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PicklePod Episode 38: The Fastest Hands in the Game w/ JW Johnson

by The Dink Media Team on

JW ‘Just Win’ Johnson has won more pro medals than anyone in 2022. If modern pickleball had an MJ vs. Lebron debate, it would be between Ben Johns and JW Johnson. Get a behind the scenes look at the player no one wants to see on the other side of the net. Plus, Tyson is back on reality TV and dominating The Challenge USA, Wednesdays on CBS.


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Show Notes:

4:40 Tyson is the front runner on The Challenge USA on CBS
9:58 Family time has become pickleball time
14:43 JW Johnson joins the show
21:03 Who is number 1?
28:59 The singles landscape from JW’s perspective
32:04 Fastest hands in the game
42:42 Speedups off the bounce vs out of the air
51:37 The routine for improvement
57:19 High stakes and high emotions at MLP


Thomas  0:00
Have you looked like you're getting in the zone?

Tyson  0:03
Always in the zone dude. Always in the zone? Yeah, this is it. We're live.

Thomas  0:12
Yeah, we took a week off.

Tyson  0:13
I know. I missed you. Did you miss me?

Thomas  0:16
Yes, but I saw you on TV. So that that sufficed.

Tyson  0:19
That's true. But I didn't get to see you on TV.

Thomas  0:22
That's because so I had to watch Big Break yet.

Tyson  0:25
Yeah, no, I had to watch old videos of me earning you just to get my fill.

Thomas  0:31
That's a good. Actually, we should just speak up us playing with each other. We should maybe I mean, you're going to be in Newport for this. Or you're not,

Tyson  0:44
I'm not going to be in Newport. I'm going to the gamma classic.

Thomas  0:47
I was going to say we can play in that duper waterfall together, which is like that $100,000 pay out.

Tyson  0:55
It would be nice to get $100,000 playing pickleball but

Thomas  0:59
as an amateur Well, I think it's like you can win like 1600 as an amateur per bracket that you win. So like, oh, we can play all the brackets. You can play like four brackets. It's based on duper, right. So it's supposed to be like equalized. Yeah. Good. You could win some good money as an amateur.

Tyson  1:15
I think I'd have to tank my duper before we get going there. But yeah, that would be fun. But I am going to gamma classic which is a super dope event. And gamma pickle ball as we all know is one of my partners has been buttering up the Watts family that is a football players in the Pittsburgh area. Oh, really? Yeah. TJ watt showed some pickleball stuff. And I know they sent some paddles to to some of those guys. So I don't know if any of them will show up to the gamma classic, but Stranger things have happened.

Thomas  1:54
Yeah, wait, you said something. And it sparked my memory. But now I can't remember. Was TJ No. Was it about? Um, whoa, I just wanted to say that. We we just started so we're gonna have JW Johnson on right moving slow today. Yeah, we're gonna have JW Johnson on he should be jumping on in, I don't know. 10 minutes or so. Cool. And he said he was with his family. They were being loud. So that's what happens in pickleball house probably just hitting pick balls everywhere but excited to have him on but I wanted to catch up with you before we sure. Get into it with him. All right. So tell me a little bit. For those who don't know, Tyson is back on TV. Competing in the challenge. US challenge USA. And yes, we're two episodes in. And Tyson seems to be the obvious. front runner has won back to back competitions.

Tyson  2:55
Yeah. Which is pretty good with 28. And people in the house. And I went to in a row like those odds are like pretty slim that I'm gonna win two in a row. So pretty impressive.

Thomas  3:06
My favorite part was when you're doing the like the swimming and you're like grabbing the numbers and hanging, you're jumping back in the water come back to shore. Like you're trying not to breathe hard. And then the massive NFL player like elite athlete is like, God Tyson is such an animal. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker  3:25
I might not an elite athlete.

Thomas  3:27
I didn't. I wasn't saying that. I just wanted it seemed like the most intimidating guy on the show be like, oh god Tyson's insane.

Tyson  3:35
Yeah, I am definitely striking fear into these guys. And it's like, I'm assuming, Danny, who you're referring to Danny McCray, who played with the Cowboys. I think for six seasons. He

Thomas  3:49
run. Yeah, he had a good run for the CT Stetson.

Tyson  3:54
No, I don't know I but he's now like working for the Cowboys organization running their kids camps and stuff. He did tell me cuz I did at some point. I was like, Are people scared of me yet? And he said, he said yes. But he also said, Tyson, you are way stronger than you look. He's like, it is crazy. How much stronger you are then you look like dad strength guys.

Thomas  4:23
Yeah, that's that's got to be I mean, do you feel how do you feel about the little black outfits they put you in? Like the skin tight,

Tyson  4:33
dude. And they're like, Hey, here's an extra small Tyson this should fit and I was like, right. How do I hide my dad bod part? And they're like, Oh, you don't?

Thomas  4:41
I was like, Okay. Probably better for you. People underestimate. Yeah,

Tyson  4:45
yeah, that's exactly right. And I didn't have like, it's whatever. Like that's the thing is those tight skin tight black tank toppy things that are like that, like I definitely prefer all my feeler gear to that So I wish they wouldn't let me wear that on the show.

Thomas  5:03
Yeah, my, my mom and I were watching the guy made her watch it with me. We were up north in northern Michigan. And

Tyson  5:11
let me guess she's a fan or she hates me when she thinks you're

Thomas  5:14
she thinks you're funny. She thinks some of the other contestants are out there as they are. That's true.

Tyson  5:21
That's how reality TV works. Right.

Thomas  5:26
But we were talking about TJ Lavin and like, you know, he comes out for the first time and everyone's like, Oh, my God, but it's like, I don't know for and maybe you. You should I won't have an opinion on this. But I feel like he's sort of awkward for such a prolific TV host.

Tyson  5:43
He is a little bit, but he's lived quite a life. Yeah, so. But he's a nice guy. And he, he actually, uh, he had like a head injury, like a very serious head injury. BMX thing. And yeah. And I yeah, he's a former pro extreme X Games. BMX style guy, like big, big jump stuff. And he took a landing super wrong was in ICU for a long time, had to teach himself how to like, move again and talk again and all that stuff. So yeah. But he's, he's a cool guy. I wasn't as excited to see him as everybody else. Because I was like, Yeah, I already knew that he was the host of the show. So why would I act surprised that he's there?

