Golden Girl Jennifer Dawson – World Class Athlete, Professional Pickleball And Tennis Champion

As pickleball continues to grow and an increasing number of tennis players transition to the sport of pickleball, few have achieved the level of success in both pickleball and tennis as Jennifer Dawson. An amazing athlete with incredible power and grace on and off the courts, Jennifer continues to earn major titles in tennis and pickleball, now as a Senior Pro in both sports.

In 2017, Jennifer made pickleball history as the first ever Triple Crown winner at the Minto US OPEN Pickleball Championships, winning gold in Senior Pro Singles, Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles. At the 2018 Minto US OPEN, she won gold in Women’s Senior Pro Doubles.

Jennifer Dawson

Jennifer’s titles at the USAPA Nationals Championships are equally as impressive, starting in 2015 with silver in Women’s Doubles 19+, then in 2016 gold in Women’s Doubles 35+, followed by two silver medals in 2017 in Women’s Senior Open Doubles and Singles. At the most recent 2018 USAPA National Pickleball Championships, Jennifer again won silver in Women’s Senior Open Singles, and another gold in Women’s Senior Open Doubles. She has also won several gold medals at the Tournament of Champions in both Senior Pro Doubles and Singles.

Jennifer’s pickleball achievements alone are beyond impressive. What makes her accomplishments even more remarkable is that she achieves such success while also competing and winning at an elite level in tennis. Jennifer recently spoke with Pickleball Central founder Anna Copley about her pickleball career, tennis background and highlights, and why she favors ProKennex paddles. Watch the interview with Jennifer here.

Jennifer Dawson Video Interview

Jennifer started playing tennis at age seven, and went on to play Division I collegiate tennis at USD. Then Jennifer Larking, she claimed the #1 Singles rank at USD in 1986, 1987 and 1988. After college, Jennifer played on the pro tennis tour for several years, racking up an impressive record. After taking some time off to raise a family she later returned to national and international competitive tennis, earning the number one USTA ranking in women’s 35, 40 and 45 age groups.

Currently, Jennifer plays at the highest level on the USTA Senior International Tennis Team, competing in dozens of tennis tournaments annually. On May 18, 2019 at the USTA National Women’s Senior Hard Court Tennis Championships in La Jolla, where the best players across the country compete for the coveted USTA Gold Balls awarded to the top national champions, she won not just one but two gold balls. The only double gold winner of the week, Jennifer won gold in both Singles and Doubles 50+ division.

Jennifer Dawson USTA team.jpeg

Jennifer and her husband Steve Dawson own and operate the Bobby Riggs Racket & Paddle Center in Encinitas, CA, where they are both tennis and pickleball pros. The BOOST Pickleball Training Camps at Bobby Riggs Center provide pickleball players an opportunity to train with and learn from some of the finest players in the world – Steve, Jennifer, their son Callan (an accomplished 5.0 pickleball player) and several world class visiting guest pros such as Simone Jardim, Irina Tereschenko, Corrine Carr and Cammy MacGregor.

Athletes like the Dawsons are understandably particular about the equipment they use. Steve turned to ProKennex years ago when he was suffering from tennis elbow. So impressed with the ProKennex Kinetic Energy system for how well it improved his injury symptoms in tennis, Steve began working with ProKennex two years ago to develop pickleball paddles using the same technology.

The first ProKennex pickleball paddle, the Kinetic Pro Speed, was introduced at the 2018 US OPEN Pickleball Championships and immediately won a staggering collection of medals (with a little help from Steve and Jennifer). The newest ProKennex paddle, the Kinetic Ovation Speed, with an innovative oval shape and unparalleled sweet spot, was just introduced at the 2019 Minto US OPEN, winning more medals for both of the Dawsons.

Thanks to the ProKennex Kinetic Energy vibration dampening technology, thousands of pickleball players are benefiting from the reduction or elimination of previous elbow, arm and wrist pain. Learn more about ProKennex pickleball paddles and gear here.

What Paddles Did the Pros Use at the 2019 US Open?

