Meet The Pros – Tyson McGuffin

Meet The Pros: Tyson McGuffin

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Tyson McGuffin – First Time at the 2016 USAPA Nationals

I heard it through the grapevine that Tyson is one of  the TOP 5 tennis players in Washington State. What better person is there to convert to the pickleball way of life! Tyson was featured on the local news, KIMAtv.com in July. Check out the video here. Thanks Tyson for giving our readers your enthusiastic story of how you became addicted to this wonderful pickleball community! Enjoy!

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

2016 USAPA Nationals – Men’s 19+, Singles – Silver, Men’s Open Singles – Silver
2016 Int’l Indoor Pickleball Championship – Men’s Singles Open – Gold
2016 So Cal Summer Classic – Men’s Singles Open – Gold
2016 Coeur D’Alene Classic Pickleball Tournament – 5.0 Men’s Singles – Gold,
5.0 Men’s Doubles – Bronze with Jay Rippel

What paddle do you play with and why?

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Enrique Ruiz Signature 30PXL Epic paddle

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Maxima Composite 21PMXO Paddle

I am sponsored by Selkirk Sports. I started playing with the Enrique Ruiz Signature 30P-XL Epic paddle. I also just started playing with the Maxima and love it. It totally suits my game. It is a good shape paddle for someone like me coming from playing tennis. It’s got that extra length going for it.

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

I live in Yakima. I’ve been teaching tennis for a long time, and have competed extensively in tennis tournaments. I met this older guy, Bill Chotts, who used to play tennis but messed up his knee, and who had switched to pickleball. He kept bugging me to try it. One day he dragged me over to the YMCA to play. At first, I hated it. I couldn’t figure out how to score in doubles. I had trouble with being on a gym floor with thousands of lines. It was hard to adjust to the game and I couldn’t make sense of the dinking game. I love to smack the ball hard, so pickleball just didn’t seem to suit my competitive nature.

When I entered my first tournament, I found I could get a good cardio workout. My competitive nature was satisfied, and I got the extra added benefit of a big pickleball family: great people who will fight for the win on the court and then go out with you after for a beer or dinner. Everyone I’ve competed against is now a best friend. I love how the older, veteran players welcome newcomers. This is not how it is on the tennis circuit.  You compete, and then you leave. You don’t stay to socialize. 

What’s your preference – playing indoor or outdoor?

I love to play outdoors, especially when it is 95 degrees out, where I am at my best and can grind my opponent down. I fell in love with this game at the 2016 USAPA Nationals this year. I was there the whole 10 days and when I wasn’t competing, I was playing pickup games with some of the other players. I was a court rat, playing with 5.0 players all day, like Brian Ashworth, Chris “Mills” Miller, Dalton Vavra and Irina Tereschenko and loving it!

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

Singles play is my SPECIALTY! My tennis game gives me my advantage in Singles. I started learning with doubles, but struggled with the 30-40 ball dink. The singles game in pickleball is a better match for my tennis background. I also love the workout I get with the singles game.

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Daniel Moore, Marcin Rozpedski, Tyson McGuffin, winners of the 2016 Open Men’s SIngles

What’s your favorite place to play? Why?

I love to play in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. I am sponsored by Selkirk Sports of Hayden, Idaho, and loved playing at the Coeur D’Alene Classic Pickleball Tournament. It is a dream area for the sport!

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

I come from a wrestling family. My dad and oldest brother were both wrestling coaches. I wrestled in college and love the individual and mental aspects of competition. Mentally, I am a warrior, and competing is all about survival of the fittest. My advice is, when the going gets tough, just hunker down. Stay tough and it will eventually turn around in your favor.

What’s your day job?

I am a full-time tennis instructor in Yakima, Washington. 

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

I play 5-8 hours, whenever I can.

Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

Not really. I’m not superstitious. With 2 cups of coffee, a good breakfast, plenty of electrolytes and bananas, I’m good to go.

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

I want to start training to be a certified pickleball trainer. I want to win big in 2017: USAPA Nationals, Tournament Of Champions, the Canadian Nationals and the US OPEN tournament for the  1st time. In 2025, I want to win gold in Men’s Doubles with my son Ty!

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

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I’m engaged. I have a 3 year old son, Ty. He is my inspiration! I love pickleball, the whole scene. Pickleball totally sells itself. Pickleball is a game anyone can play. I am a full-blown pickleball addict. I can’t live without this game. I want to encourage people to play the fastest growing sport in the world. Pickleball has the best community of any sport I know; it is the best social scene anybody can find. 

