Athletes in Motion

Alisha Russell - Athletes in Motion Podcast Ep 042

May 09, 2023 Tom Regal and Kenny Bailey Season 3 Episode 41
Alisha Russell - Athletes in Motion Podcast Ep 042
Athletes in Motion
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Athletes in Motion
Alisha Russell - Athletes in Motion Podcast Ep 042
May 09, 2023 Season 3 Episode 41
Tom Regal and Kenny Bailey

Pickelball is one of the fastest growing sports right now.  What started as an “old person’s game” Pickleball has grabbed the attention of global icons like LeBron James and John McEnroe. 

We had a chance to talk the Alisha Russell, resident Pro at LifeTime Fitness, to talk about the explosion of the sport, the rules and etiquette of game, and why you never cross into the kitchen!  A great conversation for those that want to step foot into this sport.

On the Web:
www.athletesinmotionpodcast.com

On YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/@AthletesinMotionPodcast

Episodes Sponsored by:
TriTomR Endurance LLC
www.tritomrendurance.com

Show Notes Transcript

Pickelball is one of the fastest growing sports right now.  What started as an “old person’s game” Pickleball has grabbed the attention of global icons like LeBron James and John McEnroe. 

We had a chance to talk the Alisha Russell, resident Pro at LifeTime Fitness, to talk about the explosion of the sport, the rules and etiquette of game, and why you never cross into the kitchen!  A great conversation for those that want to step foot into this sport.

On the Web:
www.athletesinmotionpodcast.com

On YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/@AthletesinMotionPodcast

Episodes Sponsored by:
TriTomR Endurance LLC
www.tritomrendurance.com

Narrator:

Welcome to the athletes in motion podcast from race to recovery. With your hosts, Tom regal and Kenny Bailey.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

Hey, Tom, how are you?

Tom Regal:

I'm fantastic. Kenny, how are you?

Alisha Russell:

I am doing fantastic. I'd like to introduce you to Alicia Russell Alicia, welcome to our podcast. Welcome. Welcome. How to be here. So Alicia, you've got many titles. You're a woman of many titles. Yes. So you are the pickleball coordinator for a lifetime. Yes, you are. So a pickleball Pro. Yes. And I more than a little curious on how you become a pro. You're also I believe the lead coordinator for the music steadily. Pickleball Yes. Lead Instructor lead instructor. Okay. So you live breathe and eat Pickleball is pretty much I do. Cool. That's That's my second job. Right. So there's a lot of stuff happening. Yes. Other than pickleball, too, but lots of pickleball Yeah. So what we want to talk about today is sort of like you cannot deny the increase in the amount of people playing pickleball it's ridiculous. Agassi and and McEnroe are playing now on ESPN is insane. So, but before we get into that, we kinda want to talk about you. So growing up was was sports something that's always been in your life? Or how did how did your journey start? So I grew up here in Franklin. You're an OG Wow, very few. And so I played, you know, just just a few sports, so I was a cheerleader did some wrestling and played some softball played some basketball, but nothing. I had no racquet sport background whatsoever. Sorry. You were a cheerleader and a wrestler.

Tom Regal:

Yeah, that's a good competition. Great

Alisha Russell:

combination. Yeah. Um, well, I got a bronze medal. Did you really did? Yeah. I wrestled for Paige High School. No kidding. No. Our kids went to Paige. So good. I live right there. So great school. So at that time, you were probably it was a tiny High School to time to write. So yes, it was it. Well, it wasn't a tiny way back when I don't mean to make it assume that you were like, yeah, no, sorry about that. You're she's not knows a big school. Or for Franklin standards, I think. Yeah. I lived in a neighborhood where half the half the kids with the page half the kids went to Franklin. So it was big. That's cool. So when did Racquet Sports start entering your life? Racquet Sports entered my life? About eight years ago, when I was introduced to pickleball. Yeah. Wow. So I had no

Tom Regal:

no tennis background, no racquetball, nothing else, you went straight to pickleball straight to pickleball.

Alisha Russell:

What was it about it that sort of started to pique your interest. So I learned about the game at the Franklin rec center. And after I had my my youngest son, I needed something to do. So I would just walk the track above the gym there at the Rec Center. And one like one day, all of a sudden, these nets showed up and all of these older Yeah, so I don't know. A nice way to say it. These older people showed up and they started playing this game. And it was so intriguing to me just to watch them. I started wanting to come walk more on the track just so I could watch them play whatever they were playing. And then they put this sign up in the corner that said pickleball, the world's fastest growing sport. And this was a long time ago. Yeah, this was seven or eight years ago. And so these weren't even real nets. They were I think they were using like poles and like some sort of badges net. Yeah, just to count it up there. But they had so much fun. They would they would laugh and carry on and scream and grunt and all kinds of stuff. And so one day there was a gentleman that was there all by himself, and so kind of hurt my feelings because he was hitting the ball against the wall. So I just went down and I was like, I'm Alicia. I don't know what you're doing. But I've seen you play and it looks really fun. And if you need somebody to hit with, I'll hit with you. And so he kind of showed me the ropes. He didn't move very well. He was he was 90 years old. He was nine years old. His name was Ray,

Tom Regal:

that's awesome. Nice. My hair out Ray. Yeah.

