Meet The Pros – Randy Coleman

Meet the Pros – Randy Coleman

Randy Coleman

Randy Coleman

Randy has sized up the competition quickly and set his sights on beating Scott Moore, one of the best singles competitors in the world of pickleball. Good luck Randy, look out Scott! Enjoy!

2017 USAPA Nationals, Joe Nguyen/Randy Coleman - Bronze

2017 USAPA Nationals, Jay Rippel/Scott Burr – Gold; Scott Clayson/Justin Rodgers – Silver and Joe Nguyen/Randy Coleman – Bronze

Can you list for us your major wins so we can correctly introduce you to our readers?
I played my first sanctioned tournament as a self-rated player in Houston, Texas in 2017
February 2017- The Real Dill, Houston, Texas
Gold Medal- Mixed Doubles 4.5 skill
Gold Medal- Men’s Doubles 4.5 skill
Gold Medal- Men’s Doubles 50+
(I was contacted by the USAPA and moved to a 5.0 in April 2017)
April 2017- Texas Senior Games, San Antonio, Texas
Gold Medal- Mixed Doubles Age 50-54

Randy Coleman, Silver,

Randy Coleman, Men’s Singles 5.0, 50+- Silver

September 2017- USAPA Great Plains Regional, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Silver Medal-Mens Singles 5.0, 50+
Gold Medal- Mixed Doubles 5.0, 50+
November 2017- USAPA National Championships (my first)
Silver Medal- Mens Singles Age/Skill 5.0, 50+
Bronze Medal- Mens Doubles Age/Skill 5.0, 50+
January 2018- State Games of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, Ok
Silver Medal- Mens Singles 5.0, 50+
Gold Medal- Mens Doubles 5.0, 50+
March 2018- South Florida Slam, Ft. Lauderdale, Fl
Bronze Medal- Mens Pro Singles Open 19+
Silver Medal- Mens Pro Doubles Open 19+

 

 

 

What paddle do you play with and why?

I am a Pro Athlete for Selkirk, and I play with the AMPED Epic for singles and the AMPED S2 for doubles.  Being a former tennis player, I like the Epic longer handle and head heavy leverage feel when I am hitting power, ground strokes, while still having a large sweet spot for coming in for volley put-aways and overheads. I play with the AMPED S2 for doubles, for its smooth, soft feel coming off the paddle with easy power. The shorter handle naturally puts my hand closer to the paddle face which will always give more control for kitchen rallies, while still maintaining big power when needed as the entire Amped series gives a player.

What is your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?
I grew up playing tennis from a young age in Lubbock, Texas, and into college. I also grew up playing anything with a ball.  I’ve had a ping pong table since I could walk.  My brother played competitive badminton in college, and I used to practice with him all the time.  I grew up playing a beach paddle sport called Smashball or Kadima with 2 wooden paddles and a small uninflated ball.  In 2015, while living in Florida, I went back to Lubbock, Texas to visit. I have a friend that, when I am in town, we are always golfing, throwing softball, playing basketball or getting our Smashball paddles and going to the park to hit. The object of the game of Smashball is just to keep the ball going when hitting back and forth without it hitting the ground.  I kept saying, there has got to be a better paddle we could use. 

I Googled Smashball paddles, and these funny looking pickleball paddles came up.  Now I’m curious and I begin looking into pickleball paddles. I found that a local sporting good store had a Wilson Pickleball paddle.  I went to only buy the paddles, but then saw the balls and decided, why not.  We fell in love with our old game and our new paddles, but then decided to try this pickleball game we saw online, but with no place to play, we  hit on a tennis court. In Lubbock the volleyball courts in the parks are on concrete. We found ourselves making up a game hitting over the volleyball net. It’s actually fun, I’ll show you sometime. I went back to Florida and looked up places to play pickleball.  I found converted courts in Ocala and then the golden gates opened when I found the dedicated courts in Daytona Beach Shores.  I was quickly addicted, traveling almost every weekend 1 ½ hours from Gainesville to play on these great pickleball courts with some really good players.  The rest is history.

