Will Success Spoil Victoria Pickle?

It’s an old familiar story, but,….somehow still compelling – A young unknown starlet, through hard work and talent, goes from obscurity to become a famous stage performer! The buzz around town goes from, ”Who’s Victoria Pickle?”… To, ”Get me Victoria Pickle!” Everywhere she goes, Ms. Pickle is admired and adored by her fans. Her future seems bright….nothing can stop her rise to fame…until…well…something causes her career to go sour!

People speculate…”Was it booze or drugs that did her in?”…No, not in this story…In this case there was a much simpler explanation…In this case it was success that spoiled Victoria Pickle….There was so many people in the theatre that nobody could see her performance!!

So, with that odd beginning as an analogy, I will pose a question to my readers…’Is the crowding at PB drop-in sessions taking away from your enjoyment of the sport?’….’Can pickleball continue to grow at its’ current pace when the ‘places and times to play’ are not growing at the same rate?…’Is pickleball’s ‘success’ spoiling the game for you?’…’Do you have any ideas for a solution to PB’s problem?’

In the next edition of my blog I hope to talk with you about possible cures to our sport’s growing pains. Maybe there can be a happy ending to Victoria Pickle’s story, and, for the story of pickleball in Victoria.



Giving ‘Third Shot Sports’ a Shot!

I have been watching Mark Renneson’s pickleball videos with interest for the last 6 months or so. Firstly, because it was a chance to see some ‘Canadian content’, and secondly, because of what I was able to learn by watching his analysis’ of the game.

I sent Mark an email requesting some bio info. Below is his response. At the end of this article I have included a link to one of his videos. I hope everyone will subscribe to his site, so that Mark is encouraged to keep making helpful his tips tapes!

Mark Renneson        In His Own Word

1. Your age?

  • I’m 34.

2. What city do you live in?

  • I currently live in Collingwood, Ont. In Fall 2014 I moved with my wife and 2 month old baby to Collingwood from Vancouver. It wasn’t that we didn’t love being in B.C., but Ontario was home to both of us, and, being at a stage of life wanting to raise a family – and maybe afford some real estate – moving nearer to our home bases made sense. With active people, skiing, and a large body of water (Georgian Bay), Collingwood is Ontario’s most BC-like community.

3. Your sports background?

  • I enjoy many sports, but as a kid I focused mainly on competitive tennis. I competed nationally – including major tournaments in Stanley Park. I’ve been a tennis coach for 19 years and worked with Tennis Canada to train and certify aspiring tennis instructors.

4. How did you get into pickleball?

  • I joined the YMCA after moving to Collingwood. Our gym had more than twenty hours a week allocated for pickleball. I had no idea what it was, but figured I better find out. Since the technical skills are very similar to tennis, it wasn’t long until I could play pretty well, and, actually started teaching others how to play better. Since then I’ve been coaching pickleball players at all levels, finished 4th at the Eastern Canadian Nationals, earned a 5.0 ranking, and competed in the 2015 US Nationals in Arizona. I’ll be playing in the 2016 US Open in April.

5. I read an article lately called ‘Tennis R.I.P.’ I wonder, as a tennis/PB guy, about your opinion…Is pickleball going to overshadow, and become more popular than tennis in the future?

  • I’m not sure if it has to be an either/or kind of choice. I know many people who still play both sports. There are things you can get from playing tennis that you can’t get from playing pickleball, and,…vice versa. As baby boomers age, I can see much of that population migrating to pickleball because of the reduced running that is needed. Tennis is doing an increasingly good job of attracting young players to the game which is positive for its’ long term growth. I’m optimistic that these two sports can co-exist and even compliment each other.

6. Anything else you would like to say to us pickle fans on the wet coast?

  • I encourage people everywhere to push themselves, not just to play pickleball, but to play it as well as they can! One of the great things about the sport is that it is easy to start playing, but, it is still tough to play well. Have you mastered the 3rd shot drop? Can you hit your backhand as well as your forehand? Do you put away all the high balls you get? Like many things, the game becomes even more fun as you grow and improve, but,…this takes work. Watch videos, take lessons from good coaches, and compete in some tournaments to test yourself and see where you have some work to do. More importantly, PRACTICE. It’s not always easy, but it is usually rewarding.
  • People can subscribe to our newsletter for tips, articles, and videos by going to:
  • thirdshotsports.com/newsletter
  • You can also find our videos at:    thirdshotsports.com

Thanks a lot Mark. I hope some of our Victoria crew will ‘run into you’ at one of the tournaments you plan on attending.

