Meet the Pickleball Pros- Joy Leising

Next in the “Meet the Pros” series is Joy Leising. Joy is a natural on the pickleball court, who first picked up a paddle in 2013 and has already taken gold medals home from the USAPA Nationals!
fall brawl

 

1) Can you list for us your major wins so we can correctly introduce you to our readers?

  • Nationals 2014:
    Silver Women’s 35 Doubles (with Christine Barksdale)
    Silver Women’s 35 Singles
    Silver Women’s Open Doubles (with Christine Barksdale)
    Silver Women’s Open Singles

2) What paddle do you play with and why?
I play with the Onix Evoke Paddle 8.0. A year ago at the Grand Canyon Games, I asked Steve if I could try an Onix paddle and one that might be a little heavier. He passed me the Evoke and ever since that day on the Surprise City Courts, I could not take it out of my hands. The paddle has a lot of pop and also feels really balanced so I can have control on the dinks and ground strokes, but when I need to put the ball away, the pop in the paddle allows me to do that.

Evoke Composite Pickleball Paddle

3) What’s your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?
I was introduced to pickleball by my women’s doubles partner Christine Barksdale. We had played tennis on the same team for 6 years and she started getting more into pickleball and I was a little curious about it. She then asked a few of her tennis friends to go to Canada in Summer of 2013 for a fun weekend . She then told me later she would be playing in a pickleball tournament while we were in Abbotsford and that I should play. My response was I don’t even know how the game is played or how to keep score- how can I play a tournament? She said it would be fine and just fun so we drove up to Canada Nationals and laughed a lot and played women’s doubles and singles. I ended up getting bronze in singles and also getting the pickleball itch. After returning from Canada I didn’t play much and Chris was needing a partner for the Pickle Barrel tournament in Vancouver, Washington. She asked me to partner with her and my response was yes, but that I would need to practice a lot since I am new to the game. The Pickle Barrel was my first official tournament and we placed Gold in Women’s 5.0 and from there, our doubles partnership began and I was hooked on the sport!

pickleball partner

4) What’s your preference – playing indoor or outdoor?
I used to think I didn’t have a preference because I started to learn indoors. After my first nationals this year though, I think outdoors is my preference. It’s more like a tennis court and I like the outdoor ball.

5) Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?
Gosh, that’s a hard question! I feel like they are two completely separate games so I would say I like them both. In singles, I get to hit more groundstrokes and get more exercise. Doubles is a lot about setting up your partner and patience which is fun and exciting.

6) What’s your favorite place to play? Why?
That is a hard question. I have been really lucky to travel to so many beautiful places this year playing pickleball. Utah has been one of my favorites. The Brigham and St. George Courts are awesome and I love playing at the Surprise City Courts in Arizona as well.

pickleball doubles

7) What’s your secret sauce? Any tips for players?
Remember to have fun, change up your game/strategy if things aren’t working and use your timeouts to refocus. A pickleball game can go by so fast- it’s good to remember to slow down and think.

8) What’s your day job?
Social work.

9) How many hours a week do you play? How do you make time to play?
It depends on the time of year because outdoor play time is limited in Oregon with the rain. I usually play between 2-6 hours a week. It is a challenge balancing work, life and pickleball but I usually set up drilling sessions with my partner Christine outside and also hit the gym with the Columbia Pickleball Club who reserves courts in local gyms during the winter and are great at organizing folks.

10) Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?
Not really. Coconut water, sleep, good food and focus on playing the best game I can play.

11) Do you have any pickleball goals you’d like to share?
I would like to play at Tournament of Champions this year since I have never gone and hear such great things about this tournament. I would also like to continue to medal at Nationals, improve my game with more singles and doubles drilling sessions and increase my cross training workouts so I can be more fit for the 6 hard days of play at Nationals.

nationals 35's doubles 2014

12) Do you mind sharing about your personal life? Are you single? Married? Kids?
I am married to a great man, John Paul, who supports and understands my many hours of travel and time on the pickleball courts. We also have 2 cats.

