Meet the Pro: Parris Todd

Parris Todd
Pickleball Player: Parris Todd

At just five years old, Parris Todd asked her parents for a tennis racket for her birthday. Her parents knew nothing about tennis so this surprising request came out of the blue. Soon after, Todd’s tennis journey got underway, unleashing her talent and passion for the game. With more training sessions and hours on the court she continued to develop her gift, becoming a top junior player starting at age ten. Currently Parris holds over 85 tennis titles.

As the pandemic slowed down the globe, pickleball summoned her to the pickleball courts. Since fall 2021 Parris has been playing pickleball, competing in her first pickleball tournament in January 2022. We sat down with her to talk about her rising status as a pickleball pro, her goals, and more!

Parris Todd

How were you introduced to pickleball? 

My grandparents started playing pickleball ten years ago, and I used to make fun of them for playing an old persons’ sport. I was playing tennis at TTC in Newport Beach and they have a very big pickleball presence, so eventually I thought why not give it a shot.

Parris Todd
Parris with her Tennis Trophies

What are some of your most memorable pickleball moments?

PPA Foot Solutions in February was my first ever singles tournament, where I was able to beat some of the top Women’s singles players and take 4th overall and have a breakthrough tournament. My recent win in San Clemente PPA has definitely been my most memorable; winning my first PPA singles title meant so much to me. I have put in a lot of hard work off the court in the last few months and it was an awesome reward. 

Parris Todd
Parris Todd

How has your tennis background influenced your pickleball game? Strengths? Differences?

Having a tennis background helps with court movement, hand eye coordination, and overall patterns. Pickleball has a lot of soft elements to it; the dinks and drops requires much softer hands then what people are used to with tennis. 

Parris Todd

We know fashion is another passion of yours. What do you look for when picking out your looks for tournaments? Do you design what you wear?

I absolutely love matching sets! They are just so easy to throw on and color coordination is a big thing for me. Currently I am only wearing other brands that I love, but hopefully soon I will be designing and collaborating with other activewear brands to bring a different style and flavor to pickleball.

Parris Todd

Where do you see this sport in 5 years? Any short-term and long-term goals?

Being a sport in the next Olympics would be a huge achievement for pickleball. I would personally like to see it grow more internationally to bring more awareness to the sport. I think it’s on the right path as the fastest growing sport. 

Parris Todd

What can you tell us about your strategy and game mindset?

I always believe I can win, no matter who is on the other side of the net. Rest at the end, not in the middle!

What are you doing when you are not playing pickleball?

There aren’t too many days I’m not on the court, and if I’m not on the court I’m probably still thinking about pickleball! I like to relax with my friends on my days off, go out to dinner, go shopping, see movies, all that exciting “normal” life stuff.

Parris Todd

We’re looking forward to seeing where this exciting player’s pickleball career takes her!

Meet the Pro: Daniel De La Rosa

Meet Pro Pickleball Player: Daniel De La Rosa

Thank you, dad! Pickleball player De La Rosa”s father introduced him to racquetball at the age of four and he quickly rose through the racquetball ranks to the top. Currently #1 in the world for both singles and doubles as a professional racquetball player, De La Rosa manages to play pickleball at a high level as well. A native of San Luis Potosi, Mexico, he currently resides in Gilbert, Arizona with his wife Michelle and their two children. Michelle is also a competitive racquetball player, having played on the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour and on Team USA. We sat down with Daniel on the heels of launching his signature paddle with Paddle Candy to find out what brought him to pickleball, what his goals are and more.

How did you get started with pickleball? 

I start playing pickleball four or five years ago. When my wife was pregnant with our first baby, she wanted to keep playing sports but racquetball was a little too hard on her body so we started playing pickleball. A really good friend of ours helped us learn the rules and we quickly got hooked.

What paddle do you use and why?

I use the Vulcan V560 Control Paddle Candy Edition. It suits my playing style well because I’m more of a control player. I like the feel of the paddle; it’s easy for me to  control the resets and dinks. I also love the long handle, which gives me a bit more flex on my overhead shots.

