Refereeing: An Underrated Way to Improve Pickleball Skills?

If you ask most players the best way to get better at pickleball, many will say drilling, practice and of course, playing as many games as possible. Yet there’s another option that doesn’t often get discussed that will not only improve your abilities, but allow you to give back to the pickleball community—refereeing.

Becoming a referee isn’t an overly involved process, and it allows you to get first row “seats” to many competitive games. Get good enough and you might even find yourself making calls for pros. You can bet that watching and listening to some of the best will allow you to make better decisions in your own play, not to mention you’ll have a very clear understanding of the rules and how to apply them.

Top pickleball ref and competitor Byron Fresno explains that he’s greatly enjoyed the benefits refereeing has provided him, and his own skills have become polished enough that he’s become an ambassador for paddle manufacturer Onix.

Check out some of Byron’s tips about how to be a good ref and also learn what he believes to be the most misunderstood rules are so you can make sure you’re interpreting them correctly!

The USAPA provides free refereeing resources on their Referee Training Tools page. The most important reference you’ll need is of course the official pickleball rulebook. Once you’ve reviewed the rules and know them inside and out, you can take the corresponding rules test and make sure you have a solid working knowledge of the game.

You can then go on to refereeing local recreational games before reaching out to more experienced refs and learning from them in turn. Several pickleball centers such as our own Pickleball Station occasionally have referee training clinics, which can be great supplements if you’d like some firsthand advice on how to make calls.

Pickleball Channel has a great Quick Start Guide to refereeing which will walk you through many necessities such as techniques on how to accurately keep score, remember which player is first or second server and many other helpful tips on how to keep all of a game’s details clear in your mind.

After you have some experience under your belt, you can apply to become a certified referee and get in on the truly top tier games. You may end up loving reffing and find that it not only enhances your abilities, but allows you to become a more well-rounded pickler and community resource!

Have you had any experience refereeing or is it something you’d be interested in trying for yourself? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Meet the Pros – Matt Goebel

Meet the Pros – Matt Goebel

Matt Goebel

Matt Goebel

Matt played pickleball on his own home court as a kid. He also has quite the court advantage! Look at that reach! The competition must have a difficult time getting the ball past Matt.  Enjoy!

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

2018 USA Pickleball Nationals 19+ Men’s Doubles Gold with Tyson McGuffin
2018 Tournament of Champions Men’s Doubles Pro Gold with Tyson McGuffin
2018 Triple Crown Men’s Doubles Silver with Joey Farias
2018 SoCal Summer Classic Men’s Doubles Open Bronze with Tyler Loong
2018 International Indoor Pickleball Championships Mixed Doubles Open Bronze with Miok Lee
2018 Brigham City Memorial Mixed Doubles Open Silver with Christine Barksdale
2018 US Open Men’s Doubles Pro Bronze with Tyson McGuffin
2017 Coeur d’Alene Classic Men’s Doubles Gold with Tyson McGuffin
2017 Canadian Nationals Men’s Doubles Open Silver with Tyson McGuffin
2017 International Indoor Pickleball Championships Men’s Doubles Open Silver with Tyson McGuffin
2017 Brigham City Memorial Men’s Doubles Pro Silver with Tyson McGuffin
2017 Grand Canyon State Games Men’s Doubles 19+ Bronze with Rob Davidson

Matt Goebel and Tyson McGuffin

Matt Goebel and Tyson McGuffin at 2018 Margaritaville USAPA Nationals

What paddle do you play with and why?

I play with the Selkirk AMPED Invikta. I really love Selkirk as a company and what they stand for and believe in, and they also make some great paddles. The Invikta is longer than the traditional paddle, but not as skinny as your regular elongated paddle. It gives you that extra reach that really enhances how you can strike the ball without shrinking the sweet spot or paddle face.

What is your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?