The paddle may not make player, and changing your gear won’t turn into a pro overnight… but using high quality equipment can improve your game in short order.

If you’re curious what the top athletes at this year’s US Open used to win their medals, read on! Click the paddle names to read more about them and see their technical specs on PickleballCentral.com.

The prices listed are the standard retail prices as of publishing and may be different in our store.

Yates Tereschenko Bantam EX-L

Paddletek Bantam EX-L – $97.99

Pros:
Kyle Yates – Mixed & Men’s Doubles
Irina Tereschenko – Women’s Doubles
Description: 
A long-time favorite among polymer core paddles, the Bantam EX-L has a high amount of power that’s balanced by its ability to accurately place shots.

 

Dawson Ovation

ProKennex Ovation – $159.99

Pro:
Jennifer Dawson – Women’s Sr. Singles
Description:
The unique oval shape and edge-less design widens the sweet spot while Kinetic Energy core technology reduces vibration.

Jardim Reponse Pro

Prince Response Pro – $127.99

Pro:
Simone Jardim – Women’s Singles & Mixed Doubles
Description: 
A circular shape allows for great touch regardless of where pickleballs hit this paddle. The longer handle is suitable for 2-handed backhands

Weinbach Waddell Tempest Wave

Paddletek Tempest Wave – $127.99

Pros:
Dave Weinbach & Barry Waddell – Men’s Doubles
Description: 
This premier Paddletek paddle has a quick-acting graphite face which contributes to maximum touch and response.

Moore Sabre Pro

Paddletek Sabre Pro – $137.99

Pro:
Scott Moore – Men’s Sr. Singles
Description:
Designed in conjunction with Scott, this paddle has the longest handle on the market (6-1/4″) for supreme reach and backhands.

Moore Tempest Pro US OPEN

Paddletek Tempest Pro US OPEN – $167.99

Pro:
Scott Moore – Mixed Sr. Doubles
Description:
Paddletek’s popular Tempest but with a thicker core. This one comes with a beautiful, limited edition design made specifically for the 2019 US OPEN.

Kovalova Premier

Onix Evoke Premier

Pro:
Lucy Kovalova – Women’s Doubles
Description: 
Not yet available. Onix’s new signature paddle was designed for pros Lucy Kovalova and Matt Wright. Coming this summer.

Anderson Summit

Onix Summit C1 – $89.99

Pro:
Kris Anderson – Mixed Sr. Doubles
Description:
An elongated shape offers great reach and control. The composite surface adds exceptional spin to place your shots.

McGuffin Invikta

Selkirk AMPED Invikta – $149.99

Pro:
Tyson McGuffin – Men’s Singles
Description:
Designed with Tyson to allow impressive for reach and leverage thanks to both the handle and face. A great choice for high power play.

MacGregor S2

Selkirk AMPED S2 – $149.99

Pro:
Cammy MacGregor – Women’s Sr. Doubles
Description:
Broad face provides a large sweet spot and blocking power. Multiple grip and weight options allow players to choose the best option for their needs.

Johns Franklin

Franklin Signature Paddle

Pro:
Ben Johns – Men’s Pro Doubles
Description:
Designed with Ben, Franklin’s new pro signature model paddle will be available soon!

Engage Adds More Power to “Blade” Design with Control Pro Black Core in the Poach Extreme

In January we announced that Engage was releasing the Poach Advantage, a paddle that introduced several pioneering features such as its 6-layered face and black polymer core (dubbed “Control Pro Black”), which helped the paddle react to pickleballs differently depending on the speed of play.

Engage is now bringing its newest creation to the world of pickleball: the Poach Extreme. This paddle has the same qualities as the Poach Advantage but uses them in conjunction with the long 17″ design of the Blade. The result is a piece of equipment that allows players to drive balls past their opponents with minimal effort, all without losing the versatility that the lengthier face provides.

Its unidirectional texture meets USAPA guidelines yet makes it simple to send balls down unexpected paths, especially when paired with its versatile reach. And the Poach Extreme looks better than ever thanks to an updated design that features clean color blocks and a sleek targeting reticle.

