We had a blast at the WPT Las Vegas Pickleball Tournament. We met a bunch of new pickleballers, watched a lot of great matches, and we learned a few things along the way. Our Baddle-sponsored player, Joey, shares his key takeaways after competing.
When I showed up in Las Vegas the day before men's singles, I didn’t feel 100%. This was my first experience with two tournaments in one week. Just a few days prior, I wrapped up the Louisville Cup where I played in a marathon of men's singles (8 matches), followed up by round robin mens and mixed doubles, totaling 16 matches over the weekend.
I usually am on top of my fitness and nutrition, but I guess I have been slacking on my rest and recovery. I woke up the morning of singles and my legs still felt heavy which isn’t a good thing… especially on singles day. My first match went 3 games, lasting over an hour of play time. I was able to pull out a win but knew the rest of the day was going to be a grind.
My first takeaway from this weekend was to prioritize recovery every day instead of trying to cram it in the night before a tournament. I got a pass to a sauna and have been going everyday to roll out my legs and stretch.
2. Pick Up Games
This weekend was all bracket play, meaning after 2 losses, you are out of the tournament. After my first big tournament, I was telling someone that I lost my first two games and just like that, I was out of the tournament. She asked if I played any good pick up games and I was confused if she heard me correctly. She proceeded to tell me her favorite part about tournaments are playing pick up games and getting to play tons of different people from all over.
Ever since, I have taken her approach. In Las Vegas, playing pick up games were some of my favorite moments. I played with/against 3.5-pros, tons of different styles, and people from Hawaii to Florida and everywhere in between.
Aside from playing official games, this also allowed me to meet many more people than if I had just played my tournament matches and left. Now I have people to play with in tons of different cities when I am traveling.
My second takeaway is to play pick up games not only to practice, learn, and have fun… but also, to meet new pickleball friends from all over.
3. What did you learn?
I have always loved writing about new things I learn, whether it was in school, football, traveling, random conversations, etc. This habit rolled over to pickleball when I began playing about a year ago.
Usually at the end of the day while it's fresh, I try to write all the things I learned from playing and watching that day.
It is fun to look back and see the progress from old notes that are now second nature.
My third takeaway is to be a sponge and absorb as much as you can while at tournaments - tournament matches, watching tournament matches, talking with people, playing pick up games… keep a little journal and celebrate your progress.