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Pickleball Lives Here

PicklePod 28: NFL Host Turned Pickleball Junkie

by The Dink Media Team on

Camryn Irwin is a host for the LA Rams, AVP Tour, and Pac-12. The former college and pro volleyball player has made the switch to pickleball and was even in the booth for the PPA Tour last year. She confesses to Thomas and Casey that she is hooked on pickleball and plays 4-5 times a week. Listen for her unique perspective on how the game is growing and how viewership can be improved at the pro level.

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Show Notes

(0:36) Casey introduces the Blonde Bomber Camryn Irwin
(6:05) Camryn talks about playing with pros and how she got into pickleball
(8:59) How can we improve viewership from a commentator’s perspective?
(11:58) Getting into the deception and combos of elite pickleball
(17:52) Let’s hear the backstories
(26:35) Will the pro game reach mass appeal?…consensus…YES!…here’s why
(34:38) Camryn’s future in pickleball and other sports
(38:04) Recap of the last episode with Collin and the potential for innovation in strategy
(50:39) Mic’d up players a win for the audience
(55:12) Looking for future guests to keep us nerding out!


Thomas  0:01  

And we're back. Hot off hot off a big episode with with Colin John's and we're with Camryn Irwin are when you've got some pretty big shoes to fill here Camryn.

Camryn  0:11  

Really tough act to follow. Thanks, guys.

Thomas  0:15  

I just like to put pressure on

Camryn  0:18  

how about this? I'll be his right side so I'm just teeing them up here. There we go.

Casey  0:24  

smart. So smart.

Thomas  0:26  

So maybe you listen to the episode.

Camryn  0:29  

I did listen to the Episode Come on now.

Thomas  0:34  

Well, yeah, you've got some pretty big shoes to fill. But you and Casey go way back seven years I've I've now discovered So, Casey, I kind of I'm kinda gonna like, I'm gonna I'm gonna put you on the spot here. And I want to give a little. I want to give I want you to give your best intro for Camryn.

Casey  0:54  

The camera. Wow. Okay. The blonde bomber coming out of San Diego, California. Set absolute sauce overseas in Europe as an indoor professional. Not a serious back injury had to take a timeout. She had to reevaluate her direction. She goes into announcing because she has a great memory and loves all sports. Not only because she enjoys watching them, but because she's beaten boys her whole life at sports at any sport, backyard basketball, dodgeball, Frisbee pickleball. You name it. She's absolutely dominated. She heckled me at a player party in 2015. That's how we first met and said I had maybe the worst hands on tour. She was joking, but it felt real. And so I was like, kind of like searching for how I should feel internally. And now she's announcing on the AVP and has been for the last four upcoming now her fifth year, this season. You've been commentating as well on pro pickleball tours. I've heard you left and right have been super jealous that you got to be at the events when I was at my garage watching avoiding my kids cleaning the garage. So Camryn, I go way back. She is an absolute beast on the court for pickleball beach volleyball and then announcing so I'm super stoked because you're in a simila r world as me where we're both kind of in this like same universe of the three things that we're doing except for I don't commentate? But that's Camryn Irwin, she's a she's an all star and MVP and a lot of things.

Camryn  2:31  

Yeah, well, wow. There's a tear Like,

Casey  2:35  

it wasn't good. It wasn't good or ask but I tried.

Camryn  2:38  

Well, no one no one Geeter. No one's you know.

Thomas  2:42  

Alright, enough, enough of the enough of the inside jokes. I'm tired of being the odd man out here. So, Camryn, I know you just from really kind of like, I would say, just pickleball content, if you will. But I first kind of found out who you were because you were doing some commentating for the Orlando Cup last year, which was production done by Tennis Channel. I know that you're now sponsored by carbon. And I also saw some clips of you yesterday kind of holding your own with Jessie Irvin, but I want to give you an opportunity to kind of give your your background how would you how would you describe?

Camryn  3:22  

Well, I think Casey did just about everything you could have imagined. So though, I will correct him on one thing. I did live in San Diego for a time period but I'm originally from Pacific Northwest grew up in Washington State. Grew up Yeah, it's all good. Casey, it's okay. I have your I have your bio down pat. It was really fun to see the tables turn because usually I get to like give these nice big intros and like yeah, love on Casey on air. And I'm like so yeah, originally from Pacific Northwest, loves sports grew up playing tennis. A little tennis, fair little golf pickleball or pickleball Note that only started about a year, year and a half ago. Golf and volleyball, basketball, just pretty much anything under the sun, youngest of four. So very competitive environment growing up, loves sports stories and kind of just like went right into that. played volleyball at Oregon, Washington State and then played a couple pro seasons indoor and yeah, now all of a sudden I got hurt. Like Casey mentioned that was a good detail, Casey from the back injury definitely sidelined my professional career. No longer really able to play volleyball like not even super casually, like it just destroys me. I don't know how this man is doing it at his age is honestly phenomenal. And not just like doing it winning, which is even more remarkable. He's the next John Hyden that's all I'm gonna say. And yeah, honestly just so fun. I got into pickleball about a year and a half ago and man alive. I mean, like the obsession is is as true as it comes. I played like a handful of times the first place I ever played was down at Bobby Riggs in San Diego and I had my friend teaching me the rules on the way there and he's like, I kept asking these questions just freakin watch a YouTube video like figure it out and I, I played like two or three times and then I was sucked in. So God, I don't know if that actually answers your question, but that's my background. No. And then I also I work. I work right now for the AVP. I also cover I'm the host and reporter for the Los Angeles Rams go rams. Super Bowl 56. World Champs and yeah, that's a big one for me. Just so fun to be a part of that crew and that team. Yeah, and then I've done pickleball I cover robotics. I've covered country music, I've worked pretty much anything and everything somebody wants me to talk about. I'll figure out a way to do it.

Thomas  5:45  

Got it. Alright, well, so as a Lions fan, you're welcome. You're welcome for running him out of town. And giving in to you guys. Yeah.

Camryn  5:58  

I mean, he put in his time there. That's all I'm gonna say. And we're really grateful for him.

