Ben Johns on Tournament Prep & Recovery

Ben Johns Pickleball Pro

As the #1 pickleball player in the world, pro Ben Johns obviously spends many consecutive hours and days training and competing in tournaments. Even for younger athletes, all of those hours on the court can take a toll on the body; staying in top shape for peak performance match after match requires taking care of your body before, during and after competition. Ben recently talked with us about how he prepares for tournaments and what recovery looks like for him.

What do you do to prepare yourself before competition?

 I prepare beginning the week of competition; what I eat and drink that entire week matters to me. I stay away from sugary or fried foods, as well as sugary drinks. My meal the night before competition is particularly important – it’s usually a protein fish or meat like chicken or salmon, with rice and a vegetable or similar. The morning of competition I typically have eggs, yogurt, and fruit. Throughout the day of competition I like to eat fruit, nuts, and protein bars.

For hydration, I drink Jigsaw Health’s Pickleball Cocktail the night before and morning of competition. Throughout the week I make sure to drink a lot of water. During the day of competition I drink Jigsaw Electrolyte Supreme.

Pickleball Jigsaw Cocktail: Keep your body filled with all the nutrients you need to avoid injury.

I stretch most evenings, but the week of competition stretching is especially important to me. I focus on loosening the hips, quads, and back in particular.

It’s also important to me to have all of my equipment prepared and ready to go – paddles weighted, over-gripped, etc. Clothes for the day, massage gun, and foam roller should be in my bag, with everything else I need for game day ready by the night before.

My warm-up routine consists of mostly ROM movements, like arm circles, Frankenstein walks, and generally dynamically moving to loosen up. Then I do a solid thirty minutes of hitting.

Do you have any “superstitions” or rituals?

I don’t have superstitions so much as preparations. I need to have everything ready to go before the day of competition – all of my equipment, food, drinks, etc. I’m quite particular about the socks I wear, both bottom and top (I’m a double sock guy), so that’s as close as I get to superstitious.

What injury prevention products do you use or wear?

I will wear compression leggings when I’m playing in cold weather. The arm sleeves I wear are not compression but for the sun.

What do you do after matches or training to recover?

After playing, for injury prevention and for performing the next day, I make sure to static stretch, foam roll, and use Therabody’s Theragun Pro and Wave Air Compression Boots.

Ben Johns with the Wave Air Compression Recovery Boots

The Therabody Compression Recovery Boots are an easy-to-use, effective way to improve circulation, soothe achy legs, and may also help reduce fluid retention. Their internal chambers inflate sequentially from the foot towards the heart, which helps maximize circulation. The quiet technology allows you to relax peacefully while enjoying the components of the convenient touchpad control, including a timer and four pre-programmed modes for specific pulses and settings.

Save $200 now at Pickleball Central

Theragun Pro Percussive Therapy Device helps you to release tension and enhance recovery

Theragun Pro Percussive Therapy Device: This professional-grade massager delivers up to 60 lbs. of force to your muscles, helping you to release tension and enhance recovery on your own schedule.

After playing I’ll continue to hydrate, take magnesium supplements, and try to eat a similar dinner with lots of protein and some good carbs.

Lastly I make sure to get to bed on time, as quality sleep is very important to me!

2021 Final Pro Rankings from World Pickleball Rankings

Pickleball World Rankings 2021

Powered by PickleballTournaments.com and launched in 2021, the World Pickleball Rankings is pickleball’s most comprehensive ranking system for Pro and Senior Pro players. As the tournament management system used for all of the professional pickleball tours (PPA and APP), USA Pickleball tournaments, and all major independent tournaments including the US OPEN Pickleball Championships and Tournament of Champions, PickleballTournaments.com is uniquely positioned to provide player performance insights in the form of rankings. Endorsed by USA Pickleball, the APP tour and the US OPEN Pickleball Championships as their official rankings, the World Pickleball Rankings is the place to follow the pros throughout the year to see their progress and how they’re stacking up against each other.

World Pickleball Ratings

How It Works

Players earn points in pro tournaments for placement and wins. Results are updated at the conclusion of each tournament.

Titles are ranked for the following Pro events – Men and Women:

  • Singles
  • Doubles
  • Mixed Doubles
  • Senior Singles
  • Senior Doubles
  • Senior Mixed Doubles

Considerations:

  • Player points accumulate over a rolling 52-week window, with points awarded outside of that window expiring and being replaced by points awarded within that window.
  • A player’s Top 15 results are represented in the rankings.