Alisha Russell:

And so he taught me the game. And they were all so kind and funny. And it was just like this weird kind of community. I was probably the youngest by maybe 20 years. Yeah, and I think that's what's what's in intriguing about this whole thing is how pickleball became a thing is normally it starts out with like kids are skateboarding and all sudden skateboarding becomes a right snowboarding. Yeah, that kind of thing. Most sports start as a younger one. And then older folks do this is one of the rare sports where you have people that are, you know, in their 60s and above that are playing kind of a recreational sport that all of a sudden, how come? Do you think it? I'm intrigued by the fact that it's gotten to the point where we do have like former tennis pros that are playing this thing, how can you think it sort of started to ooze down into sort of a real competitive, like people in their 20s are playing people in their 30s or playing when it was traditionally, you know, elderly folks that are playing? Well, so that at the time that I was going to play it was in the morning, and so mostly there were retired people, obviously, but then there was like, later times, and to play like the opportunity to play later in the evenings. And so I kind of filtered up to the later times and saw that there was much younger people that also played this game, which I hadn't seen before. And I, it just kept growing and growing from at that time. Kind of the the tournament scene came on, on into play. Isn't that amazing? You add competition to something like a tournament, who's rated and all of a sudden, yeah, didn't think so. So that's kind of what happened. Somebody asked me to play a tournament and it was like a tournament like, Okay. Sadly, so it's like, okay, so you train and you get better. And so that kind of thing is what made me realize that I wasn't playing the right way. I wasn't doing things the right way. I was just out there having fun. And then something. If you have any sort of competitive little seed inside of you, it just kind of grows when you win. Yep. Especially when you when you do something cool on the court. And you're like, Oh, that's awesome. And then you do some really bad, like, two shots later. And it's like, why are you coming? She coming back? Vegas, right? You know, sometimes, sometimes you want? Yeah. So before we get too far down the track, explain to people sort of the you know, most people are familiar with tennis, and most people are familiar with racquetball at least. So tell us pickleball if you can just give us sort of the I'm brand new wave, you're going to explain pickleball to me the breakdown. How would you break it down? So Pickleball is like giant ping pong. It's like laying on top of a giant ping pong table. Okay. Okay. It's more like ping pong because you're using a paddle. Tennis is racket strings. So it's, that's the way I describe it. If you have any sort of tennis or racquetball background, you're automatically going to be a step ahead of everybody else, just with hand eye coordination. But it's that's how I describe it as giant ping pong. The rules are the worst part. keeping score is the hardest thing to get down to

Tom Regal:

one. Yeah, no, no, no one to one to 1.22. Yes,

Alisha Russell:

yes. So So that's, that's what it is. It's a mixture of of tennis and ping pong. But yeah, I describe it as giant ping pong.

Tom Regal:

Kitchen. Yeah. So there's cooking and cooking involved. Yeah, the kitchen. Why is it called a kitchen?

Alisha Russell:

You know, I don't really know why it's called the kitchen. It just that's I don't know, that's just the slang but just stay out of the kitchen are taught to not call it the kitchen teaching and there's an actual term for it. It's the non volley zone, the non volley zone, or NVZ. Wow, that's always T. Shirts NVZ with a circle. It's called the kitchen. That's how I always there's lots of fun lore behind me. Yeah. So and for people on the one to one thing, right? It's the idea that you're supposed to do your score first with the opponent score first. Yours first, yours first. So 512. And then I'm the first server. So that's one right, right. So that way,

Tom Regal:

the scores your score their score server number server,

Alisha Russell:

you only score on the server, is that right? Okay. Except for it. Like if you saw this weekend's with McEnroe and Agassi, they were doing a different version of pickleball Major League style, where they were using rally scoring. And then the servers only serve on their even scores, and the other server serves on their odd score. So it was a little bit different. So it's kind of confusing for people that average players

Tom Regal:

like the rules changed. What

Alisha Russell:

was it intended to be more difficult that way? Or was it in? I mean, do they design that just because it's more competitive to do it that way? You just want to make everyone confused and more like that. So it's more intrigue. There is more intrigue now with Major League pickleball With with all the celebrities that are buying teams and a crazy word, it's awesome. LeBron bought a team. Yes, he did. Like you do. Yeah, why not? Yeah. Well Rob doesn't know what to buy team aren't sure. But the scoring for Major League is just different. They've kind of come up with their own scoring system. And it's been amazing. It's really fun to play it that way. And it's really fun to watch on TV. Playing playing it that way with really scoring there's a freeze moment where you then after after rally, there's a point in time that you can only serve and your score. Only score on your surf. So it can it can make the matches go longer. And it's it's just it's a lot of fun. So how did you go from Geez, you know, I'm hitting balls with a 90 year old to now you're a pro what's Is there a league? I'm assuming there's a league right? Is or are there two leagues or like competing leagues? It's like the NFL NFL or what? Yeah. Do you have to like pledging allegiance? Like live golf and PGA? Are there is doing it well, so there's a$20 million buy in Yeah, for quite seen that check yet?