Thomas  6:04  

So now you are a pretty avid pickleball player. So again, I saw some clips of you playing yesterday. Look like he had some game. How would you? How would you sell rate? Like, like, what's your oh, gosh,

Camryn  6:15  

I'm probably like a 4.7. Somewhere in there. I don't know. I won a couple 4.5s. And then I've had to take some time off just from from like, NFL season and whatnot. And I'm kind of getting back into it. I don't know i It's always hard with like self ratings. Like what, Like, I was like the humble or do you be like, oh, yeah, like I'm a five to Jessie. I'm like, There's no, absolutely no way like it was yeah, no, I luckily, these girls are phenomenal. And just like willing to play with anyone. Parris. Todd is local here. And she's been so kind just like, hit with me. And then yeah, like the guy that carbon. Garrett also is phenomenal. A bunch of like, 5.0 type guys. And those. That's that's kind of the crew I play with and drill with. And yeah, it's been great. So I haven't played in a tournament a while. So I don't really know exactly where I'm at.

Thomas  7:09  

Yeah. All right. Well, so how'd you stumble upon pickleball? I mean, what was your What was your entry into the sport?

Camryn  7:14  

Um, so actually, I'm curious how Casey got into it, too. But I, I got into it from a friend taking me literally like, a Saturday afternoon to  Bobby Riggs and was like, we're gonna go do this. It's actually my best friend, my best friend's husband. And a huge group of my friends down in San Diego go on Saturday afternoons, they have like a time slot. And it's like 40 or so people. And it's like kind of social hour. And everyone hangs out super fun. But instantly, I was like, Oh, I haven't had enough of this. So I started watching all the YouTube clips and learning what a third drop was definitely started out as a banger not gonna lie and then started to develop some touch. And now I'm back to banging, you know, so I have anger a little bit of a digression problem, which I'm sure Casey you can understand you. Because I know your style of play on the volleyball court. So yeah, I don't know. It's, I just have fully gotten sucked in. I played in a bunch of tournaments last year. And it was like my COVID thing, right? Like I there were no sports going on. Volleyball got minimized pretty substantially. And so it's just tough. I was looking for an activity and that was it. And I yeah, I played far, far too often. And now it's yeah, it's kind of my life like I play probably. When when I'm in town, four to five days a week. Like it's my extra. I don't want to go to the

Thomas  8:40  

gym. Must be nice.

Casey  8:40  

Yeah, same. It's the same. It fulfills all the like, multi direction, the speed and agility. You're like, oh, yeah, play pickleball for a couple hours. And you feel amazing. Like I've been running drills on a ladder day. It's perfect. Oh, yeah. I'm the same.

Thomas  8:56  

So Camryn, you have experience commentating on pro football? Pro volleyball, I'm sure based on all the different things you were saying you probably have some experience in some other pocket that I have no idea about. But when you look at it pro pickleball. And like you've, you've commented You were at the Orlando cup. I think it's I don't think anybody would deny that the pro game has a viewership problem right now. What do you think, just from your experience, commentating on other sports Pickleball is missing, or that could change in pickleball that might be able to like, elevate that and and draw more people in?

Camryn  9:36  

Ah, honestly, it's it's so interesting, because there's a there's a broadcast standpoint that I think there are elements that obviously like great camera angles, slomo cameras like for the viewer to be able to see certain things. There's definitely like an elevation that could take place, but that just requires money and like kind of a TV entity to come in and take over Um, but on a different like, brainwave, because I am such an athlete, I have a hard time even watching volleyball, I want like the we call the endzone view, right. So it's easier to see like the motion and the spacing and those type of things. So it's almost like for pickleball, you almost want like a kitchen cam. And you're like, you're in zone cam to be able to see like, certain shots, that trajectory, but then also like the spacing, and so, but I think what's interesting is right now, from a viewership standpoint, like who are your viewers, it's like pickleball, fanatics, right? Like everyone's coming in to watch. So you have to ask, what does the audience want to see, and I don't know about you guys. But when I watch pickleball, I want to see a lot of that endzone view. But I also am like, Can we can we start at the back, right, so you can see the third shot drive , the third shot, drop and increase zoom in to be able to also see like the closer up endzone view of the kitchen line, like, what would that look like? Yeah, let's see now like the spacing and the reach. And maybe it's even like, I don't know, maybe you're flipping back and forth from like, your replays are the net view of the kitchen cam. So you can see like, so far they're really reaching or what is their paddle angle or those kinds of things. But that all just comes with? Right? And camera that did a really good job of that. I think everyone was like shocked to see I think the slow mo cans and to see how much the ball spinning was incredible. Really cool.

Casey  11:28  

Yeah, that's definitely incorporate with the challenges and incorporating like a hawk I longterm, like they've done with the World Tour for us. And you're like, Whoa, this has really changed a lot of things. And then the net view for replays and watching like, a block, reach over the net, and you're like, oh, my gosh, that guy's like three feet over the net, as you're attacking those angles and pickleball they relate the exact same way to a viewer on TV, where you're like, oh, my gosh, that's so cool. Yeah, that would be huge.

Camryn  11:55  

And honestly, like a great example. And I don't know how you do it, it's almost like you need like a major close up. But yesterday, just getting the hit, you know, alongside Jesse, one of the things I realized is like I've called it, several of Jesse's matches, but I didn't realize, like how good her backhand like reach and flip is and her ability to be so deceptive, like, you don't recognize that stuff. One until you're playing against somebody, but even when you're playing alongside somebody, and I was going like, I've called so many matches, but I have no idea how good she is at this, like flipping the ball out is not not a good interpretation. Sorry. There's way better than what her ability to like clench and reach and roll from the same position like and it's different than a lot of other women. Like a lot of women you're seeing like them slicing the ball back or punching like just punch volley. And it's, it's it's different. And it's really cool. And like how can we display how differently these athletes all kind of approach the game as well. Yeah, right.

Casey  12:56  

Her time, like process time before contact is she holds it longer than anyone. And I'm just like, even on YouTube, I'm like waiting. And she's like, this long, like pause. Are you lean? And then she just like victory just exploit you. Right? It's crazy how just even through like watching on YouTube, how well she holds us up. I can't imagine like in life in real life. I just stand there like my eyes. And like I know what's coming.

Thomas  13:26  

Yeah, no, I think you're alluding to the fact that she also conceals her shots really well, or like right Dang. versus, versus her role? They all look the same. We're talking a lot about that with Kyle Casey, in case you you do you do a lot of coaching. Is this something that like you're trying to tell players to do more? Is this like an active conversation that you're having?

