Meet The Pros – Ted Meyer

Meet The Pros – Ted Meyer

Ted Myer

Ted Meyer and Jenny Butler

Ted Meyer is very philosophical about the game of pickleball. He is in it to win it! Enjoy!

Can you list for us your major wins so we can correctly introduce you to our readers?

  2018 U.S. Open, Men’s 65+ Doubles with Jim Hackenberg, Gold
  2017 USAPA Nationals, Men’s 65+ Doubles with Lenny Chimino, Gold
                   Men’s 65+ Singles, Silver
*2017 National Senior Games, Men’s 65+ Doubles with Jim Hackenberg, Gold
                   Mixed 65+ Doubles with Diane Baumgartner, Bronze
*2017 U. S. Open, Men’s 65+ Doubles with Ernie Tomlinson, Gold
                   Mixed 65+ Doubles with Diane Baumgartner, Bronze
*2016 USAPA Nationals, Men’s 65+ Doubles with Lenny Chimino, Gold
                   Men’s 65+ Singles, Silver
*2016 Huntsman World Games, Men’s 65+ Doubles with Lenny Chimino Gold
,                  Mixed 65+ doubles with Diane Baumgartner, Silver
                   Men’s 65+ singles silver medalist
*2016 U.S. Open, Men’s 65+ doubles, bronze
                   Mixed 60+ doubles, bronze
*Super senior slam –  men’s 65+ doubles (all 4 majors in 8 month period)

Ted Myer Jenny Butler Gold

2018 USAPA Great Lakes Regionals: Debbie Mascarin-Dan McLaughlin Silver; Ted Meyer-Jenny Butler, Gold; Yvonne Hackenberg,-Jim Hackenberg Bronze

What paddle do you play with and why?

Tempest paddle discontinued

Tempest Paddle

I play with the Paddletek Tempest Paddle because it gives me the most feel on my dink shots and third shot drops.

What is your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?

I started playing pickleball in 2012 at The Villages, FL. But the first year I was there (like many others), I was essentially just playing tennis on a pickleball court. So, I always tell people I’ve only been playing for 5 years the right way.

What is your preference – playing indoors or outdoors?

I prefer to play outdoors. Like many of us at my age, we can see the ball much better outside.

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

I prefer to play doubles. I only play singles at the national tournaments. For me, singles is fun for the first few matches, then after that it becomes a lot of work.

What is your secret sauce? Any tips for players?

My secret sauce is not really a secret, but you would be surprised to know how many don’t utilize it. My philosophy is not to feed to your opponent’s forehand. Hit 90% of the shots to their backhand. Make them beat you with their backhand. Also, when dinking, make sure your shot bounces in the kitchen so that your opponent cannot attack it.

How many hours a week do you play? How do you make time to play?

Since I’m retired, I play 4 times a week, 3 to 4 hours at a time. Playing that much does require me to schedule an hour nap in my daily routine, however. (Lol.)

Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

I don’t have any lucky rituals before a big tournament. I got severe leg cramps in my last match on the first day of the first U. S. Open. Since then I do make sure I stay hydrated with plenty of water and Gatorade.

Do you have any pickleball goals you would like to share?

My goal is to stay healthy enough to play competitively for another 5 years.

 

Meet The Pros: Ty Petty

Meet The Pros: Ty Petty

Ty Petty, 2018 US OPEN

Ty Petty, 2018 US OPEN

Ty Petty loves this game and he is ready, willing and able to share his love of pickleball with anyone who steps on the court. Enjoy!

Can you list for us your major wins so we can correctly introduce you to our readers?

2018 Minto US Open, Mixed Doubles Over 40 with Lucy Kitcher – Gold
2018 Logan Stanley Memorial Classic, Nashville, TN, 5.0 Men’s Doubles with Jeff Carlson – Gold
2018 Logan Stanley Memorial Classic,Nashville, TN, 5.0 Mixed Doubles with Mary Helen Atkins – Gold
2018 North Carolina March Madness, Concord, NC, 5.0 Men’s Doubles with Jesse Simon – Gold
2017 Piggleball Tournament, Lexington, NC, Mens Open Doubles with Jeff Carlson – Gold
2017 USAPA Atlantic South Regional, Griffin, GA, 5.0 Men’s Doubles with Brad Tursky – Bronze
2017 Battle on Beech, Beech Mountain, NC, 5.0 Mixed Doubles with Stephanie Lane – Gold
2017 USAPA Great Lakes Regional, Kalamazoo, MI, Mixed Doubles 5.0, 35-49 with Kat Smalley – Bronze

What paddle do you play with and why?