Tom Regal:

Yeah, still

Alisha Russell:

looking. There's there's a lot of different versions of a pro I use that term loosely for myself, just because I'm a pickleball pro a lifetime, in sort of any type of instructor like you look at a tennis pro at a country club or something, it's kind of the same thing. I don't tour with the with the pros. They are in a whole nother league. But, you know, I just kind of got better and better, you know, training and practicing. Had a good friend that was a pro and she kind of helped me along and got me into coaching. And so now I do a lot more coaching than I do tournament play. But I'm looking forward to doing some more tournaments starting probably next year. So it's is there kind of an aura when you walk into the pickleball at lifetime? It's like that's the Pro. Yeah. That's approved. Pro coming in pro pro gonna do people like look on crap. That's great. Oh, she's on my court.

Tom Regal:

Yeah.

Alisha Russell:

Yeah, that that happened. Just yesterday. I feel so bad that No, I play a lot of a lot of easy games, especially when I'm teaching beginners. Do you have like a person that follows you that opens your bag for you know,

Tom Regal:

you don't want to crush you don't want to just go out there and just crush them because then it'd be like, I'll hate the game and go away.

Alisha Russell:

They need to develop a pickleball caddy is one Oh, came in this is kind of curving on the end it's notice that they're doing the back corner curve. So what you want to do is do that. I

Tom Regal:

think they could do the when the fan just came on and just came on. So when does the Yeah.

Alisha Russell:

I think I just developed a thing. I think you just did I pick up all caddy. I'll do that

Tom Regal:

my neighbors always seem to play outside when it's the windiest, like you watch the ball, just go, oh, yeah, all over the place. So

Alisha Russell:

so you get somebody that's new like me. Top three biggest mistakes that newbies make when they first start stepping away from the kitchen. Most people most beginners are nervous about being that close to the to the net, the balls is a small cord, and the balls, the balls are coming hard and fast at you. So stepping away from the cord wood from the net would be the probably the biggest mistake and then hitting the ball of the year in the non volley zone or the kitchen hitting the ball. It's so so that there's a lot of mistakes there. And then there's a to bounce rule where it has to count every time the surf off and then bounce off the return. And so a lot of people don't let the ball bounce after the

Tom Regal:

answer when it's coming at them having heard it.

Alisha Russell:

So people keeping keeping their paddles down below the net kind of leaving their body open. Takes a long time to a lot more time to get your paddle up to be able to get take a ball out of the air if you have your paddle down beside you. It's already there in front of you.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

Yep. And I am absolutely the worst at the second bounce one because I see it coming up and I'm like I'm gonna cry. Two feet in the kitchen like two inches off the net doing this and they're like, Okay, there's six things you did wrong just now I'm feeling good about it.

Tom Regal:

I crushed it. Like Well, you

Alisha Russell:

know, it's the That's the worst part when you do something so fabulous. And then and then they call it off. It's always a fault of some sort. That we were just talking about that McEnroe I guess had his toes in the kitchen and he about did he lose it completely or did he just I mean he it was funny. He was fundamentally like

Tom Regal:

from the problem He was very, very controlled because he usually loses.

Alisha Russell:

They had some good banter back and forth. Yeah, he was always entertaining. Yeah, a lot of footfalls actually, yeah, that was fun.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

So there's rules. There's rules to the game. Right? So they're they're hard rules, right kitchen, you know, the volleys and all that sort of stuff the scorekeeping. But there's also etiquette, I think, and that's one of the things that I'm trying to figure out. So just for people to know I'm kind of I just started playing pickleball at lifetime. I'm kind of a noob I played racquetball before so I feel comfortable with a paddle. And it's great for lateral movements because you know, we're triathletes I tend to move forward that's all I do is I

Tom Regal:

lateral is not in our Yeah, we go DNA.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

Yeah, do everything forward. There's nothing sideways about Yeah. So it's fun to do that. But one of the hard things is around the etiquette when people walk in so what what should one understand about that etiquette? Like, how do you know when you've got next? How do you know to do doubles versus singles? Can you help us understand sort of, so I don't kind of walk in and step on somebody's

Alisha Russell:

Sure. Well at lifetime so we do have pickleball etiquette on the wall at lifetime. Those are not rules. It is just kind of etiquette. And

Tom Regal:

have you seen that? Can I have not been just checking? I have not noticed lifetime, maybe make them bigger?