Vulcan has combined the performance characteristics of one of their most popular paddles, the V560 Control, with the bold Sugar Skull design honoring De La Rosa’s Mexican heritage.

Do you have any goals for pickleball?

I want to be one of the best pickleball players on tour, and win some of the big events for sure.

Is it difficult to switch back and forth between the two sports? 

I’m still playing racquetball full time. It was a bit hard in the beginning moving from racquetball to pickleball because of the speed of my sport, but now I have found a way to combine both of the sports and make it a little easier. There are a few skills that translate from racquetball to pickleball such as footwork, moving up and back (for example to chase down lobs) and quick reactions. Racquetball is a very fast game just like pickleball when you are at the kitchen line.

What’s the pickleball scene like in Mexico? 

In Mexico I just play pickleball for fun with my family, but I am excited to play some big events in the future as the sport develops more there. Pickleball is growing a bit more in Mexico and some of my good friends are opening facilities with pickleball courts. I’m really happy for them.

You’re known for having some exciting trick shots and acrobatic moves. Do you practice those or does that just come naturally? 

I can’t share my secrets lol! I don’t practice those shots; maybe they come from my racquetball background or my mental attitude. Every time I hit a shot, in my mind I tell myself “don’t miss it”!

What are the top 3 things (besides your paddle) that must be in your pickleball bag?

My Jigsaw Electrolytes for sure, grips and extra pair of socks.

What is your most memorable moment in pickleball so far?

Playing on the MLP (Major League Pickleball) is an incredible memory for me, especially sharing the court with amazing teammates.

What are you doing when you are not playing pickleball?

I try hard to be a good father and husband, and grow my construction company. Also golfing has quickly become one of my greatest passions and I play as often as I can.

Daniel with his two kids

Learn more about De La Rosa’s paddle of choice, the Paddle Candy Daniel De La Rosa Signature Paddle and if you have any questions about this paddle or any other pickleball gear, our Customer Support representatives are happy to help. You can reach our team at info@pickleballcentral.com or call 888-993-5548.

Meet The Pro: Jessie Irvine

Pickleball Pro, Jessie Irvine

Jessie Irvine is an incredible player who overcame adversity to excel at a game she loves. Having spent much of her early life focusing on tennis, when Jessie was on the verge of going pro she encountered a setback: Serving overhand caused intense pain due to missing cartilage in her joints. While this resulted in a change of focus, tennis’ loss has become pickleball’s gain as she’s soared through the ranks. Jessie is currently a top 5 player in all three divisions of women’s pro pickleball and kindly took the time to discuss more about her plans, practice routines and strategies. Read on to find out more.

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

My pickleball story started at the end of 2018/beginning of 2019 and at the time I was teaching tennis mainly to kids and also playing POP Tennis. Around that time two separate people I knew, one from tennis and one from POP Tennis, told me I should try out pickleball. They said the sport was starting to become more professional with tournaments, money and players getting involved. The major aspect was that there were no overhanded serves, which is what cut my dream of playing professional tennis short. So I gave pickleball a shot and instantly fell in love with it. I was interested in competing at a high level and began playing seriously at the beginning of 2019. The rest is still being written!

What paddle do you use and why?

Right now I use the Engage Pickleball Pursuit MX. It is the grittier spin-off of the original Maverick which is what I first started using after only a couple months of playing pickleball. For me at the time the appeal was that it was one of the only few paddles on the market that had an extended grip handle. I felt that was an important feature to take advantage of my long arms and two-handed backhand, which is my favorite shot. 

Engage Pursuit MX Pickleball Paddle by Engage Pickleball

Shop Engage Pickleball

We love your style and signature space buns! Is this part of your pre-match routine?

Jessie Irvine with her Engage Pickleball Pursuit MX Paddle

Haha, I wouldn’t say my style and space buns are part of my pre-match routine. But I will say that I do like to have fun with my looks, and I enjoy being colorful and creative. My pre-match routine consists of getting up super early on match day (I’m a slow mover) so that I can stretch, get organized, have a little breakfast and get to the courts so I have at least 45 minutes to an hour to warm up before my match. I am definitely one of those players that likes putting in the reps and hitting a lot before my match. 

