Speakin’ With Deakin

December 1, 2023

Steve Deakin

As the fall is slowly turning into the winter, we check in with Steve Deakin to how his preparation for the 2024 PPA season are going.

You mentioned in the last Scoop that you’re in intense training during the fall to prepare for the 2024 PPA season. How have your preparations been going?

Yes, I have started a very intensive off court training program. I just started my 5th week Nov 6. I underestimated how challenging it was going to be. The first couple of weeks was not a lot of fun but have settled into the program and I am starting to see some gains.

What does your daily routine look like during this training period?

With cutting back the on-court training and adding more off court training, my routine is extremely simple. I wake up same time every day, in the gym for a couple of hours, eat well, try to sneak in a short on court drill session in the afternoon, and early to bed same time every day. Repeat. I do not take days off and am always doing something to keep active.

Do you set goals for yourself at the start of each PPA season? If so, can you share some examples or touch on why you find it important to set these goals for yourself?

I have always been a personal goal setter regardless of what sport I was playing. For example, coming back from injury in 2023 my goal was to hit 3 podiums on PPA Tour and retain my Canadian National Championships in the men’s and mixed doubles main events. I fell one short on the PPA tour capturing 2 podiums but attained my goal on the national championships. It is super important to set goals. I feel it helps me stay focused on getting better whether it be off or on court. It is also very important to set realistic goals based on age and abilities. My goal for 2024 PPA season will be 5 podiums as my body/wrist will be feeling much stronger and defend my Canadian National Championships in Halifax in the main events.

What is your favourite part of your planning process for play on the PPA tour?

I will be honest with you that the planning process for play on tour is hard work. I don’t think I have a favourite part haha. With the constant changing of tournament dates/locations, drama of tour wars, and the search for the perfect partner fit, it makes the planning part a bit chaotic. I am a very routine based athlete and I don’t like unexpected changes. I have never been great at “rolling with the punches”. However, in saying all that, I am extremely grateful to play a sport for a living and be a part of the PPA Tour.

What does a typical competition day look like at a PPA event?

For me, as mentioned earlier, I am a routine-based athlete. The first match of the day typically starts at 10am for us. I will wake up at 7am and have a huge breakfast. Head back up to my room and pack my bag for the day (always the same way at the same time). Then call the driver to grab me so I can be at the venue for 8:45am. It takes me 15 minutes to suit up and get comfortable in our lounge area before heading out to a practice court with my partner for 9am. A typical pre match warm up will be 30-45 minutes depending on who my partner is, weather conditions, etc. Then will head back to lounge, hydrate a little, maybe grab a quick snack and wait for a court assignment to start our day. I mostly keep to myself throughout the day to stay focused and then when my day is over, I will head back to hotel and take care of any recovery that is required including a big meal to fuel me for the next day of competition. Keep it simple is the philosophy that works for me.

What keeps you motivated during competition days?

I think for me, the fact that knowing in today’s PB landscape, every single match at the pro level will be a battle regardless if first round or a medal match. Back in 2018-2021 it used to be a couple of easier rounds to start, a decent quarter final match, and then tough semi and medal matches. There have been so many young, talented, hungry athletes coming into the sport in 2022 with a chip on their shoulder and nothing to lose. I have played some first round matches in 2023 that would have been quality semi final matches in 2019. Knowing that every opponent today that is in front me has the skill to beat me, regardless of what round it is, keeps me extremely motivated and engaged. It becomes a mental battle and I like that part.

Paddle up and have fun everyone!

Do you have a question for Steve Deakin? If so, send it to scoop@pickleballcanada.org and you could see your question in the next issue of the Scoop.