, and so it must be how you feel playing with me, john.

Speaker 3:

You're not much of an athlete. No, I'm really a good player.

Speaker 1:

Oh yeah, hey Karen.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, Sorry, you could do that Taylor Swift thing. You know where you have like one off.

Speaker 1:

Oh yeah, maybe that Does that look like Taylor Swift. Yeah, all right, you have to talk into the microphone, so we're not going to have a really good video on this, but hey, as long as it sounds good, we're good.

Speaker 3:

I've got a face for radio, so that's good, all right. So when did you get to where? I mean? You must have advanced pretty quickly. What would you guess? What's your duper rating now? What do you say?

Speaker 2:

You know duper ratings. I have feelings on that, but I think I'm 4.3, 4.4. I think I've dipped. It's interesting because early on I didn't know I self-rated at like 4-0. But I've never played a tournament lower than 4-0. Most of my tournaments I've gone in at 4-5.

Speaker 3:

Well, you're one of the few because we play We've played the tournaments at 3-5 and at 3-0. And we have played against people in those brackets who were probably 4-5, 5-0, because they're sandbagging. There's a lot of sandbagging in the tournament. Still, that's the only thing I mean. I know Duper is not the perfect solution. There's a lot of reasons why, but there's nothing else that I know of Correct, correct.

Speaker 2:

So I think the ratings kind of makes it tough. I mean I can hit a court and know it gets to me someone's you know, probably at skill level just hitting a couple balls back and forth, right Paddle control probably dictates just about everything, and so you know there's players a lot better than me I've been fortunate enough to play with. But I'd give myself today a self-rating in probably the 4.5 range, maybe a little bit higher, and that's about it, yeah.

Speaker 3:

Now, is that what the Westside Drillers? Is that about the 4.5, 5.0? What is that?

Speaker 2:

So last year we formed a league in the area in Dallas Metroplex Dallas Senior Pro Pickleball League. So not all players are pros. I'm not a pro. We do have pros that both travel or get paid professionally to play in the league, and there's a couple ladies as well and many that play events at the either Open now the Champions Masters levels, which is what APP calls the senior levels, or in the National Pickleball League, which had their draft last night.

Speaker 2:

And so, interestingly, in that league last year I started as a 4.5. The website will track your rating as you play your matches and I ended up at a 4.9 rating in the league, playing against really solid competition. The mean, I would say, is around 4.8, 4.9 for the league. It ranges from 4.5 all the way to 5.8. Dave Weinbeck played. He's a professional player and he played in our league guest played when he was here in town with us. But yeah, we get all kinds. So we have two players actually actually from our new Austin team. We expanded this year, we've gone from four to five teams and two of our players from the Austin team were drafted in the NPL last night.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, that's a hotbed, huh. I bet they have a lot of talent down there.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so hang on a second. You were driving your golf cart, you hear this ping pong thing. You start playing pickleball every night of the week. But you are like the highly, highly connected dude in pickleball Like I thought we were lucky to go to. Like that, get invited to that Dallas. But there's Al Arco.

Speaker 2:

Oh.

Speaker 1:

Al Arco has a picture at the PPA draft. Oh, were you at the draft last night.

Speaker 2:

The MLP draft. I was fortunate enough to be in the draft room with the Dallas Pickleball Club team.

Speaker 1:

See, and you brought Dave Weinbach to our paddle club.

Speaker 2:

I'm not name dropping here, Karen.

Speaker 1:

Yes, no, I'm name dropping all day long. I just want to know how you did it. I mean, you're the most likable person, but I mean, seriously, how did you get connected with all these, uh, these you know people that are the pros and and, yeah, how'd you, how'd this happen now?

Speaker 2:

how about this podcast, right here, meeting you two? I mean pickleball, what's? I think what's so neat is, uh, well, for me, like later in life, right to um, to play a sport and compete, and then it's a community to me, really pick ball as a community. And so, um, I don't know how, but but just um, from playing day to day meeting you know a couple of new people, um being open to traveling. Now some folks only play at their park at their time and that's great, um, it's, it wasn't even tournaments, it was just, you know, hey, uh, one guy was over here and hey, come down to Arlington and play. So I'd go down to Arlington and play on a weekend. Or hey, come over to Salina and this guy wants to play over here.

Speaker 2:

I've been looking, karen and John, I've played with a 13-year-old from the Prosper area he's an up-and-comer All the way to 75, 78-year-olds that live in my community. So I think just playing one by one with folks has helped a lot. I think it's a very open community, so people are welcoming. I think, yeah, if you're nice, you're not a total a-hole If I can say that on the podcast, an a-hole on the court. You get invited to new opportunities and that's helped me a little bit.

Speaker 1:

How did you get to meet Dave Weinbach and let's talk, let's tell people who he is, because I mean, he's not, he's a pro, but he's on the senior tour, right, I think?

Speaker 3:

he's in the Hall of Fame, isn't he?

Speaker 2:

Not yet. I think he was nominated. He didn't quite make it, john, but so you know, you go to these pro events and it's not just watching this. Championship courts are always fun, right, they're great. But you know some of the back courts. Not only are there players on the courts but there's folks watching, including other pros.

Speaker 2:

Well, I bumped into him at the Texas Open a couple years ago and started just chit-chatting with him, you know, and not you know fangooing gawing on him, just just talking. You know pickleball or whatever. And I said hey man, I've never seen you at ropes and ranch. And he said you know, I was there maybe a long time ago and he wasn't quite sure. And I said well, next time in town, come on out. And it started with an invite. So we started communicating and not only did he come out and do a couple clinics, we did an exhibition with a couple of residents and I was able to do some other clinics with him in the Metroplex. I mean, even last night he got drafted in the NPL and I sent him a note and within minutes, give me a, let's go.

Speaker 2:

He's on the new Austin team, the Ignite, and he's a great guy. He's all in on pickleball right and so a very big ambassador to the sport. I think that's something we can all be right is promoted within our communities, our little circles that we run in, and it grows the sport and it's fun.

