Meet The Pros – Dan McLaughlin
Dan McLaughlin is a platform tennis and paddleball convert who really is a team player. He loves the game and he loves the pickleball community. He also loves to win! Enjoy!
Can you list for us your major wins so we can correctly introduce you to our readers?
2019 US OPEN Men’s Skill/Age Doubles with Jim Hackenberg, Gold
Mixed Doubles with Jo Anne Russell – Bronze
2018 US OPEN Men’s Doubles Age 65+ with Seymour Rifkind – Silver
Mixed Doubles Age 65+ with Deb Harrison – Silver
Men’s Skill/Age Doubles with Jim Hackenberg – Gold
Mixed Doubles Skill/Age with Deb Harrison – Silver
2017 US OPEN Men’s Doubles Age with Jim Hackenberg – Silver
Men’s Doubles Skill 50+ 4.5 with Pat Sinicki – Gold
Mixed Doubles Skill 50+ 4.5 with Nancy Robertson – Bronze
2017 Huntsman Senior Games Men’s Skill Doubles 4.5 50+ with Pat Sinicki – Silver
2014 USAPA Nationals, Mixed Doubles 65+ with Yvonne Hackenberg – Bronze
What paddle do you play with and why?
I am sponsored by Paddletek and I play with the TS-5 Pro. Paddletek is just an hour from where I live. I like the way the TS-5 Pro plays, especially the way the grip is rounder and feels more like a tennis grip.
What is your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?
I used to play tennis with Matt Wright at the University of Michigan. He was finishing his training and I was starting with the same coach. I knew Jim and Yvonne Hackenberg. years ago. They lived in Detroit, Michigan and I lived in Kalamazoo, where I lived for 35 years. They asked me to play pickleball, but I was into playing platform tennis and paddleball at the time. They didn’t give up. When I started playing in 2014 I was quickly hooked, and playing with the Hackenbergs put me on the fast track to being competitive at the national level. I now live in Holland Michigan and winter in Naples, Florida. It is so easy to participate in the US OPEN each year.
What is your preference – playing indoors or outdoors?
Outdoors! I like being outside in the fresh air. I grew up in Southern California and loved the sun and the challenge of the wind.
Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?
I prefer doubles. Singles are too rough on me. I get too spent with little left to bring to the doubles match. I don’t want to let my doubles partner down by mixing singles and doubles in a tournament.
What is your favorite place to play? Why?
St. George Utah. Great courts and there are neat places to visit.
What is your secret sauce? Any tips for players?
Get old enough to watch the competitive field thin out through attrition. Pick good partners and stay out of their way.
What is your day job?
I am a semi-retired root canal specialist, otherwise known as endodontist. Mention you know me, and you might get a discount… or not. I also do wildlife photography. I have traveled to Alaska and Africa on photography excursions. I also take pictures at pickleball tournaments.
Do you have any pickleball goals you would like to share?
I have no big goals. I have been successful at the last few US OPEN tournaments. I now play pickleball as a fun way to stay fit and I love playing with family and friends. I’m satisfied with playing at a high level and keeping in contact with mentors.
Anything else you would like to share about your experience being one of the best pickleball players in the world?
I have been given the privilege to know all the top folks in most of the country. I’m surprised to be included in this category. It is an honor to be sponsored by Paddletek. I like Paddletek because they recognize good players at all levels and gave support to someone like him, a small fish in a BIG pond.