Meet the Pros: Ken Curry

Let me introduce you to Ken Curry, one of the nicest guys to talk to about his pickleball story.  Enjoy!

2015 USAPA Men’s Doubles 50+ Ron Chang - Michael Gates,Yoda Friedenberg - Daniel Gabanek,Dan Curry - Ken Curry

2014 USAPA Men’s Doubles 50+ Ron Chang – Michael Gates, Yoda Friedenberg – Daniel Gabanek, Dan Curry – Ken Curry

Can you list for us some of your accomplishments?

 USAPA Nationals, Gold, Singles 60+
USAPA Nationals, Silver, Doubles 60+ with Paul Porch
USAPA Nationals, Men’s Doubles 50+, Bronze, with Dan Curry
USAPA Great Plains Regional, Colorado Springs, CO Mens Doubles Skill 5.0 Age 60+ 5.0 GOLD  with LeRoy Schmidt 

USAPA Great Plains Regional, Silver, Men’s Singles Skill

What paddle do you play with and why?

I play with the Paddletek Bantam EX-L.  It has the right amount of power and touch.  I started with 8.5 ounce Bantam EX-L paddle but it got too heavy, bothered my arm.  I now play with an 8.0 in Doubles and and 8.2 for singles.  It gives me a true feel and is great for dinking.

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

I’m a life-long tennis player, played professionally and taught.  A neighbor started talking to me about this game of pickleball, but it wasn’t until my brother Dan came to visit and brought an extra paddle, inviting me to play, that I found out how much fun this game really was.  I met Scott Moore and started training with him.  We entered the 2013 Nationals and took Silver.  The following year, I played with my brother Dan from Rochester NY and we won 3rd.  I spent some time playing with the Valenti brothers, who taught me how to dink.  Since then I’ve gotten more into the game, and my skill level has evolved from there.  Pickleball is a great way to meet great people too.

 Ken Curry and brother Dan, Gold medal win in men's open doubles over Duane Fregoe and Joe Valenti

Ken Curry and brother Dan, Gold medal win in men’s open doubles over Duane Fregoe and Joe Valenti

What is your preference – playing indoors or outdoors?

I prefer outdoors.  Even when I play indoors, it’s on an indoor tennis court and we still use the outdoor ball.  Indoors on hardwood floors is a totally different game.

USAPA Great Plain Regional Pickleball Tournament Colorado Springs CO Mens Doubles Skill 5.0 Age 60+ 5.0 GOLD LeRoy Schmidt and his partner Ken Curry Great job!!

2015 Great Plains Regional Gold Men’s Doubles Skill Ken Curry and Leroy Schmidt

 Do you like singles or doubles better?   Why?

I prefer doubles by far.  I enjoy the teamwork and the strategy of the doubles game.  It’s more fun to share the experience with someone too.  I played with Paul Porch this year and learned a lot playing with him about building a sense of teamwork.  I also enjoy playing doubles with my brother Dan.  There’s definitely a lot more dinking in the doubles game. The singles game is fun for the power of the game.  You get to push the envelope more, but my orthopedic doc says if I want my knee to last, to give up court sports, so I’ll just be giving up singles, even if it means more hip or knee replacements down the road…  

What are your favorite places to play?  Why?

The 32 dedicated courts used for Nationals this year in Casa Grande, Arizona were awesome.  I also love playing the Country Club at Colorado where the outdoor court overlooks a lake.  The pickleball court also has a view of Cheyenne Mountain so we play with a great view in both directions.  Scott Moore and I beat each other up, I mean train, quite a bit on that court!

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

Hitting against the wall is a great way to drill.  It’s an easy this way to work on volleys and dinks.  Drilling with a partner is the best way to improve your game, much like it is for tennis.  Sometimes our practice drills are more strenuous than the actual game.

What is your day job?

 Last year I played in a National Tennis Tournament followed by the USAPA Nationals, and then had my hip replaced. I quit my day job as a cardiologist on August 31st of this year and used the time getting back into shape for the USAPA Nationals. Pickleball has given me more of a sense of youthfulness, instead of falling into the “aging geezer” mode which I was beginning to feel with my knee in bad shape.  It’s nice to feel like an athlete again.  I’m glad to be able to move around more.  The time off has also re-kindled my spirit.

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

6-15 hours a week, depending on if I’m training for a tournament.  I usually play twice a week for 2-3 hours.  I start with drills for an hour or so. I play 15 hours a week when I’m getting ready for a tournament.

Do you have any Pickleball goals that you would like to share?

 It was a year-long goal to get back in shape and compete in Nationals this year, after having knee surgery last December.  Next year, I plan to compete in the 2016 U. S. Open and then, of course the USAPA Nationals again. I’ll be looking for work again next year sometime after the Nationals..

Anything else you’d like to share?

Something I’ve learned about the game that is helpful, is to lean in at the kitchen line.  You can take the ball higher from that position.  It’s a tremendous advantage, especially for tall players.  The best thing about pickleball is staying active and making friends.  It’s truly been a blessing to me!

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