The standout option in this line is the Marcin Rozpedski Signature look, showing the US Open champion’s name in the center. Engage shares that “Marcin, one of the best known Blade users, switched to the Poach Extreme and never looked back!”

As many players have noted, longer-faced paddles have become something of a trend, but it’s far more than a passing fad. Pro players across the board have found that the amount of court coverage and power they can get from these designs is incomparable, and now that they’ve been combined with Engage’s high-end technology, they’re more noticeable than ever.

The interview below is worth a listen for any players who have been reluctant to get on board with extended reach paddles (or those who want to know how to get the most out of their equipment). In it, the owner of the Pickleball Paddle Reviews channel on Youtube, Jack Bandel, interviews pro player Matthew Blom.

It’s an interesting talk that has Matthew explaining how he became one of, if not “the” first player to popularize Blade-style paddles. Back then, the first widely available extended reach paddles were produced by Brian Jensen of POP Paddles, but now many manufacturers have caught on and players are eager to find the style which allows them the most aggressive behavior without losing control.

Find out why Matthew had his first POP paddle taken away from him by a tournament director and why he now enjoys the Poach Advantage even more than the Blade! If you think you may not be prepared for a longer paddle, he also has some helpful words regarding the pickleball skills you need to master to use these types of paddles.

 

 

Interested in feeling the difference the Poach Extreme can make to your game? Try it out via PickleballCentral to enjoy our 30-day return policy!

Introducing the ProKennex Kinetic Pro Speed Pickleball Paddle

Introducing the ProKennex Kinetic Pro Speed Pickleball Paddle,
the First Paddle Designed To Prevent Arm Injuries

As the sport of pickleball grows, the number of players suffering from “pickleball elbow” and related arm injuries is also on the rise. We hear from many players looking for equipment that will help alleviate and prevent injuries to the arm. Finally, there is a paddle designed specifically to do just that, the Kinetic Pro Speed pickleball paddle just introduced by ProKennex Pickleball.

Kinetic Energy System

A leading science and design company well known in the tennis and racquetball worlds for their innovative injury-prevention product designs, ProKennex has been immersed in racquet sports since the 1970s. Their Kinetic Energy technology was thoughtfully developed specifically to prevent arm and elbow injuries. Utilizing a highly sensitive timing system with internal tungsten-filled chambers that reduce vibration and focus energy more efficiently, the ProKennex Kinetic Energy technology protects players from harmful impact forces and creates the most efficient energy transfer from paddle to ball.  The micro-tungsten beads are embedded in the paddle’s perimeter, absorbing impact vibration before it has a chance to travel from the paddle up your arm and into the soft tissues in your joints.

Steve Dawson, USAPA Nationals and US OPEN medalist, attributes the ProKennex Kinetic Energy system to saving his tennis career over 30 years ago, enabling him to become a Big 8 Collegiate champion, and successfully play and coach full time since graduating college.  As a young adult, Steve developed almost career ending elbow injuries, and after a switch to the ProKennex Kinetic racquets, he restarted his career, going on to a set of great collegiate championship performances, and a long, professional teaching career.  He swears by the technology, and is a living testament to its effectiveness.

Reduced Shock and Vibration

An independent study conducted by MIT Labs found that the ProKennex Kinetic Energy system delivers impressive improvement in shock reduction and dampening characteristics, creating a 43% reduction in vibration and a 20% reduction in shock, which the team at ProKennex believes can result in less damage to the arm. Shock and vibration are greatly reduced within the paddle, before traveling up your arm.

Preferred By Pros

Jennifer Dawson, 2018 USOPEN

Jennifer Dawson, 2018 US OPEN 4X Medalist with the Kinetic Pro Speed Pickleball Paddle

Pickleball Pros Jennifer Dawson, Steve Dawson and their son Callan Dawson have partnered with ProKennex to develop the Kinetic Pro Speed paddle, and all three of these powerhouse pickleball players now play exclusively with the Pro Speed.

