Meet The Pros: Patrick Williams
Can you list for us your major wins so we can correctly introduce you to our readers?
My wife, Emily, and I placed 2nd at the US Open last year in 40+ doubles (defeated Robert & Jodi Elliott).
Rob Davidson and I defeated Chris Miller/Dalton Vavra, Kurtis Campbell/Brian Ashworth and Tony Tollenar/Doug Hastings before losing to Wes Gabrielson and Kyles Yates at the Rally in the Valley (Albany, OR).
What paddle do you play with and why?
In the past, I played with the Selkirk Pro S1C+. Great touch, large sweet spot and ability to hit with topspin and slice. I just switched to the Selkirk Maxima 21P MXO paddle and love it.
What’s your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?
I was introduced to pickleball at a Young Life fundraiser tournament 5 years ago. I was the girl’s tennis coach at West Albany HS at the time. I teamed up with the boy’s tennis coach. We raided the PE department and found some wooden paddles.
We won the tournament easily but had no idea about strategy (dinks, 3rd shots, etc). At the event, we were introduced to Bob VanderLinden, a local USAPA ambassador. He encourage us to join the local pickleball club and enter the Timberhill Spring Fling in Corvallis, OR. We entered the tourney at the 4.0 level and were the only players in the tourney with wooden paddles! Had a great time anyway and I was hooked.
What’s your preference – playing indoor or outdoor?
I enjoy playing both, but overall I like indoors better for two reasons. The gym floor is easy on the body, so I can play for 3 or 4 hours, multiple days in a row. And the slower game doesn’t require as much drilling to groove your shots enough to have fun.
Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?
I prefer doubles. I’m 45 now and enjoy covering 1/2 the court more and more with each passing year. The first couple of years I played both singles and doubles in tournaments. I eventually made it to the 5.0 level in singles. To play singles well, you have to be in great shape. To play doubles, it isn’t as important.
What’s your favorite place to play? Why?
Eleanor Hackleman Park in Albany, Oregon. It’s the home of the Albany Pickleball Club. I spent a good part of my first two summers working on skills and strategy with Craig Poole, Sarah Gaines and Bob VanderLinden. The last couple of summers I’ve spent time there drilling with Wes Gabrielsen and my wife, Emily.
What’s your secret sauce? Any tips for players?
Grind, baby, grind! I’m usually not the tallest or most athletic player on the court. I try hard to neutralize my opponents strengths. In most cases, this involves patience, low dinks and hitting high percentage shots.
What’s your day job?
I’m a high school math and science teacher at Baker Web Academy. It’s an online charter school run out of Baker City, Oregon which provides free, public education for students all across Oregon who are interested in an alternative to the brick and mortar option.
How many hours a week do you play? How do you make time to play?
I try to play twice a week for about 3 hours each session. This fluctuates greatly depending on the availability of other 4.5/5.0 players in the area.
Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?
Not really. I just make sure to take a couple of ibuprofen before the tourney starts and make sure to know where the mustard packets and/or pickles are located.
Do you have any pickleball goals you’d like to share?
My goal is continue to enjoy pickleball and get my son, Luke (13), and daughter, Kate (10), into it.
Anything else you’d like to share about your experience being one of the best pickleball players in the world?
The pickleball community is so open and inviting. I really enjoy meeting new people and making close friendships through the sport.