Thomas  6:34
Yeah. Alright, my last takeaway is Alyssa Lopez. What do you think she had my leak?

Tyson  6:44
Yeah, I mean. Dude, I can text her right now and see that he has a I think she has a boyfriend, but

Thomas  6:56
not not not on her Instagram. Okay. You're following her? I did some research. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker  7:04
Okay. I won't tell her that. You're creeping a little bit. I'll just

Thomas  7:08
like, you just yeah, you just you gotta market it differently. Right. Like,

Unknown Speaker  7:12
tell me how

Thomas  7:13
he just smooth it over your key essentially swipe

Unknown Speaker  7:18

Thomas  7:18
Yeah, I'm swiping right on. Yeah.

Tyson  7:21
Okay. Yeah, I'll let her know. I talked to her quite a bit.

Thomas  7:27
Do you? Yeah. Looks like she lives down. Sarasota? Yeah.

Unknown Speaker  7:31
Oh, okay. Red flag. Let me text her and tell her people know where she lives anymore.

Thomas  7:40
I have family. But my point is I have family down there. Okay. recognize some of those seeds.

Tyson  7:45
You tell me when you're down there. Okay. We'll set it all make the love connection if she wants that.

Thomas  7:54
Good. Pick a ball down there and Sarasota? Yeah, good on play. Okay. My aunt uncle are from Sarasota and I played with them over the fourth and they've gotten significantly better. Are you better than

Unknown Speaker  8:07
them? Yeah. Okay. But they gave you some savings or what? No, you should say yeah, no, we

Thomas  8:14
so my family. I mean, there is. Your family all plays pickleball. Yeah, they're 17 cousins. 10 Uncles and grand like stay

Tyson  8:25
in touch with your cousins and all that stuff? Yeah, like a lot. That's crazy. Dude. I don't even know most of my cousins. Everybody is good at pickleball. That's awesome. That's fun.

Thomas  8:35
Is endless for days. So much fun.

Tyson  8:39
I play with my in laws. My brother, my two brother in law's Rachel's two brothers, Gavin and Chad, you've met at least one of them. I don't know if you met both of them when you came out here. But they're taller than me. They're younger than me. They move a little bit quicker than me. And so I have a pretty good group to play with. And then one of them's wife also plays with us Gina. And so we have like a foursome right there. And then I went to Rachel's family reunion last week in Utah. That's where I was. That's why also we didn't record last week. Yeah. And I got a huge group to play of like her cousins and stuff. And one of her cousins is married to a professional basketball player who came out and played with us as well. How was he? He was pretty good. He plays once in a while. Yeah,

Thomas  9:32
I feel like basketball skill doesn't translate.

Tyson  9:34
He was surprisingly good honestly. And he hadn't played that much recently but he had played in the past and his for not playing for he said he hadn't played for a couple months. His touch was like, which I feel like is the hardest to master is like the touch and the slowdowns. He was like pretty proficient like surprisingly good. So it was some good games.

Thomas  9:57
Got it. You know, it's been helping my game. Tell for somebody who's still not yet. 30

Tyson  10:03
You're not drilling? Don't tell me you're drilling if you're,

Thomas  10:06
of course not. Okay? Of course not. But I have like, I have a million different injuries, including like a tennis elbow. So we're working with this brand in credit where now you sent me the sleeve. How do I get it on the camera?

Tyson  10:22
It's incredible. Yeah, it's like a sleeve that goes over the sleeve that goes over your elbow.

Thomas  10:28
Yeah, it's, it's pretty cool looking too. Yeah. So it's very nice in this and feeling like Jesse Irvin out there.

Unknown Speaker  10:37
Who does she wear one of those?

Thomas  10:39
I think she does. I think she's swagged out by incredible hair as well. Wow.

Tyson  10:43
That's cool. Yeah. Yeah, that one I almost didn't say it again. Because I already said it. But I right. It's like you got to I mean, it's built right into the thing.

Thomas  10:56
Got it? Yeah, it's not one of those like compression sleeves where it's like going to actually slow down healing. You could actually promotes blood flow. So like, you can get more of like a organic, quicker heal, but I just like, I do like the the tension. So it's not compression, compression, but like, tension on it, but they are offering listeners 15% Off with code think 15 All caps dink one, five. And that's that incredible. So that's incred a W e Cool. Yeah. We're gonna have Jacob jump on here. Pretty soon. Okay. Let me take a sip of my fit aid, obviously.

Tyson  11:40
Wow, another shout out already two in a row.

Thomas  11:43
That one was natural. No. Both were natural. That was very natural. Oh, that was really natural until I get that. Wow, free getting that one for free. Nice. But so J dub responded to the invite, or I sent him like the link to this thing. Yeah. His email address. I won't read it. Yeah. But it has buckwheat in it. So I assume that that's some sort of like, childhood nickname that we have to ask him about.

Tyson  12:11
Well, I think it's a little rascals reference. Maybe

Thomas  12:14
Exactly. Yeah. He identifies with buckwheat Little Rascals.

Tyson  12:21
Is he already in the background waiting to jump on or No, no, no, no. Oh, but he will kill in time till he gets here.

Thomas  12:29
Don't do we're not killing time whenever killing time. That's true. Let's say that about our time has not been good. Can't say that about our podcast. What else

Unknown Speaker  12:36
we got going on in the in the world of pickleball.

Thomas  12:42
So did you see Oh, Speak of the devil. Here he is. His headphones on?

Tyson  12:48
Good. Let's let him he knows he's a pro but those headphones on

JW Johnson  12:55
as ag goes in here. What's up Jadon?

Don't get out you guys.

Thomas  13:00
Good man. Where are you right now?

JW Johnson  13:04
At home going from BS training or right for a beer city. That's basically right now

Thomas  13:11
playing in beer city. You're going to Michigan. That's my that's my home state.

JW Johnson  13:14
Oh, yeah. Going by. Now you gotta be fine. Me. Now.

Thomas  13:19
I played I did play. I played pro in it last year. Oh, really? didn't go so well. I did get nine points on Rob Nunnery though. So that's my that's my takeaway from that one. Wow.

