My Fourth Pickleball Journal Entry

My Pickleball Journey: Day 4 – Ordering a New Paddle and Gaining Experience

Searching for the Perfect Pickleball Paddle

Tuesday 3/14/23 was my fourth day of playing pickleball. But before I went to play, I decided to order a new pickleball paddle. I forgot to mention that on Day 3 [link to day 3 post], that I used AJ’s paddle and it made a big difference. Playing with a good paddle is highly recommended. So I searched the web for the best pickleball paddle for beginners, top-rated pickleball paddles, best pickleball paddle for spin, lightweight pickleball paddle reviews, best pickleball paddle for control and power. Since I am new to the game, I wasn’t sure whether I needed a lighter paddle, a longer paddle, or a wider paddle. I figured that since my hands a little bigger than AJ’s, I wanted a longer handle. Not only would this longer handle give my hands a little more room on my grip, but it would also give me a little more reach. After plenty of research on the web, and reading plenty of Pickleball Paddle Reviews, I decided to go with a longer carbon paddle that was high grit (Joola Ben Johns Hyperion). This seemed like the best paddle to match the style of play that I am working towards. As I hit the submit order button on Amazon, I hoped that I was choosing the right pickleball paddle.

Facing Evenly Matched Opponents

Once the paddle was ordered, I headed back to the playground to test my luck, and see how much I remembered from the previous days of play. Today, I decided that I wanted to play in the kiddie pool. There are 2 courts at Pontiff, one side is generally the better players, and the other court is a mix of beginners and some of the better players that are waiting to play on the other court. I figured, since I had been playing with AJ mostly against experienced players, it may be a good time to test my skill against more evenly matched opponents.

First Game: A Reality Check

During my first game playing with a new partner, I realized just how much ground AJ covers when we play together. Balls hit up the middle that were usually returned by AJ fell to the court. I was a bit confused about who should get the balls that were hit directly up the middle. (Later, after discussing it with AJ, I figured out that the best strategy for balls hit up the middle should be returned by the person with the forehand, the player to the left.) I also started to realize how weak my backhand was. Every time I attempted to hit a backhand, I would try and punch the ball over the net, and it would go flying off to the left. My partner and I lost the first game 7 to 11. I felt that I played a decent game but still needed a lot of work. I also realized that communication between partners is very important during a match.

Second Game: Addressing Weaknesses

The second game was about the same with a different partner. I continued to try to hit backhands with little to no success. I also started to realize that when serving, I was unintentionally mimicking AJ’s serve and putting topspin on the serve. Maybe this was why my serve was so inconsistent. I attempted to adjust it and began to try and just hit the ball without any spin when serving. This didn’t go very well, and I had even more trouble keeping it on the court. Towards the end of game 2, I went back to a topspin serve.

My partner and I lost game 2 with a score of 9 to 11. Although I did not play too badly, I still made many mistakes. The positives that I can take from this day were that I had a much better understanding of positioning, where I needed to be on the court based on the situation, and had a much better understanding of what the score meant.

Moving Forward: Steady Progress

Each day, I am improving bit by bit. It’s definitely not as fast of an improvement as I expected, but I can see and feel the progress. Hopefully, my new paddle arrives soon. This $20 paddle that I have been playing with needs to be relegated as a spare.

As I continue my pickleball journey, I’m excited to share my experiences and the challenges I face along the way. Stay tuned for my next post, where I’ll update you on my progress and share more insights from the court. I hope you’ll find inspiration in my journey.

Remember, whether you’re a seasoned pro or a newcomer to the sport, pickleball is an incredibly fun and engaging way to stay active and make new friends. So, if you haven’t already, consider picking up a paddle and giving it a try. You might just find yourself as hooked as I am!

In my upcoming posts, I’ll share more about my experiences with my new Joola Ben Johns Hyperion paddle, how it affects my gameplay, and any adjustments I make to continue improving my skills. I’ll also discuss strategies and tips I learn from other players and my own trial and error on the court.

Thanks for joining me on this pickleball adventure. I can’t wait to share more with you tomorrow, and I hope you’ll continue to follow along as I dive deeper into the world of pickleball.

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