Meet The Pros – Del Kauss
Can you list for us your major wins so we can correctly introduce you to our readers?
I am a 4-time USAPA Nationals Medalist and a 5-time US OPEN Medalist. My wins include:
2017 Grand Canyon Games Champion with Larry Moon (60+) – Gold
2017 US Open 55+ Men’s Doubles with Glen Peterson – Gold
2017 US Open Senior Pro Champions with Glen Peterson – Silver
2016 US Open, Senior Pro Champions with Glen Peterson – Gold
2016 USAPA Nationals, Senior Open Bronze Medal with Rob Schmidt
2015 USAPA Nationals, Mixed Doubles 55+ with Linda Kauss -Bronze
What paddle do you play with and why?
I currently play with the Pro-Lite Titan. I really like the balance of the paddle and it is the best combination of touch and power that I have found. This is a great paddle.
What’s your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?
My wife introduced me to pickleball. She was introduced by some friends and I played a few times, but did not think it was too challenging as I was an avid tennis player. It took me tearing my patella tendon to come back to pickleball. I was unable to play tennis during rehab but was able to hobble on the pickleball court. As I got better, so did the pickleball competition and I was enjoying it more and more and haven’t played any tennis since.
What’s your preference – playing indoor or outdoor?
I definitely prefer outdoors. I live in Minnesota and we cherish our outdoor time. I love being outdoors for all my activities.
Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?
I prefer doubles. I love the chess match of good dinking rallies and the longer points. I like what I read recently that pickleball is an easy game to learn and a hard game to master. I think doubles is the reason for this quote. What keeps me coming back is the ability to see improvement in my game and shot selection. I’m 60, so singles in a lot tougher on the body, but I’m playing singles in a couple major events in the next couple months.
What’s your favorite place to play? Why?
The US Open in Naples, Florida, under their new canopy. It was such a great experience to play some key matches there this year, with the crowd cheering and the music blasting between points and timeouts. There’s no other pickleball venue like it! I’m looking forward to playing in Utah at two events this year as I hear their courts are very scenic.
What’s your secret sauce? Any tips for players?
Consistency!!! This game is so much about not making errors. Choose placement over power and become consistent by drilling. My wife and I were drilling at our local pickleball club and one of the members said: “That looks boring.” I said: “Yeah maybe, but it wins tournaments!”
What’s your day job?
I just retired from 3M in April. I was in product Development and Corporate Communications. I am loving retirement; more time for pickleball and fly fishing.
How many hours a week do you play? How do you make time to play?
I probably average 5 times a week for 2 to 3 hours a day, so a total of 10 – 15 hours. We have a lot of good competition and many outdoor courts here in Minnesota, so I’m really blessed.
Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?
Eat and hydrate well. Get some tough practice games in before the tournament starts, so I am sweaty and ready! Otherwise, I am usually a slow starter. Most importantly, pray for a good positive attitude during the day.
Do you have any pickleball goals you’d like to share?
My goal is to be able to keep playing at a high level for many years and to learn to have more fun playing. I love playing with Brian Ashworth and Dave Weinbach, because both of them really have fun during recreational games; lots of laughs! What’s great about Brian is he is just the same in tournaments: all about the fun. I’m a little too serious, I need to lighten up a bit.
Anything else you’d like to share about your experience being one of the best pickleball players in the world?
It’s great to be a part of this sport, as I’m able to compete with some of the best players in the world! I hope I can pass on the torch to many more people entering competitive pickleball, the sport of a lifetime!