Tyson  13:32
That's a big shame for Robin Emery. J dub. Any predictions on this beer city outing you're about to embark upon?

JW Johnson  13:46
Just overall.

Tyson  13:48
Yeah, pain for your opponents?

JW Johnson  13:53
I don't know. I mean, we'll see what happens as long as players find that one. I know Zayn is coming back after not playing a few in California. So he's gonna be coming back to the singles and doubles. So that's going to be tough for us. And then there's all the other players that were forced playing so it's gonna be a I think it's gonna be great to have tournament, and I'm especially excited for the the like, mini MLP thing they have going on after that.

Tyson  14:21
Yeah, that will be is that the pickleball Night in America?

JW Johnson  14:26
Something like that. Yeah.

Tyson  14:28
Okay. Yeah. Um, I do want to touch on something there. You said Zanes coming back after a couple weeks off. In your experience, when someone takes those weeks off, do they come back stronger? Or did they take a little time readjusting to competition?

JW Johnson  14:49
Depends. Some people will come back shortly before and then others maybe take like maybe a tournament and but then they start to get the feel back and stuff but I think it'll come back pretty strong. So hopefully we'll, we'll try to be ready for that, especially this fencers and all that stuff. So we'll say yeah,

Tyson  15:08
okay, well, we won't release this, this episode until after so that Zane doesn't hear how afraid of him. You are.

JW Johnson  15:15
Got it. Thank you. Sounds good.

Thomas  15:18
We look out for our guests around here. You're safe with us.

JW Johnson  15:22
Well, that sounds good.

Thomas  15:24
You're you're at home right now. So our Georgia and your mother Julie, off screen right now.

JW Johnson  15:31
Yeah, yeah, they're here. Yeah.

Thomas  15:34
So what's the talk about them?

JW Johnson  15:37
I can talk about

Thomas  15:43
what's it like growing up in a household that's just like, packed with talent like that? Yeah,

JW Johnson  15:53
Yeah, kinda. But no, I mean, it's good. Because we can always go and practice with each other a lot. Like, even if there's nobody else around, we can always just go drill or do whatever and stuff like that. So obvious. Obviously, that helps a lot. But obviously, we also have a lot of other great players here, too. So it was nice to have that option.

Thomas  16:16
Yeah, like who's in the area with you guys?

JW Johnson  16:19
We got like a James. Anna. We got the waters. Eden and Andre. Right. We got a I'm on image. Players like that. So we got a pretty good group. So yeah. It's not bad. No, it's pretty good. So

Tyson  16:40
got it. How often? Are you meeting up with people like that to play? Are you seeing those people every day?

JW Johnson  16:47
Oh, well, we pretty much meet up with him like every day. Okay, because all of them want to play every day. Especially a game Tardeo he also wants to play a lot too. So we, we play we play with all of them. So it's, it's basically a daily practice, we play with all of them.

Tyson  17:07
Yeah. So when Ian Thomas is gonna roll his eyes at this. I was a former pro cyclist, I love to tell people that all the time, guys would want to train with me constantly. So I would either go out and do my morning workout without telling anybody and then come back in the afternoon and train with guys and be a little exhausted. And that would boost their self confidence. Because it's like, oh, I'm staying up with Tyson no big deal. Or if I hadn't done my my training session in the morning and was going out with them, I would hold back so they couldn't see the full Tyson. Is that something you do when you play with some of these guys?

JW Johnson  17:47
I pretty much I win everything. So just try to win all the games that way. Don't get too much trash talk on me. So otherwise, you're

Tyson  17:57
just demoralizing practice? Yeah.

Thomas  18:01
Yeah. I mean, who, who have that group is like, is the toughest in singles? Like Tardeo ignatia? Which, those are the two that kind of jumped out at me. Are there any other singles players?

JW Johnson  18:18
Yeah, I mean, gaming. Gaming jams, I would say is probably the top two singles players for sure. Where

Thomas  18:27
they should pay you dude, because you are training with them every day. And now both their names are coming up more and more.

JW Johnson  18:34
And you just gave me idea. I'm gonna have to start telling him that now. Probably pay like two times and say yeah, here's your money. Let's go play. So that's probably all they do. But yeah, that's fine.

Tyson  18:47
He's money, bro. It all adds up.

JW Johnson  18:51
Exactly. So there's also a lot of singles players, but then the other so they're in like Naples area. So that's far for us. But there's a lot of great players here in Florida to

Thomas  19:03
Got it. Got it. Okay, let's, um, let's talk about singles a little bit. Okay. We had Travis Rettenmaier on and he might be your biggest advocate. But that conversation sparked a bit of debate as far as who's number one in singles. And I think people like to throw out Tyson MacGuffin. They like to throw out Zane Navratil, maybe some other names, but the two obvious Are you and Ben What do you think of Ben's game? And if if I'm, if I'm correct, you've only taken one match from him. Right? What do you what do you think of his game overall? And how do you see your trajectory versus his? At what point are you going to take down Ben and be number one? That's my direct question to you.

JW Johnson  19:56
I mean, like obviously he's very good player all around singles make so levels all. Girls a lot of great tricky shots that, you know, catches me off guard sometimes. But he covers a court really well too, but I'm just trying to learn. Try and learn his patterns, watch previous videos, see what I do wrong and see how I can improve. And then I tried to do them sometimes in practice. But I think I mean, I know every time I played him, I've done better. So I think it'll just keep getting better from there. So I think next time, I'll probably be I'll probably do better again. So we'll see.

Thomas  20:40
Yeah, yeah. So do you do you watch a lot of film in your your trainings are pretty common for you?

JW Johnson  20:46
Yeah, I do. I don't really like to watch the ones I lose. But sometimes I have to do that. And then I'll just learn from those. But yes, I do watch quite a bit of videos.

Tyson  21:00
That's your punishment, if you lose is that you have to watch it on repeat until you win.

JW Johnson  21:08
Sometimes, yeah, it's a mental grind when I have to watch those ones. Pretty tough. But yeah, sometimes I do do that. For sure.