At last month’s 2018 US OPEN Pickleball Championships, Jennifer won Gold in the Women’s Senior Pro Doubles and Silver in Women’s Senior Pro Singles playing with the Kinetic Pro Speed. Steve, a long time “survivor” of tennis elbow through his 35+ years of playing and coaching high-level tennis and pickleball, appreciates the same injury-reduction benefits of the ProKennex Pro Speed Pickleball Paddle that caused him to select the ProKennex Kinetic Energy technology as his preferred tennis racquet design.

Fast and Maneuverable with Exceptional Shot Performance

Engineered for maximum maneuverability with wind-resistant edgeless construction and thin core technology, the Kinetic Pro Speed paddle is lightning fast, nimble and responsive. The unparalleled tip speed improves quickness and reflex enhancement. The Kinetic Energy shock absorbing system helps players experience greater touch, feel and control, improving confidence and success at the net.

What Do Our Pro Testers Think?

Our staff has tested the paddle extensively here on the courts at Pickleball Central, and in many ways this paddle defies traditional categorizations.  It is without question the highest performance edgeless paddle we’ve ever tested, with a large, consistent sweet spot.  Most edgeless paddles we’ve tested don’t provide good shot feel the closer you get to the edge, but the Pro Speed maintains a solid feel out towards the edge similar to paddles that use a traditional edge guard.  We theorize that its integrated carbon fiber flush fit perimeter (which is super durable) gives the paddle stability at the edges that many prior edgeless paddles lack.

Jennifer Dawson with her ProKennex Pro Speed Paddle

Jennifer Dawson with her  Kinetic Pro Speed Paddle

It features a unique core and face build-up combining 7 layers of polymer, carbon fiber, and hybrid composites for a paddle that delivers tons of power with a large consistent playing sweet spot.  Weighing in at around 8.0 ounces, the paddle itself does a lot of the work, reducing the swing energy you need to use to power a ball over the net.  In warm, or outdoor windy conditions, or in situations with a softer playing ball (like the Onix), this paddle excels at giving you power without needing to swing super hard. It does this without giving up a soft touch – in fact, the feel of the ball on the paddle is unique because you feel less vibration in the paddle, and as such the sound and hand feel is less “noisy”, with a more confidence inspiring “solid” feel.

Don’t wait to be injured, prevent it before it happens with the Kinetic Pro Speed, the revolutionary new pickleball paddle that leverages nearly thirty years of injury-prevention design expertise. Learn more about the Kinetic Pro Speed on our website.

Selkirk Wows the Pros & Brings Improvements You Can Feel to Amped Paddles

Whenever new paddles are released you hear promises of equipment being taken “to the next level.” But what does that really mean?

In certain cases it involves a manufacturer creating something we’ve never seen before—a unique paddle shape, grip or look. Just as often, however, we see fresh iterations of pre-existing gear.

Selkirk Amped Paddles

Tyson McGuffin won the 2017 USAPA Nationals Gold in Men’s Open Singles with the Amped Maxima 

Paddles might get a new decal or weight class, minor tweaks which can nonetheless result in significant differences in play. With Selkirk’s recently released Amped series, however, the paddles have undergone so many alterations from their original design that they truly are on a “different level” than the predecessors.

The main thing the Amped paddles share with their original models is shape. Selkirk has taken 4 of their most popular paddles and mirrored their style to address different types of play.

Each paddle comes in multiple colors in addition to those shown below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Epic – A traditional widebody paddle shape that balances handle length and surface area. Its wide sweet spot helps with fast volleys at the net and can suit any player type.

S2 – Has the largest sweet spot of any of the Amped paddles, providing a very responsive and lively feel. The broad design provides plenty of surface area to easily return pickleballs while focusing on technique.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Omni – Provides reach and control. Paddle has a shorter handle designed for players who grip lower on the handle or those who play with a finger against the face. This allows for maximum reach while maintaining a decent width.

Maxima – The longest paddle; ideal for power players who drive the ball but requires precision due to slimmer face. Weighing only 7.5 oz, it features a power-generating, head-heavy balance preferred by tennis players.

