Lee was honored MVP of the Major League Pickleball (MLP) team Chimeras. Her teammates named her the "Dragon Slayer" she is known for slaying consistent Erne's.
Meet Pro player Lee Whitwell; she is originally from Gibraltar, lived in Bend OR for seven years before moving to the mecca pickleball state of Florida where she now resides.
Lee became a super star as MVP of the Major League Pickleball (MLP) team Chimeras. She was introduced to pickleball in 2016 when a friend asked if she would like to play women's doubles in a tournament. Lee, being from a tennis background, said sure I'll play in a tennis tournament. When she found out it was pickleball Lee asked “what's this game pickleball?” She wasn't into it and said “no way, sounds like something my grandma would play”. Her friend said “try one game and I'll throw in a case of beer”. That got Lee's attention and she was hooked (not on beer, but pickleball)! Lee was an assistant women's tennis coach at the Alliant International University (formerly United States International University) in San Diego.
•. Have you ever been to Port Townsend WA?
No, but I can’t wait to visit!
What steps/process does it take to get to the pros level? Do you work your way up and hope for an invitation? Or does one try out and try to make the cut?
Depending on your background and how easy you find it to adapt to the nuances of pickleball - to get to the pro level it is better to start off playing at your level and advancing up the ranks. The game of pickleball is evolving and changing at lightning speed these days. The worst thing someone with loads of talent and upswing can do is jimmy into pros with both feet and learn on the fly. I’m not saying play at a certain level for a year or any predetermined amount of time - but definitely be selective in where you play. For example - if you are winning at 4.5, then choose to play 5.0 at some smaller tournaments and see how you do there and work your way up to winning at 5.0 at the bigger Tier 1 events or National Championship Series.
•What has been your most memorable moment playing pickleball?
Definitely every single time I stepped on the court for Team Chimeras MLP matches. I had some great moments on the court, but had equallygreat ones being part of this team cheering, coaching, and celebrating with them.
You can watch these two matches here:
Lee Whitwell and Dekel Bar - Singles MLP
Lee Whitwell and Anna Leigh Waters - Women's doubles MLP
•What other hobbies do you have outside of pickleball?
I enjoy short walks to the fridge :-) Seriously, I enjoy hiking, spending time with friends and family. Because the pb tournament world is so hectic and involves quite a bit of travel, when I am home I like to decompress and spend time with my partner, my zoo, and friends/family.
•Do you have any favorite quotes or words of wisdom you would like to share?
One of my favorite quotes and something I try to excel at everyday is this one:
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”
Thank you to Lee for the time she took out for us. We appreciate you! Come visit us in Port Townsend when you are up in our neck of the woods.
Yana Grechkina and Pat Smith playing mixed doubles in the "MLP" Major League Pickleball as team ATX Pickleballers. (photo sent in by Yana)
Meet Yana Grechkina, born in Russia and now resides in Kansas city Missouri. She is the first female to win Gold in the APP Next Gen pickleball tournament in San Antonio, TX.
Yana 23 has hit the pickleball circuit with leaps and bounds. She recently was drafted into the MLP on team ATX Pickleballers and played along pro player Catherine Parentneau in womens doubles, the two played well together.
Yana with a background in Tennis Has a 43-40 career singles record, she holds a tie for the seventh-most singles victories in program history.
• How were you introduced to pickleball & how long have you been playing?
I have been playing pickleball for a little over a year. My tennis friends and my college coach introduced me to the sport a while ago. But the pandemic provided me with plenty of time to truly explore the sport and to fall in love with it!
• You were drafted in the MLP on the ATX Pickleballers team. I bet you were so excited. Tell us more about that day and how you were feeling. Also, what was it like playing womens doubles with Catherine Parentaeu? You both played so well together.
Every time I think about the MLP event I get goosebumps! It was certainly an honor to be selected to participate among the top players. I was so lucky to compete on the same side with Catherine, Pat, and Tyler. And do I need to mention our sweetest owner - Brene Brown, who came to every single match to support us and to cheer for us with her husband and her friends! Definitely one of the most emotional events for me. I was very nervous at first. I was pretty much a "no one" out there and I wanted to do well for the team. This is where Catherine came in and brought so much confidence in my game. We ended up winning every game after that, finishing very strong! And the crazy loud energy we had with Pat! We totally shook some teams' nerves :D We didn't end up being the MLP Champs in the end, but we did some damage on the court and developed amazing relationships among each other, which is a big win in my books!
Watch Yana here in a match with Catherine Parenteau in the MLP team ATX Pickleballers.