Alisha Russell:

My glasses, some of them are really funny. You know, next time you go, Okay, I finally read them and they're pretty funny talks about sarcasm and all kinds of stuff. Oh, then

Kenny Bailey<br>:

I can't play because that's my whole game.

Tom Regal:

Take a picture. We'll probably we'll put it on the YouTube do I'm doing this? Yeah.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

I did. What I did say though, because the balls coming at you fast. I'm like, Look, people this is my moneymaker. Right? Don't Don't be hitting this.

Alisha Russell:

Yeah, that's right. This is. So like saying we have paddle system. And there's a paddle rack that's hanging on the wall, you just come in and you put your paddle down depends on how many people are there. If there are eight or more paddles, then they'll rotate four on four off. Otherwise, you just the first to go on after the losers come off. So you can either choose to split with the people that were just there or you can just have a partner and get in there. So it seems to me and tell me if I'm treading on territory here but it seems to me that there's a like some people that seem to be more senior that have been doing it longer. They're like they'll determine rather not look only to two wins per court. Right? Is that one of the advocates like if you win twice in a row, and there's a lot of people you're supposed to get out. Yes. Yeah. Right. That is but there seems to be like I don't know when that I'm too new. So I'm just like, whatever you just tell me where to go and what to do. I'm sorry, I hit it up in the air. But how I mean, is it just everyone's pretty cool about it, I guess. Or to me, because it seems like every once in awhile you hear some grumblings like there'll be a couple of singles playing like hey, man, we you guys are playing doubles dude or right? People won twice. Why are they still there? Right? That that gets kind of tricky and spicy. I get I am also the complaint department. So I get a lot of a lot of that this person stayed on for too long and my feelings are hurt and

Kenny Bailey<br>:

we're trying kindergarteners is basically you

Alisha Russell:

nailed it big time yet. So basically, it's an honor system. You know, if you went to you need to get off and let somebody rotate in. Most people will tell you because people are watching. Yeah,

Kenny Bailey<br>:

I just want to just I don't want to paint a bad picture. It's not like chaos and stuff. No, I mean, it's really people are super nice. Right? And they're really inviting. I'm new right so there's some players that are like you that are much more experienced that when I come in they kind of don't completely kick the crap out of me because you want people to do that so I just want to not paint a picture that it's a bunch of you know, fighting six year olds.

Tom Regal:

I've only had to break up one fight Okay, well that's pretty good. That's actually pretty good. Yes, they

Kenny Bailey<br>:

get really competitive salaries.

Alisha Russell:

Oh yeah. From personalities a lot of people think that they are really fantastic at the game and they probably are and they're sort of their their mind mine. So that's me that's the thing people are proud of themselves and and rightly so. Yeah. So how to I think that's the challenge right? Because for me I want to be able to play more but sometimes we go and I think lifetime was doing like a tournament coming up so there was a lot of folks we did practicing right. So when I go there How does a new is there How does somebody that's that's less experienced that needs kind of like if I go in solo because I would go into the buddy mine and he would be and he understands where my skill levels at so I'm not going to piss him off. You know too much. How does like a single person like me if I came in on it Tuesday at Two to kind of what's the etiquette of asking sort of like, Hey, I'm, you know, I'm at this level, you know, is I'm struggling to answer the ask the question because I'm not quite sure like, ya know, so if you just just show up and put your paddle in, it's honestly that simple. at different locations, they may have a side that is much more advanced, and then an intermediate.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

Oh, yeah, that coordinate lifetime you don't I don't go over there. I'm scared, very scared. You can get you'll get the ball never touches the ground.

Alisha Russell:

So at lifetime, there's only three courts. So we can't really have that designation of this is beginner, this is intermediate This is advanced. But the super advanced are super competitive people. As you said, we've taken that one chord to make it a little bit more competitive for them because nobody wants to get their feelings hurt. And nobody you know, it's not an enjoyable game when you get somebody that is very good and somebody that's very new. So the first few chords it's it's pretty simple. Just get in there and go we do have some beginner times the for just beginners on Sundays, but there's clinics there's Yeah, you know,

Kenny Bailey<br>:

so would you recommend somebody that's getting into to get somebody like you to kind of help coach them for a while just kind of get the basics down trouble?

Alisha Russell:

Yeah. Good, comfortable. And then and then you can you be introducing different people? Yeah. So if especially if you don't know the rules you but you know, the roles you played several times there now.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

I know the rules is whether or not I abide by the rules? Because adrenaline's hitting right, you know, like

Tom Regal:

that's why that's always asking about the etiquette.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

So what can I get away with? Yeah.