 

PickleballCentral “All Heart” Award: The Lake Wildwood Pickleball Club, Penn Valley, California

PickleballCentral likes to acknowledge pickleball clubs who give back to the community. We extend our appreciation and our All Heart Award to the Lake Wildwood Pickleball Club for their efforts to raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness month.i-love-pickleball1

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On October 1, 2016 the Lake Wildwood Pickleball Club supported the fight against breast cancer with their 1st Annual “Go Pink & Dink” Pickleball Tournament.

Trophies for the Go Pink and Dink Tournament

Trophies for the Go Pink and Dink Tournament

 Aren't these awards adorable?

Aren’t these awards adorable?

 

Tournament action on the courts

Tournament action on the courts

They had 55 teams enter, and raised over $6800 for Breast Cancer Awareness.

Barna and Colleen Coke, 1st Place, Mixed Doubles

Barna and Colleen Coke, 1st Place, Mixed Doubles

 

Pickleball Gals at the Go Pink and Dink Tournament

Pickleball Gals at the Go Pink and Dink Tournament

All In Good Fun!

All In Good Fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

100% of the proceeds went to support the Breast Imaging Center at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital in Grass Valley, CA. This organization has the recognition of being in the top five centers of excellence for breast cancer treatment in the nation!

Kimberly Parker speaking to the Go Pink and Dink tournament participants.

Kimberly Parker speaking to the Go Pink and Dink tournament participants.

Kimberly Parker, from the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation, was presented with the amount the club raised.  She was amazed!

Presentation of the Breast Cancer Awareness check to Kimberly Parker

Presentation of the Breast Cancer Awareness check to Kimberly Parker

Everybody wins at this kind of event. They plan to expand the tournament to 2 days next year. Thank you, Lake Wildwood Pickleball Club, for reaching out to your community in such a fun and rewarding way.

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Meet The Pros: Clare Grabher

Meet The Pros: Clare Grabher

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Roxanne Pierce, Silver, Clare Grabher, Gold and Debbie Mascarin, Bronze, USAPA Nationals Women’s Singles 55+

A relative newcomer to the pickleball pro scene, Clare is another professional tennis athlete turned pickleball fanatic. Enjoy, and keep your eye out for her next year! She is a force to be reckoned with.

Can you list for us your major wins so we can correctly introduce you to our readers?
Well, I just discovered pickleball back in January, so I haven’t played a huge amount of tournaments yet. However, I did just win the 55+ Singles – Gold in the 2016 USAPA Nationals in Casa Grande, AZ  (really fun!) over the summer. I won Gold in the Atlantic Regional Women’s Singles and the Maine & NH Senior Games Women’s Singles plus Gold in Women’s Doubles (NH) & Mixed Doubles (ME).

What paddle do you play with and why?

I play with the Paddletek Tempest Wave. I love it because it’s relatively light and takes the spin that I like to put on the ball.

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

I was a British professional tennis player in the late 70s and early 80s. I won the British junior championship and played at Wimbledon. My husband and I have had an adult tennis camp in New England called the New England Tennis Holidays for 29 years. We also had a company that offered country inn/guided hiking tours (New England Hiking Holidays) in North America & Europe for the past 32 years and we just retired from that.

With retirement, I suddenly had more free time in our off-season in Vero Beach, Florida, and I was looking for an active, social sport. Someone mentioned pickleball, so I drove down to our local park and was immediately taken under the wing of our local Pickleball Ambassadors Ken Roberts & California Bill. That was mid-January this year, and I have played every day that I have been able to since!

What’s your preference – playing indoor or outdoor?

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Clare’s other passion is hiking

Outdoor – no question.

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

Singles right now as my tennis background lends itself to singles. Working very hard on the soft game, though, and love the finesse of it.

What’s your favorite place to play? Why?

Pocahontas Park in Vero Beach, Florida, where I discovered the game, and up north in Maine at the Falmouth House of Pickleball (FHOP) and in Pickleball Ambassador Linda Einsiedler’s back yard!

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

Mix your game up. Don’t get too obsessed with one kind of shot, whether it be the dink or going for the winning shot. Keep your opponent guessing.

What’s your day job?

I run our office for our New England Tennis Holidays adult tennis camp.

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

I play 2 -3 hours every day that I can sneak away and it doesn’t rain!

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Daytona Pickleball – Clare and a friend

Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

Breathe when feeling tight. A beer always helps in that regard too, but I probably shouldn’t say that!