"MLP" event: ATX Pickleballers. Yana in the middle left next to owner Brene Brown, author of six #1 New York Times bestsellers and speaker of Ted Talks.
( Owners of ATX Pickleballers Brené Brown, Steve Alley, Charles Kiley. )
• What kind of pickleball paddle do you play with? Also what brand of shoes do you like to wear on the court?
I use Electrum. I love Nike tennis shoes.
• What do you see in the future for yourself regarding your goals and dreams?
I would love to see pickleball take on new heights and expand internationally attracting more foreign players, where I can proudly represent my home country. I see my life closely connected to pickleball in the future. It's amazing how socially connecting this sport is, which is a crucial factor for its development. My dream is definitely to help the sport grow and to keep growing with it!
• Do you have anyone you look up to or are inspired by?
I would not want to give credit just to one person, because I constantly find people who I look up to! I'd say I am inspired by the individuals who work hard and who have humble personalities! Well... I have to mention Roger Federer though - my all time idol! Maybe one day I'll play pickleball with him in Switzerland! (add this one to the dream list in the previous question :D)
• Do you have any hobbies outside of Tennis and Pickleball?
I love traveling, reading books, hiking, learning new things, and finding cool local coffee shops when I travel for pickleball tournaments :D
• What is your favorite quote or words of wisdom?
Tough times never last, but tough people do. (Dr. Robert Schuller)
Yana returning a hard drive in singles at the Chicken and Pickle NEXT GEN, San Antonio TX, which lead her to a Gold win!
Yana is the first female to win Gold in the APP Next Gen pickleball tournament held in San Antonio, TX.
Mixed doubles day with Ben Newell in Newport Beach, CA.
Yana with a background in Tennis Has a 43-40 career singles record, she holds a tie for the seventh-most singles victories in program history. University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Celebrating after winning the 2018 Conference Championship with her tennis team, WAC. Champions.
Hiking in Arizona.
Thank you Yana for taking your time out of your busy schedule to interview with us here at PTPC. You are appreciated! It was a joy corresponding back and forth with you and getting to know you more. Yana was a pleasure to interview, sweet and well mannered. It is exciting to watch the Next Gen pool of pickleballers come up amongst and along side of the pro players.
Meet "Corrine Carr" 5.0 Pro Pickleball Player always happy and smiling. Off the court, you will find Corrine, golfing, skiing, kayaking, hiking, traveling, gardening and cooking.
Corrine made a big impact in the pickleball world when she and Simone Jardim held Gold in Pro Women’s Doubles Gold in the 2017 Minto US Open Pickleball Championships in Naples Florida.
How did you get introduced to pickleball and how long have you been playing?
I was introduced to pickleball in 2014, just over seven years ago. At the time, I was living in Michigan while completing my PhD in Finance at Michigan State. I wasn’t use to long, cold winters and desperately needed to find a fun indoor activity. I Enter pickleball. Then, six months after playing my first game, I competed in my first tournament and immediately fell in love with the social community surrounding the competitive atmosphere. I was also extremely fortunate to start playing around the same time as Simone Jardim, Catherine Parenteau, and Joey Farias at the same athletic club (Michigan Athletic Club). With a group like that, it was easy to get hooked on pickleball!
What is your favorite competition to play, singles, doubles or mixed? Out of any of these, which one was most memorable?
My favorite event used be women's doubles. Simone and I played together for about 4 years and we have a lot of great memories from our time on the court together. The most memorable win for me was the 2017 US Open!
Recently, my favorite event changed to mixed doubles, which is largely due to my partners. I love playing with Adam Stone and Dekel Bar!! I'm completely relaxed on the court with them which allows me to play my best, and we've had some good runs/wins as a result. My most memorable mixed win was with Adam Stone at the 2021 APP Punta Gorda tourney.
What makes the biggest difference for me is having a consistent partner who I mesh well with on the court. I have found this in mixed doubles, and next year I'll have it in women's doubles as well :-)
What do you usually eat the night before a tournament and during?
I don't have a go-to meal the night before a tournament. I may eat sushi, mexican, hibachi, etc. The only thing I stay away from is rich creamy foods, since they tend to upset my stomach. I do, however, have a go-to breakfast. I almost always eat Natures Path Pumpkin Seed and Flax Granola with fresh blueberries. Sounds delicious, right?! :-P During the tournament, I usually snack on salted nuts (almonds or cashews since I'm allergic to peanuts) and for lunch I'll typically eat a ham sandwich with mustard. For extra hydration, I put Liquid IV in my water.
What is your workout regime like during the week?
