Breaking the Comfort Zone – Part 2

Special thanks to Silvino (Sill) Lyra for sharing his story of competing in his first two pickleball tournaments… This is part 2 of 2.

PPF Tournament of Champions in conjunction with the Brigham City Fall Classic (2.5 – 4.5 Non-PPF) in Utah…

By Silvino (Sill) Lyra

An amazing event in all aspects. This was the Grand Slam of the Pro Pickle Ball Association with $57,000.00 in Prize Money.

Almost all of the top players were there, taking a chance for the big prize.

A Gold Medal would pay $3,000.00.

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However, for this simple 3.0 player, just the hope of more experience and the opportunity to be competing together with my partner Sarah Heart on her first official event.

This time, Boise had very good representation. We had for the men’s doubles Dave Astley and Chad Holley, Brian McNatt and his son Kalen McNatt, and Sue Astley with her partner Kristi Holley for the women’s double.

Guess what? GOLD for Sue and Kristi, in a great performance, on the first day of the event. They played beautifully and deserved that medal. They won 6 games in a total of 10 on the bracket 3.0 – 3.5. Well done ladies! I had the honor to watch their performance shot by shot.


For the men’s doubles, our teams faced a very strong field of 3.5 players, from different states, with all kinds of different strategies that brought a lot of experience to them. Now they know the issues that they need to work on for the next time. They fought very hard, with total  determination, in extremely hot weather, but no medal this time.


Again, I want to make my point about the value of leaving the comfort zone and facing the unknown. These experiences are the building steps for any player who wants to be better. I take my hat for those guys. Well done!

For me and Sarah an amazing and costly lesson happened, together with another lesson that was extremely fulfilling to our hearts and minds.

9451755180374456440.0I arrived on Wednesday and had the opportunity to acclimate till our day on Monday. I had daily skills training and several games with other partners. Sarah arrived on Saturday to play with me on Monday, with our start at 1:30 PM, against 6 teams, facing a temperature above 93 degrees.
In our bracket, on the first round we got to be “idle” or a “bye.”

At first I was happy with that, because we could observe all the other opponents and learn some things about them. However, again inexperience strikes!


The second round started immediately after the first one and our opponents were leaving a game, already warmed up, to play with us, who were totally cold with less than 1 minute to “warm up”…a total disaster! We lost that game, then we lost the next game and then gradually our skills started to materialize and we finished with 3 games that we won and 3 that we lost.

Wow! What an amazing lesson that we could only learn at an event of that level. We had jitters, which caused errors all over the place. I have to say that Sarah recovered better than me and I believe that by the last game, we were ourselves completely. It was our best performance on that day, and I’m very proud of my partner.


Now, the lesson that was extremely fulfilling for our hearts and minds. You see, even with all their free time to enjoy Labor Day, Sue, Dave, Kristi and Chad went to the venue again, facing that crazy heat, just to share and support us.
V__21CB What an amazing example of friendship, sportsmanship and unselfishness. They did all that they could to support us, together with Dave, Sarah’s husband. They gave us instructions, reminded us to relax and, very importantly, when to ask for a break on the game. They took pictures, brought us food, drinks and most of all a lot of love. Thank you very much guys! We have no words to thank such support.


I think that this event is an official closure to our outdoor season of pickle ball.

Now we need to go back to the drawing board and study all of the accumulated experiences. Then set the goals for the indoor season that is starting, preparing to challenge ourselves again for tournaments and competitions.

Thanks to all for your attention, principally to Kathy Getto for posting these two series articles.

Good games to all, and remember that success is only accomplished with hard work and participating in high level events.

My best regards to all…

Breaking the Comfort Zone

Special thanks to Silvino (Sill) Lyra for sharing his story of competing in his first pickleball tournament…

Breaking the Comfort Zone… My Experience…

By Silvino (Sill) Lyra

As an Olympic Coach, I have witnessed the resistance that some athletes have to participate in high level events. As with anything in life, we need goals. So, as a new player in this wonderful sport that is pickle ball, I set my goal to be a 5.0 player, no matter how much hard work takes. My first step was to participate in the closest competition to Boise, high level event.


On August 9th 2017, this humble 3.0 player took his first steps at the Northwest Mecca of pickle ball…Bend Oregon…to participate in the pickle ball Zone Bend USAPA Pacific Northwest Regional Tournament, in conjunction with the Pro Northwest Event.

The setting of the venue, with the volunteers working hard in all sectors to have everything in place for the next day’s start, would cause envy in the best production company in Hollywood. Everybody had a smile and a soaked shirt, as the temperature was getting very hot.

Watching the players doing their training made me doubt my decision to participate in this amazing event. However, a couple of encouraging words from my partner, John Sweeting, made me understand that in order to walk 1,000 miles we need to make one first step…so here I am.


I did my usual stretching exercises and placed my paddle in one of numerous courts from that amazing facility. Indeed, the Town of Bend has a gift of the life time with this venue.

I introduced myself to a fellow player named Mike and we went to face each other in a singles game. He is a 3.5 player, very nice and friendly, that gave me very good instructions during our experience. He beat me 11 x 4. Hey, I thought to myself, I made 4 points, and my goal for the competition was 5 points, so I’m on my way. I always played doubles and this was a very bold adventure to play singles.