Points are awarded based on the following model:

DesignationGoldSilverBronze4thNon-place Wins (Main Draw)Non-place Wins (Back Draw)
Grand Slam2000150010006007556
100010007505003003022
5005003752501501511
2502501881257586
From Pickleball Tournaments

The 2021 Pro World Pickleball Rankings

Ben Johns receives Pro Men’s Singles, Pro Men’s Doubles and Pro Men’s Mixed in the World Pickleball Rankings 2021 (Sponsored by Franklin)

Pro Men’s Singles: Ben Johns

Pro Men’s Doubles: Ben Johns

Pro Men’s Mixed: Ben Johns

Anna Leigh Waters receives Pro Women’s Singles in the World Pickleball Rankings 2021 (Sponsored by Paddletek)

Pro Women’s Singles: Anna Leigh Waters

Catherine Parenteau receives Pro Women’s Doubles in World Pickleball Rankings 2021 (Sponsored by Paddletek)

Pro Women’s Doubles: Catherine Parenteau

Simone Jardim receives Pro Women’s Mixed in World Pickleball Rankings 2021 (Sponsored by Prince Pickleball)

Pro Women’s Mixed: Simone Jardim

Paul Olin receives Sr Pro Men’s Singles in the World Pickleball Rankings 2021

Sr Pro Men’s Singles: Paul Olin

Dave (The Badger) Weinback receives Sr Pro Men’sDoubles and Sr Pro Men’s Mixed in the World Pickleball Rankings 2021 (Sponsored by Paddletek)

Sr Pro Men’s Doubles: Dave Weinbach

Sr Pro Men’s Mixed: Dave Weinbach

Julie Johnson receives Sr Pro Women’s Singles in the World Pickleball Rankings 2021

Sr Pro Women’s Singles: Julie Johnson

Eva Welsher receives Sr Pro Women’s Doubles and Sr Pro Women’s Mixed in the World Pickleball Rankings 2021 (Sponsored by Engage)

Sr Pro Women’s Doubles: Eva Welsher

Sr Pro Women’s Mixed: Eva Welsher

View all of the 2021 Pro World Pickleball Rankings here:

Full list of World Pickleball Rankings for 2021

Meet the Pros: Riley and Lindsey Newman (aka Newman Squared)

Riley and Lindsey Newman are a rockstar brother and sister duo (still working on their team name but kicking around ‘Newman Squared’ and ‘Newman Nation’; if you have any other ideas, they are open to suggestions!) They were born and raised on Whidbey Island, Washington, a beautiful island just north of Seattle known for amazing seafood and miles of hiking and biking trails. Riley and Lindsey are just two of the seven Newman siblings, all of whom have a knack for sports and competition. Riley and Lindsey have taken their pickleball a bit more seriously, last month winning Mixed Doubles at the USA Pickleball National Championships in Indian Wells 2021. Riley is currently ranked Top 3 in the world in Men’s and Mixed Doubles, and plays with set partners Tyson McGuffin as well as big sis Lindsey.

2021 Nationals Riley and Lindsey Newman

We sat down with Riley and Lindsey to talk about their backgrounds, what it’s like playing with your sibling, their NEW signature paddles from GAMMA Pickleball releasing at PickleballCentral January 25, 2022, and much more!

When did you start playing Pickleball and what is your sports background?

Riley: I started playing pickleball in the summer of 2017 in Seattle, WA, my hometown. I played all sports growing up. I was fortunate to receive college scholarships in basketball and tennis. I ended up finishing my college career at Seattle University where by my senior season I was playing #1 Singles & #1 Doubles. 

2021 Nationals Riley Newman

Lindsey: I started playing pickleball late in the summer of 2017, a little over four years ago. I grew up playing any and all sports – basketball, tennis, volleyball, softball, soccer, etc. I played basketball, tennis and volleyball in high school. I played basketball and tennis at a two-year school and then I played tennis at a Division 1 university (Seattle University). I was also officiating college basketball at the time when I picked up pickleball.

Lindsey Newman with her Signature Havoc Paddle

What is the best and hardest part about playing with your sibling?

Riley: The best part is the chemistry on and off the court. We are super close so anything that Lindsey is thinking during the match I’m already thinking it too. A huge asset is I know what shot she’s going to hit before she even attempts it. This helps tremendously with anticipating the next shots from your opponents. The hardest part can be losing a really close match in a tournament and the car rides home can be fairly quiet. We are both so competitive by nature, so we want to win by doing whatever it takes. 

Lindsey: There are several “bests” about playing with Riley. For me, I think he’s the best mixed doubles partner out there so I’m super lucky he’s playing with me. It’s also great because we can be brutally honest with each other without worrying about the repercussions. I can also roll my eyes after he does something dumb without worrying about him getting his feelings hurt – he most likely knows I’m doing it whether he sees it or not. The hardest part would have to be the car rides back home or to the hotel after a loss… there’s not a lot of smiling or happy talk then.

2021 Nationals Riley and Lindsey Newman

Do you think playing with your sibling has advantages?

Lindsey: Absolutely! I think it has more advantages than disadvantages by far. I’d never play competitively with my husband like some people do but with a sibling is totally different and way easier.

Who would win in a singles match?

Riley: I would definitely win in a singles match! Especially if we play when Lindsey is seven or eight months pregnant 🙂 (At the time of this post Lindsey will be about seven months pregnant – congrats!)

Lindsey: Probably Riley but that’s because he’s faster and remembers the score. I always forget the score and I swear he fibs on it sometimes! (That sounds like a very sibling answer to us!)