Tyson  21:17
Um, on your Instagram, you're pretty notorious for putting in a lot of hard work. Is that real? Is all of that work real? Like, I see you like in the water in the shallows at the beach with your pickleball paddle with your trainer throwing balls at you, then you're doing a lot of sand work? Is that like just for the gram to like, stress your opponents out? Or is that real legit work. I love it. Like I think your Instagram game is what more professional pickleball players Instagram game should be where you're showing why you're so good, and how you're so good, and how you're maintaining it and how you're improving. And I think that's what a lot of fans want to see from professional pickleball players that they're not getting that inside baseball of like, this is what JW does. So is that all real? Is that real stuff?

JW Johnson  22:05
It's actually really Yes, I know, it's hard to believe it's actually real. It's not like a Jameson ad in which he did the martial arts training, but it is something like that. Yeah. So yes, it's actually real. So just to make sure. Okay,

Tyson  22:21
and how many hours a day are you spending? Working on Pickleball? Just in general, is it like 24/7? Every single thing you do is measured, your diet, your sleep, your relaxation, all of that, or do you have some time off?

JW Johnson  22:38
No, I have some time off. But usually for just like playing pickleball is usually every day, probably three to six hours a day, usually one day off a week. And then just kind of routine just like that. Usually,

Thomas  22:55
once a split like singles to doubles in terms of how much you're you're playing each

JW Johnson  23:03
in practice. In practice, we in practice, we honestly hardly ever play singles. Mostly that was just because first off, I don't really want to play singles in practice very much I just tend to get bored. And I just want to start the hands well so of course that's mainly in doubles, so therefore I just like playing doubles all the time. Just love trash talking the opponents so much so

Thomas  23:31
I mean, you just you just accidentally trash docked. You're like I get bored playing seagulls against Ignacio which

Tyson  23:39
was that accident though? Maybe that was on purpose. Thomas. Yeah,

JW Johnson  23:42
yeah, I mean, I'll let them know today when I play with him to that. It's just gonna make it more exciting for me.

Thomas  23:50
Yeah, that's kind of how I feel when Tyson and I play on like was were the good players.

Tyson  23:56
I believe that one that thing. J dub when you talk about trash talk is that just in practice? Are you trash talking like at these are you getting in people's heads verbally? At tournaments? Verbally? Pretty quiet like I didn't know because you're saying trash talking. So I didn't know if that was something like you know how Michael Jordan is like renowned for like, pinching his opponent and smiling and then saying some real nasty stuff to him. And then nobody knows what happened. They just assumed Michael Jordan's joking buddies like, seeing some gnarly

JW Johnson  24:34
No, no. Like interest. I'll keep quiet volunteer corps. I'll start trash talking. Like just in practice. Okay, but I can't. I can't seem to do it. In tournaments. I don't I don't think I'll start doing that anytime soon.

Tyson  24:48
Okay, well, there needs to be a John McEnroe of pickleball. So that spots still available. I think if it ever comes to that, a request for you or future Instagram some trash talking in practice. Can you set that up for us so we can see it?

JW Johnson  25:06
Oh, absolutely. Yeah, it's not a problem at all. I can do that pretty easily. Yeah. Absolutely. If you go past me, I'll send them to.

Tyson  25:18
Okay. Yeah, I would love to talk to you. I actually thrive off of people trash talking me.

JW Johnson  25:25
Okay. All right. So, where are you?

Thomas  25:28
Where are you again? Did you say Boynton Beach? Yeah, Boynton Beach, Florida. Is that East side of Florida.

JW Johnson  25:36
So it's pretty close to Delray. It's like 30 minutes from that.

Tyson  25:41
Alright, this is Google mapping it Come on, Thomas. You got family in Florida, bro.

Thomas  25:47
Yeah, man, I bet I'm I'm in the South. No se. Okay, maybe we'll make this happen. Jaden. I'm just gonna show.

Tyson  25:58
We're gonna show up. I mean, you go to us, we go to some events, like maybe at the next event we're all at we can we can get some content.

JW Johnson  26:08
Okay, for sure. Are you guys gonna?

Tyson  26:13
Oh, I'm not going to be at beer city. Neither is Thomas. Thomas is going to be at the Newport the MLP Newport event. But I have a scheduling conflict. So the next for short time that we will all meet up is Columbus in October. Is that right? Is that when that is

Thomas  26:30
gonna be getting cold?

Tyson  26:33
Yeah, yeah. Good. Because I get to pull out I feel a cold weather stuff. Yeah, I know you can't do it sounds awesome.

Thomas  26:47
Okay, J, Jade up. So I would say that you probably have the best understanding of the landscape of singles pickleball. When you look around at some of the other players kind of rising through the ranks, who are some that you've played? And you're like, Oh, they're very talented. It's just a matter of time. Maybe before they start actually getting on the podium. Are there any kind of underdogs that you've spotted? That maybe other people aren't turned on to? Yeah.

JW Johnson  27:18
I mean, James is deaf. I know James is like dawn on the podium, but I think he'll do a lot better because he's really moving a lot more doing a lot more stuff than he was like a few months ago. Obviously, Federico is doing really well. Actually, Don Frazier just had a really good singles tournament in LA, actually. So he's doing better so and then there's, there's some players here in Florida that are like playing tennis, and they're gonna start I hope transferring over and I think those guys are gonna be really good pretty, pretty time pretty soon as well. So I think it's just a matter of time.

Tyson  28:03
Are there any of these guys where you're like, I've got to squash them out before they reach their full potential.

JW Johnson  28:10
Well, like I said, Yeah, I mean, in practice, I just thought I just got to try and see if I can demoralize them just enough. Yeah.

Tyson  28:21
Okay, keep asserting your dominance smart. I should have done that with Thomas instead of giving them a few points now he feels like he can beat me. So that that's what happened.

JW Johnson  28:31
Yeah. That's rough. really rough.

Thomas  28:36
Here's what you're gonna get is real. A lot of honesty out of Tyson when he talks about when we play lots of on the

Tyson  28:42
only honest. I mean, I'm almost always honest, unless I'm playing a game show for money on TV.