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

I really want to get better at doubles and compete for medals on a national level in women’s doubles and mixed doubles.

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

Pickleball is still in its infancy in many ways, compared to other professional competitive sports. I still meet people who have never heard of it. That is going to change…and, as my husband reminds me, “It’s going to hurt our tennis business!”

We hope to hear you will be giving pickleball clinics soon, Clare… there’s no end in sight to the popularity of this game! Thank you for sharing some of your pickleball story with our readers. 

Indian Pickleball Continues to Grow at the 4th National Tournament in Jaipur

AIPA’s (All India Pickleball Association) hard work and effort has clearly gotten the pickleball rolling as more Indian players take up the competitive mantle. On November 11 – 13th at the Sawai Mansingh Indoor Stadium in Jaipur, the 4th National Pickleball Tournament was a rousing success.

Kavita and Ashwin of Rajasthan

Kavita and Ashwin of Rajasthan (Runners-Up in Mixed Doubles)

Of the 29 states in India, 12 teams were present from 10 states to show off their pickleball talent, with observers from two additional states in the wings. The participating states included:

Bihar
Haryana
Jharkhand
Kerala
Madhya Pradesh
Maharashtra
Pondicherry
Rajasthan
Sikkim
Uttarakhand

The West Bengal and Tamil Nadu visitors expressed interest in throwing their hats in the ring for next year’s tournament in Uttarakhand.

AIPA Nationals 2016

Maharashtra Sets the Standard

The winners this year were actually repeat champions from 2015, with Team Maharashtra once again claiming victory! Rajasthan still made an impressive showing on their home ground, often coming in silver just behind the winners. At least the other states know who they have to knock off the podium when the next opportunity arrives!

In Men and Women’s Singles players from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh actually overcame the Maharashtra pros, but Doubles was a sweep. The Maharashtra pairs didn’t offer any quarter as they defeated opponent after opponent and claimed gold in all three categories.

Team Maharashtra 2016

Team Maharashtra 2016

Manish Rao and Bhushan Potnis of Maharashtra won the Men’s Doubles title by defeating Dr. Bharat Ram and Prashant Kalaniair from Rajasthan. Somewhat ironically,  in the 3rd national tournament held at Panipat last year, it was Ram/Kalaniair who defeated Rao and Potnis. Can you say “sweet revenge”? The final scores were 11-5 and  11-7.

Manish Rao and Bhushan of Maharashtra

Rao/Bhushan vs Bharat/Prashant in the Men’s Doubles

Similarly, Atul Edward and Natasha Beig from Maharashtra won the mixed title by defeating Kavita and Ashwini Wadhwa of Rajasthan. It wasn’t as easy of a battle, however, as the Wadhwas managed to hold the game until the 3rd set when Edward/Beig won the final. The scores: 11-1 , 5-11 and 11-6.

Atul and Natasha vs Kavita and Ashwin

Edward/Beig vs the Wadhwas in the Mixed Doubles

The Women Doubles gold medal went to Maharashtra’s Karishma and Rujuta who beat Rajashthan’s Madhulika and Garima. It was something of a rout with the final match scores coming in at 11-2 and 11-3.

Karishma and Rujuta vs Madhulika and Garima

Karishma and Rujuta vs Madhulika and Garima in the Women’s Doubles

Hard-Won Singles Matches

Moving on to the singles: the Men’s title was won by Nikhil Singh Rajput of Rajasthnan, who was presented with a tough fight from Aniket Durgawali,  a younger player from Maharashtra. The thrilling match lasted 3 sets and continued for an impressive 50 minutes!

Nikhil Singh Rajput from Rajashtan

Men’s Singles Winner Nikhil Singh Rajput from Rajashtan

Could you stand the heat? Nikhil managed to overcome the stress by putting his 5 years of pickleball expertise to work. The scores: 11-5, 8-11 and 11-2.

As expected, the Women’s Singles title was won by the defending champion from Madhya Pradesh, Shubhi Vyas. She handily won her gold by beating her rival from Rajasthan, Rekha Chowdhary, with scores of 11-5 and 11-3.

Shubhi Vyas

The Women’s Singles champion for the 3rd year in a row: Shubhi Vyas!

Pickleball in India Gaining Fans

This is the 4th consecutive year where AIPA has organized a national-level open tournament. Pickleball continues to gain wider acceptance in India, with players from across the country gathering to witness this event.

Playing the tournament at the Sawai Mansingh Indoor Stadium was something of a dream in itself for many players, with the location being one of the most prestigious sports arenas in the country. The Rajasthan State Pickleball Association made special efforts to book the world-class facility, with top quality housing and food arrangements as well.