Speaker 1:

You certainly are right on that, about, about, community and and now that we have, like, our local courts open, I mean I'll go out there and play an open play. And I know 95 of the people. I I may not know their name, they know my, you know, we recognize each other and that's what's so cool, is that, um? And we talk about that all the time on this podcast, about how it's community and how many friends we would. We would all the time on this podcast about how it's community and how how many friends we would we would not have had without this sport. But it was interesting.

Speaker 1:

This morning I was talking to um, one of the other, or one of my, the girls on my league, and she was like, oh my gosh, my, our last is going to college. And um, and I I said, and she goes, I don't know what we're gonna do. And I said, hey, you guys have, I don't know what we're going to do. And I said, hey, you guys have pickleball man, that's what you're going to do. And she goes, she goes. I don't know what I would do without pickleball, if he was gone, if he left, and they were like and they didn't have pickleball, she goes. I'd just be sitting home eating in my, eating myself to death.

Speaker 2:

It's so true thoughids and gaps and it's super fun. It can be a lot of different things to different people, the sport, but it's definitely fun and I always urge folks when they get on the course, enjoy it. None of us are going pro, None of us. By the way, huge shout-out to Samantha Parker.

Speaker 3:

Oh yeah.

Speaker 2:

Who this weekend had a great run. I wish they'd played that singles final on Thursday. She was playing so well in singles. She lost in the finals yesterday to Lea Jansen, but local awesome player and she had a great run earlier this year, I think, in Minneapolis and super excited for where she's going in the sport.

Speaker 2:

But again, meeting you guys through Southlake Paddle Club right Two years ago I got an invite from John Connor to come play on a Saturday and met Tim right and Joe Gleglio and you, karen, and like it's just what Southlake has done in this community the club, the Pickleball Club, the Paddle Club, with the sport and growing the community. It's all the different events you know. In preparing for this discussion today I wrote you know I'm like what are my highlights in pickleball? And really two of them came late last year and one was Oktoberfest down in the Square of Southlake and that event was a lot. There was a lot of moving parts, super fun At the end of the day, what a great event for so many people in the community and it was enlightening to some. But you guys put that all together and organized it and made that happen and so that was definitely one of my two highlights ever in Pickleball.

Speaker 1:

Aw, I love that. What was?

Speaker 2:

the second. I've got to know you really want to know so Nationals. Last year was here at Brookhaven in Dallas and we lost our opening match. So most people wouldn't say that's a highlight. But what was neat is my partner Todd Jones. He's also you talk about a guy connected in pickleball.

Speaker 1:

We had on our fence eight to ten different pros watching and cheering us on.

Speaker 2:

No way. We had both Riley and Lindsay Newman. We had Ben Paquette, brandon French Hayden, patrick Quinn, wyatt Stone, luke Watson, I mean why?

Speaker 1:

why do you think? Why do you think they were?

Speaker 2:

well, well, through him, you like, knowing that he was playing and they came to support him. They were, they weren't on the court set that time in that day um, it was Sunday actually so uh yeah, they all just were there and came to just root us both on and it was God. We lost in the third game. I still remember it. We split the first two, we were leading in the third on the switch, and then it just went downhill from there.

Speaker 3:

Oh no, Was that it One and done it was a loss but it was a highlight.

Speaker 2:

But it was still fun, you know, to have those folks. You know people were looking like. Who are these old guys out here on the court with all these pros watching?

Speaker 3:

That's fantastic though. I mean that event and I know there was God, they had the weather and it was just talk about a lot of moving parts and we know we were volunteers out there through our friend, francine Jewett.

Speaker 1:

Yes, you know, francine, yes, I do.

Speaker 3:

Of course you know Francine, he knows everybody. The Oktoberfest you mentioned that as well. That was obviously a highlight for us and we had I think we had what four guys that you had kind of helped us wrangle.

Speaker 1:

No, no, no, he played against Ice Shaker.

Speaker 3:

Oh, that's right, you played against the Gronk.

Speaker 1:

Chris Gronkowski. You play it, chris Gronkowski, and his brother played you. And was it Craig?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, Craig DiCrescenzo from Ropes and Rants. He's one of our instructors and one of my buddies and we tournament together. But I did set up that Dallas Senior Pro All-Star match too. We had four guys from different squads come in and play in a little exhibition match as well, and they had a blast. Jeff Arnett, who's in the Southlake Paddle Club, was there I think he was one of the players, and a few others.

Speaker 1:

Oh, the crowd was eating it up, but I mean, it's your game with the gronkowski. That was the first night, so that was friday night of oktoberfest, and what a way to kick it off right, and I mean just under the lights, and I know it wasn't perfect, and we're doing it again this year. So I want you to be involved, obviously, and hopefully you're here through the weekend. We could do a a couple more things. I don't know. We're, uh, they, they're changing things up a little bit. We've got to, we've got to get some bigger sponsors this year, so we're still hoping we can pull that off, uh, to do Oktoberfest. But of course, if it all comes together and all the ducks align, we'll we will um love for you to be involved again. I don't know who do we match you up against this year, now that you're so maybe we could pull some strings here Al, get some talent.

Speaker 2:

We'll see what we can do, Karen, but yes, I would love to be there and do whatever you need.

Speaker 1:

Well, all right, and so, Lynn, you're now on. You went from the Westside Drillers. Now you're on what. The You're now on you went from the Westside Drillers.

Speaker 2:

Now you're on what? The Dallas Crush. So three of the teams returned basically intact. One of the teams we kind of did a spreading out of the players onto different rosters and in doing so we created a fourth team, the Dallas Crush. So the Westside Drillers is really a Fort Worth kind of Denton-based team. There's a team up in Salina, mckinney Prosper, the NTX Aces. There's a team in the Frisco Plano area. They kind of reside out of Stonebriar Country Club, frisco Fury. They won it last year and so Dallas Brookhaven-ish kind of team will be the Dallas Crush. And we've got on our team, like we nabbed, dave Fleming who's the PPA commentator right and he's a great senior pro.

