I was first introduced to pickleball in 2014 at a friend’s private court in Phoenix, Arizona. I couldn’t get used to letting the return of serve bounce before hitting it and keeping score was so difficult. With tennis background, I did feel comfortable hitting the ball and responding to balls hit at me. However, I didn’t really take to pickleball until about 2 years later when I discovered all the public courts that were available with games happening regularly. We also have indoor play at several Phoenix Community Centers. That was appealing during our extremely hot summers. Anyway, that is when I became hooked on this crazy sport. To me it is life-size table tennis.
In Early 2022, I was fortunate to be able to attend a Pickleball Getaway (pickleball camp) at a beautiful resort just South of Playa del Carmen, Mexico with Ben Johns, Collin Johns, Dekel Bar, and other pros for daily instruction and endless games with new friends. It was a great experience! Ben and the others were very personable and gracious as well as professional and accommodating. Hanna Johns also attended and showed off her game.
I do not play in tournaments but I play with many people who do participate regularly and I have volunteered at two major PPA tournaments in Phoenix. I really prefer the social and recreational aspect of the game. As I have become a better player, I have developed observation skills that help me create winning strategies and harmony with my partner during a game. I have discovered that once you are at the next level of pickleball, there are many things to work on in addition to personal development. I coach at the post-beginner to intermediate level to teach the player to combine physical ability with court awareness and partner communication.
For several years now, I play 5 to 6 days per week and sometimes twice a day to include evening play with the wife, who is a fantastic player. I have always played with an Engage paddle and currently play with the Encore EX 6.0 for its balance, control, and sufficient power.
Other paddles that I like are the Engage Pursuit, Diadem Warrior Edge, and the CRBN 1 & 2.