Do your other siblings (family members) play pickleball?

Riley: A lot of our other family members play pickleball, but don’t take it as serious as Lindsey and I do. It’s more for fun that we can all do together when we meet up at family gatherings. Seven Newman siblings playing pickleball at once…now that’s intimidating if you ask me! 

Lindsey: Yes! Our younger brother, Kody, plays and is really good. We also have a sister, Hayley, who plays and is great. Our other siblings play but they need a lot of help… our parents don’t play but they are always eager to give us feedback whenever Riley and I are done playing and we lose.

Great duos always have great nicknames – what should Team Newman’s nickname be?

Riley: I personally loved ‘Newman Nation’ but it sounds like that has been trademarked by a nascar driver. Whatever people want to call us for a nickname, I’d be good with! 

Lindsey: Newman Squared

2021 Nationals Riley and Lindsey Newman

We saw you win at Nationals in 2021. Can you talk about how you trained and prepared?

Riley: Not much different training or preparation led into 2021 Nationals. Playing so many tournaments in a calendar year, you get into a routine. For me, what I tried to do differently when I was playing mixed doubles was to keep a positive attitude even if things weren’t going our way. I believe Lindsey and I play our best when we both focus on the task at hand and remain calm and cool under pressure. I believe this made a huge impact when we played the final game to 15 in the gold medal match. We sat down and positively talked through a great strategy to make sure to get the job done! 

Lindsey: Riley and I played in a tournament the weekend before in Arizona and I ended up tweaking my left groin so the only training we did on court together before Nationals was the day before we left. I didn’t want to do anything to make it worse. Mentally though, I think we both just kept telling ourselves that we could do it and that it was our turn to be on the winning end. We had been in a few really tough gold medal matches previously and lost them, so we felt we were long overdue for a big win on the biggest stage in pickleball. Getting to the gold medal match at Nationals in 2019 and losing a heartbreaker like that was definitely huge motivation for us. Plus, there was no way were going to let our fans down again.

2021 Nationals Riley and Lindsey Newman win Gold in Mixed Doubles

Are you holding any training camps in 2022?

Riley: In 2022, Lindsey and I will be teaching a total of seven Never Stop Playing Pickleball Camps by GAMMA. Also I teach a couple of my own Newman Pickleball clinics. 

Lindsey: Yes! We are teaching a handful of two-day GAMMA- Never Stop Playing Pickleball camps all over the west coast. We also will be doing some teaching under our own brand, Newman Pickleball. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay in the loop!

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

Riley: The best pickleball advice I could give is to watch video! I believe when you are able to watch and review your negatives and positives after a match you can learn a lot – what you did well to keep doing in the future, what shots did you repeatedly miss or leave ‘high’. This also helps you notice your court positioning on each point. 

Riley Newman Signature 206 Paddle

Lindsey: Just get one more ball back.

An Arizona sunset was Lindsey’s Paddle Inspiration

We are excited to play with your signature paddles! Can you talk us through them – Paddle technology? Style? Aesthetics?

Riley: Designing my Riley Newman 206 signature paddle took a great deal of energy and effort! Not only did I get to select the colors, paddle name, but every spec of the paddle was designed by yours truly. I wanted this paddle to be great for all intermediate players. What do these players need? A paddle with incredible control but also the power to put shots away. The core is thicker, around 16mm, which allows for a greater feel and big sweet spot while contacting the ball. The 206 has both of these attributes, and the ability to use spin. Also, I wanted to create a paddle with an extended handle for players looking for more reach or those who have two-handed backhand. To answer the question – what is the relevance to the numbers 206? And why those colors? 206 is the three-digit area code of Seattle, where I first picked up my paddle, and the city I grew up in. (Well, technically Whidbey Island, WA but you get the idea). The colors on the paddle reflect the new NHL Seattle hockey team- the Kraken! I hope everyone reading this gives the 206 a try because you won’t be disappointed and the paddle will take your game to the next level! 

Riley Paddle Drawing
Riley Newman 206 Signature Paddle

Lindsey: My signature paddle is legit epic! The Havoc features GAMMA’s Neucore technology, and a 25% thicker large-celled core which helps with having a softer, more responsive feel. The textured composite face of the paddle helps generate lots of power, spin and consistency from anywhere on the court. The handle is a little longer for players with a two-handed backhand, and the paddle colors are like nothing else on the market, so you’ll stand out while playing with it. My paddle is great because anyone at any skill level can play with it and be successful. Give it a try!

Lindsey Newman Havoc Signature Paddle

What can we look out for from you two in 2022? Training/tournaments/goals/products etc.

