CJ Johnson Headshot
CJ Johnson
Tony Roig
Tony Roig

#134- Winning by NOT plus Better Focus

There are games that transform us as players. And they are generally not victories.

In this episode I share with you the two most important games I ever played and how those games allowed me to become the player I am today.

The very first most important game that I ever played was my first time playing pickleball. And I am a believer that pickleball is a sport that there’s not a person on this planet that would not enjoy it if they are properly introduced to it.

I also talk about win-loss situations that are what spurred me to become the player that I am today, where I can compete at the senior pro level, winning sometimes, losing sometimes, but definitely in the mix and competing.

In your growth journey as a pickleball player, look at the days that didn’t go so well as incentives to continue your growth.

Listen to this podcast and use these experiences to fuel your growth as a player.


00:00 – My two most important matches

04:43- Battling powerhouse players to reach the US Open

09:01- Welcome your losses as a spark to fuel your Pickleball growth and improvement

13:38- My #1 focusing tip

In the riff, I share with you 1 specific tip you can use right now to increase your focus.

You can use this tip tomorrow, next time you play and you’ll be able to focus better, particularly in those moments that are absolutely key that you want to make sure that you’re bear down and really do your best in that particular rally.


Links Mentioned in the Podcast

→ Our next Pickleball System class

→ Miniseries tickets are now available here

→ Get your visual training

→ Check out Tyrol shoes

→ Sign up here to get our weekly emails.

→ Our mental book recommendations

Getting Started Beginner Materials here

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Tony Roig

Hola. Hello. Konichiwa. After 40 years playing tennis, I am now a full-time pickleball player and professional. As a 5.0 rated Senior Pro Pickleball Player and an IPTPA-certified Master Teaching Professional, my focus is on helping players like you learn to play their best pickleball. In 2016, shortly after starting to play pickleball, my friend Tom and I jumped into the highest division at the first US Open in Naples, Florida. That morning it became clear just how much there is to learn in this seemingly simple sport – a lifetime of learning if you so choose. Since 2018, I have been on a mission to share my knowledge of pickleball so other players can enjoy the game at a higher level and attain their pickleball objectives. When not studying or playing pickleball, I like to travel with my other half, Jill.


  1. Avatar photo Esther Ganz on April 8, 2023 at 5:57 pm

    Yesterday I had great games with long rallies. You’re correct, it was my eyes on the ball that did it for me. This hyper focusing did not allow my mind to wander. As you did, I say, “ I was being lazy” because that how it feels when I miss an easy return due to not paying enough attention to the ball. Thanks for the reminder. I
    need it for tomorrow when I play with a challenging group👍

  2. Avatar photo Dale A Goff on April 8, 2023 at 6:18 pm

    I really like your videos. I especially like the “respect the X” strategy. I preach it to folks all the time, including this afternoon.

  3. Avatar photo Rob on April 8, 2023 at 6:21 pm

    Tony. Excellent tip on watching the BALL.

  4. Avatar photo George Rugys on April 9, 2023 at 7:55 am

    Enjoyed your observations very much. Thank you

  5. Avatar photo Charles Knopf on April 9, 2023 at 9:42 am

    I enjoyed the podcast and riff. I often play against better players so I try to observe their play to improve. I loved the riff reminder to follow the ball. I often do not follow it all the way to my paddle zone and estimate where to hit it by feel.


  6. Avatar photo Phyllis Burkee on April 9, 2023 at 10:06 am

    This is such a great reminder but sometimes I worry that I need to be looking at where my shot is going. Any wisdom on that…..watching the ball and looking where I need to hit it💁

    • Avatar photo CJ Johnson on April 9, 2023 at 10:08 am

      Looking at the ball coming to the paddle creates consistency. Looking at where the shot is going leads to misses, just like Tony talked about in the podcast. You need to determine what area of the court you are hitting the shot to before you hit it, and that’s a skill that comes with time. Focus first on following the ball to the paddle.

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