There were 4 courts in the spacious indoor hall where nearly 130 matches were conducted in 2 days.

India National Tournament 2016

The Hidden Champions

Special thanks go to Mr. Karan Singh and Ms. Neetu Sharma, who took great pains to make the tournament a grand success. Mr. Raghu Raj, the President of Rajasthan State Pickleball Association, was also a major force in establishing a high-quality event.

The Chief Guest for the closing ceremony was the Commissioner of Police from Jaipur City, who was very impressed by the game of pickleball. He believes that pickleball will be an added attraction for tourists who visit Jaipur and suggested that a public court should be designed in the heart of the city.

Maharashtra at Jaipur National Tournament

Will Team Maharashtra be unseated next year? Who knows… for now, they celebrate!

Image credit goes to the Rajasthan State Pickleball Association and AIPA.

Meet The Pros – Cherilyn “Cookie” Drake

Meet The Pros – Cherilyn “Cookie” Drake

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From “Absolutely Terrified” to “OMG Yes” in 6 games or less.  Cookie Drake is amazing.  She is a pickleball force to be reckoned with on the court.  You want to be her partner and she has won medals with some of the best!  Enjoy some of her amazing pickleball story!

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

One of my most memorable wins was winning gold in my first ever tournament in 3.5 mixed doubles in Surprise, Arizona in April 2012 – 4 1/2 years ago. As a new player I was so worried about playing in it – I didn’t sleep well for a week prior and spent the days beforehand wishing I hadn’t agreed to play a tournament! Luckily for me, my nerves settled down during play and I had a blast. It totally hooked me on the tournament scene. Following that tournament I decided there was only one way to go: UP! And my pickleball journey began. 

Some of my major wins:

2016 U.S. Open Sr. Women’s Doubles Pro Senior Open – Silver with Rachel Kroog
2016 U. S Open Women’s Doubles 55, Gold  with Rachel Kroog and Mixed 60 – Silver with Ken Curry
2016 Brigham City Memorial Women’s Doubles Open 5.0  – Gold with Sarah Ansboury
2016 Grand Canyon State Games Mixed Doubles 50 – Gold, Women’s Doubles 60 – Gold
2016 So Cal Classic Sr Open Mixed Doubles – Silver with Mike Stahl
2016 Huntsmen World Senior Games 60-64 Women’s Doubles – Gold with Roxanne Pierce
2015 USAPA Nationals 5.0 Women’s Doubles Silver with Roxanne Pierce
2015 – Huntsman World Senior Games Women’s Doubles 60 – Silver with Rachel Kroog
2015 Grand Canyon State Games Gold Women’s Doubles 55, Gold Mixed Doubles 60
2015 So Cal Classic Senior Women’s Doubles Open – Silver with Cathy Parkhurst,
Mixed Doubles 60 – Gold with Bill Propert
2014 Canadian Nationals Mixed Doubles Open 5.0 – Silver with Steve Wong,
Women’s Doubles Open 5.0 Bronze with Che Cui
2014 Tournament of Champions Sr. Women’s Doubles Open – Bronze with Rachel Kroog

What paddle do you play with and why?

The paddle I am playing with right now is the Pro-Lite Titan Pro. I like the power I can generate with the Titan Pro and I also find I have good touch and control with it. I also play with newest Pro-Lite paddle: the Rebel PowerSpin. It is another paddle that I feel helps me generate power without compromising my touch.

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

I became involved in Pickleball by accident like many people.  Nine years ago my husband and I traveled to Arizona and bought a home in Sun City Festival, which was the host site of the USAPA National Pickleball Tournament. My husband watched Nationals, was impressed and tried to get me to try the game. I resisted for the first 4 years we owned our home. I had never played a racquet sport. I saw a few people playing and figured I could never be good enough even to join in the recreational play. One day while I was watching a lady from Festival basically dragged me onto the court, stuck a paddle in my hand and insisted I try this fun game. She was so sweet that I just couldn’t say no to her. Once I was on the court I never wanted to leave. It opened up a whole new world for me. Very early in my pickleball journey I met a man who became a good friend and mentor to me – Steve Wong. He worked with me, coached me along and challenged me as I became better. In Surprise, AZ there were many other great players who helped me and inspired me to try my best, and most importantly, encouraged me to believe I could improve my game.

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What’s your preference – playing indoor or outdoor?