Riley: In 2022, you will see me playing in most PPA tournaments across the country! I’ll be playing in about 20 tournaments and will focus on my training in between tournaments to keep up with a long grueling pickleball season! I’m looking forward to playing at the highest level. I finished the 2021 season being ranked #2 in men’s doubles, so my goal is to reach #1 by end of 2022!! Thank you to my sponsors – Takeya USA & GAMMA Pickleball. Takeya has designed a 64 oz. Newman Pickleball stainless steel water bottle, which is great for long successful days on the court! GAMMA Pickleball has given me the tools to succeed – an awesome signature paddle with sweat absorbing over grips. I’m extremely grateful to this USA-based family-owned pickleball company! Feel free to follow and keep up with all my updates in 2022 – I’m on Instagram (rileynewmanpb), and Facebook (Riley Newman). See you all on the courts! 

Lindsey: I’m playing in about 8-10 tournaments and teaching about eight GAMMA camps in addition to teaching under our Newman Pickleball brand. I’m also expecting my second child (a girl!) at the end of March so 2022 is going to be pretty chaotic and busy for me, both on and off the court. My goal for 2022 is to make it to 2023 while having a ton of fun, laughter and good times in between! 

Paddles the Pros Used at the 2021 National Championships

2021 Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships presented by Pickleball Central

PickleballCentral was proud to be the presenting sponsor of the 2021 Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Palm Springs. While this year has been another test of endurance when it comes to balancing safety with the return of more in-person events, we were inspired by the pickleball community’s resilience and drive to keep our sport going strong. In fact, looking at a breakdown of the stats surrounding this exciting event there were:

2,342 players

3,944 matches

87 USA Pickleball certified referees

172 brackets

Making this event the largest pickleball tournament in the history of the sport!

We’re grateful to everyone who participated or showed up to support the competitors as we continue to see the game rise in popularity. PickleballCentral was there for 10 days as the one-stop shop for all sorts of pickleball gear from your favorite brands. We had a shoe try-on center, paddle demo center, ball machines, bags and more! There was also plenty of amazing pro action, and we’re here to provide a recap of the paddles used by medal winners if you’d like to try them for yourself.

Leigh Waters with Paddletek

Paddletek Pheonix Genesis – Leigh Waters

Leigh Waters took gold in Womens Doubles with her 14-year-old superstar daughter, Anna Leigh. This pair has been Nationals gold champs two years in a row.

The Phoenix Genesis Composite Pickleball Paddle is a fairly speedy option that has trim weight (7.4 – 7.8 oz) and dimensions. In addition to its easy maneuvering, it provides “Torsion Vibration Control” which helps players accurately place shots even when hitting off-center and dampens vibrations through the grip for better consistency even in the midst of tough exchanges.

PRICE $89.99

Jennifer Dawson with ProKennex

ProKennex Ovation Flight – Jennifer Dawson

Jennifer was the only player at this year’s Nationals to win a Triple Crown (again!) – gold in all 3 events (Senior Singles, Doubles with Cammy McGregor and Mixed Doubles with Dayne Gingrich).

The ProKennex Kinetic Ovation Flight has a special core that uses tungsten fibers to reduce the amount of vibrations that reach the arm, minimizing shock from impact and helping to prevent injury. The innovative oval shape has great reactivity that’s all sweet spot, while the Air-O-Guard offers an edgeless design that eliminates mis-hits while protecting the paddle.

PRICE $189.95
Free Paddle Cover ($16.99 value)

Matt Wright and Lucy Kovalova with ONIX

ONIX Evoke Premier – Matt Wright and Lucy Kovalova

Partners Matt and Lucy won Silver in Mixed Doubles, adding another big win to their impressive record.

Matt and Lucy helped develop their signature paddle which is focused on reliable power and high-level precision. A light coating on the face softens the feel of impact while still ensuring a responsive touch. The Atomic13 Edge technology maintains a slim profile and also assists in dispersing shock while improving swing speed.

PRICE $149.99
3 Free ONIX Fuse Outdoor Balls ($9.99 value)

Dayne Gingrich with Electrum

Electrum Pro – Dayne Gingrich

Dayne won gold in Senior Men’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles with partners Dave Weinbach and Jennifer Dawson, finishing off a great year.

The Electrum Pro Graphite features a Toray T700 carbon fiber face which offers texture for spin and enhanced durability. Its broad surface creates a large sweet spot and the core only uses full cells, ensuring dependable feedback and power.

MSPR $169.99
SALE $139.99
Free Paddle Cover ($16.99 value)

Erik Lange with Head

HEAD Gravity – Erik Lange

Erik won bronze in Men’s Doubles with partner Wes Gabrielsen. He is a PPR teaching pro and works full time as a regional sales rep for HEAD.

The HEAD Gravity’s face features a hybrid blend of graphite and composite materials that combine for a perfect mix of control and power. It uses a thicker 14 mm polymer core that adds to stability and great touch. The large sweet spot and tri-axial pattern on the surface which contributes to spin make this a winner.