13) Anything else you’d like to share about your experience being one of the best pickleball players in the world?
I would say I need about 15-20 years of pickleball under my belt before I could say that. Although I have been lucky to be surrounded and practice with many of the best players, I have a lot to learn and develop in my game to consider myself one of the best.

Thanks, Joy!

Meet the Pickleball Pros- Matthew Blom

Meet pickleball pro Matthew Blom. Matthew carved some time out of his day to speak to me about the role that pickleball has played in his life, and where he hopes it will go in the future.

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PBC: Can you list for us your major wins so we can correctly introduce you to our readers? (we updated Matthew’s list with his wins from the 2014 Nationals)

  • 2014 Nationals Men’s 35+ Silver with partner Mills Miller
  • 2014 Nationals Mixed Doubles Bronze with partner Alex Hamner
  • 2014 Nationals Open Mixed Doubles Silver with partner Alex Hamner
  • Tournament of Champions 2014- Gold Men’s Doubles/ Bronze Mixed Doubles/ Bronze Men’s Singles
  • Nationals 2012 Silver Mixed Doubles/ Silver Aged Singles
  • Oceanside Gold Mixed Doubles in Age/ Bronze Men’s Doubles

PBC: What paddle do you play with and why?

MB: I play with the Performance One paddle. They’re made by a guy in San Diego named Brian Jensen. It’s unique, and long.

PBC: What’s your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?

MB: When I was in college, my tennis coach wanted to find something to help us improve our game. Our coach was from Seattle, and was one of the original players of the game. I then went 13 years without ever seeing or thinking about it until my friends Prem and Wendy reintroduced me to it 3 years ago. I had so much fun that I stopped playing tennis, table tennis, and badminton and now only play pickleball.

PBC: What’s your preference — playing indoor or outdoor?

MB: I basically only play outdoors. It’s part of what I like about the sport- to be outside, in the elements, and in the sunshine.

PBC: Do you like singles or double better? Why?

MB: I’d say doubles. Singles can be a little repetitive, and not as social and fun. In doubles, the points are longer and more exciting and require the soft game as well as the blasting hard game that exists more in singles. Doubles to me is more creative and requires more shots in your repertoire to play well.

PBC: What’s your favorite place to play? Why?

MB: Over in Roseville, there’s this facility called Johnson Ranch Racquet Club. It’s where the best players in Northern California converge to give each other trouble.

Johnson Ranch Racquet ClubPhoto courtesy: Johnson Ranch Racquet Club

PBC: What’s your secret sauce? Any tips for players?

MB: Reduce your anxiety on court so you can slow the ball down, see more angles, see more shots, and be more consistent, more powerful and more accurate.

PBC: What’s your day job?

MB: : I do work called mind re-patterning. Helping people who are stuck in self-destructive behavior change new supportive tracks that help them with anxiety, money, relationships, and a freer lighter state of being.

PBC: How many hours a week do you play? How do you make time to play?

MB: I play 3 times per month. I have to travel 1.5 hours to get to a place where I can play against great competition. Being entrepreneur means I set my own hours. But the travel time and everyone’s combined schedules makes it challenging to play more.

PBC: Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

MB: I sometimes listen to music and make sure my shots are all warmed up, but I wouldn’t say I have any ‘rituals’.

PBC: Do you have any pickleball goals you’d like to share?

MB: I’d like to win Gold at Nationals in Men’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles.

Good luck chasing that dream, Matthew!

Want to see videos of Matthew Blom?

Meet the Pickleball Pros- Christine Barksdale

Christine Barksdale is playing some amazing pickleball. She was on medal stand five times during the USAPA’s National Pickleball Tournament earlier this month.  Christine has a heart for pickleball, and her positive attitude on the court is contagious.

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PC: Can you list for us your major wins so we can correctly introduce you to our readers?