I enjoy both indoor and outdoor play. I mostly play outdoor when I am in the US. When I am in Canada in the winter months I spend time practicing indoors.  I do try to get outdoor play in Canada as well in the summer, but the area I live in has very limited facilities and outdoor places to play are very hard to find. I will be working to change that in the future!

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

I only play doubles. When I first started I thought I should learn the doubles game and then perhaps I would move to singles later. But I have never taken up singles.  I love the strategy in doubles play and there is nothing more rewarding to me than working a point and getting a set up for my partner. I love the communication I can have with my partner in doubles and I love that when I struggle I have a partner there who can help pick me back up and vice versa. I truly believe that you win as a team and you lose as a team and being a supportive partner is one of my most important goals in playing this game.

What’s your favorite place to play? Why?

My favorite place to play? Gosh, that’s a tough one. I love Surprise, Arizona and that is where I play the most. I also think St George, Utah is a phenomenal place to play. Their facilities are state of the art and I love the focus on youth and family play that is so evident in St. George. Also getting to play in the very first gold medal match ever played on the Championship Court at the U.S. Open in Naples, Florida was a thrill. I’m not going to deny that!

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

If I could give any advice to players I would say work hard to become a consistent player. That is the advice I was given and I have taken that to heart.  I think my strength in this game comes from my consistency and ability to see the court and move the ball around to create an opening for either myself or my partner to attack. This requires patience. Learn what your strengths are and capitalize on those strengths. Find your game. Study the game and watch upper level players and try the things they do—some will work for you and some will not. Develop different shots so you have a variety of strategies in your arsenal. Don’t be predictable. We all come from different sport backgrounds, so some shots will be natural and others won’t. Practice, practice, practice!cookie-drake-foundation

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

When I am in the US I play a lot—nearly every day. Usually 3-4 hours per day, sometimes even twice a day, but that takes its toll on me! I usually only miss playing if it rains or if I’m sick. I save all my rest days for my time back in Northern Alberta, Canada. I come and go to the US throughout the year. The longest spell of continual play for me so far has been 2-1/2 months with about 3 days off. In Canada where I live there is very little pickleball, so that’s where I do more drilling and practicing. My husband plays as well so he is my main practice partner. When I can, I travel to Edmonton or Calgary, Alberta and meet up with Pickleball people there for fun weekends.

Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

Before any tournament I think a lot about why I play this game. I remind myself that this is just fun for me and to focus during the tournament on having FUN! I am serious about the game but I also believe that I am very blessed to be enjoying such a great game at this stage of my life. I know I play best when I am relaxed and having fun… and I will never give up!

cookie-drake-1Do you have any pickleball goals you’d like to share?

My goals for the future—I want to keep improving my game. At age 60 I still do not feel I have reached my peak. I am working a lot this year with top notch players and coaches. I know I can become a better player and partner. I am super excited that I will be taking part in the US National Senior Games in Alabama. I will be playing with Yvonne Hackenberg who is a wonderful  player, but our highlight will be being there to cheer on Yvonne’s 91 year old mother as she competes in those games! How exciting is that? I am so inspired by her—that is what I hope I will be doing when I reach that age.

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

Pickleball truly is a game for all ages and for all abilities. I find the growth in the sport exhilarating. We have young children playing, we have older people playing, we have recreational players, competitive players, professional players, we have wheelchair pickleball… the game is growing by leaps and bounds and spreading all around the world. I am so thrilled to be a part of this exciting Pickleball World! I LOVE this game and I encourage everyone to try it!

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The UK’s 1st International Tournament: To Pickle or Not to Pickle, That is the Question

Stratford-Upon-Avon in England is generally famous for one thing: Shakespeare. This is his birthplace, a town that can claim one of the greatest playwrights of our time as one of its own.

Now it has another equally important claim to fame: It was the host of the first ever international pickleball tournament in the United Kingdom on October 21-23rd. The tournament was organized by the UKPA and represents the first in a series to be hosted by the association.

UKPA International Tournament 2016

Pickleball on the International Stage

Any doubts about how big the sport has become in Europe and just how big it’s going to get were laid to rest by this truly international affair. 144 players from England, Wales, Canada, the U.S.A, the Czech Republic, Spain, France, Germany and Ukraine all came together for this three-day event.

The result was a melting pot of styles, tactics and a crash course in how to swear in several European languages!

Over 400 games were played over the course of the three days with day one kicking off with the first-ever competitive singles tournament to be held in Europe. It was father against son, sibling versus sibling, doubles partner against doubles partner, it was an all-out war to win the first ever singles gold medal.