Randy Coleman in action outdoors

Randy Coleman in action outdoors

What is your preference “playing indoors or outdoors?
In March of 2016, when I moved from Florida to Houston, Texas, I quickly learned that here are no public outdoor courts in Houston, except for one friend who had his own outdoor court.  Needless to say, if you want to play pickleball in Houston, you play indoors, mostly at YMCA locations. To answer your question, I absolutely prefer outdoor play. I grew up playing tennis on outdoor courts. It is just a totally different game to me. I understand the need to have indoor play but as the sport continues to grow, I would love to see sport complexes accommodating several sports, building acrylic hard surface pickleball courts, just as they have for tennis. 

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?
I totally love the individual personal accomplishments you get when you play singles. It’s just you and the opponent. It’s fast, it’s hardcore, it’s intense, it’s pure endurance.  I am 54 however, so my mind loves singles, and sometimes my body is not very happy with my mind for loving singles so much. I will say doubles can really bring a smile to your face. It’s strategy, it’s patience, it’s offense and defense, it’s exciting for the crowds. And when you find the great chemistry with a partner, there is nothing like it.  Did I answer your question?  It’s kind of like ice cream.

Some of us have a few favorites, and how do we choose? I really like pistachio, and chocolate almond, and chocolate mint, and orange sherbert, but if I walk by a freezer and I see Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey, I’ll always pick that one. So I guess you could say singles is my Chunky Monkey.

Randy Coleman hiking

Randy Coleman hiking

What is your favorite place to play? Why?
Wow, so many, it’s like the ice cream dilemma. I am still pretty new to this sport, however, because I am fortunate enough to play in so many locations in a fairly short amount of time, I do have some wonderful memories of many.  

I spent 23 years living in Florida, and Daytona Beach Shores has some initial lasting memories. Arizona is a mecca of beautiful pickleball locations, and the hiking in the surrounding mountains is awesome. Chicken N’ Pickle in Kansas City was just so uniquely cool with great food and beer, so I’ve heard. 😉  The Bobby Riggs Tennis/Pickleball Center in California holds a true special place for me for its laid back feel, the California weather, and Steve Dawson. Monument Park in Colorado Springs, where my son lives, is always special to pass through  with views of Pikes Peak, and of course, more spectacular hiking.

Playing with Sergio Garcia and ex tennis pro Amer Delic at a friends house in Austin

Playing with Sergio Garcia and ex tennis pro Amer Delic at a friends house in Austin, Texas

Everywhere I go, except Florida unfortunately, I have a close group of players and friends, and we ALWAYS take time during tournament play to go on as many hiking adventures as we can.  So you ask me what my favorite place is?  Well, it’s all of them, because pickleball is not just a sport, or an outdoor court, it’s about meeting new people and making an adventure together wherever you are.

What is your secret sauce? Any tips for players?
I am a visual learner.  I watch the top players and mimic their movements through hours of practice.  A tennis background helps to develop the natural movements and advanced shot selections.  I will say, no matter what your level, you will play how you practice. You can’t expect different results doing the same thing over and over. Cliché’? a little, but it’s pure and important.

Take tips from as many Pro Instructors as you can, preferably an IPTPA Instructor with consistent baseline fundamentals, and learn at least one thing they teach. Then take all those “one” things and apply them to your game.  If you grew up playing a sport, take those fundamentals you were taught and learn to apply them into your paddle movement. You don’t just hit your shots over, hit your shots with a purpose. Don’t just serve the ball, serve deep to a target. Don’t just dink the ball over, dink to a target. It’s a chess game, be patient.

What is your day job?

My day job is now pickleball. I left a great paying job last November with benefits, decided to minimize my life, sold 75% of my belongings, and only mostly kept what I could take on the road.  I signed with Selkirk as a Pro Playing Athlete, Coach and distributor in January.  Fittingly Selkirk is the only paddle brand I have ever played with.  I decided I would not worry about gaining monetary wealth, but enjoy the peace and happiness through teaching, sharing and playing this life changing sport.

How many hours a week do you play? How do you make time to play?
I will practice and play anywhere from 10-18 hours a week if I am preparing for an event.  I am not counting any teaching hours of court time. I will schedule a recovery or fun day every 3 or 4 days.

Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?
I don’t have a ritual before a tournament, but I am a slightly methodical person during a tournament. I have a mental list of things I make sure I have a fresh Tourna Grip dry wrap on all my paddles, plenty of dry daily shirts, plenty of wrist sweatbands, 2 hats, 2 pair of socks for each day, 2 pair of shoes to rotate, 2 pair of ankle braces (Adidas Speedwrap), plenty of Bai drinks and water. (Uh oh, I guess I do have a ritual.)