I just switched from the Engage Blade to the new Engage Poach Extreme. I have played competitive table tennis my whole life so I am used to having a paddle that is only 6 inches wide and I love the long skinny paddles for their aerodynamic feel. The Poach Extreme still has a lot of power when I need it, but I really needed the excellent control it offers for third shot drops, volleys and dinks. It gives me a chance to compete at the highest level. I have been sponsored by Engage for over a year and am very thankful for their support.

What is your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?

My wife Cindy actually discovered pickleball for our family, and we immediately became addicted. It combined the best elements of table tennis and badminton, which we’ve played for years in the backyard. This has been a great enhancement to our marriage and I am proud to say that my wife is my favorite pickleball partner, although we stick to recreational games. Unlike playing competitive table tennis, you can play pickleball with anyone and have a fun and competitive game, while getting good exercise.

What is your preference, playing indoors or outdoors?

My first introduction to outdoor play was a tournament in Las Vegas on the roof of a hotel and casino, with over 30 mile per hour winds. It was so windy the nets were blowing over and across the court until they hit a fence, even though they were weighted down at the base. Since then, I have slowly come to embrace playing outdoors and definitely prefer it over indoors. Although all of the organized play in our area is indoors, I try to get outside to play every chance I get.

2018 US Open, Lucy Kitcher/Ty Petty, Over 40 Mixed Doubles - Gold

2018 US Open, Lucy Kitcher-Ty Petty Over 40 Mixed Doubles, Gold, Takako Tourangeau – DJ Howard, Silver

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

I preferred singles when I first started because it was easier to figure out strategies using skills from other racket sports, but I prefer doubles now since I have come to understand and embrace smart pickleball strategies.

What is your favorite place to play? Why?

My favorite tournament is the Logan Stanley Memorial Pickleball Tournament in Nashville, TN. They play great music in the gym, provide an amazing assortment of snacks, and the tournament is run by one of the best referees in pickleball, Don Stanley. Two of the most beautiful places I have played are Beech Mountain, Nort Carolina and Hiawassee, Georgia.

What is your secret sauce? Any tips for players?

Ty Petty selfie

Ty Petty selfie

If you want to improve, it is more important to be able to slow the ball down than to speed the ball up. I wish I had learned that a lot sooner so I hope it helps someone else as they climb up the pickleball ladder.

What is your day job?

I am an Agriculture and 4-H Extension Agent for the University of Tennessee Cooperative Extension Service.

How many hours a week do you play? How do you make time to play?

I usually play 2-4 hours per week, but it’s tough because most of the organized play in our area is in the mornings. We finally have some outdoor pickleball courts with permanent lines on four tennis courts, so we have been able to play in the evening more often. Pickleball is my main source of exercise and the practice helps me stay sharp for tournaments, so I make it a priority to find a day or two to play most weeks.

Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

My most important ritual before any tournament is to make sure all of my tie-dye headbands are clean and ready to go.

Do you have any pickleball goals you would like to share?

My goal is to win another Mixed Doubles Gold medal and also win a medal in Men’s Doubles next year at the US Open. I am also looking forward to teaching several clinics this fall around East Tennessee.

Anything else you would like to share about your experience being one of the best pickleball players in the world?

I have been blessed to have an opportunity to play this sport with some of the world’s best players and will continue to share my love for the sport with anyone who steps on the court.

Meet The Pros – Kale Klein

Meet The Pros – Kale Klein

Kale Klein and Randy Coleman

Kale Klein and Randy Coleman

Kale is SERIOUS in his commitment to the game! Enjoy!

Can you list for us your major wins so we can correctly introduce you to our readers?

Riverton, Utah Bronze 4.5
Star Valley 5.0 Men’s Doubles with his Dad, Kyle Klein, Gold 4.5 mixed doubles
Logan Bridgerland Cash valley  5.0 Men’s Doubles with dad
Farmington Summer Classic 4.5

Kale Klein

Kale Klein in action

What paddle do you play with and why?