(We updated Christine’s list of major wins to reflect her FIVE  medal wins at Nationals earlier this month! )

  • 2014 Nationals – Gold, Women’ Singles +35
  • 2014 Nationals – Silver, Women’s Doubles +35 with partner Joy Leising
  • 2014 Nationals – Bronze, Open Women’s Singles
  • 2014 Nationals – Silver, Open Women’s Doubles with Joy Leising
  • 2014 Nationals – Gold, Mixed Doubles 19+ with Wesley Gabrielsen
  • 2013 Nationals – Gold, Age Women’s Singles 
  • 2013 Nationals – Age Mixed Doubles with Wesley Gabrielsen
  • 2013 Tournament of Champions – 3rd Mixed Doubles with Wesley Gabrielsen
  • 2012 Nationals – Gold,  Age Women’s singles
  • 2012 Nationals –  Silver, Open Women’s Singles

PC: What paddle do you play with and why?
CB: I use a Pro Lite Blaster for outdoor and a Pro Lite Magnum for indoor. When my dad taught me to play, that is what he used so it what I started using and have not changed.     

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PC: What’s your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?
CB: I started playing pickleball for fun in 2009 when my Dad introduced the game to me while I was visiting him at the Voyager RV resort in Tucson, AZ. For the first two years, I only played during my annual visit in AZ. I enjoyed being able to spend time with him. One day, for fun I decided to look into local places to play. That is where I met my early teachers Mike Wolfe, Hunter Duval and Enrique Ruiz. I was extremely fortunate that Enrique called me wanting to play in a tournament.

PC: What’s your preference – playing indoor or outdoor?
CB: I love outdoor pickleball. While, it is the plexipave surface I love (indoor or outdoor), I also love the outdoor ball and playing in the elements. I grew up playing tennis and outdoor pickleball allows me to use the skills I developed as a tennis player.

PC: Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?
CB: That is a difficult question, I see them as totally different sports. If I was forced to pick, I would pick Doubles. I have been fortunate to have some talented partners. I look forward to 2014/2015 with Joy and Wes, my amazing partners and good friends.  

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PC: What’s your favorite place to play? Why?
CB: I love to play any place that has permanent outdoor courts, but would say Brigham, Utah. The courts are designed well and the setting is beautiful!

PC: What’s your “secret sauce”? Any tips for players?
CB: Practice, Practice, Practice. Grab a bucket of balls, a friend and get out and hit shots over and over.   Then, the next time you are out socially playing be sure to implement what you have practiced. Don’t be afraid to lose a game or two while developing a new skill.

PC: What’s your day job?
CB: Desktop Support for the Vancouver Public Schools, yes, a computer nerd.

PC: How many hours a week do you play? How do you make time to play?
CB: I generally play once/twice a week. I work pretty long hours so between work, running, tennis and pickleball it’s tough to fit more in. However, I would play more if we had permanent/lighted courts in Vancouver!

PC: Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?
CB: I don’t have lucky rituals, but I don’t like to mess with luck. I have lucky outfits that I use specifically for tournaments. Also, I never look at the draw. I find out who I am playing when they call my name! I am always amazed at the number of people that know this about me and respectfully don’t discuss the draw in front of me.

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PC: Do you have any pickleball goals you’d like to share?
CB: I have two goals. First, I want to play a generation tournament with my dad.   Second, I want to travel to another country to play a tournament and help spread the word that pickleball truly is a sport for a lifetime.

PC: Do you mind sharing about your personal life? Are you single? Married? Kids?
CB: I am single and have two cats (Mac and Deuce). I have an extremely supportive boyfriend that I have been dating for many years.   I love that when I am playing a tourney he is always following the results. He knows the draws better than I do. He loves the software that we use for pickleball, since he can see so many details realtime.

PC: Anything else you’d like to share about your experience being one of the best pickleball players in the world?
CB: I guess I don’t think of myself as one of the best pickleball players in the world. I think there are lots of folks out there yet to discover the game that will become amazing players! I can tell you that I start getting excited about Nationals, the day Nationals ends the year before. I love the chance to compete but more important, I love the chance to play with and against the top players in the country, then go have dinner with them as my friends.

Nationals2013

Thanks again, Christine!

Trying to find videos of Christine playing? Look no longer!

 

by Miranda

 

Meet the Pickleball Pros: Don Paschal

In this installment of our “Meet the Pros” series we meet Don Paschal. Don is a well-known name in the pickleball pro community and lives in Seattle, Washington.

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PBC: Can you list for us your major wins so we can correctly introduce you to our readers?