Do you have any pickleball goals you would like to share?
I want to beat Scott Moore in singles in a tournament. I want to play pickleball and go hiking with friends in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. And my ultimate goal is to help see this sport make it into the Olympics and be a part of the Coaching Staff.  Thanks to Daniel Moore, I have been invited by their newly formed Shenzhen Pickleball Association to go to China, along with the USAPA President, Jack Thomas, this May 2018, and introduce our USA Pickleball at the International Trade Expo, teaching and showing them how to build their programs. I was also invited into their school system to teach pickleball to the school children. It is truly an honor, and I am humble to be a part of this monumental opportunity.

Randy Coleman and friends at a LevelUp Pickleball Camp

Randy Coleman and friends at a LevelUp Pickleball Camp

Anything else you would like to share about your experience being one of the best pickleball players in the world?
What comes to mind is that I hope because of this sport, which is like no other I have ever been a part of, I have become and continue to be a better person.  I love to joke and laugh, I love to open my mouth and start conversation at a restaurant, standing in line at a checkout register, sitting on a plane (yes, I have pulled out 2 paddles and a ball and played pickleball on a plane with a stewardess) and what I am finding is that all the roads somehow lead back to pickleball. 

I am a social media person. I love taking selfies with friends on the court, at dinner, at the homes of so many wonderful hosts that because of them I can do what I do, and what I find is that this big world gets a little smaller because of a wiffle ball and a paddle. My favorite sporting event in the world is the Olympics. The only sporting event where over 200 countries put aside political differences to compete for the spirit of the games. Just as the Olympic motto I wear proudly as a reminder; Faster, Higher, Stronger.  It’s the pinnacle of excellence that I may not achieve, but I can always strive for.  Life IS competition, and it’s always better with pickleball.

Meet The Pros – Lisa Punuali Naamu

Meet the Pros – Lisa Punuali Naamu

Lisa Naamu

Lisa Punuali Naamu

Lisa is a tennis pro turned pickleball pro who loves the competition that tennis converts bring to the game. Enjoy!

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

2017 USAPA National Championships-
Senior Open Women’s Doubles with  Gigi LeMaster – Gold
55+Open Mixed Doubles with Blake Wilcox – Gold
Senior Open Women’s Singles – Gold
Women’s Doubles Age 50+with Kim Jagd – Silver

What paddle do you play with and why?

Encore Pro

Encore Pro

The paddle I was using during these tourneys was the Engage Encore Pro. It has great control and power.   I recently just switched to the new Engage Poach Advantage paddle because it feels great when I hit the ball hard or soft.  It will be a great new test for me at the 2018 US Open.

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

My start in pickleball came after 47 years of playing tennis.  I decided to try something different and I heard about pickleball.  Around May 2016 I went over to Freedom Park in Palm Desert, California and borrowed paddles for 2 weeks before I made a commitment  to try the game.  I bought my first paddle there and never looked back.

What is your preference – playing indoors or outdoors?

I prefer playing outdoors vs. indoors because I live in Southern California. It’s so natural for me to play outdoors like I did with tennis.   When it gets to be 100 degrees plus here in the desert, I like to take it indoors where it is air conditioned.

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

I enjoy playing women’s doubles, mixed doubles, and singles.  Like tennis I really enjoy playing 3 events.  Doubles you depend a lot on your partner to help you.  In singles it’s all you.  I like the challenge.

What is your favorite place to play? Why?

My favorite place to play pickleball is Southern California.  Whether it be Palm Desert, Tustin, Temecula or San Diego.  The weather and good players make it all worth while.  I often travel to these other places because I love playing with my friends there and the caliber of play is very good.

What is your secret sauce? Any tips for players?

My tip for players whether you are a recreational player or a tournament player is to continue to try to study the game by watching, reading, video taping, taking lessons, drills and practice.  

What is your day job?

Currently, I teach pickleball seasonally at the Embassy Suites off Hwy 111 in Palm Desert, CA.  During the summer I will teach some outdoors but mostly indoors because of the heat. I also enjoy teaching at the local parks: Freedom Park in Palm Desert, Fritz Burns in La Quinta and Whitewater in Rancho Mirage.

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

I play about 5-6 days a week, especially when preparing for a pickleball tournament. I make time to play pickleball by carefully planning and preparing ahead.

Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

I don’t believe in lucky rituals before a tournament.  I believe in planning, and preparing myself with drills, practice matches, good nutrition, sleep and massage! I also get some coaching from good counsel which can be sufficient preparation before a big tournament.  It’s a discipline that is worth the effort.

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

My pickleball goal for 2018 and beyond is to be the best player I can be.    I want to continue to help grow and spread this great sport by teaching, coaching and using my website to reach local and global areas.

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

Coming from a tennis background has definitely helped me excel quickly in this game.  I see a lot of new players coming in from the tennis world and other sports, so I expect the competition to be even better.  I have learned so much from playing with different players with different styles, behaviors, attitudes and backgrounds.  Winning or losing I always can take away something to improve my game.

Meet The Pros – Bill Muno

Meet The Pros – Bill Muno

Bill Muno, Scott Moore and Glen Peterson

2017 USAPA Nationals – Bill Muno/Bronze, Scott Moore/Gold, Glen Peterson/Silver

Bill entered his first Nationals in 2017, competing with the best for bronze. Bill is headed to the US Open this year along with his wife and son. Nothing’s going to stop this pickleball family! Enjoy!

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

My first USAPA Nationals was 2017.  I placed 3rd in singles in the Senior Pro division. Also placed 3rd in the Age division.

What paddle do you play with and why?

I am sponsored by Paddletek. I play doubles with the Tempest Wave, and singles with the new Sabre paddle.

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

I teach tennis and my mom kept trying to get me to play Pickleball. Like many tennis players I said I would play Pickleball when I can’t play tennis anymore. My wife and I tried it and were hooked!

What is your preference – playing indoors or outdoors?

We enjoy playing outside in beautiful Colorado Springs with 300 days a year of sunshine!

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

I’ve always enjoyed playing singles more, because it’s all on my shoulders.

What is your secret sauce? Any tips for players?

I’ve played tennis my whole life with the idea of making my opponents beat me and not beating myself. I hate unforced errors!

Mixed 4.5 Winners Gold: Nanette Muno, Bill Muno Silver: Emilie Mesnier, Micky Knapton Bronze: Mollie Holmes, Scott Anderson

Mixed 4.5 Winners Gold: Nanette Muno, Bill Muno Silver: Emilie Mesnier, Micky Knapton Bronze: Mollie Holmes, Scott Anderson

What is your day job?

I’m still teach tennis but I’m trying to transition into teaching more pickleball.

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

We try to play each day the weather will let us. I play 10-15 hours week, but can’t keep up with my wife who plays 20 plus a week.

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

Looking  forward to competing in the US Open and watching my wife and son playing mixed doubles together!

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

Play your best and forget the rest!

Meet the Pros – Nancy Nowak

Meet The Pros – Nancy Nowak

Nancy Nowak

Nancy Nowak

Nancy has had the privilege of playing with one of the best instructors in the country, Deb Harrison. Together they are a force to be reckoned with. Enjoy!

Deb Harrison and Nancy Nowak - Huntsman World Senior Games

Deb Harrison and Nancy Nowak – Huntsman World Senior Games

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

2013 World Huntsman Senior Games: Gold Mixed Doubles (60-64) with partner Dick Scott
          Silver Women’s Doubles (60-64) with partner Deb Harrison
2009 USAPA Nationals: Silver Women’s Doubles with partner Judie Kelly

What paddle do you play with and why?

My paddle of choice for the past 2 years has been the Paddletek Bantam EX-L. This paddle provides nice pop but also allows control. I’m currently trying some of the elongated paddles as they have become the new craze.

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

I retired and bought a home in The Villages, Florida in 2004. A golf friend introduced me to the game. Being a former racquetball and badminton player, the game came naturally to me. Since then I have been addicted.

What’s your preference – playing indoor or outdoor?

I prefer outdoors. We have 180+ courts in The Villages with open play every day. Lighting seems to be an issue indoors for me.

Nancy Nowak and Dick Scott

Nancy Nowak and Dick Scott

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

I prefer doubles both women’s and mixed. Like teamwork concept of doubles. Deb Harrison and I often partner for tournaments, and when you play with same person you know and sense each other’s next move.

What is your favorite place to play? Why?

Lake Miona Recreation Center is my favorite place to play as the competition is great there. These courts attract mainly 4.5 and 5.0 players.

What is your secret sauce? Any tips for players?

