Pumped To Play — Part Three

Endings can be sad, glad, or, in the case of pickleball,… triumphant! Let’s face it, although we compete for fun,….we want to win. Shall we see how the top 5.0’s do it?…Yes, we shall….

Here are the last contributors to this section. To re-refresh your memory I will list the 2 questions I asked them:

1. In the week preceding a big match, how do you get ‘tournament ready’?

2. Are there any quirky superstitions you do on game day that you believe help you to victory?

The Contributors

* Prem Carnot – As well as a top player, Prem is a pickleball author and teacher. You can check out his videos on youtube or go to his websites: pickleballhelp.com  perm@thepickleballguru.com

  • Hi Doug, ….These days I do not play that many tournaments. I’m having too much fun coaching, but, during my ”heydays”, the one thing I did prior to a tournament is practice outside. I’d practice hard and do nothing the day before the tournament. Then I would do everything and anything unrelated to pickleball.
  • I’d eat lots of carbohydrates the night before the matches, and prepare my bag with energy bars, fruits, electrolyte tablets and, of course, rescue remedy for anti-stress. The ”day of”, I generally do what I normally do everyday–which is yoga and meditation. I do not have any superstitious beliefs or quirky habits. Though, over the years, I have seen quite a few habits and traits in many players.

* Rich Geenen – In Victoria the people coming to PB tend to be brainy, creative types. It looks to be the same case in Columbia, Missouri. Rich is a professor at Westminster College. He is also a gifted pb athlete and posts many videos on youtube. In his comments, the spouse he talks about is Siri Geenen who is the Concertmaster at Columbia Civic Orchestra.

  • I get tournament ready by making sure that I’ve been extra kind to my wife for letting me get away while she plays single parent for a few days (not to mention taking care of our new puppy who is a child unto herself). If I have the time I’ll make a few extra dinners for the freezer to help her out. After that key task I make sure that I’ve got two sets of shoes that aren’t already worn through. If those details are taken care of I’ll make sure to do some drilling with my partner Jennifer (Lincoln), and get some fun practice games in with friends. I watch a lot of videos and constantly try to improve my game, but I don’t try to make any fundamental changes too close to a tournament.
  • I don’t have any true game day rituals per se, quirky or otherwise. Mainly I try to stay focused on being a good partner with a positive attitude who enjoys the game. I also try to keep my nerves in check, and, part of this, is to constantly remind myself that though I enjoy being a competitive player–it’s about the joy of the game and the wonderful people who play it–as well as becoming a better player on and off the court.

* Joe Valenti – Last, but definitely not least, we have a dynamic figure to present his take on pb prep. I’m not going to say a lot about Joe because I’m determined to get him to tell his full story in a future CC edition.

  • Hello Doug, Great questions….If I am running an event–The Gamma Pickleball National Indoor Championship presented by Valenti Sports–I don’t have much time to get ‘tournament ready’….But to get ready in an event I am not running, I always watch some highlight videos from the Valenti Sports Pickleball youtube page. We have over 120 videos and I consider myself a student of the game, so, if I can watch some great players I taped over the years, that refreshes my mind of ‘what it takes’ to be a champion. Whether it is Singles, Doubles or Mixed–getting focused and watching champions in action gets me ready for the tournament.
  • As the USAPA Atlantic Regional Mens Open Doubles Champion, and the Mentor Madness Mens Open Doubles Champion, and the Canadian National Championship Mixed Open Doubles Silver medalist, and Mens Open Doubles Bronze medalist, I certainly do have superstitions….I always wear my lucky underwear and my tall socks, as well as, a Valenti Sports pickleball club shirt. I always start out a point holding my paddle with the grip tape seam facing up, and after a good point I tap my wedding ring on my paddle to remind me of the advice and encouragement my beautiful wife has given me. A superstition I picked up at the SeaTac tournament in Seattle–which ran from 8am to 2am (18 hours)–was to always have some Sprout Organic Baby Food (banana w/brown rice) puree 4oz packets in my pickleball bag.
  • Thanks, Joe Valenti      Vice President of TEAM SALES  585-GO-SPORT


* The ”Day Of”’ Song – Doug Baker

  • We are presenting ourselves to our opponents in our best today. They deserve to see us that way….PB tournaments are a way to surprise everyone…Drama,…you take the stage,….you’ve practiced your lines,….you’ve rehearsed enough,….zero, zero, two…let the play begin.