Thomas  28:54
Okay, so another I have another question for you. You mentioned Dylan Frazier. You guys frequently play doubles together. And there's something similar about your game and I want to get your thoughts on. You both stand pretty imposingly at the kitchen mine, you aren't frequently moving back. Like I mean, you're often taking balls out of the air, but you both hold your paddles, like suspect really low. It's like you're almost baiting your opponent into speeding up at you. Is that something that you do deliberately?

JW Johnson  29:31
Ashley? I don't know. I don't really know why I started doing that. But that was just kind of what I've always done. Obviously, yeah, if they, I guess it could be kind of a bait which I kind of want to kind of want those handbells all time. Yeah. But no, there's just kind of it just kind of happens. I mean, I know I watched myself play and I always see my cars like dragging the ground. Well, there's always like Right, hold their pals up. But that's just always what it felt comfortable to me. So I just kept up with it.

Tyson  30:06
You talk about the hand pat hand battles constantly in your renowned for having really, really fast hands. What can someone do to improve their paddle speed at the kitchen line? Is there something specifically that they can do every day when they play? Or like in their home? Even whatever?

JW Johnson  30:28
Yeah, I mean, for me, it was kind of just like playing tournaments a lot. I'm just playing the same players over and over and figuring out patterns and stuff like that. But for people that were the ones that just like, play at home type of stuff. I don't know, maybe, maybe just do handrails, we're just different people. We're just trying to figure out patterns. And we were trying to hit it, I guess. So. I guess that's probably one way to do it. Go ahead, Tyson.

Tyson  31:00
I was just gonna say if you're if you're watching patterns of different opponents, you're at that point expecting something different depending on who's across the net from you. And so you're you how are you adjusting accordingly to that. Somewhere else to you know, be ready for something or you're just looking for something or you just assume that like, I know a lot of players you can see their paddle move to where the ball is going to be hit before their opponent even hits the ball. Is that the type of thing we're talking about?

JW Johnson  31:34
Yeah, kind of like that. Sometimes we'll also just the body position to begin with the other opponent is going to just move over and try to cover that. The kind of a little bit about kind of a mix like that. Okay,

Thomas  31:51
I feel like you're you're pretty confident with your your hands battles. Is there anybody who when you're playing against you're like, Alright, I gotta be a little bit more cautious before I speed up against this guy. Or this girl.

JW Johnson  32:04
Yeah, I mean, when I'm playing Riley, I try not to hit his annoying pancake thing. Is that the the squat? Squat? That's what they're calling it now. Yeah, definitely him. It's really a couple of obviously been because he anticipates very well. Other than that, obviously, Dylan has really good chance to but yeah, just a few likes those those kind of players. Just gotta be a little bit more cautious with.

Thomas  32:41
Yeah, Tyson, who else comes to mind for me? I'm thinking like, Deco. Oh,

JW Johnson  32:49
yeah. Yeah,

Tyson  32:51
yeah. Nobody. You haven't played me before J dub? We're keeping that secret. I'm training so much in secret. I'm not posting it on Instagram, so that you don't know. And it was? Yeah, well, you talk about Riley in the hand battle. Would you like to see him play singles? Are there people specifically like that you would want us to see play singles, you think they would thrive at singles. Because we see some people just like avoid singles almost all the time. Who would be really great that won't play singles.

JW Johnson  33:31
Well, I'd like to see Riley play singles, just because he doesn't like hitting forehand. So I'd like to see how many times you can run around his forehand and not get tired of getting back in. I guess I kind of want to see a mat rightfully, singles.

Thomas  33:50
who just gave me who just gave you a look off camera who just looked at? Yeah. What were they saying?

Tyson  33:58
I said that. And why do you want to see Matt Right. play singles. Just so you can see him sweat.

JW Johnson  34:04
Sweat? No, just so I can see. See him move. Okay. On the core. I know he just likes running up his one side. So I'd like to see how it would move. Just quite a bit. I assume that wouldn't be too much. But I don't know. Maybe he might surprise me. So you never know. Ryan share? He surprised me too. So you never know.

Thomas  34:27
Yeah. That's awesome. I love watching Sherry play. Alright, so I think you also just the nature of pickleball. It's like, you don't you don't necessarily have to be a an official Pro to enter the Pro Bracket, right? So you end up playing against these high level players who aren't quite like elite pros yet. What are some of the things that like, Okay, you come across this guy like he's playing really well, but he's not quite hitting podiums, or he's not even like a top 50 player. Like what are some quick or easy adjustments or tweaks that these types of players on the double side can make in their game that you commonly see is like, maybe like a downfall of theirs, that they could sort of flip this switch or make this adjustment and how they're playing. And it could really improve their game. And it's sort of just like highlighting the difference between high level and like, Elite Pro Level play. And like what you notice.

JW Johnson  35:28
I mean, a lot of is like, shot selections, just patients, because I know a lot of them just like to speed up quite a bit and just try to get the point over with quickly instead of like trying to set up the point. You know, think about it quite a bit and just speed up at the right times, obviously. A lot of players just go out there for fun and just like playing for the ones that like actually want to make it to the pros, I'd say. That's the main thing I see. Is this a slot? shot selection and the patient's basically,

Thomas  36:03
right, a tendency to maybe get overly offensive quickly in the point when it's not quite there.

JW Johnson  36:11
Yeah, basically. So what I really want to do a lot of the time as well. One I know if I want to win probably shouldn't do that too much. Yeah, right. So,

Thomas  36:23
right. Yeah, but that's the best way to play the hands battles all day.

JW Johnson  36:28
That's the most fun right there. If you get hit, I mean, that's the most fun.

Thomas  36:35
Are there? Are there certain spots you look for on your opponent to target with the ball? I mean, everybody says chicken wing or like, you know, like, the shoulder? Like, are there certain spots that you kind of look for every time like maybe like your go to?

JW Johnson  36:52
Yeah, definitely. Especially like, sometimes, if I can see before I'm hitting the ball, which way they're sitting out for like a forehand or backhand, obviously, I'll try to pitch to the opposite side. So there's a lot of times I can, I'll try and like look for that. Or I'll just know from playing previous players. Which side is set up on more than I was trying to get it to the opposite side.

Thomas  37:24
Right? Yeah. Right. And then what about like pattern recognition? Generally, I think that's something we hear a lot about. Trying to just foresee what the opponent's going to do based on the move they just made? Like, are there certain patterns you you look for just how do you think about pattern recognition? Generally? And how can players leverage that to improve their own play?

