Meet The Pros – Athena Trouillot
Athena represents some of the young tennis players who are finding their competitive edge fits well with the game of pickleball. She also likes to give back by sharing her best skills in training others. Enjoy!
Can you list for us your major wins so we can correctly introduce you to our readers?
2019 USAPA Nationals Margaritaville, Women’s Skill/Age Doubles 5.9:19+ with Catherine Parenteau – Silver
2019 Canadian Nationals, Women’s Doubles Open with Catherine Parenteau – Gold
Mixed Doubles Open with Steve Deakin – Silver
What paddle do you play with and why?
I am sponsored by Paddletek and I play with the Bantam EX-L. I love it! It has pop and power. It allows spin and is solid enough to be good with blocking. I don’t have to do much to get the ball back over the net.
What is your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?
I grew up in Miami and played tennis at Michigan State on a full scholarship. Simone Jardim was my instructor for the first 3 years. Catherine Parenteau started 2 years before me. I graduated 2 years ago. I was home schooled before college and I played tennis 3-4 hours a day, including 3 of 4 weekends a month. Tennis was necessarily a singles game to be eligible for a scholarship and to compete at the college level. I burned out. I was introduced to pickleball by Cliff and Erica while at Michigan State. We played 2-3 times a week, and then we’d go out to eat afterwards. I needed a different sport, and it was exactly what I needed. Pickleball is competitive, and I was quickly good at it, but a main difference was I could play with friends and be social afterwards.
What is your preference – playing indoors or outdoors?
Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?
I started singles, loving the adrenaline rush. With singles though you get exhausted. When I picked up pickleball, I wasn’t in my top competitive fitness level. After that I started with a personal trainer to stay on top of my game. I play more doubles now.
What is your favorite place to play? Why?
Indian Wells! It is an incredible facility where they make you feel professional. Playing on the center court had a special ambiance. The energy there was electric.
Being at home in Naples is great too, playing with friends.
What is your secret sauce? Any tips for players?
Keep fit! I work out 3 days a week with a trainer. I also do cardio. This helps me to be in the best shape for competition.
Make sure you drill to have quick hands, to block well. I have a reputation for “quick hands.” People who play with me the first time often remark, “I can’t believe you hit all those balls. You are so fast in blocking!”
What is your day job?
Before I moved to Naples Florida, my day job kept me from being able to play and drill. Now I teach at the Mediterra Country Club and help Catherine and Simone at Simone’s Academy with their training workshops.
How many hours a week do you play? How do you make time to play?
Most days I am teaching pickleball up to 5 hours a day, often drilling with students. Repeating strokes helps and it adds to the hours I practice. When I practice, it’s about 1-1 ½ hours a day. A month before a tournament it is 4-5 hours a day.
Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?
I eat light and drink lots of Pedialyte. No meals, just snacking after a light breakfast.
Anything else you would like to share about your experience being one of the best pickleball players in the world?
I enjoy travelling to tournaments. What’s fun about travelling is that Catherine, Simone and I always put on clinics wherever we go. We like to give people an opportunity to train with us. We offered it at the Canadian Nationals in Kingston Ontario. People love learning and we love to do clinics.