Here is a link to one of Mark’s videos that I enjoyed about ‘Pickleball Decision Making’.



Speaking of PRACTICE

I’ve heard through the ‘cucumber vine’ that James Guzzo’s pickleball training courses are quite an effective way to improve your game. His January sessions are already booked, but there are still openings in the Feb and Mar-Apr classes. All the sessions are held at Henderson Rec. The Level 1, beginners sessions are on Wednesdays, and the Level 2, intermediate classes are on a Thursday. If you plan on attending, I would suggest you book SAP, as there is a limited class size.


Go to ADVANCED SEARCH on left side & type in pickleball

— About Henderson Rec Pickleball

I have been in correspondence with Amanda Morency, the Programmer at Henderson, about getting more gym time for pickleball. She is open to the idea of meeting the demand for more pickle sessions. One interesting program is their Pickleball Social which will be coming up in May. I keep you informed about this in a later CC edition. Spoiler alert, …Henderson could turn out to be ‘the place to be’ on a Friday evening!


Being Green – Part 2 , Changing Colour

I had a goal in mind in my third year of pickleball,…I wanted to get comfortable at playing at Pearkes. Not in the advanced sessions – I wasn’t ready for that – just in the ‘everybody welcome’ times. I was probably ranked a soft 3.0, and the average player there was around 3.5. I might have stayed away from the place, except for the influence of players like Mike Seal, Dave Metcalfe, and Elisabeth Martin. They were fun players to partner with, and, even though they were much more skilled than I was, I never felt ‘in the way’. I tried to copy their techniques, but, as well, I tried to emulate their relaxed, easy going, playing styles. That wasn’t easy for me….I tend to get ‘down on myself’ when I make a bad shot. If I could time travel back to that time, I would give myself a tip – ‘Lighten up Baker…you’ll have more fun, and,…you’ll play better play!’

As I continued to play with the better players, my skills slowly improved. I also started to feel quite comfortable in the social aspects of the game. I began to look forward to chatting with the diverse characters that come to the pickleball courts. My friends and family began to remark on the change that PB had made in my personality…I was coming out of my shell!

Then one day something surprising happened to me. Pam, myself, and our pal Don were sitting at a cafe talking about things in the news. I mentioned an item I had read about robots. Something that was said in the ‘back and forth’ on the subject made me visualize a scene in my head. That evening I wrote down the story, it was actually a short screenplay,…a skit. I showed it to some people, and the responses were positive. That was the start of my interest in writing. After that, I wrote other short stories whenever I felt the creative nudge. I didn’t worry to much about whether I had an audience, I was just trying to do with my writing what I was trying to do with pickleball – have fun and improve my skills. For me, both were creative outlets, the two activities seemed to compliment each other.

Life was good, things were going well for me. Then, hum,…what can I say?….’What goes up must come down?’…

Next week – Part 3, ‘Help I Need Somebody!’

Note- In honour of pickleball and creativity, here is a link to a video where a young lady is practicing her ‘toastmaster’ skills on her family. Watch it right to the end…the facial expressions of her family are priceless!

Sara Haworth – Informative Speech


Readers Comments

Thanks to Carene Morton for reminding me about the training sessions at Henderson.

Thanks to Ian Daniel for sending me the cool photos of tennis/PB players cohabiting in Oahu! Hey,..we can ‘pickle for peace’ on dual courts!

*To everyone that is wondering – Advanced play and partner play at Pearkes Rec is still under revue, by Saanich….I don’t expect a decision until the end of January at the earliest. I’ll let everyone know as soon as hear anything definite.


Coming Up

I will be sending out something soon on what is happening at Tolmie Park. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but,…I am cautiously optimistic,….we could be close to getting an exciting new ‘place to play’ in Victoria!

Thanks for the game,

DJ Baker.

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