A Pickleball Lesson with a Pro - 1st in a Series of 12 - Caden Nemoff
Updated: Nov 11
For my recent big decade birthday on September 19th, Ky asked me what I would like for a gift. Because we're nomads and we don't have room for much stuff, my answer made life very easy for him. He hates to shop and gift giving is just not his love language. If you're not sure what that means, take a look at this Amazon affiliate link - Believe me, this book saved our marriage early on. We just had our 32nd anniversary, so there is definitely something to it!
I asked for a pickleball learning journey. I wanted a pickleball lesson with a pro once a month for the next year. He liked the idea so much that for his birthday, which was just 27 days after mine, he wanted to take the journey with me. Ky and I have been playing pickleball just over three years. We are always striving to get better and we love to drill. We want to start perfecting some things rather than just practicing bad habits.
We were staying in Sonoma, CA, pet sitting for two awesome cats. Our six week sit was to have been completed in early Oct. Spoiler alert, we were asked to come back for a second time so we'll get more time with this cutie and her brother Finn.
We found great pickleball about 35 minutes away from us in every different direction. In six weeks we played at Howarth Park in Santa Rosa, Sunrise Park in Rohnert Park and Finley in Santa Rosa, Hill Recreation Center in Novato and Vineyard Park in Yountville. For drone shots of most of those take a look at www.HoverHigher.com.
Next we accepted another pet sit in Portola Valley, CA for two other awesome cats.
In case you didn't already know, we do pet sitting for free in homes around the world. If you want to know how you can get free pet sitters or become a pet sitter yourself, check it out HERE.
To find an instructor for our first lesson, I asked a couple of excellent California players for recommendations. Glenn Lucey and Jenny Witous surprisingly came back with the same answer. Both told me about a young 5.0+ player name Caden Nemoff. They said he was "super nice" and that "he knows what he's talking about."
The location of our petsit in Portola Valley was very fortuitous as Caden lives in the San Francisco Bay area of California. Among other places, he teaches at Mitchell Park in Palo Alto. We quickly arranged a lesson with him on the only day that worked for us all. He was leaving the day following our meeting for an exciting trip, but he was able to squeeze us in before he left.
Caden was trying to be humble, but he mentioned that he was going for a week to play and train in Idaho with his good friend who is like a big brother and mentor. He asked if we knew a guy named Tyson McGuffin. Uh..., yeah. We've heard of him!
We went on to discuss other common friends and acquaintances. The difference though was that while we've heard of many them, and maybe even been massively beaten by a few of his friends, he actually trains and plays competitively with them.
Our lesson lasted a bit over two hours and it went by in the blink of an eye. Caden has such an amazing presence for a 19 year old. He is the real deal, smart, considerate, athletic, humble, excellent at teaching, and handsome to boot. I could go on, but he'll probably already be blushing at my description.
After spending a bit of time watching us play, he started giving us suggestions on how to improve in several areas and drilling on specific skills. It worked really well to be taking the lessons together as a couple so that Caden could see how we played individually as well as a team. His keen observations were presented in ways that were positive and encouraging.
He gave us great tips on new strategies for stacking and getting to the NVZ. In addition, Caden gave us tips that might save our marriage in the future that are outside the scope of the "Love Languages" book. Pickleball can be brutal on marriages if attitudes are not what they should be. For someone who is too young to even think about getting hitched, he still knew about court relationships.
I'm not going to reveal all his tips and strategies. We're looking forward to using those strategies on our opponents - perhaps some of you! You'll have to get the tips from Caden yourself, or ask us in person! We're happy to share information when we play with people, but only when asked.
For a sample though, you can peek at a lesson summary in this video. Caden, we can't thank you enough, and the next eleven instructors are going to have a tough time following your act! Check it out here on YouTube.
I highly recommend lessons with pros, because you just don't know what you don't know. Most of us learned to play from other novices and we came in with, or picked up, some very bad habits along the way. Having a pro watch you and give you tips will really improve your game. We're already seeing a difference.
Stay tuned for our next lesson.
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Hugs from California!