I am known by my pickleball friends as Nasty Nancy due to 3 shots I use to pull my opponent’s out of position. These shots are a cut drop, bump lob off dink and inside out cut to sideline. These shots can be seen on Picklepong Deb’s U-Tube video.

My tip for players is to form practice groups where you work on different aspects of the game and then try to implement them as you play.

What is your day job?

Retired and enjoying life.

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

I usually play 6-7 days per week for 2-3 hrs. Sometimes twice a day if I have the opportunity. Also, for the past 10 years I attend a Weekly Advance Women’s PB Clinic led by Deb Harrison.

Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

No, not really.

Do you have any pickleball goals you’d like to share?

I have friends in their 70’s & 80’s who are still enjoying this game so my goal is stay healthy and keep my skills sharp so I can continue to play for several more years.

Nancy Nowak and Steve Butler

Nancy Nowak and Steve Butler – playing in the 2018 US Open.

Meet The Pros – Carol Lindow

Meet The Pros – Carol Lindow

Carol Lindow

Carol Lindow

Carol is an ambassador for both pickleball and tennis. She does not believe a player has to give up one for the other! Enjoy!

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

2017 USAPA NATIONALS -Gold, Women’s Doubles 5.0/Age with Jackie Faegre
       -Bronze, Mixed Doubles 5.0/Age with Randy Bourne
2017 US OPEN-Gold, Women’s Doubles Age with Jackie Faegre
      -Gold, Senior 5.0 Women’s Doubles with Jackie Faegre
2016 NATIONALS-Gold, Women’s Doubles Age with Jackie Faegre
2015 NATIONALS- Gold, Women’s Doubles Age with Jackie Faegre
2015 NATIONAL SENIOR GAMES- Gold, Women’s Doubles Age with Jackie Faegre
-Silver Mixed Doubles Age with Skip Houghton

2014 HUNTSMAN WORLD SENIOR GAMES- Gold, Women’s Doubles Age
-Bronze Mixed Doubles age

What paddle do you play with and why?

Manta Extreme Point 5 and Manta Cobra Lite. These paddles give me great control and power when needed. Also, I seem to get a more consistent 3rd shot and great touch. I am a Manta Sports Sales Representative and member of the Manta Pro Team. I love being sponsored by Manta. They are a good up-and-coming company.

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

I have always loved racket sports and started playing pickleball 5 years ago when I retired and was looking for something new to do with my time. As a former Physical Education teacher, I taught pickleball, but did not realize it had become so popular until I retired and started playing and competing in it. I love the quickness, strategy and variety of shots involved in the game. Plus, the people that play it have so much fun that it is hard to stop playing.

“ One more game,  OK…”

Duel in the Desert 5.0 65+ - Jim & Yvonne Hackenberg, Gold; Carol Lindow & Randy Bourne, Silver; Marsha Freso & Murph Murphy, .Bronze

Duel in the Desert 5.0 65+ – Jim & Yvonne Hackenberg, Gold; Carol Lindow & Randy Bourne, Silver; Marsha Freso & Murph Murphy, .Bronze:

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

I only play doubles mostly for this reason: I have had bilateral knee replacements and I want them to last for a long time. The lateral movement of  singles would be much to demanding on my replacement knees.

What is your preference – playing indoors or outdoors?

My favorite place to play outdoors is at the Palm Creek Resort in Casa Grande, Arizona, where I spend my winters. There are 32 individually-fenced, premier courts here. This is a place I refer to as “pickleball heaven” for active adults. In the summer I play in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where there also are numerous, designated-outdoor pickleball courts with a very active pickleball community.

carol Lindow angle shot

Great Angled Smash Shot!

What is your secret sauce? Any tips for players?

I feel having a wide variety of shots is the key. I don’t want to be predictable and I like trying to take away my opponent’s type of game style with various shots that can throw them off. I feel being consistent, keeping the ball in play and not making mistakes is the key to success. I like to play percentage pickleball and not give away “free points”. I try to keep a calm disposition and not get upset when my opponents gain momentum in the game. When I get behind, I tend to concentrate better and always believe we can win the game or match no matter what the score might be. So much of this game is mental. I also enjoy “setting up” the point for the offensive lob or angled smash shot which I would say are my favorite shots. 

What is your day job?

I am a retired PE Teacher.  

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

“One more game” is my motto, which means I play every day, endlessly! 

Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

Not really. I just try to focus. I don’t get nervous because it is so much fun. A ritual would probably make me nervous. 

