March started out with a trip to Plantation, FL where I played with two new partners: Jackie Kawamoto and Andrei Daescu. It was a three medal weekend as Jackie and I were able to take bronze, Andrei and I were able to take silver, and I took silver in singles. That’ll work!
Next up was Delray Beach, which was played at the incredible Delray Beach Tennis Center. It was a fun trip! My parents were able to come along, and so were Jenny’s parents, but Jenny was back at home working as Miss Wisconsin. I narrowly missed the medal stand at this one, but it gave me the opportunity to try my hand in the commentary booth, which I thoroughly enjoyed!
Last month I added TikTok, and this month I’m launching Cameo and YouTube. Cameo is an app that allows me to connect with you on a more personal level, whether it’s a birthday shout out, a pep talk, or a quick pickleball tip. My YouTube channel is aimed at making you a better pickleball player! It will includes drill videos and private lessons that can positively impact your game. Check it out and subscribe!
Jenny and I decided to move to Austin, Texas! Jenny is finishing up her year as Miss Wisconsin, and we decided that we wanted a bit of a change. I can’t think of a more fun place to be. I’ll be able to train with the likes of Vivienne David, Dekel Bar, AJ Koeller, DJ Young, etc and Jenny will have tons of opportunity in a great job market. Murray is going to love it too because you can take your dog anywhere in Austin. He get’s a little bit dramatic in the warm weather though. We’re pumped to make the move in July!
There are plenty of options available to take pickleball lessons, attend clinics, and watch content on YouTube. As the new director of the APP Academy, I believe we are offering a unique learning opportunity when compared to most. Our clinics are divided by distinct skill levels (3.0, 3.5 & 4.0+), we limit our student to teacher ratio at 8:1, and every participant is given personal attention and distinct feedback from the pros.
Registration is now open for these upcoming APP Academy clinics:
- Camden, SC – Monday, April 18
- St. Louis, MO – Monday, May 7
- Cincinnati, OH – Monday May 16
- Long Island, NY – Monday, May 30
So, you’re thinking about signing up for a tournament, but you’re apprehensive. What if I go 2 and out? What if I can’t find a partner and get stuck with a blind date? What if I’m playing next to Tyson McGuffin and I can’t focus because of his pink short shorts? All valid concerns!
Here’s my two cents: Get out there and face your fears. Tournaments are a different beast than rec play because they stir up another level of intensity, nerves and competitiveness. Our opponents will do whatever it takes to win, including exploiting whatever weaknesses they can identify. In order to improve anything, we need to identify our weaknesses and work on them.
Then, it’s on you to work on that weakness on your own! Come back to the next tournament with a better backhand dink, or a deeper return of serve, quicker hands, etc. You can’t fix what you don’t know.
It doesn’t need to be a Pro Pickleball Association tournament or an Association of Pickleball Professionals tour (although if you do go to an APP tour stop, make sure to sign up for APP Academy), but rather any competitive situation.
The key to having fun in pickleball is growth and progression. Tournaments are a great way to continue to grow your game!
Aurora joined the team last fall and provides marketing and social media support to Zane. Aurora lives in Austin, TX with her husband, their twin 13-year old girls and their 12-year old son. She’s a life-long sports enthusiast, owns a boutique fitness studio, co-leads fitness retreats in Costa Rica, and has worked in sports marketing for many years. When she’s not working or traveling, you’ll find Aurora poolside cheering on her kids – they are all competitive swimmers.