Where do you see this sport in 5 years? Any short-term and long-term goals?

I hope that in 5 years pickleball is in the Olympics. Realistically it may take longer than that, but it would be amazing if that were to happen sooner than later, because one of my goals would be to play pickleball in the Olympics. That would be a major dream come true. As for other goals, I just want to play the best I can for as long as I can. I want to have fun and enjoy it. I’m grateful to have been given a second chance to be competitive again, and as seriously as I am taking this opportunity, at the same time I don’t want to forget to have fun and enjoy the journey. 

What is your most memorable moment so far in pickleball?

I think my most memorable pickleball moment so far is winning pro doubles gold (gold in women’s doubles and mixed doubles) at the 2021 PPA Vegas Championships. It’s one of the biggest tournaments of the year and being able to compete on Championship Sunday then win gold in both events was a huge moment for me and one of my favorite pickleball memories. 

What can you tell us about playing mixed doubles and strategy? Hand signals? Stacking?

I love pickleball strategy as a whole. I think it’s my favorite part of the game and I always compare high-level pickleball to chess. The best part of pickleball is that the game/strategy is always changing and evolving, which keeps it exciting. I think the strategy does change between gender doubles and mixed doubles. In my opinion, I find the mixed doubles strategy to be a little more simplified in the sense that I feel like my job is to keep the ball away from the other guy since he is also looking to be aggressive; and then find the best way to utilize and set up my male partner so that he can use his strengths to take advantage of the points. Essentially, I try to hit unattackable shots until my male partner can attack. In gender doubles, the game plan isn’t always clear cut so the strategies can be more complex and change from one team to the next. I enjoy the strategies both kinds of doubles provide. 

Jessie Irvine and Mixed Doubles Partner Kyle Yates at a PPA Tournament 2022

What are you doing when you’re not playing pickleball?

When I’m not playing pickleball… I’m playing pickleball! I really do love and enjoy it. When I’m hanging out with friends we end up playing pickleball for a few hours, eat and hang out, then play for a couple more hours. When I’m not traveling for tournaments I’ll do that twice a week. On the other days, I’m either working, doing off-court training which includes recovery work as well. At the end of all of that, if I have any time or energy left, then I will relax and catch up on some Netflix shows. 


Be sure to check out the Engage Pickleball Pursuit MX if you feel like you could benefit from a stronger two-handed backhand, and keep a watch out Jessie’s impressive talent in future tournaments!

Meet the Pro: Lauren Stratman

Team Electrum pro Lauren Stratman has quickly risen to the highest ranks of pickleball, becoming one of the top ten female players in the APP and PPA tours. Her current world pickleball rankings are #7 in singles, #9 in doubles and #9 in mixed doubles. She and Team Electrum player Patrick Smith won bronze in the 2021 World Pickleball Championships.

We interviewed Lauren to get her thoughts on the new Electrum Pro II paddle she uses and helped develop in addition to her experience of the game overall.

Lauren Stratman with the Electrum Pro II

What is your pickleball story?

One of my tennis students convinced me I needed to try pickleball in 2018 so I started off playing in my hometown of Santa Barbara, CA. It wasn’t until I played my first tournament in 2019 that I was officially obsessed, and in 2020 I went pro. I actually quit my full-time tennis job to pursue pickleball which my dad thought was insane, but now he’s my biggest supporter!

Electrum Pro Pickleball Bag

How did you help in the design and make of the Electrum Pro II?

I think most players coming from other racquet sports have an affinity for elongated paddles due to their reach and power, so while I enjoyed the grittiness the Pro model has, I had always hoped for a longer version. One of my favorite shots is a two-handed backhand counter and that’s far easier to do with an extended handle. So both of those elements were added to the Pro II. 

What do you like about this paddle?

Having that little bit of extra length makes a huge difference in both singles and doubles. It’s still just as solid as the Pro and has the same great feel and touch, but it’s an all around improved version of the original. I also really like the stylish new yellow edge guard.

Electrum Pro II by Electrum Pickleball

What is the best pickleball tip/advice you ever received?