Casey  13:49  

Yeah, I think that when you talk about any sport in general, the like focus on the process time before you make the actual like contact on a ball, or a specific play. I think that if the high high elite athletes, they live in that world longer than so much on contact of the ball with a paddle right. And so, I mean, that's what I noticed that was similar to volleyball is like, if my hand is on the volleyball longer, I have more time to manipulate it and direct it, right? Same thing with a paddle where if I've got this long process where I'm watching, I'm developing watching the ball and I'm able to flick it one way or the other and redirect the same in volleyball, I want someone to lean and then I exploit them the same thing here. So that's something that we teach a lot in volleyball. It's the same kind of a thing.

Camryn  14:38  

And I'll also go jump off of this because I know you mentioned that I cover a lot of different sports but one of the things I love so much about sport is that it and especially team sport, they all typically have like an underlying theme that you just have to kind of figure out to be able to talk about or play or, you know, whatever. And I think one of the biggest things It's not only you talk about deception, I think that's like tier two once you get to that higher level, but one of the like most simplistic forms is of most team sport is about finding and creating space, and then being able to execute a shot or a play, to be able to finish it off. So like creating space is so big if beach volleyball, you think about basketball at the highest level professionally, you set up plays to to create space, and then you have to execute a shot just like pickleball you're trying to go wide to be able to go up the middle, or you're trying to hit somebody, you know, paddle side to be able to then finish go going a different direction, but it's all about creating opportunities, and then executing on that next and final play. And a lot of that has to do with the setup. Because a lot of that deception you're talking about.

Unknown Speaker  15:46  


Casey  15:47  

Yeah. I agree.

Thomas  15:48  

Kyle, Kyle, Ben and Colin would all talk about their combos. Right. And I have never used combo in in pickleball. before. So it's interesting. I mean, they're always thinking a step ahead or multiple steps ahead. And oftentimes, it's all about creating that space and then you can get the you can get the next shot and pull trigger when you have that opportunity.

Casey  16:11  

Oh, yeah, yeah, it's fun when you have that much control where that becomes something that you do. And you're like, Oh, that's a lot more fun than just like Think it over because that's what everyone that's what everyone does. So I guess I'm supposed to do that and you're just leaving absolute, like free meals for someone to speed up on you. It's it's crazy.

Thomas  16:29  

Camryn I thought you were gonna redirect and go toward go tour bring up bring up Matt Stafford again, because you're talking about deception and he has like an unbelievable no

Camryn  16:39  

look passes.

Thomas  16:40  

Yeah. Yeah. It's it's it's nice to see that he gets that recognition now that he's in a big market because in Detroit, we'd all be like, Is nobody watching this guy? This is incredible.

Camryn  16:51  

Yeah, yeah, there there are so many with Kupp this year that like patch, there was one. And they watched it. It was in the Super Bowl. And I think it was his best one of the season. I think it was on third down. But like, we had to have it. I could be recalling this wrong, but literally like I somewhere else. And just like, kapow, and it was so funny, because there's a video of them at Disneyland the next day, which I'm guarantee you none of them slept, like watching the video of the like the slo mo back and both of them just being like, Oh, like that was our best one, like astonished at their own skill set. And I was like, it was it was one of the proudest moments and Aaron Donald's standing right next to him too. And he didn't even like, what the heck? Like how do you guys do that?

Thomas  17:32  

It was really cool. Yeah, amazing. Camryn, I'm sure you know, like, like, you know a lot about Stafford in his in his history, you know a lot about an Aaron, Aaron Donald where he came from in pickleball. I feel like we don't like we bring up Jessie Irvine, I have no idea what her background is. And everybody has an interesting story, right it regardless of who you are, because that's something you look at as like, Okay, we definitely need to build upon this. And is there like, how do we make that happen?

Camryn  18:02  

Oh, my gosh, I may be speaking out of turn here. But yes, like without a doubt. And just to give you like, a bit of an example. So I'm gearing up to do we have many tournaments on the AVP tour. And I'll be calling some of them from home remotely. But nonetheless, I have spent and I'm setting up right now, which is why I was giving Casey a hard time. I have calls with what is it are, we have 16 teams in the main draw. So that's 32 on the men's side, 32 on the women's side, so I have 20 minute interviews with every single one of them before we even get to our first tournament. Like where I'm just, it's just me one on one talking with the athlete. And it's like, it's time that you you know, it's not anything that's required of me or setup by the league. But it's the time it takes to like get to know your athletes and I'm, and I'm even in like this will be my fifth season. So it's like, for me, I even though I know Casey's story and backstory, and I've talked about it for years and years and years, there are still so many things that you have to update and especially with a tour situation like like, for instance, the ADP or the PPA, the MLP. All of those combined, you're talking about a lot of the same athletes and a lot of the same athletes finish at certain levels, right. And so you're seeing a lot of the same teams on championship Sundays, even on Saturdays in terms of coverage. So like you have to dig in, you have to be willing to put in some work and have just like genuine relationships and genuine conversations with the athletes because otherwise the information gets kind of stale, right? Like you're always gonna talk about Anneli being 15 years old, and it's like, okay, well what about the fact that tell me why does Annalise love dessert so much? Like we all love dessert, but like we're cases. Anna Lee when she wins, she goes and gets where are the top 10 places she's got dessert. And it's like those are the type of things you need to build an IV I have player profiles on. Again, it's 32 Men 32 Women gearing up and I have full documents of information that is to date this like it's for this season. So as much as you can, like set up, for instance, like somebody like Jesse, it's the same thing. It's like, well, yeah, we can always talk about Colin John's comes from tennis, but it's like, let's find out some things they're doing on the side, or you just kind of you got to put some work in behind the scenes to be able to get those stories, you got to have conversations and relationships. And again, that's where I think the next step when you bring in bowl TV, right, like and you have somebody that is, is dedicated to doing that, that's when those stories are going to be able to get out. And it's just, it's hard when you're, the athletes are jumping around, and you've got so you're covering so many hours, you're already working 10 hours a day. Like it's, trust me, it's not easy. It's tough. And you have to find the time and honestly, like, it has to be worth your time. Right. too broad. So yeah, I don't know, I totally agree with you. And that's one of the things with pickleball that I'm like, I remember doing the Orlando cup, and I just like, I remember walking up to JW like, Hey, Jay, like what's going on? Would you mind? I need five minutes. If you give me five minutes with someone I can call an hour and a half long match. Because I can come up with five, five stories. Yeah, two seconds with them. And that's all I need. Like. And the athletes and pickleball have been phenomenal. Everyone I've talked to. From like, right, I've talked to Riley you talk to there's so many guys Callen Dawson also phenomenal Harris Todd is great. Jesse has been great. somoni has been wonderful to like they're everyone's the access is there, and they're so willing to tell you the stories, you just got to ask the questions.