PRICE $154.95

Zane NavratilFranklin Ben Johns SignatureM Singles Silver
Lea JansenFranklin Ben Johns SignatureWD Silver
Catherine ParenteauPaddletek Tempest Reign ProWD Bronze
Jessie IrvineEngage Pursuit MXWD Bronze
Irina TereschenkoPaddletek Bantam EX-LWD Silver, W Singles Bronze
Jilliam BravermanPaddletek Sabre ProW Singles Silver
Paul OlinGAMMA RZRSr M Singles Silver
Scott FliegelmanBabolat RBEL TouchSr M Singles Bronze
Mattias JohanssonEngage Pursuit MXSr M Singles Gold
Mircea MorariuElectrum ProSr Mixed Bronze
Julie JohnsonEngage Encore 6.0Sr Mixed Bronze, Sr Women’s Singles Silver
Callan DawsonProKennex Pro Speed IIM D Silver
Jennifer DawsonProKennex Ovation FlightSr Mixed Gold, Sr WD Gold, Sr Women’s Singles Gold – triple crown!
Tyson McGuffinSelkirk VANGUARD Hybrid InviktaM D Gold, M Singles Gold, Mixed Bronze
Lucy KovalovaOnix Evoke PremierMixed Silver
Anna Leigh WatersPaddletek Bantam TS-5Mixed Bronze, WD Gold, W Singles Gold
Leigh WatersPaddletek – Phoenix GenesisWD Gold
Dave WeinbachPaddletek Tempest Wave ProSr M D Gold, Sr Mixed Silver
Scott MoorePaddletek Sabre ProSr M D Bronze
John SperlingSelkirk VANGUARD Invikta (Electrify)Sr M D Silver
Scott CrandallElectrumSr M D Bronze
Dayne GingrichElectrum ProSr M D Gold, Sr Mixed Gold
Cammy MacGregorSelkirk AMPED S2Sr WD Gold, Sr Women’s Singles Bronze
Nathalie BagbyPaddletek EX-L ProSr Women’s Silver
Riley NewmanGAMMA Signature ModelM D Gold, Mixed Gold
Wes GabrielsenSelkirk AMPED EpicM D Bronze
Kevin BoothGearbox CX14HSr M D Silver
Erik LangeHEAD GravityM D Bronze
Kris AndersonOnix Evoke PremierSr MD xxx
Complete list of Pro Medal Winners at Nationals 2021

View all Pro Paddles Here.

(Event stats from USAPickleball.)

Meet The Pros – Deb Mascarin

Meet The Pros – Deb Mascarin

Deb Mascarin

Deb Mascarin is an all-around athlete who has fallen in love with the game of pickleball. We are all grateful for this wonderful professional! Enjoy!

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

2019 USAPA Nationals, Women’s Skill/Age 5.0:60+ Doubles with Cherie Chao, Gold
2019 Beer City Grand Rapids, Mixed Senior PRO Doubles with Scott Lennon, Gold
2019 USAPA Great Lakes Regional, Mixed Doubles Skill/Age 5.0/60+ with Dan McLaughlin – Bronze
2019 Grand Canyon State Games, Mixed Doubles Sill/Age 5.0/60 with Joe Nguyen – Silver
2018 USAPA Great Lakes Regional, SSIPA Women’s Doubles Age <60/5.0 with Yvonne Hackenberg – Gold
SSIPA Mixed Doubles Skill/Age 5.0/60-64 with Dan McLaughlin – Silver
2018 Minto US Open, Women’s Doubles age 60+ with Nancy Robertson – Bronze

 What paddle do you play with and why?

Purple Aurora

Tempest Wave Pro

My first paddle was from Dick’s. I was in a big hurry to get my first paddle when I tried the game for the first time. Paddletek sponsors me now and I’m a rep too. The first time I played with the Tempest Pro, I fell in love with it. The Tempest Pro is a good performance paddle overall. I’m a tennis player and I like the control this paddle gives me.

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

A nurse friend at the hospital where I worked tried to get me to play for a year. I thought pickleball was for old folks, so I put her off. She didn’t give up. She got a court at 9am one day and roped me in to playing. I’ve been hooked ever since. I found the Lake Shore Club and Mulligan’s Hollow to be helpful, welcoming and inclusive. I’m now on the steering committee for the Beer City tournament in Grand Rapids. There are lots of coaches and USAPA ambassadors in the area too.

I competed in tennis and have coached tennis while the kids were growing up. Now I’m a certified Professional Pickleball PPR Trainer. Sarah Ansboury wrote the training syllabus for PPR and I like her philosophy and style.

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

I played singles in tennis at Michigan State, but I prefer high level doubles in pickleball. I started playing just after Simone did. Simone coached me and I went to Lansing, Michigan for a tournament. I loved it!

Deb Mascarin, Alice Dodgson

Deb Mascarin and Alice Dodgson at 2019 USAPA Nationals.

What is your favorite place to play? Why?

Grand Rapids IS the Pickleball Capitol of Michigan!

What is your day job?

I am a recently retired nurse.

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

It depends on if I am teaching that week. I practice with drills 2 or 3 times a week, and teaching add to the hours per week. When I am preparing for a tournament, I play every day.

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

I have a goal to keep competing at the Super Sr Pro 65+ level.