To have fun! I get stressed out when I take it too seriously. Having fun helps me play loose and to the best of my ability. 

What are your most notable pickleball wins / accomplishments?

Finals PPA Masters Women’s Doubles 

Finals PPA Arizona Grand Slam Mixed Doubles 

Finishing as the #1 female player on the APP tour in 2021 

Do you  have a favorite pickleball drill?

I like skinny singles and full court singles drills. My dad used to do 20-40 ball drills with me in tennis; now I like to do that with pickleball. I have someone feed me 20-40 balls at a time to get myself running side to side and add in some forward movement as well. It’s great for cardio and working on groundies on the run. 

What do you like to do when you’re not playing pickleball?

While I love traveling and have been to over 15 countries, these days I’m on the road for pickleball so often that in between events I’m usually just relaxing and recovering before the next one. I like to spend time off the court with my boyfriend Julian and my dog Baylee.


In addition to representing Electrum, Lauren is a Chicken N Pickle instructor who teaches at their locations across the U.S. If you’re near one of their complexes, be sure to check if she may be coming to a court near you!

Shop the Electrum Pro II if you’d like to see if Lauren’s signature paddle suits you.

Meet the Pro: Dayne Gingrich

Meet family man, coach and pickleball pro Dayne Gingrich. A sponsored player by Electrum Pickleball, Dayne has gained major success in the senior pro circuit. He is a strategist and positive thinking wizard who manages to make every shot look effortless. We recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Dayne to find out more about him, and we can confidently say that this guy has something special. Here’s what he had to say. Enjoy!

Dayne Gingrich sponsored by Electrum Pickleball

Notable Wins:

2021 PPA Mesa – Gold Men’s Senior Pro 

2021 Red Rock PPA – Gold Men’s and Mixed Senior Pro

2021 PPA Newport Shootout – Gold Men’s Senior Pro 

2021 APP SoCal Classic – Gold Men’s and Mixed Senior Pro 

2021 PPA OC Cup – Gold Men’s and Mixed Senior Pro 

Dayne Gingrich plays with the Electrum Pro Graphite Pickleball Paddle

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

My stepdad brought me to a 4.5 open play weekend four years ago. I played the entire day without any breaks. I loved it but couldn’t walk for two weeks. Life got in the way and didn’t allow me to touch a paddle again for another year and half after my initial introduction. When I returned to the game, because of my tennis background, I was lucky to be playing 5.0 immediately, and the rest is history. 

What paddle do you use and why?

I currently use the Electrum Pro. It feels as close to a tennis racquet as there is on the market. It has a tremendous amount of spin and power while still allowing me the necessary control needed. The first day I demoed it, I instantly knew it was going to be a complete game changer. 

The Electrum Pro Graphite Pickleball Paddle from Electrum is a premium paddle made with cutting-edge materials to ensure excellent durability and balanced construction. The face of the paddle is made with Toray T-700 carbon fiber, which is resistant to deformation and provides a strong surface for returning shots. This carbon fiber also provides a textured feel, which imparts spin onto pickleballs and makes it easier to control your shots.

We see you sharing strategy tips on your page, can you share with us some of your top tips?

The biggest “Pro Tip” I’ve been sharing lately with my students is the mandatory need for more controlled aggression in their game. With the evolution in paddle technology the game is speeding up, but there’s still a need to find control due to the added spin. If players don’t look for more opportunities to attack, they’ll GET attacked, and sooner than they may expect. The initiator in today’s game has the advantage, unlike in past years, again, due to the power of the latest paddles. As aggressors we can obtain information (who we’re attacking, when, where, and our opponents’ response), which gives us a mathematical edge in the long term. The defenders will always be reacting and guessing. Of course, there are a couple players currently on tour who have faster counterattacking hand speed than the initiator’s attacks, but they are a tiny minority. Learn to attack from below the net, out of the air, off the bounce, and on both your FH and BH. 

Another tip I focus on is transition play. This area, unless given a high and slow meatball, is for resetting. As aggressive as the game is becoming, the court is still small, which means there isn’t enough room to power through players from the transition area (during doubles play). Make a habit of slowing down, keeping your feet still, low and wide while executing resets. The paddle also needs to be quiet, with a light grip pressure, absorbing the ball into the body, while maintaining a mental vision of a “baby arc” that softly brushes a penny off the top of the net. 