DP:

  • 2009 Nationals Mens doubles Open bronze
  • 2009 and 2010 Mens doubles 35+
  • 2009 Nationals Mens singles 35+
  • 2010 Nationals Mens doubles – open gold
  • 2011 Nationals Mens doubles – open silver
  • 2012 Nationals Mens doubles – open silver
  • +And, just a couple of weeks ago, 2014 Nationals Mens singles 35+ bronze

 

PBC: What paddle do you play with and why?

DP:  I play with a Prolite Blaster 7.2 ounce   I’ve always liked the feel of the Prolite paddles. I need the paddle to be light enough to allow me to react at the net.

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PBC: What’s your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?

DP: I have been playing since High School, played in college with some friends, and have been playing ever since at 24 hour fitness in Bellevue (now Redmond).  My grandad even introduced it to me as a youngster at the tennis court at Alderwood Golf & Country club, even though I did not know what it was at that time. I often wonder if that initial introduction stayed with me all these years, subconciously perhaps.

 

PBC: What’s your preference — playing indoor or outdoor?

DP: Well in Seattle we often do not have a choice in the matter, but I do enjoy the sunshine, so as a recreation and exercise, I prefer outdoor, but for the purest pickleball, indoor definitely has its advantages.

 

PBC: Do you like singles or double better? Why?

DP: I would say doubles. It’s primarily what I play and singles is a lot of work.

 

PBC: What’s your favorite place to play? Why?

DP:  I really enjoy playing in Surprise, Arizona. Always a fun atmosphere, and great sunshine.

 

PBC: What’s your secret sauce? Any tips for players?

DP: Stay focused. That is the #1 reason for errors. Don’t get discouraged.

dpaschal

PBC: What’s your day job?

DP:  I am a service manager for a beverage company in Kent, WA. My job is mostly out of the office, so I do not sit behind a desk very often, and it allows me the flexibility to play pickleball when I want.

 

PBC: How many hours a week do you play? How do you make time to play?

DP:  I play about 10-15 hours per week. During the summer time, we try to play outdoors twice per week. And usually either on Saturday or Sunday.

 

PBC: Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

DP:  Not really, I just go over strategy with my partner and say “let’s have a good match” and “let’s have fun“.

 

PBC: Do you have any pickleball goals you’d like to share?

DP: I would love to play in the Olympics one day, but I’m afraid I might be 80 when that happens.

 

PBC: Do you mind sharing about your personal life? Are you single? Married? Kids?

DP:  I am single and have a girlfriend.

 

PBC: Do you have any final words about your experience being one of the best pickleball players in the world?

DP:  Having come back from Ogden, Utah (at the Tournament of Champions) recently, you see so many great players out there, who have been introduced to our sport. It was a blast on the day before the Tournament of Champions to play with all those great players.

 

Thanks, Don!

Click here to see a video of Don Paschal playing at the 2012 National Pickleball Tournament.

by Miranda

How to Convert Tennis Courts to Pickleball Courts

Years ago David wrote this article for the USA Pickleball Association’s newsletter. We’re getting more and more questions on how to convert tennis courts to pickleball courts, so we thought we’d reproduce David’s article in our blog.

If you have underutilized tennis courts – or basketball courts for that matter – you might want to turn to an up-and-coming sport that is uniquely suited to adding new life to old courts, pickleball.

Pickleball is a fun court sport played on a badminton-sized court with the net lowered to 34 inches at the center. It is played with a perforated plastic ball similar to a whiffle ball and wood or composite paddles about twice the size of table tennis paddles. It can be played indoors or outdoors, is easy for beginners to learn – but can develop into a fast paced, competitive game for experienced players. In addition to being fun, the game has developed a reputation for its friendly and social nature.
Pickleball can be played as singles or doubles. New players can learn the game quickly in a single session. No special apparel is needed – just something comfortable and appropriate for a court sport. Equipment is inexpensive and easily portable. The game can be played by all ages and is particularly popular in school P.E. programs and senior citizen hangouts.The popularity of pickleball is really being driven by seniors. The reasons they enjoy pickleball in many ways parallels the reasons that they can better utilize many tennis courts:
  • They have lots of free time and can use the courts in peak as well as off – peak hours
  • Many former tennis players find pickleball a good “step -down” sport when tennis becomes too demanding
  • Pickleball is easy to learn so new players can be introduced to it and playing in minutes
  • Because the pickleball court is considerably smaller than a tennis court more courts can use the same space, allowing for more players at one time.