I grew up just outside of Seattle and actually had a pickleball court in my back yard when I was really young, so I was introduced to the sport early on. When we moved, I started playing tennis and left pickleball behind. Then, when I was playing tennis in college, my parents got invited to play at a rec center by some friends, sop I joined in and got hooked again. Whenever I came home for breaks we’d all go play pickleball. When I graduated, we played a tournament in Canada, and I haven’t really played tennis since.

What is your preference – playing indoors or outdoors?

Nothing beats getting to play pickleball outdoors on a sunny day. Up here in Washington we don’t get the opportunity to play outdoors year round, so when I can get outside I take full advantage of it!

Matt Goebel, Tonja Major

Miok Lee with Kurtis Campbell, Matt Goebel, Tonja Major and Tyson McGuffin.

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

Definitely doubles. I love the strategy and the way you can set up a point in doubles. It requires you to work really well with your partner and have a lot of patience to wait for the right opportunity to attack.

What is your favorite place to play? Why?

I enjoy all of the tournaments Kyle Klein and Co. put on in Brigham City, UT. They have a beautiful facility with 16 courts plus a championship court that is tough to beat. But the real draw is the people and the hospitality. When I go to play there, I feel like a part of the family and enjoy every second of it.

What is your secret sauce? Any tips for players?

The number one thing that helps me compete with the best players is my aggressive forehand that puts my opponents on the defensive and allows to finish off points early. It’s really important for all players to find a style that works well for them. Figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are and find a way to highlight your strengths and hide your weaknesses. Not everyone can be great in all aspects of pickleball, but we can all play the game on our terms to best set ourselves up for success.

What is your day job?

I am a high school math teacher, which makes the summer months an ideal time to travel around and get to play with and against some of the best players in the country.

Miok Lee and Matt Goebel

Miok Lee and Matt Goebel – 2018 Intl Indoor Championship

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

I typically play 2-5 hours a week, but try to ramp that up in the weeks leading up to a tournament. It’s hard to find time to play consistently during the school year, but my wife knows how much I enjoy playing, so we make sure to find some time each week and sometimes I even convince her to come drill with me.

Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

Nothing special for tournaments. I just try to treat it like a normal day. Get a good nights sleep, get a hearty breakfast in, and make sure to get a good warm up. My wife and I did go to Hawaii for our honeymoon directly before Tyson and I won gold at Tournament Of Champions, so that might have to become the ritual in the future.

Do you have any pickleball goals you would like to share?

Competitively, my goal is to win a gold medal in men’s doubles at the three major tournaments. I’m 1/3 of the way there, so we’re making progress. Outside of the competition, I want to continue to travel around and meet more wonderful people from all over the country and world, playing this glorious sport.

Anything else you would like to share about your experience being one of the best pickleball players in the world?

The thing that makes this sport so exceptional is the accessibility and the social aspect. Anyone and everyone can pick up a paddle and play. I get to play against the best of the best, but I also get to go home and play with my wife, my siblings, my parents. It’s a sport that brings people together. Throughout my time playing, I’ve met some truly wonderful people that have made my life better, and I look forward to all of the new experiences and relationships that this sport will provide me in the future!

2018 Pickleball Holiday Gift Guide

There are hundreds of amazing sales at PickleballCentral, and while many customers are gleefully searching for their must-haves, others are feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the available options.

If you’re newer to the sport, looking to buy something for a pickler but not sure where to start, or just want a quick overview of some of our very best deals, these guides will give you some great ideas to consider.

As always, you can also feel free to call us at 888-854-0163 if you’d like to get some direct suggestions from one of our informative reps. Have fun shopping for the holidays!

Pickleball Luxury Gifts

Now is the ideal time to splurge if you’re seeking incredible savings and high-end products such as pickleball machines and nets. If you’re shopping for the player who “has it all” and want to give them a pleasant surprise this season, the following gifts will set themselves apart from the crowd due to their utility and quality.

