Pickleball Magazine 2-3 - Page 29

YOU WIN SOME AND YOU LOSE SOME AROUND THE POST BY JENNIFER LUCORE AND ALEX HAMNER E veryone knows the saying, “You win some, you lose some,” so we asked a bunch of winners from the recent 2017 US Open what they learned! Here’s what some of them had to say …. Simone Jardim: Triple Crown Winner (singles, doubles, and mixed) for Pro Division I learned that pressure is most definitely a privilege. Going into the Open I knew the expectations for me to perform were high. So I embraced it and used the pressure to my advantage by playing with confidence and fire in my belly. The US Open also reinforced the fact that I can count on my partners to step up when I need them the most, as both Oliver and Corrine did. I have also learned that eating and drinking properly during the tournament week is crucial for any athlete to perform at their best. It gets really humid in Florida, and dehydration is always an issue. Steve Dawson: Gold medals in Senior Pro Men’s Doubles and Senior Pro Mixed Doubles The US Open taught me what I already knew, which is that you can tell more about a person’s character by how they handle their defeats as opposed to how they handle victory. The nature of pickleball, with its runs and momentum shifts, creates outcomes that cannot be predicted. Those who understand this the best seem to be the nicest people; their smiles can be seen, win or lose, in the stands and on the podiums. Ben Johns: Gold medal in Men’s Pro Singles and Bronze in Men’s Pro Doubles (Note – Ben is 18 years old!) Two things stick in my mind about the US Open: 1. You must play loose! This isn’t to say you should go for extreme shots; just play your game without being scared of playing freely. You have to try to play with confidence in your game. 2. In doubles, your attitude affects your partner. All of mine had positive attitudes that allowed me to play easily without any inhibitions, and I tried to do the same for them. Everything about you—your body language, facial expression, and words—is easily read by your partner. So even if you’re frustrated, try to stay positive for your partner. This brings both of your levels up. Scott Moore: Gold medals in Senior Pro Singles and Mixed age 50+ I learned that I prefer when singles is the first event because it is so brutal, especially after several days of doubles. I also learned that it may be time to play people my own age! Dave Weinbach: Gold medals in Men’s Pro Doubles and Mixed age 45+, Silver in Men’s Doubles age 25+ The US Open is my favorite tournament on our Pro Circuit, because I’ve learned to enjoy the atmosphere, the people, and to stay very hydrated and energized in the heat and humidity that is April in Naples! Oliver Strecker: Gold medal in Pro Mixed Doubles The biggest thing I learned was that if you come to a tournament and you’re not feeling great right away, to not force it but trust that it will come eventually. I came in from Germany and just didn’t “feel the ball” on the court, nor did I feel great about my strokes. I should have adjusted my expectations and worked on getting back into the flow of the game. But I got down a little bit, and that carried through the first couple days of the tournament. Finally on the Saturday something clicked and I started moving better, I started hitting the ball better, and I started making good decisions. Jennifer Lucore & Alex Hamner: Silver medal in Senior Pro Women’s doubles, and Gold medals in age Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles (not together for mixed) The challenges we face are not always ours alone (the Naples weather is a good example). You just have to do what you can and make the best of it at that moment. During a time- out during our Senior Pro Women’s Doubles final match, Jennifer asked, “What’s the plan again?” The plan had left our heads, only to be found again later that evening when it was too late. We realized that we had just learned a lesson about staying focused.  • Jennifer Lucore and Alex Hamner started playing pickleball in 2010, and have competed in tournaments across the USA (and internationally). Between them, they have 25 National Titles, including winning gold in the Women’s Open Doubles at Nationals for four consecutive years (2011 – 2014). For more pickleball fun see Jennifer’s blog at www.allpickleball.com. MAY/JUNE 2017 | MAGAZINE 27