Court Conversion – One Pickleball Court Per Tennis Court

There are two paths to converting existing courts to pickleball courts: shared use and dedicated use.

With shared use simply add pickleball lines to an existing court and players of both sports can use the facility. This may cause some initial confusion, but players quickly get accustomed to the lines.

The simplest way to add one pickleball court is to just lower the tennis net to 34″ in the center.   The center strap could be used to bring the net down to 34 inches in the center. If the tension on the net cord is very tight, the tension might have to be loosened slightly by adjusting the ratchet on the net post.  Another option is to purchase a Tennis Net Adjuster to lower the net for pickleball or you can do it yourself using two eye hooks, two expandable sleeves and some tie down straps, but first make sure and you  have permission to drill a couple of holes into the court surface .

Lines can be painted on the court for pickleball. Then the court can be used for both tennis and pickleball very easily. Because of the size of the tennis court, you might want to have some sort of temporary barrier for the balls so that they don’t have to be chased the full length of the tennis court.

How to Adjust a Tennis Net to Regulation Pickleball Height

How to Adjust a Tennis Net to Regulation Pickleball Height

 

diagram of One Tennis Court Converted into Two Pickleball Courts

One Tennis Court Converted into Two Pickleball Courts

The diagram above shows 2 pickleball courts laid out on a tennis court. A standard tennis court pad is 60’x120′. The minimum recommended size for a pickleball court is 3 0’x60′. That is exactly one fourth the size of a standard tennis court pad. Therefore, it is possible to put 4 pickleball courts in the space of a tennis court except for the possible existence of angled corners that are on some tennis courts.

If the corners are angled, then two courts can fit very nicely as shown. If the conversion is temporary or it is desired to be able to continue to use the court for tennis, then portable net stands can be used for the pickleball courts and the tennis net can be left in place as a backstop for the two pickleball courts.
Diagram of how One Tennis Court can be  Converted into Four Pickleball Courts

One Tennis Court Converted into Four Pickleball Courts

The diagram above shows four pickleball courts on a tennis court. Note how the position of the pickleball courts has been shifted by two feet to allow for the angled corners of the tennis court.  That leaves only 6 feet between the pickleball baseline and the tennis net. That is a little tight, but works in a pinch.
If the tennis court does not have angled corners, then move the courts 2 feet so that there is an 8 – foot distance between the pickleball baseline and the backstops. Note how the lines are made to coincide as much as possible with the tennis court lines in order to minimize line confusion for the players. Note also that this layout does not allow room for fences between the side-by-side courts.
Permanent Courts
This diagram (below) shows 2 tennis courts that are permanently converted to 8 pickleball courts. If a single tennis court is converted, just refer to half of the diagram. Angled corners are squared off if necessary. If the tennis court is a standard dimension of 60’x120′, that only allows 5 feet between the pickleball sidelines and the fences. That should be considered the minimum dimension. If space and budget allow, add some additional overall width. That will give the more active players more room and also give room for seating on the courts.
Conversions are happening across the United States with great success.
Diagram of how two tennis courts can be converted into eight pickleball courts