Unknown Speaker  21:49  

Yeah, yeah,

Casey  21:51  

I didn't that depth in the layers to when you're commentating, it's so much more valuable, because you're telling a story that is actually interesting, versus what, you know, if you're just talking about what we're seeing, like, that's okay. But like, when we go into a post interview, when we had like the whole like Amazon setup, like you're there Danes there Dame bland who's a gold medalist, and like, I know that and then, you know, we roll in there, and we feel so comfortable that the interviews and the information we're giving you is so much better. Because there's that like, ongoing relationship where we know and we're evolving, and, and we want to share more things versus Yeah, we stuck to the game plan and think, for our sponsors for letting us play. You know, I mean, nobody just, there's nothing there. So developing the characters and, you know, knowing where Annalee wants to go for dessert after I mean, does she go dairy free? Does she go like peanut butter chocolate? She like a cookies and cream? Like, yeah, knowing that stuff for the fans is so fun. Because then you know, like, in the last AVP I had some fan bring me a pickle ball. That was they market it to make it look like an AVP Wilson volleyball. So it was a pickleball was like a volleyball. And they're like, we know you love pickleball. And I'm like, This is the greatest thing anyone's giving me this is amazing. So like knowing those things, it's so valuable.

Camryn  23:08  

And I will say to that it's a it's a little bit of a balance and an art form, right? Because just like pickleball and beach volleyball and kickball are similar in the sense that you go in with a scouting report that is considered like IP, right? Like, like that is your intellectual property. And you're like, you have to have a great skill set and you come up with something, you may be able to beat somebody because of your game plan compared to somebody else's. Right. So as much as like as a play by play as an analyst, like, I want to know those things, but I also have to protect the things you told me. So like, if if Casey is saying like, hey, like, this is an area, I think we can, you know, rip balls into the heavy into the ankle. And I think we can shoot Highline to came and I think if we we delay a second longer if we attack out in the middle, all these sorts certain elements, right? That's a game plan that Casey owns. And it tells me that I have to be able to go on air and say, instead of saying, Hey, Casey is going to look for the high line here. It's Wow, Casey is really exploiting, he scored seven points there, right? Like, what's the adjustment? So there's a certain element of like protection and trust that you have to you have to gain as a play by play and as an analyst, covering a team and it'd be the same in pickleball. You know, it's like, hey, this time Callie is going to absolutely rip ball. She's gonna go more aggressive with her third shot, she told me beforehand. So instead of being like, Hey, watch for Kelly to do this, this is why it's like, wow, Kelly is really attacking right now. I wonder why that is. And then you go to your analyst. I don't know if this is more like, talk, but it's right. It's all about that relationship and how you can develop the TV side of a sport and the trust to be able to better help the game. And then the second tier is like, the more you guys tell me, the more the athletes tell me about who they are as people and what their interests are. Like once it gets to TV, you have to imagine that's like money in their pocket. Right? Like, super into photography,

Casey  25:09  

photography. Yes, exactly those things,

Camryn  25:11  

say that on air and be like, hey, like this guy is spending like hours on his photography like, hey, Sony, where are you at Canon where you live, because this is a huge sponsorship opportunity for you. And so the the players also have to understand, like, the more intel and the more they interact with me on camera, and the more they give me, the more I'm able to also help sell them to sponsors, which is a huge part of pickleball. And beach volleyball.

Casey  25:39  

Yeah, that's true. Yeah, well, I'm going on.

Thomas  25:42  

No, no, it's it's it's all it's all interesting. I think. Problem is nobody's. It's all about what they give you. But nobody's asking. And yeah, more, more. More than that. More than that. There are stories to tell. And let's just say we go gather those stories. Well, then, where do we? Where do people consume that content? Where do people consume those stories? There? There aren't that many media outlets in pickleball. Right. Like, there's pretty much I think we're the only like, blog out there that you can go and like read what's going on day to day. And in pickleball besides like watching the pro tours themselves, right? But part of it's like chicken or the egg, right? It's like, we don't have these platforms, because the pro game isn't developed enough. So we have to kind of like wait to get to that point. And it's it's sort of like we're just kind of it's almost like a timing thing at this point. But then the question remains, well, the pro game continue to grow. Yeah. Organic.

Camryn  26:44  

i 100%. i There's, maybe I'll end up meeting my words. But I without a doubt. I think it will. I think people are watching on a regular basis, I think people are playing on a regular basis. Yeah. And one of the big differences between because if you if you go off the bottle of beach volleyball, because we always talk about it. But the growth of the sport and this there are a lot of similarities. But one of the big differences is the amateur, the amount of amateur play, and how it coincides with the professional tournaments. And I always sit here and I know that the pros want to have kind of like their own area, and rightly so like I totally did it. This is your job. This is your investment, like I totally understand. But at the same time having the growth at the amateur level that feeds the rest of it, like beach volleyball, it, it it's limited in the sense that you have to have sand, like you need to be by a coast or it's limited by weather. Whereas a lot of pickleball like now there's indoor facilities, and yeah, it's limited to weather to a certain extent, but it's a lot easier to build a pickleball court than it is to truck in 20,000 Yeah, you have a volleyball court. The level, the level of entry is a lot lower in terms of like, you know, you can get a paddle for 30 bucks and, and play casually. So I do think because of that element, there is a huge opportunity for this sport to continue to grow. I don't see it slowing down any time soon. And I also would say that I feel like Pickleball is the new like golf. I can't tell you how many like business meetings. I go on where it's like, I used to be on the golf course. Hanging out with people talking sports talk and opportunity. You know, like, that's, that's the old school way. And now it's pickleball everyone wants to play pickleball like, Yeah, that's fine. It's crazy. And everyone asked me about it. I can't tell how many times when I'm, you know, on site, I remember being at the Super Bowl like it was in Los Angeles, which helped but like people wanted to come up talk to me about volleyball all the time. And people wanted to come up and talk to me about pickleball all the time. Like, I feel like we should be discussing the Rams at this point. Yeah.