I play with the Amped S2. It has the biggest sweet spot for me and has the best control and power of any paddle I have tried. I have a lot of respect for the Barnes family and how they have been so kind to me, offering their sponsorship through their company, Selkirk Sports.

What is your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?

I started 7 years ago, at age 6. We visited my grandparents in Sun City. Playing pickleball was okay when I played the first time. The second time, I really got into it. We went home and drew lines to start playing pickleball. I started competing in tournaments at age 8. I love a good rally. I’m strong in the net game. I like it when the points are longer with more rallies, and I enjoy all the nice people I meet.

What is your preference – playing indoors or outdoors?
Definitely outdoors!

2018 Star Valley - Nick Galanis/Matt Dimock - Silver; Kale Klein/Kyle Klein - Gold; Jevan Weeks/Jesse Roberts - Bronze

2018 Star Valley – Nick Galanis/Matt Dimock – Silver; Kale Klein/Kyle Klein – Gold; Jevan Weeks/Jesse Roberts – Bronze

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

I haven’t medaled yet in singles, but I like both!

What is your favorite place to play? Why?

My favorite place to play is the Brigham City courts – it’s about 30 feet from my house.

Brigham City Sports Complex - Pickleball Courts

Brigham City Sports Complex – Pickleball Courts

What is your secret sauce? Any tips for players?

I like to look like a little kid when I come out on the court.

What is your day job?

 I am a student in 8th grade.

How many hours a week do you play? How do you make time to play?

I try to play 4x weekly. I play pickleball in school. Not a lot of younger people to play with outdoors.

Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

My ritual is to make sure I match head to toe with Selkirk gear.

Do you have any pickleball goals you would like to share?

I’m very competitive. I’m in it to win it: USAPA Nationals, Fall Brawl, etc. I have a goal to BEAT BRIAN ASHWORTH!

Brian Ashworth

Brian Ashworth

Anything else you would like to share about your experience being one of the best pickleball players in the world?

I am thankful for this sport. It has helped me to be a better player. I have learned how to talk and partner with older adults and how to be a good competitor.

Meet The Pros – Nancy Jensen

Meet The Pros – Nancy Jensen

Nancy Jensen, Takako Tourangeau

May, 2017 Timberhill Spring Fling @ Corvallis, OR Gold WD 4.5 Nancy Jensen, Takako Tourangeau

Nancy Jensen is one of our favorite local Pros. I love Nancy’s story, especially the part about Joel Pritchard coming to her school and Nancy’s use of pickle juice to re-energize during a tournament. Enjoy!

Can you list for us your wins so that we can correctly introduce you to our readers?

In May of 2016 I began competing regularly in tournaments. In June of 2017 I received notification that I would be rated as 5.0. Takako Tourangeau & I decided to delay that change until after Nationals in Nov. since the 4.5 category would now be included. For 2018 I have played in my 5.0 Legacy rating, but my rating under the new system will now be WD – 4.5, MXD 5.0, WS- 4.5.

I have been lucky enough to play in quite a few tournaments with different partners since I started playing competitively two years ago. My tournament experiences below lists many of the medals I’ve won in the skill categories 4.5 and 5.0. I’ve also competed in the age groupings of 35+ through 70+. My hope is that I can continue to be considered a competitive tournament player who can play and find partners in these skill and age groupings at future local or national tournaments.

2018 Coeur d’Alene Classic Silver Women’s Singles 4.5
2018 SoCal Summer Classic  @ Encinitas, CA Mixed Doubles 60+ Bronze with Gregg Whitfield
2018 Pickleball Station 4.5 & 5.0 – Kent, WA Gold Women’s Doubles  with Mary Sigmen
2018 Pickleball Station 4.5 & 5.0 — Kent, WA  Silver Women’s Doubles with Takako Tourangeau
2018 Grand Canyon @ El Mirage, AZ Gold Women’s Doubles 5.0 Age 70+ Audrey Sherfey
2018 Cougar Classic Gold Women’s Doubles 5.0  with Takako Tourangeau
Gold Mixed Doubles 4.5 Ages 60-70+ with Jim McMillan
2017 USAPA Pacific NW Regional @ Bend, OR Gold Women’s Doubles 4.5 Ages 19-35+ with Takako Tourangeau
2017 Canada National @ Kelowna Gold Women’s Doubles 4.5  with Takako Tourangeau
2017 International Indoor @ Centralia Gold Women’s Doubles 4.5 with Takako Tourangeau
Silver Sr. Women’s Doubles with Che Cui

Pickleball Station Gold with Mary Sigmen

 What paddle do you play with and why?