Luxury Collage 2018
A. Lobster Pickle Ball Machine – Easily maneuverable thanks to wheels, offers top/backspin and oscillation. Comes in battery or AC power models.
B. Paddletek Tempest Pro Paddle – Uses “Smart Response” technology via a thicker core to offer more power without losing control.
C. BOOST Pickleball Training Camps – Near San Diego, Kona, Seattle or Templeton? Come learn from the best during these incredible experiences.
D. Quick Cart Plus – Sturdy fold-up design is lightweight and has zippable canvas pouch that holds 150 balls. Secondary mesh shelf for storage.
E. QGear Pro Bag – Unique design with adjustable compartments so you can sort equipment precisely how you want it.
F. Pickleball Tutor Ball Machine – Remote options for control at a distance, 2-line feature, oscillating/non-oscillating, battery or AC power models.
G. Kinetic Pro Speed Paddle – Minimizes vibration with tungsten-filled chambers and 7-layered coating over the face. Three colors.
H. SwiftNet – Amazingly lightweight at only 14 lbs yet stays in place, holds shape thanks to supportive boom and sets up with ease.
I. Pickleball Weathervane – Uses 14-gauge US steel for durability. Powder coated and laser cut with various mounting options.
J. Kollectaball – Court cleanup has never been faster with this rolling ball pick-up that holds up to 60 balls within its wire construction.

5-Star Rated Paddles

The following paddles have been wielded by top pickleball athletes and up-and-coming contenders alike. If you’re looking for a reliable, strong and precise piece of equipment, any of these options will serve you well. The different materials and designs all lend themselves to different play styles, so you’re sure to find one to suit your needs.

Paddle Collage 2018
A. Engage Elite Pro – Used by 9 pro players during the 2017 US Open and they all won! Reactive feel with a super tough composite face.
B. Onix Z5 Graphite – A classic that’s stood the test of time. Balanced shape with reactive graphite and 8-1/8″ wide face.
C. Paddletek Tempest Wave – Graphite face with polymer core provides the best of both worlds and offers excellent touch.
D. Selkirk AMPED S2 – Large surface area creates broad sweet spot, X5 core allows for precise placement and control.
E. ProLite Titan Pro – Reduced vibrations and sound due to polymer core while carbon fiber face gives the paddle extra “pop” and speed.
F. Prince Response Pro – Rounded face makes for an exceptional response that allows pickleballs to bounce back no matter where you hit.

Men’s Pickleball Gifts

If you want to brighten the holidays for a certain pickleball-playing fellow, these items will help elevate his game and provide extra comfort on the courts. Depending on his needs, you can give the gift of a new paddle, extra storage space, functionality or style with any of these great picks.

Men Collage 2018
A. Winning Pickleball – Top player Mark Friedenberg shares basic techniques on up to pro level wisdom. 179 pages of techniques and drills.
B. Pickleball Shirts – Choose from over 30 designs and get them on your favorite style, color, fabric and size.
C. HEAD Pickleball Elite Backpack – Separate shoe pouch with large main compartment and adjustable shoulder straps.
D. Sterling Silver Pickleball Money Clip – Hand-made brushed sterling, 2″ long and 1″ wide.
E. Engage Elite Pro Maverick Paddle – Made collaboratively with pro Ben Johns, provides a 6″ long handle for grip space and reach.
F. Selkirk AMPED Invikta – Made through a partnership with Tyson McGuffin, comes in two grips, two weights and lengthy design.
G. Paddletek Pro Pickleball Backpack – Thermal-lined section, phone and shoe pouch, internal pockets and more provide plenty of storage space.
H. Jugy Water Flask – An eco-friendly bottle that retains its temperature and holds up to 32 oz of liquid. BPA-free and made of stainless steel.

Women’s Pickleball Gifts

Everyone wants to improve their play while showing off a touch of their owns style, and there are plenty of options to grab for the lady pickler in your life. You can get accessories that will add some more sparkle to her look or great quality accessories and clothing. Or give her some reading material to dig deeper into this great game.