A Pickleball Master Class

The quality of play across the board was up there with Shakespeare’s greatest works, but the men’s under 40’s doubles final was undoubtedly one of the matches of the tournament. It was an admirable showing of power, skill and tactics between traditionally old rivals: the French and the Spanish.

After an intense three matches, the Spanish pairing eventually emerged victorious. Sacré bleu!

Due to the sheer number of games and players, the men’s final took place at 9pm on Saturday night. The number of competitors who stuck around to watch the final underlined the fantastic attitude and commitment players across the global have towards the sport.

UKPA International Tournament 2016

Passion and Enthusiasm

This commitment was echoed by every international player at the event. All had made the journey specifically for the tournament.

Few amateur sports invoke the same passion from players, the kind that sees people getting on planes or planning a holiday solely to get a few games of pickleball. Pickleball may not be as big in Europe as it is in the U.S, but it’s getting there, and what the Europeans lack in numbers, they certainly make up for in dedication and skill.

Who knows, in the near future we may be seeing the very first pickleball world championship or perhaps a pickleball Ryder Cup with the best in Europe against the best of the Americas.

Many congratulations to all the players and as one continental player said loudly and often, “Viva le Pickleball!”

Here are some more pictures of the dinking and drop shots from the weekend:

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Images courtesy of the UKPA and the competitors of the tournament.

If you’re heading over to the United Kingdom and are looking for your fix of pickleball, visit the UKPA’s website to arrange a game at a local club.

Meet The Pros – Adina Jones Knapton

Meet The Pros – Adina Jones Knapton

Everyone who plays to win has goals for improving their game.  Adina Jones Knapton is no exception.  And she is a formidable doubles partner.  Enjoy!

2014 Melba Bishop - Adina Jones and Randel Zbinden

2014 Melba Bishop – Adina Jones and Randel Zbinden

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

The 4 most memorable wins for me were:

2016 Eric Schuester PTSD Memorial Tournament – Mixed Doubles 5.0 w/ Larry Moon – Silver
2016 John Ringler Memorial Tournament, Ogden Utah – Silver with Larry Moon
2013 Tournament of Champions – Gold in Women’s Open with Gigi LeMaster
2013 USAPA Nationals – Gold in Women’s 35+ with Heidi Hancock
2012 USAPA Nationals – Silver in the Mixed Open with Matthew Blom (first Nationals I attended)
2012 Gold with Justin Rodgers at Grand Canyon State Games

What paddle do you play with and why?

I play with the Ultra Paddle by Engage Pickleball. I’ve been playing with this paddle for a year and half. Love the Elliots who run the company. Love the weight and control of the paddle.

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

Pickleball changed my life. It got me through a divorce. My dad introduced me to the game in 2011. I played for fun for a year and then played my first tournament with Kathy Roberts in 4.0 and won Gold.  I played mixed with my dad in the 4.0 and won gold. As a result, I was moved up to a 5.0. I met my husband a year ago at a tournament in St. George. We got married 10 months later.

What’s your preference – playing indoor or outdoor?

I prefer outdoor pickleball. Sometimes in Utah, when it’s raining I’ll play indoors, but in Southern California, we don’t have indoor courts. I  prefer the bounce of the ball outdoors and I love playing in the sun.   

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

I prefer doubles. I like the social aspect of the game and having to work together as a team.

What’s your favorite place to play? Why?

My favorite place to play is St. George, Utah at Little Valley Sports complex because there are 20 courts, always people to play with, great weather, and the people are very kind.

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

My secret sauce is my forehand. I believe it’s important to have a well-rounded game. I try to improve the weak spots in my game. This past year I’ve been working on my backhand where as I used to run around it all the time. Players should face their weaknesses so they can get better instead of avoiding those areas.

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Adina and her mom at a tournament in Mesquite, Nevada

What’s your day job?

I just completed my teaching credential for P.E and currently I’m a substitute teacher, but I just got hired by SkyWest Airlines to be a flight attendant. I start training in January.

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

I play 1-3 times a week depending on my work schedule.

Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

I don’t have any lucky rituals but I take time to pray before I play tournaments.

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

My pickleball goals this year have been to improve my backhand and to enjoy the game no matter what!  I also plan to maintain a positive outlook no matter what the circumstances may be.

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

Adina and Micky

Adina and Micky

I’m so grateful my dad introduced me to pickleball. I have gained so many great friendships and have personally grown. And most of all,  I met my wonderful husband, Micky Knapton, through pickleball. It’s amazing to have a life partner that has the same love and passion for the game.