Tom Regal:

Where's the gray area? So what about the paddles? Right? What does a beginner need to get in there? Because I'm learning like, I've only played a handful of times, I said, my neighbor put in a pickleball court, and it's been teaching everybody that they possibly can. It's been fun. But all of a sudden, he's got like, 600 paddles. Yep. And they're like, ridiculously expensive paddles. Like I'm like, Okay, interesting. Yeah. So what what is it about the paddles

Alisha Russell:

game is strong right now. It is, it is a good market to be in. So most beginners, kind of just get the big ball starter pack off Amazon. And those paddles. I don't recommend wasting your money on two paddles and four balls for 60 or 30 bucks or whatever that is just because you know, injury happens and you're playing with something you're making everything harder for yourself, if you just want to if you if you never want to get better than then that's just that's fine. As soon as I get somebody on the court with me, I'll try to help them along, go ahead and get it get a better paddle. Just because you're working much harder. There. There's the weight of the paddle matters, you know, the shape and all of that matters. So and the material, right? So the bounce off of that, right? Because one can be aggressive paddles, right? Or Yes, yep. So we're, there's a there, there's a couple of power paddles. Now. Beginners do not need that whatsoever. I can attest to that.

Tom Regal:

You have no power.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

I got one of those. And I needed that because

Alisha Russell:

most beginners hit the ball pretty, pretty high. The last thing you want is power comes back down as you sow.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

So when you show up to different tournaments, do you have different styles of paddles to depending on on

Alisha Russell:

conditions? Yes. It's your paddle is it's very personal. It's a very intimate relationship that you have Yes. With your with your with your paddle.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

Yeah,

Alisha Russell:

I use my brand is per kennix. My friend is soccer. My other friend is pro light. It's it's just kind of what feels good in your hand. And so you can I have a lot of demo paddles just for people to try. Because what's good for me is not going to be necessarily good for you. It's like a pair of tennis shoes or running shoes. You want to get something that's comfortable for you

Tom Regal:

to make the grip different sizes for different hands, right? So you need to get something that's going to be comfortable for you. Yes, your hand.

Alisha Russell:

It was amazing. Because I I was we were with two things that were funny. Like you said, you know, I show up to this. There's two guys on the opposite end. And they're like in their 60s or like late 60s. One guy has got a knee brace and I'm like what all right whatever right. You know, I'm fairly quick and and I got a you know, my teammates a quick player. And we got our ass handed to us by these guys. Yeah, they were just killing me. And one of the things he did I had I think I just borrowed one downstairs, you know, it was kind of your entry level kind of there's a really good paddles by the way. Yeah, they are. But this guy is like hey, man, do you want you know I have an extra paddle in my bag. Do you want to try that? And I'm like, Sure. And he hands me this paddle and the difference was incredible. I mean, now granted, his was like a $235 paddle. Yeah, you know. I liked the sport. I don't love the sport, right? but it does make a difference. I mean, it was hugely more control. You can kind of like, you can tell the difference. And you hate to say, well, it's equipment because every everybody golfers cyclist, everybody's like, well, it's not me. It's the equipment. Absolutely. Yeah. But shot everybody looks to patch.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

So that you don't say but it does to a certain extent it does make a difference, right?

Alisha Russell:

Oh, yes, a big way, and a big way. So when you show up to these tournaments, or you're playing somebody was kind of interesting, because I remember talking to my coach, one time was a track, he was a half marathon kind of specialist, right? He already knew when he showed up to the line, what position he was going to be first, second. And third, because he knew which runners were going to show up. He's like, Oh, that guy's really fast. I don't have a chance. So they were that good. When you show up to a pickleball tournament, you and you know, opponents that you've played before? Are you like, Okay, this is what I need to do, or this person tells do this? What are those things that you're looking for? Is it like, do they have a particular style, which they hit it? Is there, this seems to be there. Some English you guys can put on the board? Yes, that scares the crap out of me. Like I literally, I whipped it right. I had a guy do that. I thought it was going to Lance in a minute. And he's now he calls me with me, because I'm supposed to be here and it stopped. Yeah. So explain to me kind of when you get prepped for somebody like that, what do you generally look for? Usually, so with a tournament, the bracket comes out the night before or after midnight, or something like that. And so most of us are looking to see who we're playing first, if we have a buy. And everybody's good, really good at a couple things, right. And so it's there's a lot of dread involved, like, I don't play this person, but you know, somebody has a lot of spin or hits the ball, like just as hard as they can all the time. It's, it's a lot to deal with, it's a much more mental game than you think. Pickleball is, is I like to say 5050. So

Tom Regal:

you get the names and then you start Googling and watching videos so that you can pick up and start doing all the all the all the tape work?