Women Collage 2018
A. Pickleball Shirts – Select from over 30 images and multiple styles, colors fabric and sizes to create the perfect complement to her wardrobe.
B. History of Pickleball – By Jennifer Lucore and Beverly Youngren. Personal stories of pickleball from founders, supporters and top players.
C. Pickleball Pizzazz Earrings – An easy way to add sparkle and shine to a look with drop or stud styles.
D. Sterling Silver Pickleball Partners Pendant – A great way to spruce up a bag, zipper pull or other accessory. Includes 18-inch sterling chain.
E. Margaritaville ‘Fins’ Paddle – A maneuverable paddle with a tapered face and polymer core that reduces jostling during play.
F. Pickleball Shirts – Same as “A” in different design.
G. Paddletek Bantam TS-5 Pro Paddle – Multiple grips and weights let you choose the perfect fit. Thicker core offers softer feel and fast action.
H. Margaritaville Backpack – A big central compartment holds up to three paddles and has 2 mesh side pockets for water bottles. Bright and fun design.
I. Margaritaville Tote – Main compartment, zippered accessory pouch and exterior zippered pocket all allow you to store your goods safely in this vibrant bag.

Pickleball Stocking Stuffers

If you don’t want to spend too much but still want to grab some gifts that will put a smile on a pickler’s face, this section if perfect for finding a fun, useful yet affordable gift.

Stocking Stuffer 2018
A. Pickleball Bottle Opener – Clever design looks like a normal accessory but opens up bottles with ease. Laser cut, comes in green and yellow.
B. Yodeling Pickle Ornament – Why say it when you can sing it with this silly pickle ornament? Battery-powered novelty item.
C. Neoprene Pickleball Paddle Cover – Keep your gear safe from dents, scrapes and other damage with this cushioned cover.
D. Pickleball Rating Decal – Ratings range from 3.5 to 5.0. Allows your competitive friends to proudly show off their skills.
E. Official Tournament Rulebook – No more guessing or unsettled courtside arguments when you have this book on hand. Has all the rules from the IFP for tournaments.
F. Gift Certificate – Let your giftee choose their own favorite products with these easy to use gift certificates via email or traditional mail.
G. Leather Pickleball Ornament – Simple yet eye-catching and charming. Clean design that comes in 8 different colors.
H. 200P Mini Paddle – Perfect for getting the kids started early… really early. This 7-3/4″ paddle is made of functional materials but is best used as a toy or adorable decor.
I. RAPTOR Eyewear – Don’t let lighting throw off your play or wayward balls knock you out of the game with this lightweight eyewear. Comes in 3 colors of anti-scratch/anti-fog lenses.
J. Pickleball Paddle Cookie Cutter – We normally say to stay out of the kitchen, but in the case of making cookies, we’ll make an exception if you share!
K. GAMMA Supreme Overgrip – Use to bulk up a paddle’s grip for extra cushioning, comfort and “grippy” feel.

Mike Welter Is Unstoppable; Named Florida Senior Games’ Athlete of the Year

Mike Welter is an incredible athlete and has rightfully been named the 2017 Florida Senior Games Athlete of the Year. Sadly, Mike suffered a stroke on September 30th this year which will prevent him from playing in the 2018 Senior Games, but he currently plans to take about a year off then leap right back into the fray.

This former Marine Corps colonel shows no signs of slowing down despite the health scare. The stroke initially paralyzed Mike’s left arm and leg and he lost his sight, but he’s since regained the use of his limbs and is beginning to see more clearly. Mike explains:

“I’m walking a mile or more each day and my sight is improving. The doctors are taking good care of me and I’m trying to get better. I’m going to take a year off from pickleball, but I’m going to be Comeback Player of the Year when I return.”

Mike Welter with Nancy Robertson

Mike Welter with Nancy Robertson (Credit: Cape Coral Daily Breeze)

We admire Mike’s determination and look forward to his return! At the Games last year he played in three medal events and placed in each for his 5th consecutive year. Mike partnered with Bobbi Little to win mixed doubles for the 3rd consecutive year, and also snagged gold in men’s doubles and silver in singles.