I have played with various paddles produced by Paddletek. I thought I was playing well with the Bantam until this year at the Grand Canyon Tournament when Chris Miller had me try his red & white Paddletek Tempest. He thought with my game, I’d like the touch & feel of this paddle and he was absolutely right. I’ve been tempted by other paddles but prefer playing with the Tempest. Like in tennis, I need to stay with a paddle that fits my game and not be tempted by the latest & greatest new paddle.

What is your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?

I began teaching High School PE in 1972 and during a fall sports clinic, Joel Pritchard presented a brief workshop on pickleball. He handed out a 2-page rule sheet which included a template for making paddles from 5/8 inch plywood. My fellow PE teacher purchased the wood & cut out the paddles. We sanded them down, placed athletic tape around the handles as grips and then purchased wiffle balls. At the end of our badminton units we would incorporate a pickleball unit. At that time I was teaching, coaching and playing competitive tennis, so I didn’t like pickleball. The paddles were too heavy and the handles cut your hands. In 2014 I found pickleball listed at a Seattle Rec. Center and saw for the first time how much the sport and equipment had changed since the 70’s. Injuries had prevented me from continuing with tennis, so I was eager to finally find something I truly enjoyed as much as tennis.

What is your preference: playing indoors or outdoors?

I love playing outside when the courts are dry, temperatures are above 50 degrees, the wind is below 10 mph and the Dura-40 ball is being used. But because I choose to live in the PNW and I want to play, drill & improve my game, I have to play inside on hardwood or a tennis court. During the rainy season, I’m just happy that there are now indoor pickleball courts available. For tournaments, I prefer outdoor play with all it’s varied locations and the diverse natural elements which add additional challenges to this extremely enjoyable game.

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

I’ve always enjoyed playing a singles game characterized by more net play and fewer groundstrokes. Right now I feel I can still be competitive at the 4.5 skill level in the 35+ and 50+ divisions. At my age singles takes a toll on my body very quickly and I don’t want it to negatively affect my doubles play in the days which follow this event. My hope is that the smaller tournaments will begin using a 15-point format with 2 out of 3 games reserved for the finals. This change, I think, would encourage more women to begin or continue playing in the singles event.

I love the doubles game mostly because I can more fully utilize my aggressive serve & volley skills developed when I played tennis. They transfer almost seamlessly to pickleball shots and strategies. Of course, the dink shot has proven to be a challenging exception. I believe a successful doubles team requires finding a partner whose game both complements and contrasts with your own. Finding a partner, and then working together to develop the skills, team strategies, competitive temperament, and thereby the team chemistry needed to compete successfully, is one of the hidden rewards to be treasured in the doubles game.

Jan. 2018 Cougar Classic @ Vancouver, WA Gold WD 5.0

Jan. 2018 Cougar Classic @ Vancouver, WA Emy Williams/Lynn Syler, Silver, Nancy Jensen/Takako Tourangeau, Gold, Sheila Schoonover/KimBessling, Bronze Women’s Doubles 5.0

What is your favorite place to play? Why?

I began playing at various rec sites in Seattle, Mercer Island and the ARC located in the International District. Each time I changed location it was to move to a higher level of play where I thought I could now compete and also learn more advanced skills. Since I prefer to play against a variety of players, my favorite locations in Seattle are now: Pickleball Station, Yost Park, SeaTac Rec. the Highline Athletic Cemter in Burien and also the Eastmont Public Parks in East Wenatchee.

What is your secret sauce? Any tips for players?

Be sure you’re having fun and that you are continually striving to learn. Find a player who is as addicted to the game as you are and is willing to drill. I was fortunate that when I started to play competitive pickleball I meet and partnered with Takako who was developing a similar addiction to the game. We continue to drill & play to help each other improve our individual skills and games strategies.