These paddles have already proven their success on the courts, but through their Amped evolution, the designs have been strengthened further. Both the faces and cores have been updated to provide improved touch, consistency and control.

Thanks to these changes, Selkirk believes they’re truly hit on a combination of “power and control” that players will love.

FiberFlex Unidirectional Fiberglass

The face material’s “unidirectional” quality relates to Selkirk’s unique manufacturing process, including the way inks are melded onto the face. This affects performance by providing players with an even feel and additional “cushioning” that causes pickleballs stay against the face longer.

X5 Polypropylene Core

This thicker, patent-pending core creates a larger sweet spot, reduces vibration to prevent pickleball elbow and minimizes torque. Torque is what happens when you hit off-center, causing a paddle to twist in your hand and reducing accuracy.

Unibody Design

This sturdy design melds the core and face together for improved performance and durability.

Many 5.0 players have already tried the Amped paddles and are loving how they play. You can find pro reviews in the Selkirk paddles category on PickleballCentral.

Amped Fans Include:

Tyson McGuffin, 2016 National’s Medalist & 2017 USAPA Nationals Singles Champ
Kurtis Campbell, SoCal Summer Classic Gold Medalist
Tonja Major, 2017 US Open Gold Medalist & 2017 USAPA Nationals Bronze Medalist
Morgan Evans, 2017 TOC Champion

And many others! Check out the video below to hear more about the Amped paddles from top player Glen Peterson (US Open & USAPA Nationals Gold Medalist):

To find the perfect selection for your play style, check out the Amped paddles at PickleballCentral and get ready to supercharge your play.

Amped Contest

We’d also like to extend a special offer to our readers by providing a chance to win one of the Amped paddles for yourself.

Just click the image below and enter a few details to test your luck. Entries close on November 21st, so make sure to join in soon!

Amped Contest

Gamma Proves Beauty Isn’t Skin Deep… When It Comes to Paddles

All paddle surfaces are not created equal.

When it comes to graphics, Gamma has found that good-looking design isn’t only a matter of appearance; it also affects how a paddle plays.

This means that you should never have to choose between style and function. And now with Gamma’s new paddle releases, you can own the best of both worlds.

The Mirage and Razor are here to bring together the best aspects of paddle technology and surface design.

Gamma Mirage

Gamma Mirage, $89.95

This duo’s most clever feature is all in the face, in that Gamma uses a direct print process rather than a screen print or a printed label during manufacturing.

Direct Printed Graphics

Chuck Vietmeier, Director of Product Marketing at Gamma, explains, “[Direct printing] not only gives us a clear, clean and high-end look, but it allows players to get the most response from the face of their paddle. Vinyl graphics in our opinion do not allow for proper ball feedback.”

Gamma dug into customer research to find out what players were seeking in their equipment at high levels of play. Aside from determining that polymer core paddles were clearly the top choice when it came to trends, they found many players craved a responsive feel and softer sound.

Smooth Poly Core

This resulted in the paddles utilizing Gamma’s new “Sensa Poly Core” for increased control, while offering variation in surface materials and weight.

Chuck says that the new polyester core in the Gamma paddles make them a more comfortable option for players at all levels of play. “The core is so responsive that allows a player to hit more accurate shots with less effort.”

Gamma Razor

Gamma Razor, $109.95

The Mirage uses a composite face while the Razor has a graphite surface.

The Perfect Face/Weight Combo

Chuck explains the graphite-faced Razor “allows for a lighter, more maneuverable paddle with lots of pop and ball feedback. It has more more power without sacrificing control and feel.”

The Mirage weighs in at a heavier 8.0 oz, with the Razor sitting at 7.6 oz.

These paddles do have a standard edge guard unlike Gamma’s original series with their patented flush edge guard, but the face overlap is minimal (~1/8″) and only serves to broaden the sweet spot within the paddles.

One thing Gamma has brought back is their popular updated honeycomb grip from the 2.0 line, offering high traction and increased comfort thanks to the cushioned design.