His win streak doesn’t stop there. Mike has won many medals in competitions across the world, even traveling with his wife to Mexico to participate in tournaments. He notes, “The game, when it’s played in big matches, can involve a lot of strategy, like a chess match. You have to put the ball in the right place.”

Here’s another interesting fact about Mike—did you know that he’s Kyle Yates’ uncle? That’s right; we not only have Mike to thank for his impressive personal records, but for getting one of the world’s best picklers into the game!

When Kyle was only a tender 15-years-old, he was convinced by his uncle to give the game a try. Mike noted (like many!) that Kyle initially thought that pickleball sounded stupid, but then “he picked it up in about one minute. He was very, very good, but I beat his butt (the first time). A week later he beat my butt, and he hasn’t looked back.”

Mike has been a big supporter of his local hospital’s wellness center in Cape Coral, having helped outfit the center with pickleball equipment so established fans and newcomers could play. He’s also been excitedly waiting for a new pickleball complex to be built by Lake Kennedy, which he’s certain will help spread the sport even further.

With this recognition from the Florida Senior Games, he’s become the first ever pickler to win the honor and the fourth from Lee County. 

We appreciate all of Mike’s efforts to assist pickleball in reaching more participants and can’t wait to have him back!

Meet The Pros – Michelle Esquivel

Meet the Pros – Michelle Esquivel

MIchelle Esquivel

MIchelle Esquivel at the 2018 Margaritaville USAPA National Championships – photo credit to ProPickleball

No doubt about it, Michelle Esquivel is a fierce competitor and dedicated instructor who is totally in love with pickleball. Enjoy! 

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

2018 USAPA Margaritaville Nationals, Women’s Singles 5.0 19+ – Gold
2018 Tustin Winter Classic, Women’s 5.0 Doubles with Lisa Naumu – Gold
+ Mixed 5.0 Doubles with Jeff Warnick – Gold
2018 International Indoor Championships, Mixed Open Doubles with David Wage – Silver
+ Women’s Doubles Open with Lindsey Newman – Gold
2018 SoCal Classic, Women’s Doubles Open with Gee Gee Garvin – Gold
2018 Engage Golden State Championships, Women’s Doubles Open with Lindsey Newman – Silver
+2018 Mixed Open Bronze with Jeff Warnick
2018 Las Vegas Open, Women’s Doubles Open with Gee Gee Garvin – Bronze
2018 Western Regional, Women’s Doubles 5.0, 19+ with Kris Anderson – Gold
+ Mixed Doubles 5.0 19+ with Jeff Warnick  –  Gold

What paddle do you play with and why?

I love playing with the Engage Poach Advantage! It has the perfect combination of control and power I need for my game.

What is your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?

While coaching tennis at Orange Coast College in 2015, my fellow colleague text me and invited me to play pickleball over at the courts in Tustin, CA. That was the first time I had ever heard of the sport and I even laughed and asked, “What the heck is pickleball?” Just like most, I was instantly hooked and addicted to the sport. I remember playing my first tournament at the 2016 SoCal Classic in Oceanside, CA, where I fell in love with competing. I knew I wanted to take my game to the next level after last year’s USAPA Nationals. Since then, I’ve been able to show some great results and compete against the top players in the game. It’s been such a blast so far.

What is your preference: playing indoors or outdoors?

I love playing pickleball both indoors and outdoors, but if I had a preference I would rather play outdoors. I come from a Southern California tennis background and love being outdoors as much possible. If not, playing indoors is just as great.

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

I definitely enjoy playing doubles more but love the physical & mental challenge of singles.

Michelle Esquivel Mixed Doubles

Michelle Esquivel and Rob Cassidy in Mixed Doubles at 2018 USAPA Nationals

What is your favorite place to play? Why?

I really loved playing at Nationals this year at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. I grew up watching the tennis pros play at the same venue during the PNB Paribas Open and never thought I’d be competing there for pickleball. It’s an amazing facility for both spectators and players. It was so much fun playing for the fans.