Speaker 1:

Oh, so he's really actually a good pickleball player.

Speaker 2:

He's a really good pickleball player.

Speaker 1:

Really good.

Speaker 2:

He doesn't know what he's talking about. He actually plays it too and he's really good. But we actually scrimmaged Westside Drillers a couple weeks ago the new Crush team just to get our matchups and whatnot, and we fared pretty well in that.

Speaker 1:

Well, who won? What do you mean? Fared well, who won?

Speaker 2:

Well, I'd say, we didn't keep score, we kept score. I think we won all, but maybe three of them. We just played games, not matches.

Speaker 3:

Eric, because last match we had out there in our league at Robeson Ranch, we saw Craig and we talked to him a little bit and he mentioned that, yeah, you guys were getting together and you'd still compete, but he's still on Westside Drillers, right.

Speaker 2:

Correct, correct. So now we're opponents instead of teammates, right Correct?

Speaker 3:

Correct. So now we're opponents instead of teammates. Nice guy, really nice guy. Now do you still live in Robeson Ranch? Oh?

Speaker 2:

I do Absolutely. Yes, sir.

Speaker 3:

Because I got to tell you, you know first impressions and all that I thought just because of the way it all came about. I thought your job was you were the pickleball pro at Robeson Ranch. I thought that's who you were.

Speaker 1:

I said that for a long time. I was, like you know, Al Arco. He's the pro out at Robeson Ranch. Oh gosh.

Speaker 2:

No, just a dude, just a dude, just an ambassador. And then so the league will actually kick off next week with the new they're called Hill Country Bandits. They're out of Harker Heights, austin area. They're going to play the Westside Drillers in our league kickoff this year on the 27th of April. So they're going to travel down.

Speaker 3:

So they drafted right out of that that area. Then for the cause, there's a lot of pros moved to that area, I know.

Speaker 2:

Right. So again, because our league is really a 50 plus, we allow one under 50 on the rosters. You know we say like a 45 to 50. You know we're trying to get the new blood in, but no, Craig Bobo is going to be the captain of that squad down there. Okay, and he just got drafted to the Houston Hammers of the NPL last night.

Speaker 1:

Ooh.

Speaker 2:

So wow.

Speaker 1:

The competition is heating up. It sounds like.

Speaker 2:

There's folks that can play. I mean yeah.

Speaker 1:

Tell us, I know it, you're holding back.

Speaker 2:

No, it's just exciting, you know. So, boy, yeah, there's a lot of excitement. Here's what I would say is pickleball has grown right. I mean, it's changed. I've played four and a half years. I don't know when did you guys pick up the sport?

Speaker 1:

March 2020.

Speaker 2:

Pandemic picklers Okay so you guys were COVID pickballers right.

Speaker 2:

And then since COVID really ramped up, the game's evolving and changing and what's really neat is the kids are starting to play, oh yes. And so with that you're going to get influx of athleticism, which I think is really key to the sport. People. You know, I think you just have to be a tennis player, and that's not true, you know. Well, I mean, my experience was baseball. But basketball players, the way they defend and the way they position their body, their posture, matters for pickleball. I mean, whether you played badminton or table tennis or other kind of paddle type sports, you know, I think having just general agility I mean if you're a fly fisher person, you know fly fisherman, you're flinging your wrist. Well, you know, for flicks and that matter, All that stuff kind of plays into pickleball. So I think you're going to get, with the technology advancing and the skill sets and the athleticism, Even the game we see today is going to be much different in a couple of years.

Speaker 2:

I don't know if we're going to see it. I mean Annalise Young, luckily she's not even 18 yet. I don't think. So she may be around for a few more years and grabbing podiums, but I mean we see now on weekends you know Ben is not always in the gold medal position, and that's I mean opening round matches that used to be just kisses and walkthroughs. They're tough. They're tough games, you know, and so it's fun. So, at the senior level, what are we getting? We're getting folks that have played this game not just a couple of years at an advanced age, Like they've played now for, you know, five, 10 years, and they're going to bring some new skills and shots. It's gonna help us over 50s, um, and challenge us.

Speaker 1:

You know it's gonna be, it's gonna be fun yeah, um, so in our league this is happening in our, in our mixed league. We were on the uh inaugural is that what you call it? League for the uh, and so our team has been together and we're a mixed bag. Um, we dominated the first two seasons, one first and then, you know, then other teams started getting in there, like rogues and ranch and uh, but but this season a, a team of youngsters got in and they are destroying.

Speaker 1:

Last week's they won all 36 points, gave up zero against our team. A couple weeks ago we got seven, which I think is like one of the highest scored against them. So, to your point, it's almost like now we're looking at going okay, do we need to split this up a little bit? Because that, if that you know, you can't have a bunch of 56 year olds running around there trying to, you know, compete against 20 something year olds. It's just like, to your point, the game's evolved and they bring a different level of athleticism I totally disagree, karen, totally disagree you disagree disagree, why compete?

Speaker 1:

well, okay, let's look, they're destroying us. Okay, what is it?

Speaker 2:

what are they doing? So I I think we look at what they're doing.

Speaker 1:

I don't know. I have to play them Saturday. I'll tell you I'm scared and you know I'm athletic and you know I can run all over the place, Absolutely. But I don't know what I'm walking into.

Speaker 2:

I mean, are they driving the ball?

Speaker 1:

I have no idea. Beat us last time, so I'll see on Saturday I'll let you know. Hey, yeah, if you have time to give me a quick lesson, I'm ready.

Speaker 2:

Well, here's the deal is our good friend, jeff Barnett, who's part of Southlake Battle Club and he's been instructing for some time. He told me early on you know, precision, not just placement, but precision, overpower right and hit as hard as you can, but make it bounce as close to them, make it bounce before they make contact, because what we do is, you know, a lot of us play doubles. I know you guys may play singles in league, I don't know but in doubles you have two partners. You've got the one on the court with you and you've got the net, and very few of us take advantage of that. We just want to hit the ball over the net.