What is your day job?

For 31 years I taught in the Highline School District. I began teaching PE & coaching tennis at Highline High School in 1972. For 4 years I directed the WA State Girl’s Invitational Tennis Tournament until the event was recognized by the WIAA and became an official State Tournament. In 1980 I joined the Business Dept. at Highline teaching computer programming, Info Tech & Computer Apps, and Web Design. In the 1990’s I moved to Mt. Rainier High School’s Business Dept. and taught there until I retired in 2004. After 31 years of teaching, I retired. In Seattle it’s an extreme joy not to have a daily 30-45 minute commute.

How many hours a week do you play? How do you make time to play?

During the summer I usually play between 3 to 4 days a week for about 2-3 hours. One or two of those days are focused on drills. During the rainy season, it has become more difficult to find facilities that aren’t overly crowded. However, I can still play 2 times a week but I also try to find times, facilities & players who are available to drill in the mornings or midday.

Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

I don’t have any rituals that I know are lucky. To prepare my body and mind, I do focus on hydrating with electrolyte drinks several days before the tournament. I also keep a supply of pickle juice handy in case a more concentrated supply is needed during the tournament. I continue to follow the preparation activities I used for tennis. This includes mentally practicing my shots & strategies, reviewing mental & physical notes I have about my opponents, try to determine what the best individual/team strategy might be against some opponents, and deciding how the court and playing conditions will determine which option I’ll prefer if I win the toss. My most important ritual is: “Always go to the bathroom before taking the court, so you’re sure to have your complete attention on the game!”

Do you have any pickleball goals you would like to share?

Skills I’m currently trying to develop are: blocking and digging out smashes from the mid-court with a soft drop shot into the kitchen. Footwork remains a constant area of work and focus because it has such a major positive impact on my consistency and success when I move efficiently and get into position early. I just received an incredibly appropriate t-shirt for my birthday. It states:

“Dink Responsibly,
Don’t Get Smashed”

I am told that I’m a bit too aggressive in my play and need to develop “patience.” “Easy” as Brian Ashworth has frequently said, should be my mantra.  Unfortunately after about 3-4 dinks a little voice shouts in my ear, ”Attack.” Now my goal is to regularly hit 5-6 dinks in a row and maybe someday get to 10 dinks before I hear “Attack!”

Anything else you would like to share about your experience being one of the best pickleball players in the world?

First, I am not one of the best players, but I think being in Seattle has allowed me to watch and play against some of the best. Many of these players have been very willing to give me tips and help me develop my game. Realizing that I don’t have that many competitive years left, I knew I needed a more concentrated and focused approach to improve my game. I decided to take a few lessons, something I never did for tennis. The private lessons from Peter Hudachko has been a immense help in improving my skills in both dinking and blocking, while also making my footwork patterns more efficient.

Youtube videos have allowed me watch the skills and analyze the strategies used by the BEST. Although my previous experience in tennis is a help, I was slow to realize that pickleball really isn’t tennis. I need to continually analyze, modify and/or develop my shots and strategies. Recently I viewed a video of my competitive match play. Although not a pretty thing to watch, it clearly shows you what you have not corrected, the errors or poor techniques you’re continuing to use, and the poor footwork or court positioning that has returned and must again be corrected. I think most players would improve their skills & court positioning if they could arrange to have a video made of their match play. This visual feedback provides you with the critical information you need to realize your progress and also determine your new goals in pickleball.

 

Meet The Pros – Lucy Kitcher

Meet The Pros – Lucy Kitcher

Lucy Kitcher

That Lucy Kitcher SMILE

Lucy Kitcher, originally from England, loves pickleball and she loves the people she meets wherever she plays. She is GAMMA’s first pickleball pro! Enjoy!

Can you list for us your recent wins so we can correctly introduce you?

