For those of us who are fairly new to the pickleball scene, there is a lot we do not know about the relationship between badminton and pickleball. We play on the same sized court, for example, and some of the rules are the same. Henry is a badminton professional turned pickleball aficionado and he can give you all the information you need about world class badminton and the relationship between badminton and pickleball. For instance, the Guinness record for fastest badminton smash at 493 km/h. I also learned that badminton was the most-watched sport during the Olympics. Another tidbit is, at a recent badminton tournament in China, 4,000 were seated at the banquet. That is a lot of badminton players in one banquet hall! Henry loves to compete and graciously agreed to share some of his pickleball story with us. Enjoy!
Can you list for us your major wins so we can correctly introduce you to our readers?
2014; Huntsman World Senior Games 60+ men’s singles Gold.
2012; the only Canadian to ever win an All England badminton title.
2011; Huntsman World Senior Games 60+ men’s singles Gold.
2011; Sea-Tac Spring Invitational Men’s singles Gold.
2011; Northwest Senior Games 60+ men’s singles Gold.
2004 officiating at Athens Olympics.
What paddle do you play with and why?
Victor paddles – VICTOR supplies badminton players with quality equipment and has a good supply of everything for racquet sports world-wide, now including pickleball paddles.
What’s your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?
While in Mazatlán, Mexico and not finding any badminton, I started playing pickleball and have enjoyed the challenge ever since.
What’s your preference – playing indoor or outdoor?
Indoor – I am outside enough being a farmer.
Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?
Singles. It’s more physically demanding.
What’s your favorite place to play? Why?
Westbank, British Columbia and Penticton, British Columbia. Nice to get players from such a variety of sports all meeting on a badminton court to play pickleball.
What’s your ”secret sauce”? Any tips for players?
Do something every day for pickleball; for example, if you can’t make it to a practice, make a mental note, “Okay, today, I’m resting for pickleball.” Hit a ball with brains on it–each shot should have purpose.
What’s your day job?
Mixed farming; mostly peaches. We also run our seasonal fruit stand called the Westbank Corner Fruit Stall, which is where we sell our fruit.
How many hours a week do you play? How do you make time to play?
Three to four hours per week. It is difficult juggling pickleball and farming.
Do you have any pickleball goals you’d like to share?
Pickleball is very easy to learn but difficult to improve. My goal is to improve a little.
Anything else you’d like to share about your experience being one of the best pickleball players in the world?
I still do play badminton and find that pickleball has improved my badminton game by making me think differently and vice versa.
Henry mentioned to me that there was an event in Canada next year, the Americas Master Games 2016, that did not have pickleball as an event. We contacted Justin Maloof at USAPA and he forwarded the email to Val Vollmin, president of Pickleball Canada, and a request has been submitted to the Americas Master Games 2016 to have pickleball as a participating sport. Thanks again Henry for being a great “middle man”.