Casey  28:55  

Currently watching football.

Camryn  28:58  

Talking about like, yeah, what's going on? So yeah, I don't I don't foresee it slowing down. I don't I don't have a concern there so much. There's a good product.

Casey  29:08  

I think it's it's so much more of if you look at it on a digital world. It's more of like a YouTube channel and you're building and creating content and letting it live. And it just picking up more and more momentum to where it's just going to be unstoppable. It's the Mr. Beast of sports right now. Right? It's just like, yeah, through the roof viral. And because of the age group and entry level, like you said, that to me was the first thing I noticed that was like, Oh my gosh, you could be like eight years old or 90 and you can come and play every night put your paddle in the rack and you can get exercise and socialize and like this is like the ultimate combination of everything that a competitor wants that someone that doesn't want to be super competitive, but social and then have the chance to play a sport. It's I would agree it's just it's just exploding and you watch all the players like Zanes YouTube channel, you got Simone doing her like reels all the time, everybody now sharing content and coaching tactics and strategy from just the players alone because they see the value and how it's growing. I mean, that's just a snowball effect, it's just gonna get bigger and bigger.

Camryn  30:11  

And now I will say, to go back to like, how do you consume it? When it does, because I imagine it will, what it does become more of a network televised event, and it's full tournament coverage, all of those things, there's going to be a bit of an adjustment, as well in terms of the content. And what said, so like, all of the YouTube channels, and the how tos, and the Instagram reels, all of those things are going to remain that necessary. Because they tell a greater story, and they get more in depth. And when you bring in a TV network, there's going to be an education process for the general public. And it's going to take time, how long has How long has volleyball been around for how long is beach volleyball been around, and there are still times when I cover on network television, the game of volleyball or beach volleyball, than I am asked to say, hey, it's two out of three sets, or it's three out of five sets games, I must win by two points. And that is that is literally asked of me. And the game of volleyball has been around forever. So there's going to be a growth period and there has to be patients in terms of, of an audience to understand like, you have to hit every demographic, the person that might be tuning in for the first time flipping through, like, Oh, this is what everyone's been talking about. Wait, how does the scoring work? So there's gonna have to be some of those, like, painful moments for the for the viewer that does love pickleball it's like, we know the rules can Yeah, come on. Yeah. And you're also going to have to hit the other demographic of the pickleball fanatics of like, wow, like, they know what they're talking about, like, look at the strategy. How about this story? Kind of melding all of that together? Yeah. I would agree.

Thomas  31:54  

Yeah, accessibility is definitely there. I mean, the game is growing everywhere. Courts are popping up all over the place. It's it's ridiculous. In the in the area where you guys are, you're you're both in the LA area right?

Casey  32:06  

Farther away, but yeah, I'm north and Elena huge, though. In the middle.

Camryn  32:14  

Yeah, we both both Casey and I have decided we've gone the opposite direction. We were I was in Manhattan Beach for about two years. And then I moved to Corona del Mar, which is just right next to Newport in Orange County. So okay, now in that way.

Thomas  32:28  

And I know that Newport the game is is growing a ton. Like, are you guys seeing is it? Is it tangible? Like the the growth around you, the more people on the court?

Camryn  32:38  

Oh, yeah. I'm a member at the Newport pickleball club here and the member went through the roof. Yeah, where they do the K a showcase. I mean, there's like 30 Plus courts. And there are certain days that you go in, and it's still like jam packed. Like every court. It's like any hour of the day, it is absolutely wild. And I know they had like quite the waiting list to get in for a while. And I luckily got in it was a year ago, almost like this month. And I was like lucky enough to be one of the ones to be able to get in right away. But yeah, the growth is is wild here for sure.

Casey  33:15  

Yeah, the same we've got like a 16 Quart facility being built over by the airport and camera Yo, that's in the works. I mean, in camera area, which is like the retirement home of Southern California. There's like no action here. And they're like they're building everywhere converting tennis courts all over the place. And so you know, I'd have Intel to on like a facility near Provo, Utah. They're building 60 courts outside in Utah 60. So like host massive events, like these are outdoor what you have maybe five months out of the year, you can be outside where it's tolerable. And they're building them because they know they can host huge events and they can develop the sport and it's so big in Utah that it's like, alright, it's exploding everywhere. Not only just where we are

Camryn  33:59  

like to say Washington is growing to I know there's a couple indoor facilities where I grew up in it. I mean, let's be real. It rains about 370 days out of 360 days of the year. indoor courts are necessary and yeah, special. The Court of Washington. I know it goes me Yeah, I saw that.

Casey  34:16  

That's amazing. Oh, wow, jealous.

Thomas  34:22  

Cameron, what are you going to be doing like some more commentating coming up? Are you going to continue to lean in to pick a bar? Or are you I mean, you're kind of like sneaky. About to be a pro at this point. You're playing with pros. I mean, like, what's gonna how's

Casey  34:38  

your child for carbon? It's just, you see carbon it's her hand or hurt year with a pet. It's everything's Yeah.

Camryn  34:48  

Actually, the T shirts. I was laughing because they we did a shoot with the T shirts or whatever. And I was like, That's my body. My head. Yeah. Yeah, I I'm definitely nowhere near becoming a pro. I understand the years it takes to get to the level that these athletes play at. Yeah, I mean, I'm a year and a half in and I'm, I'm athletic. And you know, I can get away with a few things here or there. But maybe I don't know if I had like, Jesse next to me, I might be able to win a game or two. But yeah, yeah, no, I think, you know, for me, I I want to see the sport of pickleball grow. So I want to help in any way I possibly can. So if that means, you know, me being an ambassador for the game, or being behind the mic, or in front of the camera, or playing for that matter, any of the above like, I'm kind of willing to do at all. I don't know what my next like pickleball event is, to be honest with you. Yeah, I don't know. Right now. I'm just trying to get as good as I possibly can at playing because I'm like, It's my it's my pastime, and my love. So I'm kind of doing that on the side. And then I've got a VPC. So are this next week of Pac 12 championships for beach volleyball and the NFL Draft? So I'm covering that for the Rams? Yeah. And then I don't know what after that. Austin, it just kind of goes all through the summer. I'm all over the place.