2018 Great Lakes Regional, Mixed Doubles 5.0 with Ernesto Fajardo – Silver and
            Women’s Doubles 5.0 with Bobbie Phoumy – Silver
2018 Gamma Pickleball Classic, Pro Women’s Doubles with Bobbie Phoumy and
             Women’s Singles Open Pro – Silver
2018 SoCal Summer Classic, Mixed Doubles age with Tao Thongvanh – Gold
2018 Minto US Open, Mixed Doubles age with Ty Petty – Gold and
             Women’s Doubles age with Mary Helen Atkins, Gold

What paddle do you play with and why?

Gamma Mirage – it has great touch so I can dink with accuracy and the Gamma Needle.

What’s your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?

About three years ago I was taking my daughter, Rebecca, to soccer practice at Bamford Park in Davie, Florida. A friend posted on Facebook to try pickleball. As luck would have it, pickleball courts were at the same park where my daughter was practicing. I dropped her off at practice and hunted around for the courts. The people at the park were so friendly, they gave me a paddle and allowed me to join in. One game and I was hooked! After that, I went to play pickleball three times a week when I took Rebecca to soccer practice. It wasn’t long before I was playing pickleball even on the days she didn’t have soccer practice!

What’s your preference – playing indoor or outdoor?

I usually only play outdoors.

US Open Women's doubles Lucy Kitcher and Maryhelen Atkins win Gold

US Open Women’s doubles Lucy Kitcher and Maryhelen Atkins win Gold – with Jodi Elliott and Geegee Garvin.

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

Doubles!! I never played tennis and singles is more like tennis. Doubles is more about strategy and shot choice and placement.

What’s your favorite place to play? Why?

After this weekend my new favorite is Chicken n Pickle. There are outdoor courts which are covered so you can play even in the rain. There is also a restaurant right at the courts. My local courts are at Bamford Park in Davie, Florida.

What’s your secret sauce? Any tips for players?

Slowing down the game. Especially when playing against players who love to hit the ball hard.

What’s your day job?

Pickleball. I run tournaments and trips through my company Zero Zero Stay. I also attend lots of tournaments!

How many hours a week do you play? How do you make time to play?

I currently play about five days a week. I was playing every day but decided to try some other exercise such as Zumba and Pilates to keep me in shape.

Meet The Pros – Jay Rippel

Meet The Pros – Jay Rippel

Jay Rippel and Glen Peterson

Jay Rippel and Glen Peterson, International Indoor Pickleball Tournament, Sr. Men’s Doubles  – Gold

One of Jay’s goals in life is for his doubles partners to say he is a “really good partner.” If you ask Glen Peterson, he would say Jay Rippel is an outstanding doubles partner. Enjoy!!

Can you list for us your major wins so we can correctly introduce you to our readers?

2018 International Indoor Tournament, Sr Men’s Doubles, Open with Glen Peterson – Gold,
       Mixed Doubles with Kim Jagd – Silver,
       Sr Singles Open – Silver
2017 and 2018 Canadian Nationals Tournament SR Open Mens Gold, 2018 Gold Sr mixed open
2017 Lakes tournament (1st ppf event)  Silver Sr Open Men’s Doubles
2017 USAPA Nationals, Men’s Doubles, age 50-54 with Scott Burr – Gold
2017 International Indoor Tournament, Mixed Doubles with Julie Haney, Bronze

What paddle do you play with and why?

I’m currently a member of “Team Selkirk” and play with the Selkirk  “Amped Omni” lightweight paddle. I love the touch and feel it gives me without sacrificing the power that my original Omni had. I play with the lightweight version and this has helped me tremendously with my “paddle speed” at the net when playing doubles. I feel I return a lot more balls with this paddle that are hit hard at me.

What is your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?

I was introduced to pickleball way back in 1992 at a 24-Hour Fitness Club in Bellevue, Washington by a gentleman named Ewol. It was played on carpet with the old Cosom ball. I was instantly hooked. There really weren’t any tournaments back then, but a group of us played several times a week until the club was shut down. Unless I’m injured, I have played pickleball weekly for the last 26+ years.

What is your preference – playing indoors or outdoors?

I really prefer to play outdoors with the Dura ball, since its such a fun ball to try and master.

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

When I was in my 30’s and 40’s, I preferred to play singles since its such a challenge to compete, especially against the younger players. Now that I’m in my 50’s, I prefer men’s doubles to everything else. I will occasionally play singles, but usually in the bigger tournaments. I also enjoy mixed doubles and have been lucky to find some amazing ladies to partner with.