What are your favorite drills?

My favorite drills are anything straight ahead with an opponent. I also like adding a ball machine feeding crosscourt dinks so I can work on the 1-2 attack/finish part of my game. All the fast action happens straight against the player in front of us and through the middle of that player, so learning how to improve this part of our game is a necessity for long-term growth. I rarely practice crosscourt dinks anymore, as I’ve found straight ahead dinks have improved my crosscourt dinks 100x. 

What does your Mental Performance Coaching help pickleball players with?

Mental Performance is every player’s secret sauce. Unfortunately, only a small percentage understand or want to commit to this part of their game. Those that do, however, create a massive amount of improvement, which leads to a disproportionate level of confidence against their competition. The first thing we establish together (as coach and student) is their long-term vision. Micro day-to-day goals are irrelevant without first establishing a detailed, emotionally connected vision they’ll eventually begin working towards. Once this vision has been declared, written down and visualized, we start our work. Everyone comes with unique gifts, motivations and triggers, so there isn’t a stock program, but the majority of athletes I work with have to create a new, heightened state of belief. I want them to design an inner confidence that doesn’t give in to difficulty, pain, frustration or self doubt. While everyone’s path is different, patience and self belief will always play a fundamental role in their blueprint. 

What do you think is the most important shot in pickleball?

There are so many important shots in pickleball and I think the level of each player will determine which one is the most important for them. For the beginner, I believe that learning soft hands, feel and touch should be a staple in their process. Once we shift into intermediate and advanced, where most players can make the majority of their 3rds, it’s a tie between the transition reset and the aggressive kitchen attack. The reason I call it a tie is because it doesn’t matter how good your resets are if you don’t have an offensive game once you make it to the line. But it also doesn’t matter how good your kitchen attacks are if you can’t get to the kitchen to show them off. Once we move into a regular advanced level of play, the ability to seamlessly shift from a fast kitchen fire fight right into a reset that neutralizes that fight may be the single most difficult shot in all of pickleball. 

What are some of your short term and long term pickleball goals?

My goal as a player is to never get out-worked by another player, pro or senior pro. The results after I control my daily work ethic and commitment to continuously improve aren’t in my control. I have huge long-term goals I’ve set for myself, but they will only come to life if I focus on my preparation and recovery, mentally, physically and emotionally. As a coach, I’m currently working on a ginormous project that can’t yet be announced, but when it becomes a reality, it will change the landscape of how pickleball is taught and learned. I’m also FINALLY starting to write my book. This has been in the works for too long, but I believe will be worth the wait. In the meantime, while these projects are being put together, I will continue giving away a ridiculous amount of free content online with the singular focus of adding value to as many players as possible. 

What are you doing when you are not playing pickleball?

When I’m not playing pickleball, I’m constantly falling head-over-heels in love with my wife every day. She’s my angel and the miracle that makes it all possible for us, as a family. Without her push to always be better and think bigger, while simultaneously, keeping me humble and grounded, our family’s long term vision wouldn’t be what it is. I’m also a girl-dad, through and through. My poor daughter is probably so sick of me telling her much she’s loved, appreciated, and how proud her mom and dad are of her. Being a great player is important, evolving as a coach is important, but nothing is bigger or has more meaning than my family. 


If you’d like to read more from Dayne and stay tuned for his future projects, be sure to check out his website. To check out his paddle of choice take a look at the Electrum Pro and see if it might be a fit for you.

Meet the Pro: Brandon Nsekpong

Meet Brandon Nsekpong, a pickleball pro that has recently hit the scene and made quite a splash, with his skills in other sports that have helped him cross over into pickleball and excel! He just signed on with the ProXR Pickleball Team, and has great goals for his pickleball career. We sat down with him to talk about how he got started, what it’s like to be sponsored by ProXR, and how he’s planning to dominate the competition in 2022. We’re going to let him take it away from here, so you can read all about it! Enjoy!