What is your secret sauce?

My tennis background really helps, especially with my footwork and positioning for doubles.

Takako Tourangeau, Lee Whitwell, Michelle Esquivel, Tracie DeJager, Bonnie Williams and Lindsey Newman

Takako Tourangeau, Lee Whitwell, Michelle Esquivel, Tracie DeJager, Bonnie Williams and Lindsey Newman

Any tips for players?

Work on your weaknesses! I personally love driving the ball and hitting hard, so I tend to focus and work on third shot drops and dinks as much as possible. In rec games, I’ll intentionally play balls I would usually feel uncomfortable hitting, so they become easier in tournaments. I also recommend challenging the stronger player on the court during practice games. I know winning is fun, but you’ll only get better by getting out of your comfort zone.

What is your day job?

I just changed career paths from being a tennis coach to teaching pickleball! I was just hired as a teaching pro at the Pickleball Zone Bend in Central Oregon. The brand-new indoor facility just opened a week ago right before Nationals. I’ll be teaching clinics, lessons and setting up events with Lisa Palcic who is the Head Director of the Oregon Pickleball Academy.

Lisa Palcic and Michelle Esquivel

The Oregon Pickleball Academy-Pickleball Zone Bend, with Lisa Palcic and Michelle Esquivel

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

If there’s an opportunity to play, I’ll always take it. I’m at a point where I can’t get enough pickleball. I make it a top priority to routinely drill and set up games whenever I can. I try to get in 12-15 hours of games per week.

Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

I don’t have any luckily rituals before a big tournament, but I prepare myself as much as I can by getting enough rest, making sure I hydrate and stretch.

Do you have any pickleball goals you would like to share?

I’ve accomplished one of my top goals by medaling at Nationals this year. I’m working hard to earn a place on the podium at the US Open and Tournament of Champions for next year.

Anything else you would like to share about your experience being one of the best pickleball players in the world?
Pickleball has surprisingly changed my life in such a positive light. I never thought I’d be so passionate about it. I love teaching it, competing and being a part of its unique community. I admire and respect all the ambassadors, volunteers, tournament directors and people who’ve made the sport what’s it’s become today. I also appreciate all the fans and pickleball addicts who just can’t get enough. We can all relate! Without all of you, it wouldn’t be the same, so a sincere THANK YOU

Singapore Helps Find Fun and Fans with Pickleball Fiesta

Happy Thanksgiving picklers! We hope everyone is enjoying time with family and friends and feasting on a hearty meal. We’re thankful for all the wonderful people in our lives, and we especially appreciate all those who have been willing to share a game or two (or more!) with us over the years.

Today we have an announcement that makes us grateful for pickleball’s ability to bring people together all over the world. Last month on October 28, over 140 people gathered in Singapore at the Clementi Sports Hall to enjoy the Pickleball Fiesta.

Pickleball Fiesta

This event was organized by Pickleball Club Singapore and supported by Sports Singapore in conjunction with the Women’s Tennis Association finals that took place there.

The goal was to promote sports, and particularly pickleball, among residents. Many newcomers came out in addition to long-time players who were willing to play a game among friends. There were several interesting skill-based games and competitions that took place which might inspire a few contests in your own clubs!

Have a look at the line-up:

Volley The Cones – Players stand at the NVZ and a ball machine shoots a ball over the net, while the player tries to return the volley and hit cones placed at the back of the court.

Drop The Shot – Players get a chance to return a ball from the machine from baseline and drop it into the NVZ.

Lob The Cones – Players get a chance to return the ball from the machine from the baseline and try to lob the ball into the opposite court baseline within the cones.

Pickleball Fiesta Challenge

When players succeeded they would win a prize. There were also two contests which involved player to player interaction instead of man versus machine. They were:

Dink Dink Competition – 16 teams competed with each other on a knock-out basis, dinking against each other within the NVZ.