JW Johnson  37:50
I mean, obviously, like I said, videos, you can go look at a lot or you can even just go and play like in person is helpful to just so you can see what they do. Like nine times out of 10 Right. And then from there, I mean, you just kind of get a feel for it basically.

Tyson  38:16
I wanted to have you I was gonna have Tomas named some pro players that you have had lots of hands battles with and then you tell us what their weakness in the hands battles are. exposing too much is that exposing too much? Maybe. Thomas, he got a bar. deco bar. What's his weakness when you come to a

JW Johnson  38:42
bar? Yep. You must want to play real good day, huh? All right. Exactly. Why Well, I can't say too much come play with him next weekend. Yeah,

Tyson  39:01
oh, you're playing with him so that your opponents will utilize that that knowledge against Okay, someone else? Someone else?

JW Johnson  39:09
All right. No, no, no. PVA site and go go there.

Unknown Speaker  39:14
Someone on the PPA side.

Thomas  39:16
Okay, let me I'm looking at the list here. What about well, let's let's go with Riley's former longtime partner Tyson MacGuffin.

JW Johnson  39:26
Oh, okay. All right. Okay. So as weak points, that's where you want

Tyson  39:32
weak points enhance battles like what are you? Because he you study a lot of film. I'm assuming that a lot of these high level guys that you meet up with over and over again, you know, their gap in that game. All right.

JW Johnson  39:46
Good question. I probably surely Good question. Usually when I'm playing him, I'll try because usually I think he's in front of me. At least for The men's doubles. So usually I'll try and go to his backhand a little bit more, because usually he's trying to hit a lot of four hands. So usually I try to forget back in. And then if he does, when he does counter, I'll just try to be sitting on the Oh, my back and just keep going at him. And then obviously he adjusts I'll, I'll just as well go to his boring a little bit more. But mainly, he likes to try and slide over and hit the forehand. So I'll turn and go to his to his backing a little bit more. And other than that, I mean, off the mound, I don't really, we have too much time off balance, but if I do, maybe the maybe the body or to the backhand. So

Thomas  40:58
you sort of let's touch on that for a second. So speeding up off the bounce, versus taking it out of the air. Do you recommend to kind of lean toward one of those over the other? Obviously, it's always going to be circumstantial, but for me, I actually probably speed up more off the bounce. Is that am I doing it wrong? Am I thinking about it wrong?

JW Johnson  41:24
No, I mean, it's good to have a mix of both actually. I know a lot of players like obviously Riley and then even Colin actually, Matt though ball speed up off the bounce, like quite a bit. So I think it's actually good to have a mix of both of those. So now I think taking off the bounce is good as well. Right? But if you're gonna get

Thomas  41:50
if you're taking it off the bounce, you probably want to incorporate a bit more of deception or concealing your shot, right?

JW Johnson  41:59
For sure. Yeah, I think that right does a very good job of that. Disguising his speedups quite a bit like off the bounce. Right. Riley does sometimes, but I think he mainly just wants to try to hit the first one, which is fine. I mean, it works for him. So I should probably try to we'll see. Okay,

Thomas  42:23
try that. Matt, Matt's another one who has really fast hands. And I don't think we bring them up that much. But his hands are ridiculously quick. And he's kind of like you and Dylan where? Not a lot of movement, right? Like he's like his, his feet are planted. And he's just keeping that paddle out in front of them. And just it's it's like, rapid fire.

JW Johnson  42:44
For sure. Absolutely. I agree. Yes. He's insanely fast with the hands for sure.

Thomas  42:49
Got it. Who? Who's your see you're playing with tackle next week? He played with Dylan a lot. Who's your favorite men's player to play with?

JW Johnson  42:59
You guys like the controversy questions down to you.

Thomas  43:02
It's not controversial. If somebody gets upset about that question. They got things again, let's just say all right, besides deck, all right, because you're playing with them next week.

JW Johnson  43:13
Okay, well, for those Yes, I really liked playing with Dylan, we have a really good time, of course. And then, for the for the mix, I'd probably say my sister, just because we have a really good time together, obviously have a lot of good chemistry. You know, we play a lot here at home. So I probably say that's not fair for the next admins.

Thomas  43:38
And she's in the room staring at you.

JW Johnson  43:41
Yeah, she's giving me a stare at NASA. I have been careful with what I say right now. So yeah, so

Tyson  43:48
you play with your sister, you also live in the same house, right? If you things don't go, how you want them to at a tournament? How long? Is there like a silent treatment period for between you and Georgia before you get back on terms?

JW Johnson  44:06
If I view your question,

Tyson  44:08
no, like, no, like, if you're playing together, and both blame each other for maybe not doing as well as you thought you should? Is there a silent treatment period where you're like not talking to each other and like breakfast is tense and? And there's a lot of like passive aggressive comments made to your mom about the other one while they're in the room listening.

JW Johnson  44:34
I don't think we're gonna I don't think we've done that passive aggressive, but not usually.

Thomas  44:40
Oh, that's very passive aggressive to say?

JW Johnson  44:44
Well, yeah, well, usually, maybe only an hour or two hours after we lose. That's about it. Obviously, if we lose and we're still playing, that's the difference. Maybe just a couple of minutes but one of the things is over. I just have to be fine with her. Because she's my sister and we love each other. So probably just an hour or two. Nothing that nothing more than that.

Tyson  45:14
Okay, that's pretty good, because I can imagine playing with my siblings, and like, either them, like, raging at me or me like internal rage and just being like, I just have to have like a timeout for a couple of weeks. So Thomas is notorious for not being able to play with anybody from his family.

JW Johnson  45:33
Oh, got it. Okay, pretty good.

Tyson  45:35
I made that up about him. Okay. What else you got Thomas?

Thomas  45:43
Okay, so you talked about playing with Georgia. So she's really improved her game lately? Do you? Would you just say like, that's attributed to the fact that you guys are just training all the time? And I don't know, what do you see for her future? I mean, she's just playing really well. And, you know, making podiums on the singles and doubles side?