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

I grew up playing Ping Pong and Table Tennis at a high level as a junior (Ages 8-14). From there I got heavily into basketball and took it as far as I could into a D3 college scholarship. Three years ago I was playing basketball recreationally at a gym and saw pickleball going on the other side. It looked like something I could be instantly good at with my background. After getting beat 11-2 in singles to a 50+ male I knew there was so much more to the game than what I thought. The first two years of playing I couldn’t really get into it at a high level and just enjoyed the casual rec games with friends. The social aspect of pickleball was amazing to me. It wasn’t until this past year where I really felt that I was selling myself short by not going all in to see how far I can go. I’m not a fan of wasting talent. So far it’s been awesome becoming a pro and taking my game to new heights every month. My goal is to be the #1 player in the world and I know I have a long way to go to get there.

Throwback photo of Brandon winning a Ping Pong trophy
Throwback photo of Brandon playing basketball

Congrats, you just joined the ProXR Team! What do you like about them?

Thank you! How much time do I have? Lol. The ProXR team is phenomenal. They started reaching out to me strictly off of my potential even before I won my first pro match. That showed me that they really do their research and care about the development of me as a player instead of just what I can do for them. Their paddles and handle design are unique and took some getting used to at first. Yet, now I am able to maximize my game with it. It feels like I’m a part of a new family and I really love that dynamic.

Read about ProXR’s game-changing handle technology here.

Brandon Nsekpong joins the ProXR Pickleball Team

What ProXR Paddle do you play with and why?

I play with the ProXR Advantage Blackout Series paddle. It’s the 16mm core thickness and has just enough control for all my resets while having an insane amount of power and pop that is required at the pro level. I also doctor it up with some lead tape as well. This paddle also comes in 14mm.

See all ProXR Paddles at Pickleball Central.

Brandon playing with ProXR Advantage Blackout series paddle

If pickleball had a walk up song like some other sports have, what would yours be?

Wow. “Who’s Stopping Me?” by Big Sean would have to be it. Confidence booster for sure. Although “A Mili” by Lil Wayne would be a close second.

What tournaments have you played in and what does your schedule look like this year?

So far I have played in about ten pro tournaments. Mostly all the APPs and some local PPA tourneys (Texas Open, Austin Open).  I committed to at least 24 tournaments this year or about two per month. I’ve never traveled this much in my life so I’m enjoying the scenery along the way, while also trying to pick tournaments that are great vacation spots for the family.

Brandon at the Del Ray APP Tournament in March 2022

What is your best pickleball tip?

Drill every day. You can’t skip that portion. No matter how good you think you are, drilling is the foundation that you can never forget about. Rec play and testing your skills is great and needed, but drilling should be something you crave daily/weekly if you want to improve your game. Some people focus too much on learning new shots but would enhance their game solely by being more consistent on the shots they already have. It took me a while to learn this concept but I’ll never forget it.

What is your favorite shot in pickleball?

Forehand drive on a medium to high ball in the middle of the court. You can hit it anywhere! Plus you can add so much deception to it also. Close second is the backhand counter block at the kitchen.

What are your favorite drills?

Dinking games to 11 all angles. I love warming up to that. Also transition games like starting at the baseline with someone at the net and trying to work your way up. I also do a lot of resetting drills as well, where people fire balls at me as hard as possible and I return them soft in the kitchen.

What are some of your goals in pickleball?

The top two overall are to be the #1 male in this sport and also to impact people’s lives by using my platform. I want both equally as much, but few things would be more important to me than being able to influence others in a positive way based on my own success. I constantly look for opportunities to do this in my daily life and would love to be blessed with the ability to do so on an even larger scale.

Meet Pro pickleball player Brandon Nsekpong. Learn about his partnership with ProXR, the paddle he plays with, his best pickleball practice tip and more!

We look forward to following along on Brandon’s journey! If you are interested in a ProXR Pickleball paddle but aren’t sure which one to choose call us at 888-854-0163. Nothing makes us happier than helping you find a paddle that fits your game. Buy with confidence, knowing you have a 30-day test drive to make sure it works on the courts – where it counts.

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!