Speaker 2:

Well, that exposes our feet and our opponents can take that up ball and put it down on our feet and put us in a bad position. So, no matter how they're hitting the ball to you, if you can hit it back as hard as you can where it bounces in front of them, they're going to have to lift and then you're in a better position to combat whatever shot they hit. Or, and then, of course, let out balls go if they're out. So the game is getting faster and the balls are getting hit harder. I mean that's an easy block reset or counterpunch right Down at their feet. That will put you more in an advantage position versus a defensive position.

Speaker 1:

And I think that, john, we've done a good job working on that. We're we're moving away from this whole banging thing. You know everything hard. It's like being more thoughtful, taking the energy out of the wall, dropping more. That's helped us tremendously and you can see that progression once we made that mindset switch. But I won't be playing with John on Saturday. I'll be playing with somebody I haven't played with in a year and a half.

Speaker 2:

Who's that?

Speaker 1:

Jerry Benavides Okay, and so, yeah, it'll be interesting. You know, that's the thing I mean. It is rec play and you are trying to get everyone an opportunity to play. So you know, sometimes the teams will do that. We play together in our TCD team on Friday nights together, so we're not split up on that.

Speaker 2:

You know I'll say this too, karen. As you just mentioned, rec play is. I mean. To me this is the competition. So you know there's a certain play style competition, but those that are listening that play a lot of rec games To be a better pickleball player. It's not about the wins, it's if you're on a court. Don't isolate the better players, give them more balls, right, and even if you lose the point, you're going to see some things that you wouldn't see otherwise, that maybe will help you advance your game. I think it's frustrating to see in rec play where you know it is really just for exercise and learning and fun there's opportunities that are missed because folks just want to win the game and the points and they miss seeing shots that they probably wouldn't see otherwise.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, when you're in rec play, especially like open play, something like that, and you decide to target somebody because I mean that really is, it's not helping your game at all and it's kind of annoying because the person who might be the stronger player they're out there to have fun too and it's not a whole lot of fun to have all the balls fired at your partner. I know Karen. Her game this year has come a long way just because she plays so much with me and with guys and all that. Just the speed it helped her assimilate so that she's playing in a women's league and it was a different, you know, kind of a different speed at that. It helped her quite a bit on that. So, yeah, you do you kind of steel, sharpen steel, they say. So you got to, you got to test yourself against those people. When did you? Are you, do you do? Are you like a certified teaching professional now in pickleball?

Speaker 2:

as well. So I'm not yet. I've delayed that until I retire, which is still a few years off.

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

And we're not going to get into economic discussions, but hopefully it's sooner rather than later. You know I'll help out. You know I'll share info, but I'm not a certified instructor. I've taken plenty of clinics myself and I just work on the game. Early on I watched a lot of film. You know, when I was in that total addiction mode where every day I was playing, you know I'd watch Jordan Briones, which he was great early on. Right now I mean honestly, for those that are looking for just good insight and tips, zane Abertel's podcast and then also not podcast but his instructional videos and John Sincola. They have really great tips and content to help advancing players, whether it's 3 out of 3, 5, 3, 5, or 3, 5.

Speaker 3:

Is that JW? You're talking about the Johnson? I'm sorry, who that JW Is it you're?

Speaker 2:

talking about the Johnson.

Speaker 3:

I'm sorry, who'd you say no Johnson Cola, oh Johnson Cola. I know who that is yeah.

Speaker 2:

He has great stuff.

Speaker 3:

And Zane what Zane.

Speaker 2:

Navratil, navratil.

Speaker 3:

They're both in Austin right now way deeper in the pro probably knowledge of the pro game than us. We didn't really even get into it until, um, probably, we had the mlp event with the club and we found out that format's really cool. And, uh, then we were lucky enough to somehow get on the. Well, I know how he did it's the, our connection with the pickle roll folks that got us an invite to the dallas pickleball club, that uh rally where you know. You were there and we met a couple pros Callie and Elise and Jay Duvalier, ignatovich, man, you finally know all their names.

Speaker 3:

It's crazy, look at you, karen. I mean that was really cool seeing that. I'm glad to see that club is still there. I know the MLP, all the drama that went on between the MLP and PPA. I'm glad they're still securing both formats, because I was all PPA, because I couldn't figure out this team aspect until I played in it, and the most nerve-wracking event I've done was being in a team event, an MLP event, when we did that with the, with the paddle club, and that was so much fun. I mean, people get so fired up for that. So maybe not every week, but that was a lot of fun.

Speaker 2:

So the local team that you mentioned, the Dallas, the DPC Dallas Pickleball Club, we need to surround ourselves and just really support them. The draft was great. So this year, and really this team a couple of the players will be on the squad for three years the way they've set up the new contracts and whatnot. But the team right now as it stands has both JW Johnson and his sister, georgia I mean, I don't know if there's I mean, next to Ben and Anna Lee who are not together in MLP arguably just the best mixed doubles team. And then they got Hurricane Tyra Black, who's a fantastic right-side player. And then they come around in the fourth round and they get a relative unknown, augie Guh, august Augustus gu, out of um, arizona left side player. He and he's the greatest guy.

Speaker 2:

I honestly I'm a big fan of his Uh. He's 27, already has a degree in a master's. Uh. Uh, he was recently on a podcast, I think, zane's podcast, the the dink um podcast, james' podcast, the Dink podcast, and you hear his story and he's a great athlete, great spirit, but also very cerebral about the game. So him with the kids of DPC is just a great nucleus and I think they're going to be really good and actually Augie and Tyra played together in a tournament recently, went all the way to the semis and lost a tough battle against Ben and Annalise, so it's going to be fun to watch that squad. All the rankings post-MLP draft had them. I mean in the top three of every single post-draft analysis board that I came across.

Speaker 1:

Oh, wow, wow. That's very exciting. Now is the schedule out.

