CJ Johnson Headshot
CJ Johnson
Tony Roig
Tony Roig

#121- Are You Making Progress?


It can be important for us to know that we are walking forward along our path. This week we share with you some thoughts about this process.

First, we’re going to talk about how to know when you’re improving, how to actually know that the work you’re putting in, the time you’re putting in on court, the study, whatever you’re doing to improve as a player is actually bearing fruit.

We give you a couple of ideas to think about when you’re determining how you’re doing out there on the pickleball court and whether you’re improving. Then in the riff, we talk about American swimmer Katie Ledecky and not so much what she did at the Olympics, because it is amazing what she did and all that, but her perspective on it.

Pickleball, like life, has inflection points, those times when the lightbulbs just go on and you see everything better. It’s the same with pickleball.

Sometimes those light bulbs will go on and you’re going to play better.

Whatever your objectives are as a player, you can use some objective metrics.

For instance, let’s say you’re working on your third shots and you used to be able to do five out of ten, and now you can do seven out of ten. That’s good.

That shows an improvement. It’s an objective way to know that your work is paying off in that particular very discrete area. But how do you know that you’re overall becoming a better pickleball player and that becomes a little more subjective?

We give you three different metrics that you can use, that will help you maybe think about your game more holistically.

So how are you doing as an overall pickleball player?

Not just the third time, not just your serves, not just unforced errors and things like that, but how you’re performing as a pickleball player.

  • [03:49] When you play on the court, the first one actually is objective, but it’s a little more holistic because it looks at a bigger piece of your game. And it’s an area that we focus on a lot inside VI pickleball. It’s one of the first things that we focus on with players when they come into VI pickleball, because it’s one of the things that’s overlooked, but it can really, really improve your game. And what that is, it’s getting past four.
  • [07:10] The other two are a little more amorphous, but the first one is time. Am I lasting longer against the same teams that would beat me in a shorter amount of time before? If you’re doing that, what you’re doing is you’re extending the game. Extending the game indicates that you’re playing better. Your number of errors are down.
  • [09:23] Looking at how others are treating you and how they’re reacting to you can be a potential way to see how you’re doing, at least in terms of their eyes.

Enjoy the battle. Fight tooth and nail, fight the best you can, and then once everything is over, accept the results with grace, right.

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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 Lori Kashiwa on January 14, 2023 at 5:13 pm

    I started going through the system yesterday. Not into the meat of the lessons yet more the admin part. I plan to go through each section in its entirety vs skipping around.

    Still at the beginning part but but but … yesterday in my Pickleball class instead of the team losing 11 to 1 our team scored 7 points. Another three games against different players lasted longer and we were within two points of each other. It was exhausting but fun. It is a great way to measure progress.

    The majority of people I play with are better than me. At times it gets me discouraged. I am going in the right direction.

    Thank you Tony and CJ

    • Avatar photo CJ Johnson on January 15, 2023 at 3:10 am

      We’re so glad you are having fun!

  2. Avatar photo Ray Eargle on January 14, 2023 at 10:35 pm

    Tony and Cj thank you for your guidance and information it is helping me to play better. I am able to work out more on my strokes and tech placement of the ball to paddle work. I still find dinking an ongoing project but is coming together. I am learning mostly not to rush the return hits and how to lighten the paddle enough for a drop over the net and angles of the hits. It’s working thank you.

    Hey, I found a trick I do if the ball drops in NVZ a foot from the net I use the paddle in a upper sweeping motion licking the ball just enough to cause it to go over the net to NVZ of the other team. is it a legal hit?

  3. Avatar photo andrea on January 15, 2023 at 10:09 am

    hi! i noticed that Tony was playing with a different paddle than the ICON. Have you given up on that paddle already? 😊

    • Avatar photo CJ Johnson on January 15, 2023 at 4:38 pm

      Hi Andrea, Tony is experimenting with a Selkirk. Me and Jill are still playing with the Icon.

  4. Avatar photo Susan Tait on March 4, 2023 at 4:43 pm

    Excellent podcasts
    It was like you were reading my thoughts. Thank you sooo much.
    I had signed up before and paid but was not ready to listen I guess was so stressed playing it ruined my game my outlooks some friendships just playing this game. I will be signing up for paid membership when I return from my vacation thank u so much for the emails. Thanks so very much

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