Meet The Pros – Andy Gensch
Andy is committed to this wonderful game of pickleball. Mention Chicken N Pickle and he will beam with pride as he tells you about the best place in the country to play. He is the Head Pro pickleball instructor at one of the first International Pickleball Teaching Professionals Association (IPTPA) Testing and Training facilities in the U.S. and takes pride in his work. Enjoy!
Can you list for us your major wins so we can correctly introduce you to our readers?
2015 USAPA Nationals – Men’s Doubles 50+ Silver
2015 National State Games of America – Mixed Doubles 50+ – Gold
2015 National State Games of America – Men’s Doubles 19+ – Silver
2015 National Senior Games – Mixed Doubles 50+ -Silver
2015 National Senior Games – Men’s Doubles 50+ – Silver
2014 USAPA Nationals – Mixed Doubles 50+ – Bronze
2014 Grand Canyon State Games – Mixed Doubles 50+ – Silver
What paddle do you play with and why?
I am a sponsored Selkirk player and play with the first version of the Selkirk 30P-XL Graphite. It provides the most feel of any paddle that I’ve played with which is the most important thing to me. All 5.0 players can generate the power they need, so finding the right paddle that supports the finesse aspect of your soft game is key. It’s like the putter in my golf bag, I need to have the utmost confidence when standing over that 6 footer to win a $20 Nassau! As a Selkirk player, I find their paddles to be of exceptional quality and the support the company provides its players and all customers to be second to none.
What’s your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?
Four years ago I was introduced to the sport by a friend. Having played tennis through high school but having been away from it for 30 years, I was considering getting back into it when I found pickleball. I was hooked the first night and have not thought once about getting back into tennis.
What’s your preference – playing indoor or outdoor?
I enjoy playing outdoors because of the speed of the game and all the challenges that the elements of weather offer. Growing up in Kansas, we experience four distinct seasons and we get a lot of wind so I am used to the elements, particularly from golf.
Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?
I play mostly doubles and enjoy it by far. However, I will occasionally play some singles after a doubles workout for conditioning purposes. You hit so many different shots in singles such as ones on the run. It’s great training and always a good workout. All the strategic aspects of doubles make it challenging and the most fun to me. Working with a partner to make adjustments during a top tournament is what I enjoy most. It’s like a chess match!
What’s your favorite place to play? Why?
I’ve had the pleasure to play on many great courts including the Zing Zang Championship Courts at the US Open, Palm Creek, Festival Melba Bishop, Bobby Riggs, Surprise City Courts, Brigham City, Casa de Brambila, Horseshoe Hall of Fame and Weinbach Court….. but my favorite courts are at Chicken N Pickle in Kansas City as there is no place like it and it is home! It’s a one-of-a-kind entertainment facility with 4 indoor courts, 4 outdoor courts, a bar and restaurant plus many other amenities. I’ve had the pleasure of consulting with the leadership team before Chicken N Pickle opened and now am the Teaching Pro there. We cracked the code on a new and fun way to accelerate the growth of Pickleball!
What’s your secret sauce? Any tips for players?
We all have natural playing styles, but striving to play smart pickleball and ever-improving your consistency takes practice, commitment and a plan. Be a student of the game, always learn from your experiences and always keep it fun!
What’s your day job?
I am the VP of Sales for a Military Brokerage firm. I manage a team of reps that call on every U.S. Military base worldwide. We represent Nike and some other great apparel lines. Our business philosophy is that we support some of the most important customers you will ever have, our nation’s servicemen and women and their families. It always fascinates me when I visit a base and see the great commitment, discipline and work that is done at each base. It has given me a whole new level of respect and appreciation for what is done around the world to protect our freedom in this country.
How many hours a week do you play? How do you make time to play?
I play 10 hours per week on average but also manage my International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association (IPTPA) teaching duties at Chicken N Pickle, so I am on court quite a bit. As the head teaching pro at Chicken N Pickle, one of the first IPTPA training and testing facilities in the country, I have taken great pride in creating our Skill Development Program and in conducting clinics, lessons and tournaments. These responsibilities take a great deal of time and can cut into my playing time, but I really enjoy it. I find great pleasure in sharing what I’ve learned!
Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?
No lucky rituals, but I do try to prepare at least one month before big tournaments with an increased practice regimen, good rest, hydration and nutrition. I believe success occurs when preparation meets opportunity.
Do you have any pickleball goals you’d like to share?
I’m blessed with athleticism and still enjoy playing several different sports competitively. I do have the following pickleball goals:
1) Stay healthy so I can continue to play for the next 20-30 years,
2) Always keep it fun. It’s very easy to get consumed with the sport, tournaments, practice and teaching so I strive to keep balance in my life,
3) Always give back – some special people taught me that we are all ambassadors of this great sport and we need to do our part to help grow and evolve Pickleball,
4) Last but not least, never stop improving or evolving my game.
I’ve had the privilege of standing on the podium twice at USAPA Nationals which I believe is our top tournament, but have not come away with Gold… I would like to change that!
Anything else you’d like to share about your experience being one of the best pickleball players in the world?
I’m not sure that I am one of the best pickleball players in the world when I look at the long list of major titles that some of my friends and other pickleball greats have earned! I feel very fortunate to have had the success I’ve had in my first 4 years playing the game and the opportunity to fulfill my competitive needs playing a new sport. However, the best experience I’ve had is meeting so many great people around the country that compete so hard during the tournament day and then enjoy dinner and a beer together in the evening!