JW Johnson  46:07
No, yeah, she's been doing very well lately. Obviously. She's coming along Long ways. And actually, just like the last couple of months to doing very, very well, singles, obviously, in doubles. She's getting to the finals a lot now. And then, was that I mean, mix anyone was, so she's getting to the finals almost every time now. So she's, uh, she's doing very well with that. It's been exciting to see, you know, from just a couple of months ago, how well she's doing now. So

Tyson  46:43
you don't think it's time to squash her out before she gets too good?

JW Johnson  46:48
Well, that's fine. I'm fine with it. Okay. Yeah, exactly. So yeah, that is definitely exciting. For sure.

Tyson  46:59
I like to ask a lot of the pros this, I'm assuming you add weight to your paddle. Is that correct?

JW Johnson  47:08
Sorry, I didn't hear you cut out.

Tyson  47:09
Do you add you add weight to your paddle?

JW Johnson  47:13
Okay. Yes, I do add a little bit of weight. How much fish? I like. I don't know how much total. But I just know. I always do it. On third of the panel.

Thomas  47:26
On a third of the panel on the on the throat. You said in the third throw? Yeah.

Tyson  47:31
On the throat panel on both sides. Okay. Yeah. You got that? Yeah, I got it. And so but you don't know how much your paddles weigh. Feel. You go based on filler you go on the length of the paddle is how much the like, based on where you put that?

JW Johnson  47:52
Mostly just gone for you. I usually always mess around with the lead to try and different places. Basically, yeah, but mainly just do that's it.

Tyson  48:01
So you need a new paddle. You go to the court with a royal LED tape. So so you get so hypothetical, you get a new paddle in the mail. You go you take a roll of lead tape, you add what you think you want on there, you swing it around in your living room, you take the lead tape to the court, and you mess around with it there and take some off or add a little here and there until you've perfected it. How long does that process take? And is? Is that pretty much how it goes?

JW Johnson  48:33
Yeah, well, I already have a I already know how I like it. But yeah, usually I'll just mess around with it at the house. Just put some on have some just go out to the court. And if I don't like it, just take it off and wait for the next practice then put some off and take it off if I don't like it again. So yeah, I'm I'm just constantly messing around with it. Just trying to see what I like and what I don't like so just kind of goes like that. Yeah.

Thomas  49:05
Okay. Yeah, I put I typically put it on the top of my paddle and not on the on the sides. And so I sort of like I look around, and I'm probably one of the very few people who do that. So I'm always wondering if I'm doing it wrong, but I can say that I can hit a hell of a smash I can really put the ball away now. So that's like the one definite benefit

JW Johnson  49:33
I put away. That's a big thing right there. Doesn't matter about the handbells or anything else just as long as you put it away. Yeah, exactly.

Thomas  49:44
Alright, so when when you're training, what have you been focused on lately? Is there any component of your game singles or doubles that you're you're pretty focused on improving right now. You watch all that film

JW Johnson  49:55
last year? Yeah. Many of these Just focusing on like trying to be a little more aggressive, just kind of like speed up more drive more just

kind of more like aggressive plays like that. And then singles. I don't know, singles I'm just running around hitting the ball. That's that's all I'm focused on there. But yeah, for that was just mainly just aggressive plays more. So that's kind of

Thomas  50:28
got more, more aggressive Tyson. Should I be more less aggressive with my play?

Tyson  50:35
Um, I mean, I haven't seen you play for almost a year now. I can tell you the answer. You should be less aggressive.

Thomas  50:45
That's correct. Yeah.

Tyson  50:47
I knew that because you put it all together, you'd like to speed up you speed up too often, we all we went over all of that. I should also probably be a little less sometimes I get it right. And sometimes I should definitely toned down the aggression. But also depends on who I'm playing with. Like, if Thomas is across the net from me. All I'm trying to do is hit him in the face with the pickleball. And I'm

Thomas  51:05
trying to do the same thing and he's trying to our partners are having literally the worst time they've ever had.

JW Johnson  51:13
Yeah, I I know about that. Yeah.

Tyson  51:19
I don't play with guys. I'll play with guys sometimes who keep trying to bodybag me and I'll say okay, if you bodybag me five times in this game. I will make a compilation of it and put it on Instagram. Nobody has been able to do that yet.

JW Johnson  51:36
Yeah, I can't wait till we play. Yeah, I can't either.

Thomas  51:40
You're gonna be really impressed. J dub,

Tyson  51:42
all I have to do is lay down, then there's like nothing like duck every even if it's just a soft shot. Yeah, I usually get my paddle in front of me enough that I don't get tagged in the body.

JW Johnson  51:55
Okay, well, I hope I have good enough aim. So what we'll see, we'll see.

Tyson  52:01
I mean, start working on it now.

JW Johnson  52:04
It's hard to pack in because you can turn it visible if you turn sideways. So it's pretty tough.

Tyson  52:10
I'm pretty thin too. So ya

know what else you got Thomas?

Thomas  52:22
Well, so I wanted to ask about your recent surge in in Instagram content is that Georgia masterminding those those videos?

JW Johnson  52:32
Especially the one during the Instagram videos now. I mean,

Tyson  52:37
it's all you it's all him. He takes full credit. Yeah.

JW Johnson  52:44
We, we have some of the Instagram stuff for us. But we also like, come up with some ideas sometimes and just tell them let's do this. And then they'll agree to just post it. So.

Tyson  53:00
So you have a social media manager? Yeah, yes. Okay. And is it the same manager for you or account and George's account?

JW Johnson  53:12
Yeah, so she does both of ours.

Tyson  53:14
Okay, cool. I thought about doing that before. I actually asked around and talked to a few people but then we decided not to

Thomas  53:26
manage managing social media or someone managing your social someone

Tyson  53:29
managing my social media.

Thomas  53:32
I was like, yeah.

Tyson  53:35
Yeah, no, I'll manage your social media. J dub. Give me your passwords.

JW Johnson  53:41
Oh, yeah. All right. When we're off screen, maybe. Okay.

Thomas  53:48
I've got a I've got a content idea for you, though. Okay. Georgia is always the one. Interviewing. You're always the interviewee. I want you to start doing some conducting some interviews. I want you on the mic leading the other way. Yeah.