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

I have met most of my goals to win gold in all the major tournaments. Of course my goal now is to stay healthy and encourage tennis players to play both sports because one game helps the other. I don’t believe you have to give up one for the other. One of the big resistances among tennis players is that they might want to quit tennis because they fall in love with pickleball, but there are so many folks that do both. Many folks who play tennis at Palm Creek, where I live in the winter, have warmed up to the game. So I also “ambassador” for the game of tennis for the pickleball players, because they can do both. I might consider going abroad to play pickleball as long as they have Age categories. Madrid may be a possibility. 

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

I am fortunate to have good partners. A good partner is a fine player you can have fun with, like Randy Bourne, who shares the court with you and who encourages their partner. 

Carol Lindow and Randy Bourne

Carol Lindow and Randy Bourne

Meet The Pros – Marsha Freso

Meet the Pros – Marsha Freso

Byron and Marsha Freso

Byron and Marsha Freso, center, welcomed to Stevenson park in Friendswood, Texas

Marsha Freso and her husband Byron are well known in national pickleball circles. She is very humble about her level of play, but she has competed with the best and rides the Onix Bus, so she’s a pro in my eyes. Enjoy!

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

2017 USAPA Nationals :  Silver – Mixed Doubles 65+/5.0 with Mark Friedenberg
              Bronze Women’s Doubles 60/+5.0 (with Dalonna Cooper);
              Bronze Women’s Singles 65+/5.0
2017 Huntsman World Senior Games:  Silver – Mixed Doubles 65-69 with David Killen
             Bronze – Women’s Doubles 65-69A  with Carolyn Bagley;
            Bronze – Women’s Singles 65-69A
2017 Grand Canyon State Games:  Silver – Women’s Doubles 65+ with Carol Lindow
           Silver – Mixed Doubles 65+ with Tim Murphy
2016 USAPA Nationals:  Silver – Women’s Doubles 55+ with Linda Kauss
           Bronze – Mixed Doubles 60+ with Gary M. Miller
2016 Huntsman World Senior Games:  Gold – Mixed Doubles 60-64A with Gary M. Miller
2016 US Open Championships:  Gold – Mixed Doubles 60+ with Jim Cetlinski
           Silver – Women’s Doubles 60+ with Denise Boutin

 2015 Huntsman Sr. Games, Marsha Freso, Larry Moon, Gold; Sheila Schoonover, Steve Paranto, Silver, Bill Propert, Cookie Drake, Bronze

2015 Huntsman Sr. Games, Marsha Freso, Larry Moon, Gold; Sheila Schoonover, Steve Paranto, Silver, Bill Propert, Cookie Drake, Bronze

2016 Grand Canyon State Games:  Silver – Women’s Doubles 60+ with Dee Rochel
           Bronze – Mixed Doubles 60+ (with Troy Horton)
2015 USAPA Nationals:  Silver – Mixed Doubles 60+ with Al Hager
2015 Huntsman World Senior Games:  Gold – Mixed Doubles 60-64A with Larry Moon
           Gold – Women’s Doubles 60-64A with Sheila Schoonover Bronze – Women’s Singles 60-64
2015 State Games of America:  Gold – Mixed Doubles 60+ with Byron Freso
           Gold – Women’s Singles 60+; Silver – Women’s Doubles 60+ with Barbara Wintroub
2015 National Senior Games:  Silver – Women’s Doubles 55+ with Linda Kauss
           Silver – Women’s Singles 60+

What paddle do you play with and why?

I’ve been playing with the Engage Blade for about the past two years.  It took me about a month to get comfortable using an elongated paddle. The Blade gives me extra reach, which definitely helps me get to more balls.

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

I found pickleball in 2011 when my husband and I moved to the Tampa Bay area in Florida from Atlanta, Georgia. Our community had four dedicated pickleball courts at that time and all our new neighbors said we had to learn to play pickleball. Of course, our response was the proverbial “What is pickleball?” After we played the first time, we were hooked! It wasn’t long before we started playing in tournaments in search for additional competition. We now travel the country in the “Onix Bus” — what fun that is!

The Onix Bus

The Onix Bus

What is your preference: playing indoors or outdoors?

I prefer playing outdoors, but indoors is fun too.

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

I like them both. I enjoy the workout that the singles game offers, but I also like the challenge of working effectively with a doubles partner.