Jolly Volley – 20 teams volleyed with one another and the team with the highest successful volleys won.

Pickleball Fiesta Contest

Pickleball Fiesta was organized with fun in mind and encouraged participants to pick up pickleball even after the action was concluded. There was a photo booth present so everyone could commemorate the event.

Do you have any fun yet lower stakes competitions you like to run within your club? After Thanksgiving dinner, somehow we don’t think we’ll be playing our best and fastest with a belly full of food…

Send a congratulations to Pickleball Club Singapore on their successful event and stop by if you’re ever in the area!

Pickleball Fiesta Sign

Pickleball Fiesta Photo

Meet the Pros – Moira Roush

Meet the Pros – Moira Roush

Moira Roush

USAPA West Regional Moira Roush/Tiener_X Nguyen

Moira Roush is one of the best who plays with the best. Enjoy!

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

2018 Hawaii Oahu Tournament, Mixed Doubles with Tiener_X Nguyen – Gold
2018 Great Plains Regionals, Women’s Singles 5.0 Age – Gold
Mixed Doubles 5.0 Age with Nabil Merhi – Silver
2018 Oklahoma Senior Games, Women’s Singles, Age – Gold
Mixed Doubles with Jack Thomas – Bronze

2018 USAPA Mountain Regional, Mixed Doubles Skill with Tiener_X Nguyen- Silver
Women’s Doubles Skill with Vivian Edwards – Silver
2017 USAPA Nationals Women’s Singles – Silver
Mixed Doubles 4.5 Age with Tiener_X Nguyen – Bronze

2017 State Games of America, Women’s Singles – Gold
4.5 Mixed Doubles with Tiener_X Nguyen – Gold

What paddle do you play with and why?

I am honored to be sponsored by Selkirk. I play with the new Invikta mid-weight paddle. I love the feel it gives me for dinking and the response I get when I need power. The extra length is also helpful at times.

What is your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?

My husband began playing pickleball and told me I had to try it. He played for 3 months before I tried it. Each time he went he played longer and longer so I decided if I wanted to see more of him I needed to start playing! Once I played, I saw why he was so excited about the sport.

What is your preference – playing indoors or outdoors?

I prefer to play outdoors. I like the surface and the light is better. Unfortunately, in Oklahoma City we don’t have many outdoor venues.

2018 Hawaii Oahu Tournament – Tiener-X Nguyen-Moira Roush Gold

2018 Hawaii Oahu Tournament – Tiener-X Nguyen-Moira Roush Gold, Lori Tokutomi-Pete Bresciani Silver and Chris Why-Jimmy Lowe, bronze

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

I play both singles and doubles. In singles I enjoy out-thinking the other player and the workout that it provides. Playing doubles, I enjoy the teamwork and the challenge to create openings to put the ball away.

What is your favorite place to play? Why?

I loved playing at the North Georgia Pickleball Club in Atlanta. Beautiful setting and lovely courts. Also love to play in St. George, Utah.

What is your secret sauce? Any tips for players?

No real secret sauce, I just try to remember to keep my grip light and bend at the knees. That would be my advice to others besides watch the ball!

What is your day job?

I am lucky that my day job is teaching pickleball! I’ve gone from being a certified tennis instructor to certified pickleball instructor. I love helping people improve their games and have more fun on the court!

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

Nahola Fitness Center Pickleball Clinic taught by Moira Roush

Nahola Fitness Center Pickleball Clinic taught by Moira Roush

I play 15-20 hours a week in addition to the time I spend teaching/drilling with students.

Do you have any pickleball goals you would like to share?

My pickleball goals are to compete well in the major tournaments and continue to improve my game. As an ambassador I also want to grow  the sport by introducing it to others as a sport they can play at any age and ability level.

Anything else you would like to share about your experience being one of the best pickleball players in the world?

My favorite part of pickleball is the people I have met all over the country. As we age it’s harder to meet people but pickleball makes it extremely easy and that makes life better!