Speaker 2:

It is and so they start. I believe in columbus. Uh, no, excuse me, they start in georgia, though they'll be. The week after the ppa event in georgia is the kickoff for the mlp season. Uh, there will be a mid-year tournament, which I think is still tb. No, it's actually going to be the beer City Open, but the playoffs rumor is week one of the playoffs will be back here in Dallas, and so that'll be.

Speaker 3:

What's that? That would be amazing, yes.

Speaker 2:

So I mean we have to all go out there, and I'm pretty hopeful DPC will be in the playoffs, and so we've got to go out there and cheer out our local squad.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I got my DPC shirt. I still sport every now and then to represent, and JW is actually. You know, I didn't know much about the pro game, but I remember early on watching he and Dylan Frazier and that guy's got the quickest hands. He at the net is just sick. I loved watching him. So when they got him and his sister, I know that was quite a coup. So they will be strong. I mean, they had a strong team last year. This is going to be a fun one to watch and hopefully they can advance to the playoffs too. That would be really cool.

Speaker 1:

So you're saying the playoffs are going to be here.

Speaker 2:

The rumor is it's like a two-week playoff, what they have on the schedule. So week one would be everyone that qualified, I'm assuming, and so whatever week that is, I don't have the schedule, it's.

Speaker 1:

November. So I have MLP playoffs. Round one is November 1st through the 3rd and then MLP playoffs round two. It says November 22nd to the 24th.

Speaker 2:

Right, so that first round. The rumor is they're going to be here in Dallas.

Speaker 1:

All right, that's what I'm looking for, because the rest of the schedule is not here. So they have a mid-season tournament where they haven't identified where they're holding that.

Speaker 2:

I think they're doing that at Beer City, which is Michigan. Okay okay, yeah, you're right. The closest event for us is that round one of playoffs.

Speaker 1:

Where's Beer City?

Speaker 2:

I want to say it's Grand Rapids.

Speaker 3:

Michigan Beer City. You know it's right next to Vodka Town. You didn't know.

Speaker 1:

You didn't know. No, it is, it's right by Vodka Town.

Speaker 2:

We're going to see a roadie.

Speaker 3:

Let's do a road show out there. What do you think?

Speaker 1:

Well, we'll definitely have to make sure we don't plan anything for that week so we can be there. So, al, okay, I ask all my guests this your favorite shot in pickleball, and it's probably something really unique that nobody knows, so those that play me know.

Speaker 2:

But I prefer the right side. You know most guys, for some reason they tend to want their forehand in the middle and they like the left. So from the right side, if there's any kind of up ball, even at the tape level, I'll cross-court roll that sucker. My cross-court opponent can't even ATP. It'll be too sharp of an angle and it's just a little roll that I have.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so you're on the right side and you have a roll to the opponent on the left.

Speaker 3:

So you do a backhand roll offside? No, it would be a forehand roll, Okay forehand roll Okay.

Speaker 1:

And it's so sharp that there's no, but it's so quick that there's no ATP possibility. That's my favorite shot, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

I also have this little no peaky that I'll do down the line on the person across from me too. But what's a no peaky People that play me off, meaning like you're not looking well, I I pretty much throw my shoulder and body away and I leave my paddle face open. So I just push it right down the line and everything else is moving away, so yeah, I like that that's trickery l hey john a misdirection is legal in pickleball it's great.

Speaker 3:

We had a guest on um uh with dink Ninjas and great guy Joel Maurer, who's actually down in Austin too, and he said that's his favorite part of the game is the deception that you have to be because everybody's going to have a lot of the when you get to a certain level. Anyway, you have a lot of the same tools in your toolbox so you've got to sometimes have a, because you pull that shot off something that you really just trick somebody. That stays in their head a little bit too.

Speaker 2:

Right, and it's a setup shot. You know they say pickleball is more chess than checkers, right? So you know you may hit one shot a couple of times in a match. For that one opportunity that you set up that other shot that you have that they don't know you have Exactly.

Speaker 3:

Now, that's your favorite shot. Let me ask you this Exactly. So now that's your favorite shot. Let me ask you this what do you think?

Speaker 2:

Cause this is a debate is the most important shot in pickleball. Oh boy, uh. I still think a third shot drop is the most important shot in pickleball. Because here's why If you can't get to the kitchen line, if you can't get to the non-volley zone, um, it's going to be very difficult, um, to win in pickleball. And so that one shot gives you and your partner the ability to join and neutralize that point. Join your opponents at the non-volley zone and neutralize the point. Drives are great, right, and all other trick shots are great, but if you're in a defensive posture position, it's hard to win in pickleball. So I still think a well-located some people just hit right third shot drops. You've got to locate it too, and it's not always the backhand. I've played a lot of folks who came from racquetball and their backhands are their better shot than their forehands. But locating a third shot drop and giving a chance to get yourself up to the line is the best.

Speaker 1:

So I'm at the part where I'm just working on the drop, not necessarily where it goes, that's hard, but it's a long. What I've learned in Pickleball and I say this all the time is like you layer things and I got to a point where, all of a sudden, like I was listening to podcasts, I was watching videos and I was taking lessons and and from multiple different people, and then all of a sudden, I was bad at everything. And so, you know, I refocused and Tim helped me with this. He was like hey, let's concentrate on the things we're talking about, don't watch anything else for a little bit and see if you can. And it completely helped because I was just, I was all over.

Speaker 1:

So it's like to me it's like layering, like you just layer on one or two skills. You can't concentrate on the whole game at one point unless you're superhuman. I don't know. I'm not able to do it. I'll say that so, but that you're right about that ability to to drop. That has made a world of difference between John and I, because we're in that tweener stage right, where we're not playing four, fives, where it's regular that you would, that you play against people that are dropping and going to dink, most of ours about 50, 50 now where we have team I don't even know 60-40, 60 bangers, 40 trying to drop and dink. But when we do meet up with a team that is also doing the same thing, we get a lot of kudos from them. That's happened the last two weekends in our league match where they're like man, it was so fun playing with you guys because you're pulling in all the elements.