JW Johnson  54:08
Okay. All right. Do you think it would be that interesting, or what

Thomas  54:13
I do. One thing I've noticed is like, I think when I first started watching you play, I mean, you're you're still pretty quiet when you're out there on the court. Like you're pretty composed. And I think other players probably find that pretty intimidating, right? Like, you're not super vocal, not a ton of facial expressions, but I think like, over the last year, and I would say I particularly noticed that at major league pickleball. Like, you started to show a little bit more personality out there, like coming out of the show, now you're doing content. And I think people really appreciate that, that side of you. And I'm saying let's take it a step further. Let's get you on the mic.

JW Johnson  54:51
Yeah. Okay. All right. Well, I mean, I don't think Travis do that because, you know, I don't usually get picked up too many times. So When he picked me up, I was quite surprised. And then obviously, you know, he was very energetic with the, with the on the sidelines as well. So that was pretty that was pretty funny. Exciting. Yeah, but ya know, MLP definitely, definitely was a lot of fun about that. So, alright, I'll, I'll tell him I got to be the interviewer now, I'll do that. Perfect.

Tyson  55:22
I mean, just mess around with it. See, you might just like, you know, broadcasting maybe is your number one thing and Pickleball is your number two thing? We don't know until we try.

JW Johnson  55:33
All right, sounds good. I'll do that.

Thomas  55:36
So that speaking of that final match in major league football, would you say that that was the most like, emotional match you've you've ever played? Are there any other matches, you can point to where you were like, man, I was. I really, really wanted to win that one. Whether you won or or lost?

JW Johnson  55:56
Yes. Now, I think that was probably the one match because obviously there's 25k on the line. So that's really one that real bad stuff. Yeah, I was really into that match.

Thomas  56:11
What were you going to buy? Did you Yeah, did

Unknown Speaker  56:13
you? Were you already spending the money? I was

JW Johnson  56:17
not thinking that far ahead. I was already thinking saving in the bank. So I wasn't thinking yeah, I know.

Unknown Speaker  56:23
Pretty, pretty responsible.

JW Johnson  56:27
I own multiple unborn, yeah, I get I get that. So

Tyson  56:30
J dub, not to rehash all these painful memories. But since Thomas already brought it up, there was a lot of question about not taking timeouts in those moments of that those final games at MLP. What they do you if going back to that moment, not even like considering hindsight at all? Why did you not take a timeout? Do you prefer to not take a timeout in those moments? Or, like what was going on?

JW Johnson  57:04
Well, usually, and that was I'll take time out sometimes. But at that time, I really don't. I can't give you an answer. I don't know. Probably just wasn't smart enough to take your time out or something like that. I don't know. But hopefully, hopefully, I learned from the steak and we'll change it next time. We'll see.

Tyson  57:26
So So you think that it was a mistake that you did not call timeout? There. And you had no reasoning for not calling a timeout?

JW Johnson  57:37
Yeah, there's actually no reason why I did not call No, because there was plenty of chances to and not. So I can't give you an answer.

Tyson  57:47
Okay, I just I didn't know if there was reasoning behind not calling a timeout, or if that was just like a brain fart or, or what? So. But we see that happen in professional sport all the time. And do you do learn from it? So yeah,

JW Johnson  58:02
yeah, absolutely. So hopefully next time, I'll think more about if I really want the 25k or if I want a little bit less.

Thomas  58:13
Maybe Maybe if you start future spending it that'll that'll help you.

Tyson  58:19
You Yeah, you go spend 25k Right now take out a loan, then out of desperation, you will have to win the next one.

JW Johnson  58:28
Probably so yeah, like that strategy. That's gonna be trouble.

Thomas  58:34
Yeah, do you want a loan you 25 grand and then you know, if you, if you, if you win, I'll get a little interest if you lose. I'm just gonna hold that over your head until you train me to the point where, you know, I'm back on the pro circuit,

Tyson  58:47
where you're winning 25. Yeah. Oh, okay.

JW Johnson  58:51
25 grand a year, or like in two years?

Thomas  59:00
Depends on the interest rate.

JW Johnson  59:03
Okay, all right. Well, we'll see. I might take that deal. We'll see.

Thomas  59:08
Okay, I like it. I've got one more question for you. What, what is the significance of buckwheat in your life?

JW Johnson  59:18
I hate that nickname.

Thomas  59:20
nickname. No, it

Tyson  59:21
is a nickname. Yeah. Oh, don't tell Matt Right. He'll use that to needle you in your skin while you're playing.

JW Johnson  59:29
Oh, all right. Jeff warning you know, both vessels certainly do that. Human Riley that was that was nicknamed early childhood. Just my sister. I have no I have absolutely no idea why I got that nickname. Especially since I don't really like it that much. But I I have I don't know. She just started calling me that all the time. And then I guess it was catchy enough for other people to start calling me Do and obviously, my family likes to tell everybody all my nicknames and everything. So obviously, it's sketchy, I guess I don't know.

Tyson  1:00:10
So I'm gonna let you in on a little secret JW because it sounds like you're unaware. If someone gives you a nickname and you hate it, that becomes your nickname. Like that's it like the second you show any animosity towards the nickname given you. That's it. It's locked and loaded.

JW Johnson  1:00:30
Yeah, absolutely. I learned that from previous experiences now, so just gonna stick with it, I guess.

Thomas  1:00:39
Can you just gotta you gotta pretend you can't stand just when Johnson

Unknown Speaker  1:00:45
calling me that certainly

JW Johnson  1:00:46
do that. Absolutely. Definitely. Really a whole thing. How I don't like that. Sure.

Thomas  1:00:55
Love it. Alright, buckwheat, that's, that's all we got.

JW Johnson  1:01:01
Okay, thanks. Thanks for

Thomas  1:01:03
joining us, too. This was this was great. excited to finally have you on we've been wanting to get you on here for a while now. So I think people are going to like this one.

JW Johnson  1:01:13
Yep, for sure.

Tyson  1:01:14
Yeah. Thanks, J dub. Thanks for the time and good luck at beer city. We'll be rooting for you. So go crush it.

JW Johnson  1:01:22
Sounds good. I can't wait to play y'all two weeks. Yep. That's coming up soon as well. Okay. All right. Sounds good. Thank you guys.

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