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

I feel very blessed to have been born into an athletic family. Injuries don’t prevent me from playing. I love traveling, chasing the sun and playing with folks along the way. I continue to do free clinics in Spring Lake and on my travels. I love to see the spark in a new player’s eyes once they get it and I am very comfortable teaching the newbies. Pickleball is an amazing sport that keeps me fit. The social world of pickleball is THE BEST!

Meet The Pros – Cherie Chao

Meet The Pros – Cherie Chao

Cherie Chao and Irene Mah

Cherie Chao and Irene Mah at the 2019 USAPA Nationals

Cherie comes from a background of many different racquet sports. She has her own style and loves to help grow the sport of pickleball. Enjoy!

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

Team Selkirk Cherie Chao

Team Selkirk, 2019 USOPEN, Women’s Doubles Age 60+, Moira Roush and cookie Drake – Gold, Cherie Chao and Debbie Mascarin -Silver

2019 Nationals- 5.0 Women’s Doubles age with Deb Mascarin -Gold
2019 Colorado Open- 5.0 Mixed Doubles age with Ken Lehman – Gold
2019 Great Lakes Regional – 5.0 Mixed Doubles age with Gregg Whitfield – Silver
2019 US Open – 5.0 Women’s Doubles age with Deb Mascarin – Silver
 5.0 Mixed Doubles age with Scott Lennan – Silver
2018 Huntsman Senior Games – 5.0 Women’s Doubles age with Rachel Kroog – Gold
 5.0 Mixed Doubles age with Byron Freso – Silver
 5.0 Women’s Doubles open with Rachel Kroog – Bronze
2018 Great Plains Regional – 5.0 Women’s Doubles 35’s with Daria Stakiw-Harlow – Silver
2018 Colorado Open – 5.0 age 19-59 Women’s Doubles age with Vivian Edwards – Silver
2018 US Open – 5.0 Women’s Doubles age with Susan Baze – Gold
2018 The Lakes Spring Fling – 5.0 Women’s Doubles age with Deb Mascarin – Gold
2017 US Nationals – 5.0 Women’s Doubles age with Leticia Brambila – Silver
2017 Great Plains Regionals – 5.0 Mixed Doubles age with Randy Coleman – Gold
2016 Southern Utah Shootout – 5.0 Women’s Doubles age with Marilyn Eves – Gold
          5.0 Mixed Doubles age with Jeff McFall – Gold
2016 Great Plains Regionals – 5.0 Women’s Doubles age with Carolyn Bagley – Bronze
2016 Southern Utah Shootout – 5.0 Women’s Doubles age with Kellie Banisky – Gold

Cherie Chao Nationals Gold

2019 USAPA Nationals: Deb Mascarin and Cherie Chao with gold medal

What paddle do you play with and why?

The Selkirk Amped Omni, mid-weight, I love it because I can hit with power and still have touch. It also helps me reach balls with its longer length.

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

I discovered pickleball when my town of Arvada, Colorado put in 24 courts soon after I had my hip replaced. It  seemed like a natural transition from tennis since I could cover the court more easily. I played 5.0 tennis for years in addition to platform tennis in the winter. I also played badminton, squash and racquetball competitively. Pickleball was a perfect sport after playing so many different racquet and paddle sports.

What is your preference: playing indoors or outdoors?

I definitely prefer playing outdoors – love the surface and the elements. If indoors, I prefer tennis court surfaces with good lighting!

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

I love doubles and working together with my partner towards a common goal. I enjoy being able to talk to my partner and work on strategy together. My goal is to make my partner look good!

What is your favorite place to play? Why?

I love playing in my home town! We have 24 individually-fenced, lit courts 8 min from my house. The people are awesome! If I have to travel, I really enjoy St. George, Utah. Great courts, great people and amazing surroundings!

What is your secret sauce? Any tips for players?

My secret sauce is my slice. Most people hate it, but I’ve used it in all my racquet sports with success- so I guess I’ll keep it!

My tips for players – Don’t just play games… make time to drill and get comfortable with your shots. 

What is your day job?

I have 2 day jobs – I’m a registered dietitian working at a local hospital in cardiac rehab and outpatient nutrition.  My second job is being a grandma – I care for my 2 year old grandson and newborn granddaughter 1-2 days/week. Best job ever!

Cherie Chao Team Selkirk

TEAM SELKIRK having fun at the 2019 USAPA Nationals: Pam Stevenson, Susan Baze, Cherie Chao, Takako Tourangeau, Jan Yu and Miok Lee

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

In the warmer months I play 6-10 hours a week, but in the winter or when the outdoor courts are not playable, I play 3-5 hours. I play anytime I can around my work and babysitting – I have great support from my husband, Ken.

Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

Not really – just try to get a good night’s sleep and eat the same food I train with. I often bring food with me to tournaments since I don’t eat meat/dairy.

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

I’d like to continue playing competitively but also spend time helping the sport to grow. I love introducing new people to the game. Pickleball changes lives!

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

It’s been a blast meeting so many wonderful and talented players!

Meet The Pros – Athena Trouillot

Meet The Pros – Athena Trouillot

Athena Trouillot

Catherine Parenteau and Athena Trouillot, 2019 Canadian Nationals.