Speaker 2:

You're playing pickleball, you know not tennis, and that's a great way of saying it too. When you said layering your shots, karen, that's perfect, because no matter how your play style is, you have to have a variety of shots. And go look at statistics and there's really great statistical analysis being done in pickleball pro level right now. But the pros vary their shot. They don't always hit third shot drops. They don't always hit third shot drives. I mean, there's one guy that does nothing but drive. He doesn't do very well and guess what? Cause people at the higher levels have better hands and they can return those shots right. What's successful at one level may not be at the next. So varying your shots is key, but next, so varying your shots is key.

Speaker 2:

But a third shot drop is really just a long dink. So more you just practice, you know dropping your paddle head and catching the ball in front and controlling that ball right after it peaks and is descending. Well, let's start moving backwards. So take one foot and take one step off the line and do the same shot. Take another step. Before you know, after five or six shots you're on the baseline and you're hitting long dinks. That's all. A drop shot is. People freak out about the most critical shot in pickleball. It's a piece of cake. If you can dink, you can drop.

Speaker 1:

Same shot.

Speaker 2:

Just a little bit higher arc, a little longer distance. Dave Weinbach, his clinics, those that have gone through it. He's got a great and I don't want to steal his thunder. He's got a great representation of how to do it, and so if you can dink, you can drop.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, the other latest thing that I've been working on is when we do get into a situation where we're put back on the defense, how to get out of it, and sometimes it's going to take like this morning it took three shots for me to loosen up, but that's okay as long as my partner knows that's what I'm doing and we're not in. Not, they're not running in, they're sticking with me as I'm trying to, you know, soften my touch and and you do all the right things. Right, and I think that's super important too, is that knowing you're what your partner's going doing or working on, at that in that moment, like not, I'm not just throwing the ball up. I used to just throw the ball up just because I I was a wall, you know, I was like just get it back. Now I'm learning to break down.

Speaker 1:

Like you said, scoop it up right, you know, not coming from the side, not reaching, and you know, cause, that's a that's another kind of thing that you can get away with, but it's not ideal Making sure you're moving forward. I don't know if scooping is the right technical word, but you're not coming from the side, you're coming from underneath, like an underhanded dink, and it's okay. When we say third shot, I mean sometimes mine is my fifth or my seventh and that's fine, drive the first. But then you're mixing things up up too and you're not always doing the same thing. I did catch a couple people off guard because they knew they saw me working very hard on drops and then every once in a while you shake it up and you just drive it at them and they're so caught off guard, right, right.

Speaker 2:

And that's the variance that I'm talking about in your game. If you go watch some pros, well, lindsay Newman is probably one of the best, but Vivian David, who you know, she's fantastic. You know I was thinking like gosh, who's my favorite pro these days, and like there's all these folks that play great. She makes podiums with so many different players.

Speaker 1:

Oh really.

Speaker 2:

And the reason is you know she has all the shots in the game. But her defense you know because we all, inevitably even the pros, pop a ball up. We hit a ball up too high, that's attackable. They give ground. One of the common misconceptions in early pickleball is you go forward and you never give ground.

Speaker 1:

Charge the hill at same time. Do not get off the line. We're going forward.

Speaker 2:

And you get blown up. You're eating pickleball, you have yellow teeth, she'll give ground and she gets low and she puts her. I'm demonstrating here in my office but she'll get her paddle down, low, angled up, and you don't swing, you don't push it. The speed of the ball will dictate. You know how strong you need to hold that. But sometimes there's enough speed on that ball that just by letting the ball basically catching with your paddle, letting it hit your paddle, it'll go back over. Drop softly, that now you can advance right and if that one's too high, that's okay. Stay back for another one until you can go.

Speaker 2:

But um, uh, I think working on transition shot, you know some people just try to get through transition it's drop or drive from the baseline and we're dinking heck. There's a lot of pickleball that happens in between and and so working on transition shots, resets, there's drills that you can do with your partner, I mean my wife and I, like I'll have her or I'll do it to her we stand on the net, you're staying in the kitchen, but it's a drill. So it doesn't matter that you're faulting on every ball, but the ball comes over and you're hitting it hard, trying to get it either really low or they're taking out of their air, or a short hop bounce and just try and get the ball back over softly and just do that over and over again. And it's just a drill to work on transition resets, that very few people work on those skill sets, but they're very important because every game, every match we have, you're in that zone right, so we work on those areas.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, now wait, do the drill again. So wait, one person stands where.

Speaker 2:

Okay, so one person's on the net literally not at the kitchen line, but on the net.

Speaker 1:

Okay.

Speaker 2:

And the other person is in probably three-quarter court, so in transition, but deep transition and you know, just feed ball, like where it short hops or maybe it's low, where you take it out of the air and then, just as the ball comes over, just keep hitting it back and, do you know, six or seven forehands and backhands, and then, once you're comfortable and the ball's consistently going back over the net height so you can hit it back now start moving it. Try doing that same shot when you get extended, because inevitably in a game there's going to be a shot hit at an angle and well, I don't practice that, I only practice one right in front of me, no, you know. So you make it more game situational and then you can move back to the non-volley zone the person that was on the net and practice the same resets where now they're dropping and now they're unattackable. If I'm trying to attack and it's unattackable, that's a successful reset shot that we need in our game.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, that's actually one of my most satisfying parts of pickleball is when you do stick to your game, and you know there's been several points. That happens all the time. But this last weekend the people playing against us were just wailing on the ball and we're staying back and we're just getting it and getting it and getting it, and then they finally hit one out or they finally bury one in the net and all you did was just serve it back to them. Drives them nuts, but I mean, that's part of it. You got to be trapped in the circle of just trying to hit it through you and we're just playing the game to get it back, try again, try again Feels good.

Speaker 2:

I love it, that's great.

Speaker 1:

My philosophy is live for another point.

Speaker 2:

Live for another point that's your next t-shirt.

Speaker 3:

That's right.