Not only were the high level players challenge, there was also the altitude, the heat and a different ball from the one that I use to train. Since the start of the outdoors season, I’ve used an Onix 2 and here they are using the Ultra 40. Basically, I needed to be very soft on my shots, as the ball travels very fast. On my first day, I lost a lot of points missing the services and returning long balls. I have to work on that for the next day. I’m glad that I arrived earlier.

Then I had a couple of doubles games with a very good player as a partner, maybe a 4.5, whose name was Bill…a very nice, experienced player. We played against Mike and another lady, also a great player—everybody is so friendly and supportive!


My competition day, in the midst of the Pros, playing in that amazing fast/slow/fast game, was just a gift to me, to be present in such a high level event.

During my first game for me, I got killed 15 x 0—I had an amazing opponent! The second game, my opponent had a lot of handicap skills and I accomplished 15 x 2. In my third game, at some point I was losing 9 x 2, but I discovered some weaknesses in my opponent. Well…I lost 15 x 7, but HOORAAAYYYYYYY!!! I broke my goal of scoring 5 points. Mission accomplished!

On the next day, I had the doubles competition with John. Our bracket was 3.5 players. He is an amazing player that teach me a lot during our 3 games of 11 points. We lost the games by a small margin; however, the learning experience was priceless…thanks, John, for taking the chance to play with me…it was an honor to be your partner. He just returned from being a medalist in track and field in the Seniors Games in Idaho and also played on the singles games on the day before. On the next day he was supposed to play mixed doubles—the man is a machine!


This was my experience at Bend. A couple days ago, I got my official rankings from the USAPA. I’m officially a 3.0 player! A start point in my way to 5.0. When will I arrive there? I don’t know and I don’t care…I will just work as hard as I can…

On Thursday August 31st, I’m heading to the PPF Tournament of Champions in conjunction with the Brigham City Fall Classic (2.5 – 4.5 Non-PPF) in Utah.


I will play mixed doubles with my partner Sarah Hart from Meridian. I’m expecting more great game atmosphere, most importantly, more experience. Sarah is a great athlete and we will have a lot of fun.

To be continued…

BAPA Summer Social

It’s time again to relax with a cool drink and some great food and socialize with all your pickleball friends.

This year our president, Kevin Johnson, is cooking some wonderful beef brisket for our main dish. Buns will also be provided.


WHEN: Tuesday, June 13, at 5:30 pm

WHERE: Shelter 1 at Settlers Park. Settlers Park is at the corner of Ustick and Meridian Road. Shelter 1 is the one we used last year. It is a little north of the restroom building. It’s best to park in the lot west of the tennis and pickleball courts that you enter off of Ustick. Since there is a lot of construction at the Meridian Road/Ustick intersection, it might be best to approach from Linder Road and turn east on to Ustick to get to the parking lot. Allow at least 10 minutes extra travel time to get through this area.

WHO: All BAPA members and their spouse, partner, significant other.

WHAT TO BRING: One side dish or dessert. Sign up at Just put Carlson for the coordinator name and bapa for the password. By signing up, we will know how much meat to cook, and we can also avoid a lot of duplication of dishes.

If you are bringing something gluten-free, please mark it as such.

If you don’t want to use the potluck website, please email or call Trish Carlson at or 309-264-6438 to let us know you are coming.

WHAT NOT TO BRING: BAPA will be providing table service (plates, forks, spoons, napkins) and bottled water. You can bring your own drinks, but our contract with Meridian Parks does NOT allow alcohol.

There will be picnic tables, so you don’t need to bring chairs.

Please sign up soon so we can plan for everyone!

Dick Johnson again brings home Gold at the US OPEN!

Boise’s own Dick Johnson won a gold medal at the recent US Pickleball Open Championships!

From Lawana Johnson:

Besides the Gold in 75 Mixed Doubles with Gail Brown, Dick also took 4th in 75 Singles and 5th in 75 Mens Doubles. Medaling again at this year’s US Open begins Dick continuing into his third consecutive year of medaling in all 6 Grand Slam Major events in 2015-17 (22 National/World medals: 9 Gold, 8 Silver, & 5 Bronzes). He is also one of the few pickleball players in the world who have played in both the tennis and pickleball US Opens.

djuso It was the largest (and, many felt the toughest tourney in history). 1300 players from 15 countries competed over 7 days (compared to 900 at last year’s Nationals). 48 lighted courts in beautiful Naples, Florida, including a spectacular covered stadium court with box seating. Televised by CBS Sports. Prize monies for the pro events. Wheelchair events. Clinics by the Professional Pickleball Academy. Entertainment each day.



US Open Pickleball Championships

The Minto US Open Pickleball Championships are being held in Naples, Florida through April 30. The event started on April 22.

You can catch some of the action on Facebook by searching for US Open Pickleball Championships. There is a live feed of the Zing Zang Championship Court, and you can watch matches that are scheduled on that court. (Best time to watch is in the afternoons between noon and 4:00 p.m. MST.)

DLJBoise’s own Dick Johnson is competing again this year at the US Open. He and his wife, Lawana, travel to many tournaments across the U.S. Dick is very excited to compete at this tournament, as it is expected to be the largest pickleball tournament in the world.