My appreciation to all the players who contributed to this series: Byron Freso, Jennifer Lucore, Joe Valenti, Wayne Russell, Rich Geenen, Sara Lee Ash, Nancy Stern, Prem Carnot, Sarah Ansboury, Cookie Drake and Mark Rennesen.

*To reach any of these players, email me and I will forward your questions to your ‘fave’ player.

Send comments to- douglas.baker50@gmail.com


*Note to subscribers- go to my website to view these videos: www.challengecourt.net

– This first one is my favourite from Rich Geenen’s large library. I like it–not because Rich won the match–but because it shows Rich’s competitive spirit while playing against Singles star Daniel Moore!

State Games of America – Pickleball Singles 19+ finals  Daniel Moore v Rich Geenen


– This video of Joe’s is the ultimate road trip to the ‘shrine’ of pickleball on Bainbridge Island. With him on this pilgrimage is Jen Lucore…..Good times!!


Email From Ian

Hi Doug,

The Cedar Hill Partners Challenge Tournament has been formatted. There will be 2 round robins in which the teams will play 6 other teams. From this, a rough seeding of the teams will be calculated. The round robins will be divided into 3 ‘time staggered’ groups–so as to keep the action happening when playing, and giving the group not playing an hour off to have lunch etc.

Once the teams have been seeded they will enter a double round knock-out elimination tournament. Once this begins, a team has to lose twice to be eliminated. Start time is 10:30 until early evening.

To date, we have a nice mix of local and visiting competitors. There are a few novice teams wanting to ‘mix it up’ and gain experience with some quite advanced competitive teams. There are also some tennis instructors who have teamed up to see what all this PB fuss is about:-) I applaud these PB adventurers….They are not willing to be left on the sidelines! As I have experienced, pickleball is one sport where ANY match  can have a surprising outcome. It might turn into an interesting clash between two ‘heavy hitters’ vs the ‘soft game’ advocates–which is the popular style with the pickle heads down south.

There is that great gallery area to witness the action from–where spectators are welcome to cheer on their favourite twosomes. Better yet, there are still three spots for ‘anyone and their partner’ to be part of the action. There are a bunch of teams hovering over the last three spots. It would be great to have a local team hold the couples crown in this mens/womens/mixed event. Register online at Reconline Saanich under keyword Pickleball or course #762264, or phone registration at 250-475-7121.

If anyone needs a partner, email me and I will provide a list of other singles wanting to partner up.

If you wish to help with the organization on March 12th email me. We also might need some spare players available ‘on the day’ if we have dropouts during the tournament.

Ian Daniel     dan47ian@gmail.com


Pow Wow At Pearkes

It was a full house at the upstairs meeting room to hear ‘whatever will be’ for the pickleball sessions at Pearkes Rec (Victoria’s best indoor pb playground). In a future edition I will get the details of what was talked about, but, in broad strokes–the everyone welcome times have been changed, and there will be court rentals on a trial basis. Below is an email from Sadeep Karem with some of the new times:

Hi All,

Here is the schedule for the balance of this year (Everyone Welcome drop in). Nothing has been booked for the summer, at this point, due to some construction work possibly happening on the roof in the field house. I will likely book the summer session closer to May/June.

March 1 – June 30  Everyone Welcome

Tuesdays – 1-4pm and 6-9pm

Wednesdays – 9am-12pm (new time)

Thursdays – 1-4pm

March 23 all programs cancelled.

*Note- the court reservation process is not ready yet. There will be no posted times until the Quick Reservation system is working properly.


Oar Talk

I received an email from Mavis Pillar on the question of ‘no name’ paddles.

*Just a suggestion, we all probably have way more return address stickers from ‘whomever wants our money’. So, just grab a sheet and put a label on each side of your paddle, just above the handle, and everyone will know whose paddle is in the box. Mavis


Coming Attraction

-I hope to have an interview with a US Nationals gold medalist in the next Court edition, but,….I think it will be more than just a personal profile,….it will be a guided journey to a place of clarity…that place to play where each shot is experienced in the zone….Until then….

Thanks for the game,

DJ Baker.






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