Speaker 1:

Live for another point whatever it takes, whatever that acronym is, let's put it on a shirt. Yeah, oh goodness Special.

Speaker 3:

Shout out, by the way, to show sponsor. The big man with the plan, kevin Perkins with Crown Pickleball. Let me tell you how nice a guy he was. We have a lobster ball machine. Let me tell you how nice a guy he was. We have a lobster ball machine. This guy gives us 100 balls, I mean, and crown pickleballs are high quality, high visibility. We went through the first balls that we had that were not crown in about a week and a half. We've been pounding these crown pickleballs for over a month no harm, no foul, no cracks. So go to crown pickleball, get you crownpickleballstore, get some balls. Go on Instagram. Follow.

Speaker 1:

Kevin say hi, he's a great guy to know. Let's get back to Al. Well, so what do you want to do with Pickleball?

Speaker 2:

That's a good question. You know, personally, I just want to be the best I can be Right. So, um, it started, uh, in 21,. Uh, craig, uh, d Crescent and I went up to Montana and we, we won a tournament up there, which was great, it was fun, great area. By the way, if you've never been to Montana.

Speaker 1:

Oh, beautiful. No, but I want die to read. I would love to play pickleball in the mountains Go to go to big fork.

Speaker 2:

Uh, the Lafferty's have a complex up there. Um, it's, it's beautiful, but, um, actually the crown of the continent if you look it up on pickleball brackets. I think the next tournament is coming up up there in, uh, july Great time of year to go but, um, driving home, cause it's like an hour to get. Well, actually, my wife and I we flew in and out of Salt Lake and we did a big round trip through Yellowstone and whatnot, even though we had won the tournament, I just knew I had to get better, like in different areas, and so that's just been a journey. I've been on the last couple of years and just continued to try to get better, adding new shots. You know offensive lobs. It used to be my serve was just get the ball in right as deep as possible, and I've decided to add some pace and try to get the ball to hit low and deep and just push our opponents as deep as possible on their return of serve, so maybe we can capitalize on a third at their feet.

Speaker 2:

I'm not going to tell you guys what I'm working on next because I don't want to give away any secrets, but just whatever the aspects are of the game that I can be as good, and really, consistency. You know, one of the early guys I listened to was Prem Karno, the pickleball guru. If you look him up, he's still around. He does a lot of international stuff now. But the differentiator at levels right 3-0, 3-5, 4-0, 4-5, and 5-0 is consistency. So you have to be really, really good at what you do.

Speaker 2:

And then you have to add new facets and layers, as you mentioned earlier, karen, to level up, because this game you can pick it up pretty easy, right, the first time you play I think we all think, hey, I can be pretty good at this. And then there's that, you know, sharp curve up and then we plateau and I think you mentioned earlier like you felt you were going backwards. Well, sometimes in our growth we might lose games, we might lose points, we may miss hit shots, but we're learning, right, but. But through that practice and then gaining consistencies, we start to ramp up again, and so so for me, getting more consistent at what I do and then adding other shots and variables um to, to, to be better. That's what I'm going to continue to work on, yeah, yeah, oh yeah.

Speaker 2:

I'll. I'll play some um open events for age group age group this year and I don't know. I think the next step is giving back more, is probably becoming a certified instructor and I mean I help folks but I guess adding that validation so that they have the confidence to learn it from some joker from Denton.

Speaker 1:

I tell John, I'm like I don't care and I've told our captain this, like I don't care if we lose, as long as I put everything out there. And that's where I get frustrated, like if I don't feel like that we lived up to our potential, or we put it all into the game, like for me that's, I can lose a game and feel good if I did what I know I can do. So a lot of that comes down to like you're saying consistency and just perfecting some things before you and it's going to take a long time. We have hit that plateau many times and I feel like now we're on a final trajectory. We're like well, we became empty nesters. That helped.

Speaker 3:

That does help. We bought a lobster. That helps too.

Speaker 2:

That helps too Well hey, I'll brag on you guys because part of this is it's partner play too right and it's knowing who you're playing with and what. Maybe their shot tendencies are anticipation. I mean, people discount that too In the game. You have to anticipate your opponent's shot but also what your partner's going to do. So we worked together one day a while back and I think your next tournament out. You guys were on the medal stand right.

Speaker 1:

That's right Al credit to.

Speaker 2:

Al right there.

Speaker 1:

One of my three and one of his two.

Speaker 2:

You guys did the work, but that's just it. You take whatever counsel right when you play it and then you apply it, good things happen.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, but, al, I mean, that was such a good session and we're just so blessed to be able to meet people like you who are willing to give up some time and just work with us, and that's made a huge difference. That's where I learned the shake and bake. I didn't even know that's what it's named, and now I can give myself my own shake and bake. Is that a thing I like that?

Speaker 2:

I like that when you create your own shake and bake right. And make your partner, your opponents, ache. How about your can opener? You learned the can opener too, that night too. Oh, remind me, what was that one? Oh, remember you send one opponent wide, Okay. And when they return the ball to the middle of the court if their partner hadn't covered the space? In between oh yeah, yeah, yeah, you put it down the middle.

Speaker 1:

Okay, I forgot, that's the name of it. Yeah, yeah, the can opener Can need to remind me of that. He needs, like John is really good at talking to me on the court, which is super helpful. I can't say anything Because if I say anything, like you, know what the three dreaded words on a pickleball court are? Your ball? No, I got it. Oh yeah 95% of the time the person that says I got it biffs it Fail. Yeah, that's not true, seriously, I've been watching. It's about 95%.

Speaker 3:

90 maybe Karen's really good about coaching me on the court Always.