What is your secret sauce? Any tips for players?

I think my style of play is a bit more aggressive than a lot of players. I’m always trying to create shots for my partners and keep opponents guessing on where my shot will be placed. I think with the way the game is evolving, my advice to new players is to not be too predictable, like always playing one style. I think everyone who plays tournaments and wants to compete at a high level should also look to add some sort of “offensive” shot to their game. Communication with my partners during a match is crucial to the success of our game.

How many hours a week do you play? How do you make time to play?

Jay Rippel

Jay and daughters Caitlin and Mackenzie

I’m able to play pickleball on a regular basis. I have a fabulous support system of my wife, Leigh and two great daughters, Caitlyn and Mackenzie. I play usually 3-4 times a week with a great group of pickleball players. Each session is usually 2-3 hours and mainly consist of doubles. Sometimes we will drill before tournaments.

What is your day job?

When I’m not playing, my day job is in the field of “financial services” and with stock market hours.

Do you have any pickleball goals you would like to share?

My goals for pickleball are pretty simple. I would love to win a “Sr OPEN” Gold medal in one of the major tournaments (USAPA Nationals, US Open, Tournament of Champions). I’d like to stay healthy and pain free, and I’d like players to think that “yes he’s a pretty good player”; he is also a “really good partner!”

Meet The Pros: Nick Williams

Meet The Pros – Nick Williams

Nick Williams

Nick Williams

Pickleball Pro Glen Peterson says: “I believe Nick is the best player in Washington state right now. It is safe to say Nick is one of the top 20 players in the nation in men’s open doubles.”  He sounds like one serious contender. Enjoy!

Can you list for us your major wins so we can correctly introduce you to our readers?

Gold at Yakima Classic, Quarters at US Open, Semis at SoCal Classic, matching wins against McGuffin/Goebel, Evans/Campbell, Johns/Siebenschein, Farias/Dawson. I also have multiple losses to many of these players so I certainly haven’t gotten the better of any of them.

What paddle do you play with and why?

I have been using the Selkirk PRIME S2 for most of my time playing pickleball. The paddle allows me to feel the ball on the paddle face as well as create spin.

What is your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?

I have a tennis background and played for the University of Washington in the mid 1990’s. My brother convinced me to try pickleball during the summer of 2016. I’ve been playing regularly since.

What is your preference: playing indoors or outdoors?

I much prefer outdoors on a sunny day. When the conditions are more difficult with wind, sun or shadows the game is more interesting. It’s harder to line up balls perfectly and play pure power. A ball out of round will drive me crazy though.

2017 International Indoor Pickleball Championships: Men's singles Open. Tyson MacGuffin (gold) Nick Williams (silver) Rob Cassidy (bronze)

2017 International Indoor Pickleball Championships: Men’s singles Open. Nick Williams (silver), Tyson McGuffin (gold) and Rob Cassidy (bronze)

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

I preferred singles in the beginning as the transition from tennis was easier. I now prefer doubles after learning some of the nuances. There are similarities between pickleball and tennis with singles but doubles is a completely different game, which I like.

What is your favorite place to play? Why?

The first time I actually played games was on a court tucked away in a small park in Bellevue, WA. It’s probably the best outdoor court in the area and is still my favorite place to play.

What is your secret sauce?

I try and stay mentally in the moment. Games are quick and momentum changes often. It can be costly to let negativity carry over from point to point.

Any tips for players?

After watching various levels play, I commonly see issues with court positioning/coverage. Teams shouldn’t get beat down the line or through the middle. Hitting hard with a cross court angle shot is very difficult in pickleball and teams should make opponents try and beat them with the most difficult shot.

What is your day job?

I work for Boeing as a Financial Analyst.

How many hours a week do you play? How do you make time to play?

I usually play twice a week for a total of about 5 or 6 hours a week.

Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

I am not superstitious, but I do try and break a sweat with a good warm up before the first match.

Do you have any pickleball goals you would like to share?

I would like to experience playing against the top players at as many of the major tournaments as possible. I have a wife and 6-year-old twins, so finding the right balance will be the challenge.

Nick Williams with his twins

Nick Williams with his twins