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.

Women's Doubles 2019 Canadian Open

2019 Canadian Open, Women’s Doubles, Jessica Kawamoto/Ellen Kawamoto -Silver, Athena Trouillot/Catherine Parenteau – Gold, Kim Brent/Barbara Kerr – Bronze

What is your preference – playing indoors or outdoors?

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.

Canadian Nationals Athena Trouillot

Athena Trouillot and Steve Deakin, Silver at 2019 Canadian Nationals

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.

Gold Athena Trouillot

2019 Canadian Open, Athena Trouillot/Steve Deakin – Silver, Catherine Parenteau/Riley Newman – Gold, Jessica Kawamoto – Bronze

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.

Meet The Pros – Leigh Waters

Meet The Pros – Leigh Waters

 Catherine Parenteau and Leigh Waters, Bronze

USAPA Margaritaville Nationals, Catherine Parenteau and Leigh Waters, Bronze

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

2019 Minto US Open Mixed Doubles Age with Dave Weinbach – GOLD
2019 Tournament of Champions, Women’s Doubles Open Pro with Anna Leigh Waters – GOLD
2019 Chicago Pickleball Open, Mixed Pro Doubles with Dave Weinbach – SILVER
Women’s PRO Doubles with Anna Leigh Waters – SILVER
2018 USAPA Margaritaville Nationals, Women’s Skill/Age Doubles with Catherine Parenteau – GOLD
2018 Texas Open – Women’s Open Doubles with Anna Leigh Waters – SILVER
Women’s Singles – GOLD

Leigh and Anna Leigh Texas Open

Texas Open Leigh and Anna Leigh Waters, Silver; Simone Jardim and Lucy Kovalova, Gold; Catherine Parenteau  and Corrine Carr, Bronze

What paddle do you play with and why?

I use the Paddletek Element because it has good pop while being able to maintain control, plus the head of the paddle is a bit smaller so it’s not overly cumbersome.

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

My father introduced us to pickleball when we evacuated Florida from Hurricane Irma last year. We went to Pennsylvania and played for two weeks straight. We haven’t stopped since!

What is your preference – playing indoors or outdoors?

Outdoors. I prefer playing on a tennis court surface with a Dura Fast 40.

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

I definitely prefer doubles. I enjoy having a partner next to me. Singles is such a physical game and it’s just you out there battling it out. It reminds me too much of my tennis days and I find dubs to be much more fun and social.

Mom and Daughter

Leigh and Anna Leigh Waters Pickleball Pros

What is your favorite place to play? Why?

I love to play in South Florida with all my pickleball friends. We have multiple facilities where we play and I have the most fun when I’m with them.

What is your secret sauce? Any tips for players?

I love mixing in power shots from the kitchen. Throwing in a fast-paced shot keeps your opponent honest and wondering when you might surprise them.

What is your day job?

I’m an attorney.

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

I play 6-8 hours a week. I make time by taking my daughter with me. That way we are not missing family time and we get to practice together. Some nights I practice while my daughter has soccer practice. Most important to me is being with her and my family, so I always time practices around Anna Leigh’s busy schedule.

Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

Not really. I’m not a superstitious person. A good meal is super important, and I like to get to the facility a day or two early to practice.

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

Personally I just want to have fun and play high-level pickleball and do this with my daughter. Obviously, everyone has goals of winning, but I think it’s something really special to be able to travel the country playing pickleball with Anna Leigh and making memories that will last a lifetime. She is always my first priority, and I just want to teach her to be a good person on and off the court. This journey wouldn’t be half as good if she wasn’t a part of it.

Meet The Pros – Kris Anderson

Meet The Pros – Kris Anderson

Kris Anderson action

2019 Texas Open, Kris Anderson and Dave Weinbach

Kris is a great competitor and a doubles master. She has played with the best and competes against the best. Enjoy!

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

2019 Texas Open, Senior (Sr) Mixed Open with Dave Weinbach – Gold
Sr Women’s Open with Lisa Naumu – Gold
2019 Tournament of Champions (ToC)  Senior Mixed Doubles Pro with Kevin Booth – Gold

Sr Women’s Doubles Pro with Lisa Naumu -Silver
2019 The Lakes Spring Fling, Women’s Doubles 50+ with Lisa Naumu – Gold
2019 US Open, Sr Open Mixed Pro with Scott Moore – Gold
Sr Open Women’s With Lisa Naumu – Silver
2018 USAPA Nationals,
50+ Women’s Doubles with Bonnie Williams – Gold
Sr. Open Mixed with Scott Moore – Gold
Sr. Open Women’s with Bonnie Williams – Silver
2018 ToC, Sr. Open Mixed with Kevin Booth – Gold
Sr Open Women’s with Bonnie Williams – Silver
2018 US Open, Sr. Open Mixed Doubles with Kevin Booth – Bronze
2017 USAPA Nationals, Sr Open Mixed with Kevin Booth – Gold
2016 USAPA Nationals, Sr. Open Mixed with Scott Moore – Gold
Sr Open Women’s with Mona Burnett – Silver
2016 US Open, 50+ Mixed with Mike Gates – Silver
Sr Open Mixed with Mike Gates – Gold
Sr Open Women’s with Tracy Worley – Bronze
2014 USAPA Nationals, Women’s 50+ with Tracy Worley – Gold

2019 US Open Sr. Mixed Pro Kris Anderson

2019 US Open Sr. Mixed Pro, Steve Kennedy and Lisa Naumu, Bronze, Kris Anderson and Scott Moore – Gold, Cammy MacGregor and Brian Staub, Silver

What paddle do you play with and why?