Thomas  36:13  

Got it. Okay. All right. Well, looking forward to hearing more of like your

Casey  36:19  

kids, you have events.

Camryn  36:22  

I don't know what requires more attention, honestly.

Casey  36:27  

Oh, my gosh.

Thomas  36:31  

Well, this was great. Thanks. Thanks for joining us. I hope to see him back on back commentating some events here soon for tennis, or somebody else. But in the meantime, I'll just look out for like your elbow or maybe like your ear in pickleball or some

Casey  36:47  

shots of a shoulder and then a carbon paddle. Yes, Jared. Hi. Yeah.

Camryn  36:53  

Let's just say you want no action shots of me actually playing. Because I have the worst facial expressions. And I know posts just went out there was like, whose game face is worse than everyone else's? I'm like, yeah, without a doubt I would win that competition. Like I Oh, it's horrendous. It's horrendous. Let's just say no action shots per camp.

Thomas  37:19  

All right, Cameron. Thanks for joining us.

Casey  37:21  

Yeah. Thanks, Cameron.

Camryn  37:23  

Thanks for having me, guys. I'm super fun chatting with you.

Thomas  37:29  

Oh, I just booted her from the entire studio. Oops. Oh,

Casey  37:31  

you just just delete. Oh, I was worried. I'm like, What's the TV show? All the kids are talking about now the where they played the games and they would die first round. Oh my gosh, I'm terrible at games. It's great games. My kids get are getting in trouble in like fourth grade because they're playing actual squid games at school. And so they're not allowed to play red light green light. They're not allowed. Really. It's games that we used to play. Yeah, yeah, that's absurd. Yeah.

Thomas  37:58  

They've outlawed squid games. Yeah, come on. Alright, well, before Cameron. Before we got going with Cameron, there we were talking about the Colin episode. So yeah, that obviously crushed. Particularly what I thought was funny was like, the simplicity of the pickleball was not designed to be played 5050 You should not be covering 50% of the court. That is a very, like, simple sentence that kind of like when it said you kind of go. Yeah, but that concept it, I guess, within the pickleball world, at least, like kind of went viral. And people like I think it made a light bulb go off for for people. But no, I mean, I thought I think I think we've cracked a little bit of a code here, actually. And it's that these episodes crush, when we talk strategy. Yes. And people want to hear about strategy in like thinking through the game, and like the chess match that happens on the court,

Casey  39:04  

right? Yeah, yeah. Yeah, dude, I agree. Because you think about all the phases you go through in pickleball, where you start to understand more, and you're able to hit different shots and kind of like we've been talking have strategy and, and set up plays, to execute in a different area. And until you have that control, it's like that world really doesn't live in your thoughts. And then once you do, and you start to notice, hey, I gotta return deep and low. Hey, I gotta push these guys when I take not just dink, because that's what everyone's doing. I have to be almost offensively thinking, this kind of stuff, we start to eat up. And I think the majority of the pickleball world now lives in that realm, where if they're listening, and they're watching that, we want to improve those little, like micro improvements throughout the game, because I think a lot of us are in that world where we're teetering on okay, I'm before Oh, and I want to get to five. And that's the realm we need to really understand this stuff. And I think if I agree that the code is definitely the strategy. The game has been ship. And then you know, setting up the combos, like Ben said, all that kind of that stuff is so valuable.

Thomas  40:11  

Well, dude, the games just like, growing and people are playing so much that I do feel like we're we're sort of like at this period where everybody's kind of like everybody's at a certain level now. And it's time for innovation. Yes, time to start putting new systems in place. Playing with your partner in a more strategic way, thinking three steps ahead. Because everybody, so I mean, like people say, Pickleball is awesome, because anybody can get on the court with anybody and have like a fun competitive match. But I also think it's because like, there's so much room for innovation within the game. Yeah, like, I think everybody is able to get to a certain level where you can Dang, you could third shot, like, you know how to go down the line like you, you start experimenting with lobs, like you can drink for days, and it's like, Alright, now how do we take it to the next level. And that is what Ben and Colin are doing. They're innovating. They're designing the systems that are pushing the limits and going to be how everybody is playing tomorrow. So I think that's why that episode did so well is like, everybody's now looking to figure out like, how to get that edge and how to take their game to the next the next step.

Casey  41:29  

Oh, for sure. I mean, that's the reason why I'm like asking questions, because it's like, the silymarin. The SIM film, I can't say the word how, how similar it is with visual eyeball and, and pickleball. When it comes to the partnership flow. A lot of times there's this like triangle in the game, it's my partner's next to me, the ball is in front. And we kind of float in this like triangular motion where I am able to dunk a ball, we kind of shift and we move and we open up, right slide and we do a same kind of things in pickleball, where that chemistry is like very important. That's why when people ask me like, hey, what do you rank I'm like, depends on who my partner's ever sent. I feel like I can fluctuate like an entire, like ranking, depending on who I'm playing with. For instance, I played with Ben one time just for fun. And I was like, Oh, dude, I could absolutely ball because he would hit it third, and I would already be at the line ready to just use my seven two wingspan to just anything right? Or speed up. Oh, dude, it was, it was insane. I'm like, Wow, is this. This is so fun. And it immediately took me to play, look, think and feel like I'm at a different level. Yeah, the game started to slow down versus feeling like I was stressed and being attacked all the time. And those strategies in that control. It's, it's the next next wave. And we've seen that in our sport, where the game went from high ball to just like, let's say you go further, you're banging phase and you're hitting shots to it was fast tempo fakes, which is the misdirection in pickleball, like all of these types of things, and the systems as a team, hey, we've got this specific play that also combos with another play, but they look exactly the same. So I'm able to set this up, and we're okay giving that middle ball away, because during match point, we're going to poach and take it and we're going to execute. Like, that's the kind of stuff that Colin and Ben just show up. And that's all they talk about. And then just like, they probably rip it out. Alright, this is what happened to us against Matt and Riley, let's do this, this this, boom. Okay, perfect. Now we have that for the next final. And then they're executing. And then Matt rather like, dang, we got to keep it. You know what I mean? Like, that is exactly the game was what you said, just evolving?