USA-Made and US Open Success

We know many of our customers care about where paddles are manufactured, which is why we’re also happy to report that Gamma paddles are produced wholly within the USA.

All of the paddles are, of course, USAPA approved so you can take them to your next tournament.

Lucy with Phaser 2.0

Lucy with her original Gamma favorite, the Phaser 2.0

A top player who’s been making use of Gamma’s line is 5.0 player Lucy Kitcher. Lucy took home several gold medals at the 2017 US Open and originally met Gamma reps at the tournament last year.

Gamma felt “her passion and drive to excel in the sport of pickleball matched [theirs],” and from there on out an ideal partnership was formed.

Pro Player Lucy Kitchner Shares Her Pick

Lucy formerly used Gamma’s Phaser 2.0 and is now playing with the Mirage due to its balance between touch and power. She notes that players coming from a tennis background may prefer the Razor for its more fast-acting graphite surface.

“Gamma shares the same passion for pickleball as the players,” Lucy says. “They’ve expanded into pickleball because they enjoy the game and have been in and amongst the players asking questions and looking to provide them with what they want.

“They’ve already been on the front lines with grips, ball carts and nets, and are now are producing top-notch paddles that will suit recreational players as well as the pros.”

Finding the Magic Fit

We loved Lucy’s response when we asked her how players could determine the right paddle for them amid the new lineup.

“It’s like Harry Potter: The wand chooses the wizard! You really have to try them and see which one feels right.”

We agree! Wizards—er, players, that is—know there’s nothing quite like trying a paddle for yourself.

We’ll take this moment to gently remind readers that here at PickleballCentral, we give all customers a 30-day, 100% satisfaction guarantee.

After purchasing any paddle from us you’re free to try it out for those 30 days to ensure it’s a match. If it isn’t, just give us a call and we’ll exchange it for one that serves you better.

Lucy rounds out her admiration for Gamma by adding, “Gamma has been pleasant and flexible to work with and has given me the tools I need to play my best. I’m hoping to be a positive representation of the high quality brand they are. I’m grateful for their support and hope they feel the same about my efforts to share their product line with others.”

Try out the new Gamma paddles and feel their responsiveness for yourself after checking out the lineup.

The Pickleball Magazine Provides the Latest and Greatest in Pickleball Trends

Pickleball Magazine continues to offer excellent articles about pickleball trends, best places to play and tournament features. In the latest issue, Wayne Dollard, publisher of Pickleball Magazine, shares his personal experience in “Building Your Dream Court.” Wayne shares the main reasons he considered building a home court, which include having a place for parties and social gatherings.

He also shares the list of things to consider before building a court, like space and cost. Excellent photos are included showing the stages of building the court, as well as a check list with a price breakdown. This article is definitely one of the best for explaining everything that goes into building a home court. The USAPA has also published a book, “Pickleball Courts: A Construction & Maintenance Manual,” that is helpful on this topic.

The Oct/Nov 2017 issue also contains two USAPA announcements: A Major Region Restructure for 2018 and the new USAPA Sanctioned League Play. It also has a great Q & A page “The Rules Guru” that answers some complex questions about the interpretation of the IFP Official Tournament Rulebook.

We enjoy hearing feedback from Pickleball Magazine subscribers. Here are some of our most recent customer reviews:

“This is a terrific magazine, and I’ve been passing it around the club for others to read. There is a good variety of articles, and the photos and physical pages are high quality! Personally, I would love to see more intermediate skills advancement articles, as well as product reviews.”

“I’m picking up useful tips from this magazine that are improving my game.
I highly recommend a subscription.”

A fellow pickleballer gave me a copy and it’s so informative to me (as a beginner trying to ‘catch on to how the game is played).
Articles with information are so appreciated”

Every Pickleball Magazine issue contains training tips from some of the best trainers in the country. Who doesn’t want to learn how to “Run Down a Lob Safely” with Sarah Ansboury or “Hit Down the Middle” thanks to Coach Mo? Subscribe today, and if you are already a subscriber, make sure your subscription does not expire.  You cannot afford to miss an issue!

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