Pre-Covid, I enjoyed going to Burn Boot Camp which focused on interval training. It was great for building muscle and cardio. After everything shut down, I started doing workouts on the Nike Training app and have continued to do these even after Burn Boot Camp opened back up. I have done very little cardio exercise since September of last year, due to a foot injury, but I'm about to get back to it!
You are a professor in finance, have you always known that was the career you wanted to work in?
My dad was an Economics Professor, so becoming a Finance Professor was a natural path for me. However, it is not what I always knew I wanted to do. Growing up, I loved to learn, loved school, and performed well. When I expressed to my parents at the end of my junior year of college that I wasn't sure what to do with my life, my dad suggested getting a PhD in Finance and pursuing a career as a finance professor. I thought that sounded rather ambitious because Finance PhD programs are difficult to get into and difficult to successfully complete. But, I decided to try, was accepted, completed my PhD, and fell in love with teaching finance in the process.
Favorite quote or words of wisdom you would like to share with our readers?
I love the saying "Happiness is an inside job". I believe happiness comes from contentment with yourself, and this is especially important to remember in the age of social media.
Corrine and her friend on Mt. Fitz Roy trek in El Chalten, Argentina
Photo taken in Torres del Paine Chile Patagonia
Corrine in Mt Zion National Park in UT at the top of Angels Landing!
Corrine and her Dad who is the one who introduced the game of golf to his daughter and the photo below a day spent with her mom out on the greens.
What a smile, Corrine is so excited about the watermelon she grew in her garden, so impressive! Nice job! :)
Pro player " Jocelyn (Jay) Devillier
( photo sent in by Jay )
How did you get introduced to playing pickleball and how long have you been playing?
I was introduced to pickleball about 3 years ago. Lucy Kovalova, Jack Oxler and Matt Wright needed a fourth player and asked me to join. I didn’t get hooked by then. It's only later when I started competing in 2019 that my love for the sport grew.
How did you get your nickname “The Flying Frenchman”?
Actually, I don’t really know. I was being a ball hog, trying to get every ball and "erneing" a lot... I guess that’s where the flying came from and I am French so it was the flying Frenchman.
What is your favorite competition to play, singles, doubles or mixed. Out of any of these, which one was most memorable?
I like all three events. I don’t have any preference. I feel like they all have their own dynamic. Singles differs from the other two since it all depends on me.
I have several memorable moments, but If I had to only pick one, it is the marathon match I had against Zane Navratil. I ended up winning the match 21-19 which was just epic!
Watch match here.
Do you have any other hobbies outside of pickleball?
Yes, I love skiing, traveling and visiting new places/countries, watching movies.
Favorite quote or words of wisdom you would like to share with our readers?
"Rest at the end, not in the middle".
Jay and his partner Patrick Smith have been playing doubles together for the last year,
Photo sent in by Jay Devillier.
2019 Minto US Open Championships Women’s Doubles,
5.0, 19-49, Semi-Final Match. (Photo sent in by Julie Manuel)
Pickleball has become a popular sport among young and old. The game allows anyone with a knee, hip replacement to a pacemaker to be able to get out and enjoy an easy or a competitive game of pickleball. Meet Julie Manuel, a Pro Pickleball player you can watch in the 2019 Minto US Open Championships Women’s Doubles, 5.0, 19-49, Semi-Final Match. If the commentator had not revealed that Julie was out on the courts playing with a pacemaker at a high level of pickleball, I would have never guessed. The match on the link below is Julie and her partner Beth Merchant playing against Anna Leigh Waters and Staci Townsend. Impressive and inspirational, Julie gives us all hope that whatever any one of us may be battling, we too can be overcomers. Read the interview here.
Julie, what an inspiration you are! It is the month of February, Heart Health month. You play high level pro pickleball 5.0, with a pacemaker. I would have never known by watching you play. Would you like to share more on your experience playing pickleball with our readers? For example, how long have you been playing, how you were introduced to the game and when did your pacemaker come into play?
I started playing pickleball in late fall, 2016, after recovering from a knee replacement surgery which was my fifth surgery following a terrible snow skiing accident in 2013. I was rehabbing in Florida with friends and was introduced to the game of pickleball I couldn’t be more thankful today that I didn’t just brush off the invitation to “grab a paddle and try it!”
My pacemaker was a complete surprise to me in 2009! I’ve been a lifelong athlete – playing college basketball and training relentlessly to stay at the top of my game. However, I started passing out in college frequently, and medical professionals struggled to determine a correct diagnosis for several years. In 2009, I had become pretty sick and was passing out even more frequently and my significant other (at the time) was determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. Following a Tilt Table test, it was determined I had a very severe case of Neurocardiogenic Syncope. Essentially, in my case, when my vagus nerve became overstimulated, my heart stopped to reset the nerve, causing the ‘passing out’ episodes. My pacemaker was inserted October 12, 2009, and I’ve had to adapt to my new reality. I still have symptoms and will occasionally pass out – but the comforting and good news is my heart won’t stop because of the miracle of the pacemaker!