Thomas  43:39  

Yeah, no, I think I think we're gonna look back at sort of this phase of pickleball. And I think we're kind of at the end of this phase. And we're moving into a new type of game and new type of strategy. But we're going to look back and we're going to like laugh at the way we played now. Because basically, most people play where the courts just divided up the middle. And as soon as the ball like goes into your, like, kind of putting this in quotes, like your teammates territory, it's like, yeah, oh, that's their ball.

Casey  44:06  

You Yeah,

Thomas  44:06  

not necessarily, right. I mean, like, as you said, you should be moving in a triangle and like you're forcing it, you're forcing the ball into certain corners that you want, or you're positioning yourself to create the play that you that you desire, right, that that is to your advantage, as opposed to just being like, that's your side of the court. This is my side of the court. And I hope you play your side of the court as best as possible. And that that's, that's that's how that's how you win a match.

Casey  44:37  

Yeah, and you're at the mercy of your partner, being able to maybe hopefully execute the things that are most of the time maybe yours. Yeah, right down the middle. If I'm on the left, I should be taking 90% of those, you know what I mean? It's like, people are gonna start to see that and understand it and accept it. And I think that's a big that's a big movement forward is accepting that that's like you said, it's not a 5050 game, especially with the angles that are played and then you know, the benefits of having your your forehand in a specific area that owns a majority of the court. So for me, it's like, alright, well, then how do I hide? Now I'm going to hyper focus on the right side or get really good at the left, you know, and I think that's going to be fun as people start to figure out what they want to be like, what their identity is on the court on the right side, or where do you play? You know, like, for each level, it's like, well, what do you play? Before we play? If we've never played together? I'm like, Thomas, do you play left or right? You're like, I'm a little bit more comfortable in the right. I'm like, okay, I can play both like all that. Because you're like, I'm specializing, and I'm confident, and I know, I can do my job on this side. And we're gonna see that when we show up to like, rec courts and be like, Well, what side? Yeah, you know, and they're gonna be like, Well, I'm a right side of your like, perfect. I like the left. Yeah, right. Crazy.

Thomas  45:46  

Well, there's also like, I mean, there's also Okay, so, one, there's a component of if you're just showing up to get exercise and do like, casual play, okay, fine. Each of you have your side, right, and you kind of respect that. But if you're trying to win a match, like, there's one of you is going to be better than the other, and there's going to be a better way to play this match. Right? Part of it is like, how do you overcome the ego of certain players? Right? Yeah, like, somebody has to take a step back and be like, okay, and now granted, this is assuming that it's like to righties. And it's not like, right, you know, like a lefty righty scenario or, or something like that. But, you know, identifying who the stronger player is, who should who should take more of the court and accepting that, like, that's, that's going to be pretty important. If you want to be successful, right? Sometimes we're not hurting you.

Casey  46:40  

And sometimes that person thinks they're that person. And just letting them be that person is better for the team as a whole. That's always been my kind of like, expertise as a partner in a two man game, as well as, hey, if my guy wants to be the alpha, all day long, but we know when it's game time, like and see who shows up, everyone, everyone in the crowd knows who that alpha is, I don't need to say it, I don't need the attention. You know, I mean, but as for the goal of the team, it's way better for our ceiling, our ceiling is much higher, if my guy is competent, and thinks he's the alpha and believes he is and I also pump them up and let them believe that cool because if he makes an error, he's gonna know it's his fault. I don't need to tell him, you know. And so I think you're always you're always trying to maximize your team, because you also what I think is so cool, and I love to talk about is, when we go into like a tournament draw, we have playoffs and we go to a tournament draw. It's all about matchups. And I think Pickleball is very similar. When you got teams that are very close in talent. It's all about matchups, and how you play against each other, not necessarily if you could be teams that are at a certain level, right? And so I think, then you start to hyper focus on Alright, how do I attack this matchup with this game plan and this strategy, and then I've got my A game, then we've got our B game, and then we've got our C game, we've got multiple layers of attack that we can use, if one doesn't work, and then we can always circle back. Right. And so the matchup aspect becomes very important because now if the chemistry between me and my partner is really good, and we're flowing, we're able to beat more teams with different types of matchups and scenarios. And I think that's another evolution is, all right, we're playing guys that come from a gnarly tennis background, or they don't play tennis, and they're self taught. And we got this weird self taught style, but it's executing, you got to be able to beat all of those types of players. Yeah, as a team. And I think having a good chemistry and a good flow. That's going to help you raise that level and evolve with the game as well. Because that's, that's more a part of each level than actually just being good at the game is being able to beat different types of players and teams and scenarios and be good together. That part's important.

Thomas  48:52  

Yeah, well, I mean, when I'm at these pro tournaments, like sometimes I'll sit in the player area, it's like, yeah, these guys are speaking a different language. Like, seriously, they are, because they're everything you just said they're thinking about that. They're thinking about depending on who they're about to play, right, how they're going to structure their dynamic and it changes from match to match. That's a whole nother layer of complexity that I think wreck play amateurs are, are missing. And part of that is because even if you were to put like even if you were to send you know a reporter in there to like talk to them and and absorb how they're thinking about the game and the strategy, it would still be difficult for that reporter to then come and communicate that to to the the audience and like the fans of the game because I do think it's just it's a level of complexity that when even when I hear it, I'm like, man, they're talking so above my head right now, like they're thinking they're thinking about this game. So differently and That's kind of why I feel like when Colin just started ranting, I was just sitting there like what's even happening right now some of that stuff, even listening back. I was pausing and like rewinding and be like, What