Kenny Bailey<br>:

Absolutely. I do. So what's,

Tom Regal:

when does the trash talking? When you walk in immediately? Do you immediately try to take the mentally out of their game? You know, there

Alisha Russell:

are a big trash talker. But it's there are definitely people that

Tom Regal:

you can get, basically just walk. Walk past them, like they're not there. It's me. It's

Kenny Bailey<br>:

so when it comes to that, I mean, as you as you progress along as you get better is that is it. Ball position you're trying to figure out as you Is it the English that you're trying to figure out more of what is this thing that kind of get you from? Sort of I'm good to now I'm I'm getting much better? What are those things that are those traits, if you will,

Alisha Russell:

I think number one is consistency. Keeping your shots controlled, and then creating points. The game is changing, it's all it's always changing. So what's really cool about this sport is you can get really good at it. And then next week, it's different. So now the game is moving into a faster direction. Whereas before it was a much slower game. So but but the thing that's always going to remain is being consistent and controlling your shots. So that's that's probably probably number one. Adding then starting to add that English is is is a really good thing. So and then controlling, like Wi Fi. Yeah. You have to like that's coming right at you. Yeah, all the time now. Yeah. So I don't know. It's It's tough. It's a tough, tough game. Yeah. And the thing that's kind of also intriguing to me is it feels like at times, you know, you're hitting a lot of power hits, I'm saying I watch the other court, right. And you see a lot of parents, but then all of a sudden everything slows down at the kitchen and you're doing these like little delicate. What's the what's the Yeah, what's the what's, what's the plan with that as you because it seems like well, you guys are just dinking it right back? Right? What's the what's the intent? Okay. Well, you think about it, that firefight is that's all chaos. And who's going to hit it harder? Who's going to win the point? Yeah, who knows? Anything could happen at that point. And so controlling and slowing the game back down, then you can it's like a redo. You set calm the game back down, and then and then you're controlling the point at that, at that point, you start thinking you're creating movement for your opponents. And that's kind of that's kind of what you want.

Tom Regal:

Okay, you want to and then what's the hole in that you're exactly yeah, make a mistake or Yep, they slightly out of position. That's where you've been? Yeah.

Alisha Russell:

Yeah. It's really it's it's not how hard you can hit it. It's it's about how you can create drove it. Yes, absolutely.

Tom Regal:

Yeah, if you can hit that ball that moves so quickly and like a wiffle ball. Yeah, accurately, then you're you've, you're probably way up on the game.

Alisha Russell:

Yeah. And when you're getting those hard shots at you, there's I can't hit it harder than them. You know, I just don't have as much power as two big ol guys across from me. So I have to slow it down and then put it in the kitchen. Because if I put it and you're closer to the net, yeah, they it's impossible for them to rip it. And, you know, for the ball to come back hard because it's below the net close to the net. Yeah. So then what? Yeah, yeah. And it's weird, because you can see it, you can see it slow down. And then you see this sort of volley going back and forth, and then all sudden get a little faster, and then somebody tries to do it, and then somebody hits it, because you can hit it without having a bounce right after the first few bounces. And so this is weird back and forth. And all of a sudden, you know, a point happens. You're like, wow, that was flurry. Yeah, everything got common in Florida. And then the trash talking heads. Yeah. Is there is there sometimes when you know, this started out, like you said, you were playing with a nine year old guy that was just these people are just trying to get healthy and they're having fun and you know, tennis, use a huge cord. Like you get the idea of pickleball being attractive to folks that don't want to run around like crazy, right? Yeah. Is there a danger as things get more competitive that we lose that that portion of those people that are just doing it for fun? Yeah, I think we've already seen it. Really. Yeah. As the as the sports growing more popular and faster. Kind of the the heart and soul of of Pickleball is kind of waning, unfortunately. You know, there's a lot of different with this Nashville market. There's a lot of different groups that play everywhere. And there's I still no of like those core group of players that were playing at the Rec Center from seven, eight years ago. I do know that they're still playing and that they're still playing at the Rec Center. Some of them just don't care. They're just there for the fun of it. And the in the social aspect, which is been really appealing to most people. Like that's kind of what that's what draws everybody. Yes. Even in from the tennis world. Yeah. Where tennis players used to be like turning up their nose at these pickleball players. They're now like, okay, I get it. Yeah, I get it now. But yeah, unfortunately, that that's kind of waning as the sport grows, grows more popular.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

Is there a is there a Michael Jordan of pickleball right now? Is there like everybody that looks up to him?

Alisha Russell:

Yeah. And she's 16.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

And phenom deal was incredible.

Alisha Russell:

She's just amazing. 16 years old. That kid really wears this kid out of so I don't know where she I don't know where she's out of she and her mom.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

So there's a pro league that she's getting sponsored for and oh, yes, I guess I'm Charles trying to figure out like, it's like people are now getting paid professional interest. Oh, yeah. Yep. And there's

Alisha Russell:

deals like endorsement deals and all of that sponsorships. Yeah, there's a whole I wanted to be like the bowling shirts with the sponsorships. I really hope wouldn't be awesome with fi Yeah, exactly. I am not gonna lose. Every time I walk in the left if he's a winner. You called it? Yeah, but I don't think you're gonna own it. I do like to share it though. I like that I can create a whole character on this on I got an idea. Ya know, there's there's a lot there's a lot of pros that people look up to in different ways than John's is is the guy name that a lot of people look up to Tyson Maga

Kenny Bailey<br>:

other magazines that you can buy now they're like pickleball daily and all that sort of stuff. Yeah, there's

Alisha Russell:

a monthly one that I love that

Tom Regal:

I have to love.

