Meet The Pros – Diane Bock
Diane is well known in the national pickleball pro circles. She has a great all-around style, and she loves the game so much, she moved from Iowa to The Villages, Florida so that she could play everyday. Enjoy!
Can you list for us your major wins so we can correctly introduce you to our readers?
2016 US OPEN, 60-64 Women’s Doubles with Bobbie Little – Gold
2015 USAPA Nationals, Women’s Doubles 60+, Bronze with Sue Buerkens
2015 USAPA Nationals, Mixed Doubles 60+with Mark Friedenberg, Bronze
2015 Huntsman World Senior Games, Women’s Doubles with Dee Ahern – Bronze
2015 Sr Nationals Minneapolis Women’s Doubles 60-64 with Bobbie Little – Silver
2014 USAPA Nationals, Mixed Doubles 60+ with Yoda Friedenberg – Gold
2014 USAPA Nationals, Women’s Doubles 55-59 with Deb Arnold – Silver
2012 USAPA Nationals, Mixed Doubles, with husband Marc Bock – Gold
2012 USAPA Nationals, Women’s Doubles with Deb Harrison – Gold
What paddle do you play with and why?
I play with the Paddletek TS-5. I like the control and the power I get with this paddle.
What’s your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?
I grew up across the street from tennis courts, so, of course, I played tennis. I went to the Iowa State Competition in high school tennis. Later, we bought a farm and put in a tennis court. We also played other sports on the court, like volleyball. A friend of ours discovered The Villages, Florida where they were introduced to pickleball. They invited us to come for a visit, and of course, we fell in love with the sport. We went back to Iowa and tried to get it started in the community. We were allowed to use outdoor courts and the indoor rec. center, if it was a scheduled event, but it never really generated much interest. This was 2005. Two years later, we moved to The Villages. The rest is history. We never played tennis after that.
What’s your preference – playing indoor or outdoor?
I prefer to play outdoors. But when I have to play indoors, I get used to it. I have indoor shoes, and it’s not too hard to adjust to the indoor game.
Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?
I like to play all three: Singles, Mixed Doubles and Women’s Doubles. It’s sometimes difficult to prepare for a singles tournament. Usually there’s not been much opportunity to practice for the singles game. So, she started teaching weekly clinics on the singles game. She has about 15 ladies sign up and they work on drills and strategy for the singles game. She also started a “Battle of the Sexes” singles tournament with the ladies and a group of guys too. They have a trophy that travels between the 2 groups. There is a rec center that has 18 courts, so there are plenty of courts available for our tournament. When folks sign in, they get to draw the name of their opponent from “a hat”. After the tournament we always have a potluck. We are always trying to encourage people to try singles play.
What’s your favorite place to play? Why?
The Villages. I enjoy playing in tournaments. I have friends all across the country. But I enjoy everyday play with friends the most. It’s more fun.
What’s your secret sauce? Any tips for players?
My best advice is to have a consistent strategy. Make sure your serve is deep, and make the ball go deep when returning a serve. Always have in mind where you want to be on the court when you hit the ball. I always think about where I am putting the ball instead of hitting randomly. I try to keep the opponent back. Sometimes I do the 3rd shot hard & 5th shot soft. These basics always serve me well. I’m always open to learning new ways to play. I take Deb Harrison’s classes regularly.
What’s your day job?
I retired from my nursing career in 2012. Now I teach pickleball clinics.
How many hours a week do you play? How do you make time to play?
I play every day, up to 20 hours a week. I also cross train in track, softball and golf.
Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?
Before the tournament, I think a lot about who my opponent will be. If I’ll be competing in doubles, I talk about strategies with my partner. I carb load the night before, like a pasta dinner. I get enough sleep. I stay hydrated. Healthy stuff!
Do you have any pickleball goals you’d like to share?
I hope to qualify for The Senior Nationals next year. Every other year is the qualifying year. I also plan to compete in this year’s USAPA Nationals and the Florida State Senior Games. We’ll miss Nationals next year because we are traveling to Africa to do service work. It’s our way of giving back.
Anything else you’d like to share about your experience being one of the best pickleball players today?
Pickleball is such a terrific game. It’s fun, it’s great exercise and a great way to meet terrific, friendly people. We do all need to keep it in healthy perspective when we compete. At the U.S. Open, the media seemed to focus on the more youthful players. The funny thing is, I received some feedback that people loved watching the 60+ games because it’s like a chess match. Those of us in the 60+ category could be recognized more for playing a really smart game.