Speaker 2:

We might need marriage canceling after this. But hey, John, seriously, in doubles play though, one partner should be the communicator. I think if you watch Anna Bright and Rachel Rohrbacher, they're really good. Anna Bright, mine, yours. She takes kind of the lead on, maybe, tweener balls, and that's good to have. So if you find yourself with a new partner and you're not quite sure, unless they're vocal right away, be that vocal person. You know, yours, mine, because there's probably nothing more frustrating than that ball that bounced right in the middle and you both look at it, you look at each other. It's the worst, Right, Right, it's the worst.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, actually one of the high points for us was at Robeson Ranch and another married couple that we were playing against a Robeson Ranch residents. They had to call a timeout because they were about to just have at it. We're like, hey look, we're not the only ones that struggled.

Speaker 3:

I mean it's tough, but no, karen gets into her zone and I'm more the guy that's being affable and trying to be upbeat, talking to the opponents, congratulating them on shots, that kind of stuff. Karen I don't think has ever congratulated anybody on a shot. That's not true. I mean she's so focused on what she wants to do, she's in that zone so I can be the one that you know is the other side of that. We're kind of good cop, bad cop in it out there. She's a gamer I love it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and then also like you remind me remember wind, or like he just does these little things that I need reminders of, so it's really helpful to me.

Speaker 2:

I'm starting to appreciate that.

Speaker 1:

The wind lately has been a huge factor. But you know what we found out? Al we're mutters, we actually do better in the wind.

Speaker 3:

They call those horses that run well in the slop. They call them mutters when the conditions are crap, our game seems to be good, because our game is just a bunch of grinding it out anyway. So I go. You know what, honey? We're mutters.

Speaker 2:

We are mutters, Father was a mutter, his mutter was a mutter. Hey, there's something to that, john. A lot of people, when conditions aren't perfect, they stay home right. Yeah, I mean, if it's dry and there's 15, 20 mile per hour, I mean we, it's dry and you know there's 15, 20 mile per hour, I mean we get them regularly at Robeson.

Speaker 1:

Oh yeah, Go out there.

Speaker 2:

Hit balls, hit into the wind, hit with, because, just like in golf and conditions or other sport, you know if you can have a leg up on your opponent because you have a little more experience, the better you're going to be. So, yeah, it's going to be windy when you're playing outside pickleball, so but yeah, it's going to be windy when you're playing outside pickleball, so you might as well go practice in it.

Speaker 1:

Actually, I find, too, like dropping into the wind is super helpful. I know that sounds like most people go. Well, I'm not going to do that, I'm just going to drive. But you know how. They say that it's better to have a high drop than a drop in the net. Have you heard that? Well, if you drop in the net, have you heard that?

Speaker 2:

Well, if you drop in the net, there's no opportunity to get out of it.

Speaker 1:

Exactly so. My point is dropping in. You can hit it, because that's the thing about drops is. It's all about what's your grip, tension, speed. It's soft, right, so it's kind of fun for me to drop into the wind, because it's almost like I have somebody helping me relax that ball or keep it. You know what I'm saying Keep it dropping, let it get dropping a little easier.

Speaker 2:

Add a little cut, a little slice to it too as well, makes it much more difficult to turn the curve.

Speaker 1:

Well, al, that karen 5.0 like give mea. Yeah I, I need to get to three five first all right, all right one day out, one day, one day. So hey, tip for those playing the wind.

Speaker 2:

It was just windy this weekend. Um, at quad states is, you know, if you're serving with the wind at your back, you might want to give a couple steps off the baseline so that all your serves aren't landing, you know, five yards out of bounds. Uh, conversely, if you're returning the serves, go ahead and cheat up a little. You know, I know we want to give space, but those balls are, they're going to bounce, they're not going to, they're not going to carry, they're not going to so.

Speaker 2:

So step up a little bit and so you're not off balance trying to return a shot with too much momentum going forward. So you can make little adjustments in the wind that matter.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, oh shoot. What was I going to say about that, about the wind?

Speaker 3:

It blows. Oh man, getting old sucks. Whatever she's a mutter.

Speaker 1:

John, she's a mutter man getting old sucks.

Speaker 2:

Whatever, she's a mutter, john, she's a mutter.

Speaker 1:

Well, Al, it's been so great having you on here. You're just one of those amazing people that we've got to know through Pickleball you complete us.

Speaker 2:

I can't even do what the kids do. Mine looks like an apple. We love you, apple. You know well from our community, our pickleball community. Thank you both because y'all do a lot for us and so you complete us. But thank you for what you do.

Speaker 1:

We just love pickleball and, honestly, anything we can do to promote it. That's what Oktoberfest was about and that's what you know, anything that we can do. I have no idea where this game is going to take us. All I know is that I don't ever want to stop playing and I'm thankful that we have this together as a couple, and I'm thankful and grateful for all of the friends and all of the connections and all of the relationships that have come have stemmed from it, and so anything we can do to give back to it, we will, and I don't know where we'll be, but we're also very happy to have this podcast and get to know people, and this will help our club members. There's 1,600 of us. How can you meet everyone and know everyone? So this is a way to peel back those layers and say hey, remember what?

Speaker 2:

two short years ago there was less than a hundred Karen, so that's an amazing accomplishment.

Speaker 1:

Who knew?

Speaker 2:

Who knew?

Speaker 3:

Who knew All right brother. Well, we will tell you when this is going to go live and all that and so that hopefully you can share amongst your friends and followers and some of the folks that you hang with. But we'll definitely do this. We'd love to get together again sometime soon and take advantage, drop some knowledge on us, but let's see the crush pull some stuff off. We want to come watch the crush game. I think that'd be awesome.

Speaker 2:

We will invite you to our matches, I promise. All right, I appreciate you. All right, man. Hey, maybe we can do Make me look good in the edit, maybe we do a live Instagram comment.

Speaker 1:

John and I are really good at commentating matches. Maybe we can do a live stream of one for you guys.

Speaker 2:

I will make that happen?

Speaker 1:

That sounds great, let's do that.

Speaker 2:

Our season will be in May. I think the second week of May is our first match.

Speaker 1:

All right, yes, let's do that. That sounds great, Awesome. Well, thank you Al Appreciate it. Keep pickling.

Speaker 3:

See you soon. All right, bye, Bye bud.

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