I just switched this week to the new Onix Evoke Premier Paddle. I love it. It has a great grip, nice texture and balance.

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

I was playing tennis one day and it started raining so someone said let’s go in the gym and try pickleball. I loved it immediately and couldn’t wait to play again.

What is your preference – playing indoors or outdoors?

Outdoors. We rarely play indoors in Southern California.

Courts at The Tennis Club at Newport Beach

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why? 

Doubles.

What is your favorite place to play? Why

The tennis club at Newport Beach. Great club and close to home.

What is your day job?

Being a mom.

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

I’m blessed with an amazing husband and family who are totally supportive of each other and I have all the time I want to play.

Meet The Pros – Tony Girodo

Meet The Pros – Tony Girodo

Tony Girodo with Linda Dillon

Tony is a full-time RV’er, so he gets to play pickleball with folks from all over. He must have a fantastic array of pickleball friends. Enjoy!

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

2019 National Senior Games Mixed Doubles with Sandy Scanlan – Silver
2019 Wickenburg Ranch Men’s Doubles Age – Gold

2019 Grand Canyon State Games Mixed Doubles Skill/Age with Sandy Scanlan – Gold
2019 Robson Ranch, Mixed Doubles Skill/Age with Sandy Scanlan – Silver
2018 Margaritaville USAPA Nationals, Mixed Skill/Age Doubles with Sandy Scanlan – Silver
2018 US OPEN Men’s Doubles Age with Bob Costanza – Gold
            Mixed Doubles – Skill with Connie Reker – Bronze
2018 Happy Trails, Mixed Doubles Skill/Age with Sandy Scanlan – Gold
2018 Duel in the Desert, Men’s Doubles Skill/Age with Doug Cook – Gold
2017 Round Up@ Sun City AZ, Men’s Doubles Skill/Age with Bill Marshall – Gold

Tony Girodo Gold

2016 🌵🏅Duel in the Desert🏅🌵 Mixed Doubles Age/Skill Groups 65+: 4.0, GOLD Audrey Sherfey and Tony Girodo, SILVER Terry Saunders and James Saunders BRONZE Diane Hill and Donald Bangs

What paddle do you play with and why?

I currently play with the Tempest Wave. I used to play with an original Paddletek pickleball paddle, no model name, and had it for about 7 years.

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

Ten and a half years ago my wife and I started RV’ing. At our first stop in Palm Springs I kept hearing this “ping – ping – ping” sound and went to investigate. I was invited to play, and the rest is history. I have a tennis and racquetball background. My wife plays recreationally. Pickleball has turned out to be a great social sport. We’ve made a lot of good friends. No matter where we go, we find people who play pickleball.

What is your preference – playing indoors or outdoors?

Ninety-five percent of the time I play outdoors.

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

I prefer doubles. I may venture into singles at some time in the future.

Tony Girodo, bronze

Marriott Desert Ridge Holiday Classic December 1, 2017 Men’s Doubles 70+ 4.5: Gold: Barry Jeff Stone & Malcolm Derr, Silver: Jim Saunders & Brian Parkes, Bronze: Tony Girodo & Doug Cook

What is your favorite place to play? Why?

Indian Wells is my favorite place this year, also Happy Trails and Pebble Creek. The Surprise, Arizona area has 16 public area courts that are great. They may be expanding the number of courts in the future.

What is your secret sauce? Any tips for players?

I have a supportive spouse, and that really helps. It also helps to get the right partner. Get one who plays like you or better. Make sure you drill all the time and seek to play with better, skilled folks. This builds confidence. It helps to use a Sports Tutor machine to practice drills.

What is your day job?

I am a full-time RV’er with my wife. Just recently visited Portland, Maine and the beach in New Jersey.

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

I play 2-3 hours a day, 15-20 hours a week. I usually take a day off during the week to let my body heal. Thankfully, I ‘ve had no major injuries.

Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

I pet our dog “Mojo,” a schnauzer who gives me big “MOJO.” 

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

My current goal is to medal at the USAPA Nationals.

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

This is a great game to play and for meeting new friends. I keep playing to keep active. Eighty percent of my commitment to the game is so that I can continue to eat ice cream! I try to improve every day. I suggest working on 1 or 2 things at a time, like dinks, lobs and 3rd shot drops. That’s the best way to improve your game, in my opinion.