Two Tennis Courts Converted into Eight Pickleball Courts

Stanley Volkens, USA Pickleball Association Local Ambassador for Southwest Ohio, and seasonal resident of Arizona, surveyed the 16 tennis courts in Middletown and found them greatly underutilized. Stanley approached the park board with a plan to convert two under-utilized tennis courts into 6 beautiful new and regularly used pickleball courts. The Park Board gave Stanley and his pickleball players permission to convert 2 tennis courts over to 6 pickleball courts. The dimensions worked out perfectly. The courts have 14 ft. between them with 8 ft. at the ends. The tennis nets are the backdrops between the ends of the courts. The courts are laid out north and south. The pickleball players did all the work and paid all the cost ($3,956 total). They presented the new courts to the city with a ribbon cutting ceremony with park board and city council members.Paul Barksdale and Rex Lawler, Local Ambassadors for Greater Terre Haute, Indiana played on the new Middletown courts in the SW Ohio Senior Games and were so impressed that they brought a similar plan back home. They found underutilized tennis courts and proposed a shared cost plan to their park and recreation department. The players raised $1500 to cover nets, posts, and other supplies and the park and recreation department agreed to provide the labor following the same step-by-step process and court format used in Ohio.In Port Angeles, Washington two deteriorating tennis courts were converted into six pickleball courts. Originally donated to the city by the Elks in 1951, the $30,000 conversion cost was
shared by the Elks and the city. The courts are now often maxed out with 24 players at a time having a fun and getting exercise.

The USA Pickleball Association has over 300 local ambassadors who are ready and willing to assist with the development of more pickleball courts and community involvement efforts.Pickleball is a great sport for seniors but is also popular with all ages. Just witness a heated inter-generational game and you will see why this sport with a funny name is becoming so popular.

By David Johnson, partner at PickleballCentral.com and former Media Relations Chair for the USA Pickleball Association.

 

 

Meet the Pickleball Pros – Enrique Ruiz

In this segment of “Meet the Pros”, I had the pleasure of chatting with Enrique Ruiz. Ruiz is well-known in the pickleball community, and is passionate about this sport!  To watch Enrique in action, take a look at our video page that features Enrique Ruiz at the 2012 USA Pickleball Association’s National tournament.
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PC: Can you list for us your major wins so we can correctly introduce you to our readers?

  • ER: Dennis Forbes Memorial Open- Gold
    2014 Grand Canyon Games Mixed Age & Open Gold
    2014 Tournament of Champions Mixed Doubles Gold
    2013 Mixed Doubles- SeaTac Open Gold
    2013 San Diego/Melba- Gold in Men’s Age & Open Doubles
    2013 Seatac Open Singles Gold
    2012 & 2013 Open Singles National Champion
    2010 & 2012 Men’s Open Doubles National Champion

PC: What paddle do you play with and why?
ER: I play with a Pro-Lite Blaster. I play with it because it feels right and works for me! Also, here’s a shout out to my sponsor who has always taken good care of me and all my pickleball needs: Pro-Lite Sports!

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PC: What’s your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?
ER: I learned from the late Harry W. He first introduced me to pickleball at an Elementary school in Hillsboro, Oregon, where we learned our basics from Larry Seekins. He’s now out of Billings, Montana.

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PC: What’s your preference – playing indoor or outdoor?
ER: I am an indoors player. I only play outdoors 2 or 3 times per year at tournaments, and I do not like it. I enjoy major competition which is why I enter in these outdoor tournaments, but I do not like it!

PC: Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?
ER: I enjoy mixed doubles, singles and men’s doubles all the same. I view them as all different and I enjoy the challenge to try to figure them out.

PC: What’s your favorite place to play? Why?
ER: My favorite place to play is indoors at my friend’s court in Hillsboro, Oregon.

PC: What’s your “secret sauce”? Any tips for players?
ER: I don’t think I have a secret sauce! However, over time, I have learned to focus on placement and control and not so much on power. I’ve been blessed with many opportunities to face the top players in this sport and for me, control has always given me better results than playing a power game. I must point out that I don’t consider myself a “pro” and nobody will ever hear me say that I’m the best. I just get lucky from time to time.
However if I had to give out some advice. . . Listen to the more experienced players but only apply what fits to your playing style and ignore the rest, and always go out there respecting the game and your opponents. Lastly, I personally learn more from the close matches that I lose than from the ones that I win. This of course is how I view it and it’s simply my humble opinion.

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PC: What’s your day job?
ER: I am a private contractor which allows me flexibility to travel to the biggest tournaments throughout the country.

PC: How many hours a week do you play? How do you make time to play?
ER: I struggle to make time to play. It’s a difficult task to manage a full time job and to balance family time and the activities/hobbies that we all love. Often I don’t get to play at all but for now, if I end up playing one time per week then I am a happy camper.