Alisha Russell:

There's a lot of podcasts too. And there's a lot of content.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

So these manufacturers that you kind of rambled off, they are non traditional, like they're not Wilson, or, you know, the names that you I think aren't household names. I'm assuming the household name sort of guys are already deep into trying to provide product and all that sort of stuff, right?

Alisha Russell:

Yeah, there are there. I mean, there are Wilson paddles and head paddles. And there's the have a lot there's some like old school guys, but all the new the new brands, they're a lot of the paddles are kind of the same and then now there's just paddles just for fun, like just for like pretty prettiness and I guess and then I think the shoes right are kind of a big deal because one of the things I again I did really well I didn't know I was gonna play so I just started playing with just basic heart, you know, likes Nikes Yeah. And then, wow, that hurt. Yep. And so, you know, they're courts. You can just get a standard tennis court shoe, right? Yeah. You can you can definitely do that. There are pickleball shoes now. Yeah, cool. Yeah.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

The converse with

Tom Regal:

shorts and T shirts, bowling shirts, T

Kenny Bailey<br>:

shirts, I think To be awesome, you gotta serve some attitude gold chains.

Alisha Russell:

Like playing you in the tournament. I don't want to play with

Kenny Bailey<br>:

that guy. So to recap for the for the kind of newer folks, right, so super fun exercise, right, you get in what you get out of it kind of stuff. You recommend making sure they kind of at least show up to a kind of a beginners class. Oh, absolutely. You know, yeah. Don't spend too much at the beginning. Right on, right. Yeah. All right.

Alisha Russell:

Yeah, that's just a kind of a, I don't know, mid range. I would say don't get the $30 paddle. Don't get the$200 palette, get something and get something in between? Or let let it there's a lot of choices out there. Let an instructor or somebody helped kind of feel along.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

Yeah. And it's just it's super fun. I think to your point, I think you get a an incredibly fun workout. But you can also it's it's feels more inclusive, right, because you're watching other players, and you're seeing what's going on. Oh, that's the other rule to have a ball rolls into your court. You have to stop play and

Alisha Russell:

don't go get it. Don't go

Tom Regal:

don't go around and wait for them to little hill. Just

Alisha Russell:

call just call ball. Yeah, that's it. Yeah. If you run into if you're somebody's in the middle of the point you come running into the corridor go go behind? Yes. It's, that's a pet peeve of mine.

Tom Regal:

It's kind of like a tennis thing to you don't do that. So so.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

So what's next? What do you have coming up? What do you have going on? Is does lifetime have tournaments going on? What do you have personally going on? Are you are you signed up for events? What's what's happening?

Alisha Russell:

At lifetime in particular, we just finished our first pickleball tournament. There, it was wonderful, nearly 100 players over the weekend, which was really cool, because we only had we only up three actual pickleball courts and we have a gym floor. So we had to use the gym floor. And oh, yeah, the court surface so that was a challenge using two different changes things. Yeah, and the lighting over there is different. You can hardly see the ball ball matches the floor of the gym floor. But anyway, it was wonderful. And we're going to do another tournament in the summer. People are very excited about it and kind of clamoring for more so we have league starting soon.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

Are there different like categories like to your point pros versus like newbies, so if I wanted to try to join them it is there like a old guy that's not very good.

Alisha Russell:

So with pickleball There are levels Yeah, we kind of talk in numbers. The kind of the intermediate ranges is 302 forro. And then four and above is pretty advanced. So we have links for the three Oh to four Oh range and then leagues for four oh

Kenny Bailey<br>:

you self select or do you have to have like certain wins at other tournaments in order to count yourself as a for like if I walked in said I'm a for you like No you're not.

Alisha Russell:

Or show me your duper. So we talked about duper so that's that's the kind of the universal rating system now. And if you that's very spicy to talk about your deeper reading and what's going on with that that whole thing?

Tom Regal:

You actually have one that means yes, so yeah, I have a rating what you're writing, you got a rating

Alisha Russell:

so no, most people just kind of self right and then it works itself out. If you're not winning any games and and four and above, then you know kind of where you're where you're supposed to be at. Yeah,

Kenny Bailey<br>:

cuz I'm used to the cycling world because I was road racing. So you started as a kind of a lower category and you have to have certain amount of wins in order to move up to categories, right. So like cat threes had to have, you know, manufacturers people that would stay in lower categories just to kick everybody's butt. And if you keep winning, they force you to move up into a category so you stay competitive. So that's why I was asking is because like

Tom Regal:

and all the people in cat five the very beginning think that their cat too. Yeah, so there's a lot of crashes a lot of because they feel that they're better than they're actually I can

Kenny Bailey<br>:

show you my research structed clavicle because it's kind of so that's why I was asking I didn't know if you had like win a tournament or two to to get your what is it? Your duper duper rating is short for something super duper. Yeah. So

Tom Regal:

is it tournaments that gets your rating, so winning games, tournaments get you a higher duper rating?