What is your favorite place to play? Why?

The courts at Pine Nursery Park in Bend, Oregon are unique in color and blend perfectly with the surroundings. I find it very soothing to play there.

What is your secret sauce? Any tips for players?

I don’t have a “secret sauce.” I just try to get the ball back over the net and in the court. My primary tips are “have fun” and “spread the joy.”

Referee Marsha

Referee Marsha, photo provided by Sarah Ansboury’s blog

What is your day job?

I have been retired for over 13 years, so my day job is having fun and being kind to others. Pickleball is usually on my daily to-do list.

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

I average a few hours of play every day. Remember—I’m retired, so I can play whenever I want to!

Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

Nope. I don’t look at the draw; I just show up when I’m called to a court. It’s less stressful for me that way.

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

As a true super senior player (age 65+), my ultimate goal is to be the “last one standing.” I want to compete as long as I’m physically able.

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

I LOVE PICKLEBALL! I’m definitely not a pro player, but I am proud to have won or medaled in a good share of the tournaments I’ve played in.  The sport has truly changed my life and my husband’s by allowing me to make new friends everywhere and to be more physically active at this stage of my life than I ever dreamed.

Meet The Pros – DeeAnne Davison

Meet the Pros DeeAnne Davison

Dee Davison

DeeAnne Davison

DeeAnne “Dee” Davison leapfrogged from competitor to tournament organizer and full time pickleball instructor in a relatively short period of time. You have to respect a person who starts out giving back in a big way. Enjoy!

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

2015 — USAPA Nationals — 4th Place Mixed Doubles 35+ with Rob Davidson
2012 — Grand Canyon State Games — Bronze in Mixed Doubles 4.5 with Troy Horton
2012 — Grand Canyon State Games — Bronze in Mixed Doubles Age 35-49 with Troy Horton

What paddle do you play with and why?

I play with the new Selkirk AMPED S2. The paddle has great control, power, consistency… with a beautiful touch! As an International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association (IPTPA) Certified Instructor, I teach in indoor and outdoor venues.

I use a variety of pickleballs available on the market today. I believe this paddle neutralizes the ball controversy! Therefore, I can forget about the extreme property differences of the balls (too soft, too much bounce, too hard) and just concentrate on perfecting my stroke pattern and approach to the ball.

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

In September 2011, I moved to Sun City Festival in Buckeye, Arizona. That is where I discovered pickleball. My passion for pickleball was ignited when my community hosted the USAPA Nationals in November. In February 2012, Troy Horton invited me to partner with him for the Grand Canyon State Games in Arizona. We medaled in both events and I was hooked.

Just playing the game was not enough! In 2012, I started the player development program at Sun City Festival with a group of 40 ladies, meeting twice a week. Today, I’m proud to say, we have a strong player development program for all skill levels. Next, leveraging my business management experience, I solicited and coordinated volunteers for the 2012 & 2013 USAPA Nationals at Sun City Festival. Fast forward, I started my own business, Pickleball Dee and became an IPTPA Certified Instructor. I am currently the Co-Tournament Director of the Coeur d’Alene Classic and  the Pickleball Pro tournament at Victorium in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Whats your preference — playing indoor or outdoor?

I love both because the challenges are different. For indoor play, you have to deal with facility variances like multiple lines, color schemes and floor surfaces. For outdoor play, you are dealing with the elements – sun, wind and temperature.

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

I prefer to play doubles, as it is a team effort, but will practice singles to improve my game.

Whats your favorite place to play? Why?

Dee Davison, Shonda Davidson, Tonja Major and Lynn Syler

Dee Davison, Shonda Davidson, Tonja Major and Lynn Syler

Anywhere there’s a pickleball court and people ready to play!

Whats your secret sauce? Any tips for players?

I asked my friends to describe my secret sauce… they said: Sweet & Spicy (Sweet Dee delivers the Spicy Spin) or the Naughty No Look! And my tips for players:
Tip 1: Have FUN!
Tip 2: Always work to improve your game—one skill at a time!

Whats your day job?

Teaching pickleball!

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

My office is a pickleball court. I have a GREAT calendar! I average 40 hours a week, split between teaching and social play.

Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

Visualize success.

Do you have any pickleball goals youd like to share?

My goal is to medal at the USAPA Nationals Tournament.

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

Pickleball is a perfect avenue to travel and meet people. My pickleball family continues to grow!