PC: Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?
ER: Nope, I don’t have any. Over the years playing versus the top players in pickleball, I’ve realized that you either have it or you don’t! Luck will only take one so far.

PC: Do you have any pickleball goals you’d like to share?
ER: My goal is to maintain my level of competitiveness while playing in fewer tournaments. With the birth of our baby, I plan to travel less and to focus more on my family.

Family Photo

PC: Do you mind sharing about your personal life? Are you single? Married? Kids?
ER: I am from Portland, Oregon and am known by all my friends & partners as ” El Condor” [“The Condor”]. This well-suited nickname was given to me because of my amazing ability to switch hands, and my wingspan which allows me to cover a lot of space on the pickleball court.

PC: Anything else you’d like to share about your experience being one of the best pickleball players in the world?
ER: Over the years I have been lucky enough to have played in some highly competitive matches, both winning some and losing some. However, I am extremely thankful to the Lord up above, because pickleball has brought me some lifelong friends and to me that’s priceless!

Thanks, Enrique!

Meet the Pickleball Pros – Matt and Brian Staub

Pickleball talent runs in the blood of this pickleball playing father and son duo.  Brian and his wife moved to the pickleball hub of The Villages in Florida and their son Matt followed. Matt and Brian Staub both achieved a 5.0 player ranking.  The Staub’s offer pickleball lessons, clinics, and video analysis through their website, PoachPB.com.  The Staub’s were kind enough to answer some questions for us.

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PBC: Can you list for us your major wins so we can correctly introduce you to our readers?

  • Brian: USAPA Nationals 35+ Doubles Gold 2012, 2013
  • USAPA Nationals Open Doubles Gold 2013
  • USAPA Nationals Singles 50+ Gold 2012
  • Tournament of Champions Doubles Silver 2014
  • Atlantic South Doubles Gold 2014
  • Matt: USAPA Nationals Singles 19+ Bronze
  • Tournament of Champions Doubles 5th 2014
  • Atlantic South Doubles Gold 2014
  • Atlantic South Singles Gold 2014

PBC: What paddle do you play with and why?

Staub’s: Champion Aluminum We like the soft feel that gets even softer as you play with it.

 

 

PBC: What’s your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?

Staub’s: My parents (Ralph and Delores Staub) moved down to the Villages about 12 years ago and we first saw it on a visit one year, we have been hooked ever since.

PBC: What’s your preference — playing indoor or outdoor?

Staub’s:   This is the Sunshine State, we don’t use indoor courts.

PBC: Do you like singles or double better? Why?

Staub’s:   Doubles because there are so many interesting matchups and patterns you can use, it really is a constant chess match.

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PBC: What’s your favorite place to play? Why?

Staub’s: We really enjoyed our first trip to Ogden this year. It’s amazing to see the mountains since we don’t have anything like that in Florida. It’s also nice to get out of the humidity and only use one shirt per day.

PBC: What’s your secret sauce? Any tips for players?

Staub’s: I don’t think it’s much of a secret that we both like using our backhands; an easy tip to help your backhand is start using the continental grip.

PBC: What’s your day job?

Brian: I’m retired from UPS with 28 years of service.

Matt: I am a pharmacist.      

PBC: How many hours a week do you play? How do you make time to play?

Staub’s: We try to get 6 hours a week, mostly drilling. There is ALWAYS time for exercise.

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PBC: Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

Brian: Drinking mustard (standard yellow).

Matt: I wear my lucky orange socks.

PBC: Do you have any pickleball goals you’d like to share?

Brian: Win tournament of Champions

Matt: Win USAPA National Championship

PBC: Do you mind sharing about your personal life? Are you single? Married? Kids?  

Brian: I am married to my wife, Patty, and we have 2 sons – Matt and Chase. I played college tennis, and Patty was a college gymnast.

Matt: I’m single until Caroline Wozniacki comes to her senses. I played baseball in college.

Thanks Brian and Matt for sharing your passion for pickleball with us!

Want to see this father/son duo playing? Click here!

by Miranda