Alisha Russell:

Well, so it's just kind of changed over to duper. It was started by the guys at Dreamland in Austin, Texas, who are now with Major League pickleball. So it was the Dreamland universal pickleball rating system and so that's different now from the USAPA rating that you used to have and you can only get that by playing tournaments. Got it. Okay. And so you go

Tom Regal:

count your weekend tournaments where you're crushing the newbies and then come back. I'm undefeated. No crushing it. No, I'm a five. Yeah. Yes.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

What is your Dupree Do

Alisha Russell:

you know I honestly don't know. I don't look, I don't I don't look at anything. I'm just kidding. No, I don't I haven't played a tournament since last year. And so and I don't, I haven't played any deeper matches. So I don't know, your duparc match, your duper rating can change by you not even playing Oh, really

Tom Regal:

because it can go by you're back down again, because you're not playing well, you

Alisha Russell:

know, your opponents, if they're still playing and they're getting better, like your duper can go up just by not even playing the field that you've paid and played in the past are still playing, that's okay. So, okay, right. So there's interesting an app, you have to kind of designate a match a duper match to, and then you have the four players, you all have to agree on it beforehand, and then play your player matches, you can play four or five, six games, and then log them in and it gives you a more accurate rating than having to just go travel to play tournaments. So it's a it's an easier system to use than than the old USAPA grading system.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

So do you have a tournament coming up you think you're gonna be competing in or you're just kind of no

Alisha Russell:

plans for tournaments right now. So there's, there's a lot of live stuff happening. So I'm just kind of hanging out and, and working as much as possible for the for now. So next year, I'll start gearing up to train to train for it.

Tom Regal:

Okay, so what type of training do you need to do? For pickleball? Like is their strength training is their cardio stuff? What What would benefit somebody who's an active lifestyle type person that wants to get into this if there's things to help make them a better player?

Alisha Russell:

Yeah. Cardio is a is a big deal. You need to be able to with withstand the the points are can last a really long time. And you have to remember to breathe. So so really like calming stuff, yoga would be great stretching. It definitely is a big deal. Strength training is great.

Tom Regal:

lateral movements.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

Yeah, I mean, there's a lot of there's a lot of injuries. Yeah, there's a lot of ACLs that are that people that haven't been relatively sedentary and yeah, you try to you know, try to move sideways and your body just Yes. So the yoga would be fantastic. Yes, I

Alisha Russell:

use different muscles to then you realize Yeah, I mean, you could go to a CrossFit class and be sore the next day you can go play three hours of pickleball and be sore and completely different way to that 100% Yeah, absolutely. So are you like Rocky three where you like go out in the woods when you train but like

Tom Regal:

lifting Brock's newest

Kenny Bailey<br>:

isolate for two months eating raw meat just just to get ready to get cracking your neck when you walk. Alicia was No, no, burst my bubble, no

Alisha Russell:

playlist, put some put some earbuds in and then just do a do a light workout stretches and

Kenny Bailey<br>:

mobility work. Cool. So So lifetimes got some tournaments coming up. If other people aren't lucky enough to be part of the lifetime? Where can they do other other places that you would recommend that they would? Like there's a why I think the why has kind of stuff and other stuff, right? So they can just find a whole bunch of just kind of look it up. You should be good.

Alisha Russell:

A lot of places to play. Through all of the rec centers, there's we unfortunately, we don't have nearly enough courts is that we need and the National area national doesn't have any designated pickleball courts. So yeah, we have we have for and Franklin, there's more coming in Williamson County. But as far as Davidson County goes, it's unfortunate that we are having to use tennis courts. So hopefully somebody

Kenny Bailey<br>:

anybody can be we have people that listen beyond Tennessee, right? So anybody could just check your local sort of

Alisha Russell:

places to play that that's a good app to use. places to play as good. And then with with Music City pickleball. There's also you can go on there and it shows you kind of where you can you can play and open play times are hit or miss. So you really have to kind of research

Tom Regal:

Yeah, basically your local rec centers and your Lifetime Fitness is around the world. And you can find those spots. Yeah. Nice. Yeah. Great. Cool. Well, thank you so much. We really appreciate the time and learning so much about the sport. It's fun. It's fantastic. So I want to thank everybody for listening. And thank the coffee shop, the coffee house here at second and bridge in downtown Franklin knows our partner, our coffee partner. We enjoy being here in downtown Franklin. So thanks for all the comments and any questions and give us some thumbs ups and five stars, all those great things that help the algorithms help people get this out there a little bit more. We appreciate all of you and until the next time. We'll catch you then