Unknown Speaker  50:11  

is he talking about? Yeah, let's have it. Oh, yeah. Oh, my

Casey  50:17  

gosh, that makes so much sense now. Yeah. And it's crazy, because I think I follow the guy, che Underwood's that is underway. Yeah. We miked up last couple of his is matches on on YouTube. And I've done that on Dave EP, and then also practices and the fans love that. Yeah, I think that breaks down a lot of what we'd like talked about with Colin, because then you're seen in real time, you're like, oh, my gosh, it's so much easier to see that level of in, like, layers of intensity on how they're strategizing combos, and all that kind of stuff with. I just watched them executed in real time. And it was really cool, because I think she's doing a good job of providing that type of content. And then my, my, like, commentary to that would be alright, that's rad. But this is what I always did, because I felt like, we have these common terms. And we play Hey, let's go we're fine. Hey, sight out. Here we go. A timeout. Hey, just energy. Let's go, Hey, man, let's go. Like there's just a lot of filler words and an arms and let's go and mine. You know what I mean? Like, I feel like what takes that to the next level, which I think I can see him grow, watching all his content is really cool. That there starts to be more quality input and commentary mid game in between a ball that's dead, right? And we go back to server receive, there's actual, like, there's action items that we can focus on versus Hey, let's go energy. Hey, here we go. There's All right, let's return line. And let's exploit like, Let's attack the right side. And then we immediately have a game plan. All right, we're returning to the right side or and we're making them beat us. Right? Yeah, that didn't work. Okay, cool. We're going to return middle, what's returned, middle and low. Here we go. And you just watch for the drive down the middle, you own that cool. And that's all you're thinking about. And having those types of quick comments and comment, commentary between plays. That's what slowly starts to like, level up your ability to execute versus just it being like an energy thing, because I feel like I've just noticed talking to this guy, I'm going off now, when I'm not winning, I'm actually on defense. And I'm just like, keeping the ball in and waiting for them to speed up, and then hoping I can counter or dodge. And I'm like, that's always when a team goes up on points, and you feel that energy, like stress pushed on you. And you're like, Oh, yep, yep. So I think having those specific terms and know that information for scenarios where it feels out of control, and it always feels worse than it really is. But when we hyper focus on like an action item, as a team, all of that feeling and stress and like the vibe changes, it flips 100% Because now we're hyper focused on executing, and we're giving each other good feedback and making micro adjustments. And I feel like, I'm excited to see why he makes himself up as it grows and how it develops, because I think that's such a cool thing to have. It'd be rad to see Ben and call him do that. Right. And hear them chirping in between plays as they walk back to grab the ball.

Thomas  53:16  

Yeah, that's what was so cool about a major league pickleball. Like, we could actually hear some of that. And yeah, no, I hope, I hope that they do, they do more of that. But to your point, like pickleball, super streaky, oftentimes, it's all about momentum, and which side of that momentum you're on. So making those micro adjustments, and sometimes that's focusing on one thing, do one thing better, you can prevent yourself from being on the wrong side of that that point is fine. Right? Exactly. Exactly. Super important. All right. Last thing I actually have to jump unfortunately, in like five year but you were talking about we were talking about like ego in an ER like figuring out who should be the dominant player. It was making me think of like, when I show up to an LA Fitness, and I like run like pickup basketball. And you know, everybody in there, everybody in there has been watching Kobe highlights or whatever. And they think they should be the one bringing the ball up the floor or, you know, the spot up three in the corner. And you kind of like as you play, you sort of feel out okay, who are the alphas out here? Who's going to take the ball up? And it kind of just becomes this thing that's like, it's this sort of like, unsaid, unspoken understanding that everybody comes to as the game progresses, and I think there's gonna have to be like, more of that in pickleball. It's like, you show up you're just watching your BEN Jon's highlights and you're like, Oh, I can't wait to do this, this and this and like, then all of a sudden, they're like, now you're playing the right side today. Actually. You're

Unknown Speaker  54:55  

you're sorry,

Thomas  54:57  

player, bro. Need to break

Casey  54:59  

first. Uh oh, I love it, but you don't get to play the left.

Thomas  55:03  

Yeah, that's exactly yeah. Yeah. Oh,

Casey  55:07  

for sure that's gonna be happening more and more. It's, it's gonna be fun. All right,

Thomas  55:11  

I think. I think we assuming you're you're around next week. I think we got you for another episode. Who do you think we should have on next week? And I want to I want to get another like I want to get another nerd like Colin on Yeah, so I break it down. Yeah. I always wanted to get Simonian Tyson on for what Tyson Magoffin Yes, and somoni just even I've gone back and forth with them, but they're they're both always so busy. But I want to get somebody like that who's been around the game for a while, is at the top and is like, super in tune with like the types of strategies that you can employ. Because I think Tyson

Casey  55:52  

would be that Tyson and those two exactly and Simoni are like the two that I feel like I watch and they're really breaking down a lot of things and, and developing things that I've never even heard. I'm like yeah, oh, that makes so much sense. So you know who

Thomas  56:05  

else is like that is? Do you know who asked him Gridley is

Casey  56:08  

yes. Is it Utah guy too?

Thomas  56:12  

He Yeah, yeah. And he's kind of got like an unorthodox style. He's he's sort of like an unassuming presence. But every once in a while, he finds himself on a podium. And you can always see like, if you just like see him commenting on Facebook, or Instagram or YouTube or whatever. He's always talking about the nuances of the game. I feel like he'd be a good guest. It just kind of like,

Casey  56:31  

their intellectual next level type layer. Yeah, right. Yeah.

Thomas  56:35  

I'm, I'm not that. And I'm trying to, like, at least partially become that.

Casey  56:42  

That's good. You're the kind of guy that I play really well with, because I'd be overthinking everything. And you'd be like, Hey, let's just return the ball in and be like, oh, yeah, right. That makes so much sense. Because I was thinking about the eight different things that they shifted. They fake posts, and then it didn't poach, and then they're pushing, you know, and then you'd be like, No, let's just keep the ball in play. Yeah, yeah, you need that combo. You need to balance

Thomas  57:02  

Yeah, I'm the guy who just wants to go for like the earning every time and like I'm making the athletic play. I'm not thinking about the next one. It's all instinct. Yeah,

Casey  57:09  

just the ATP option right now.

Thomas  57:12  

Let's do for sure.

Casey  57:15  

It's so good. Time. Yeah. Oh, it is it's way fun. I'm the same way.

Thomas  57:21  

I'm just trying to be I'm just trying to make a highlight reel. Okay. Right. Listen,

Casey  57:24  

it's all over the grim Yeah,

Thomas  57:26  

exactly. All right, do Cameron was fun. Let's think about who we're going to have on next next week and yeah, now do we could we do

Casey  57:39  

like a listener poll? Let them decide what they who they want would they'd like to

Thomas  57:43  

Yeah, but then it always comes down to like if that person's available right well we can be flexible right you Tyson would always yell at me because you know hit because my I'm like I'm like always changing the times and stuff but he's like I can only do this time but you me I feel like we're a little bit more flexible. At least we have been lately free float.

Casey  58:01  

Yeah, yeah. Let me get your let me get through traffic to make it on time. So it was

Thomas  58:08  

alright, dude. Sweet. Thanks, everybody late.

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