How do you prepare yourself for a big pickleball tournament like the one against Anna Leigh Waters and Staci Townsend, physically and mentally? Do you eat certain foods? Did you and Beth have a plan and strategy going into the game?
I prepare for every tournament the same as I did when I was in college playing basketball. I typically take a short jog with music to focus myself and get in the present. I like to review with my partner what we know about the team we are playing and remind each other to have fun but always ‘leave it all on the court.’ I will eat some long-lasting carbs – like steel cut oatmeal, but more than likely it’s just eggs and almond flour toast for me! Our specific plan for the match against Anna Leigh and Staci was to keep the ball soft and try to reset as much as possible. As with any match – our game plan shifted as we settled in and points played out.
What is your profession?
For my day job – I’m a Psychotherapist at Kettering Health Network in the Greater Dayton area. I manage the Psychiatric Programming for Outpatient and Inpatient Behavioral Health Programs.
Do you have someone in your life that has been a inspiration to you? Who and Why?
There are a lot of people that inspire me daily, but the one that stands out is my wife April. She never gave up before the pacemaker and kept reminding me of the bigger things God had planned for me – her positive attitude and tenacity always encourage me to never give up.
Any hobbies outside of pickleball?
I love to trail run and we love to travel the country in our RV.
Do you have any pets?
We have a 13 y.o. Weimaraner, named Mr. Winston Marmaduke, and an 8 y.o. Min Pin, named Ginger Roo.
What is your favorite quote or perhaps words of wisdom you would like to share with our readers.
Don’t Quit Never Ever Give Up. Regardless of how bleak the outlook, there is always something to be grateful for.
Arnold Classic 2020 in Columbus OH. All photos sent in by Julie Manuel
Thank you Julie, for taking time out of your busy schedule to interview for our newsletter. Come play pickleball with us if you ever visit Port Townsend WA. Stay strong and pickle on!
A "PNW" Pacific Northwest native from Whidbey Island and an all-time Pro Pickleball player, "Lindsey Newman" is recognized for playing mixed doubles with her brother Riley. The two are known for their defensive backhanded shots and Ernes.* Read the interview here.
• You grew up on Whidbey Island, a 30-minute ferry ride to Port Townsend, WA. What do you love most about PT when visiting? Do you have a favorite restaurant where you like to eat?
I love the small town feel of Port Townsend. It’s so quaint and quiet, which I love since it reminds me of home. I don’t have a favorite restaurant but there is a seafood place close to the ferry that I’ve passed a million times that I’ve always wanted to try but have never gotten a chance to eat at.
•What kind of workout regimen do you do to strengthen for pickleball?
I’ve always been a really active person, even as a kid growing up- nothing has changed. Very rarely am I ever just sitting around doing nothing - that drives me nuts. I love weight lifting, boxing and swimming - anything that will give my entire body a workout and leave me feeling sore afterwards. I also use a weighted jump rope and strengthening bands.
•What’s your food of choice before and during a pickleball tournament to sustain your energy?
Honestly, I hate when people ask me this question because my answer is terrible. Usually before a tournament, I’ll eat whatever the hotel has downstairs in the lobby or whatever is cheap on the McDonald’s app. During tournament play, I tend not to eat (I know, I know, it’s bad) but it’s how I’ve always been. If I do force anything down, it’s usually fresh fruit (which I absolutely love). I tend not to drink a lot of water either but I’m working on that too.
•With you and brother Riley being one of the best defensive teams in Pro Pickleball along with dinking, you yourself are known for your Ernes. We love your confidence. How does one set up for the execution of an Erne?
Ernes are so much fun and one of the most exciting shots in pickleball. Because of how Riley and I play, I get to have my forehand in the middle (very uncommon amongst mixed doubles teams) which makes attempting an Erne way easier. Either Riley or I will set up the shot by hitting dinks to the opponent’s right foot and then as soon as they put their head down, I’ll jump it. It’s all about timing.
•Out of all the tournaments you have played in, which one was most memorable and why?
There are a few that are etched into my mind and will be for a very long time. Obviously our very first tournament in Oregon was memorable. The US Open in 2019 was also very memorable because that was our first time getting onto the podium of a major. Most recently though, Nationals 2019 because we took silver in mixed doubles pro and got to play on center court in front of thousands of people watching both live and online. The crowd was electric and had our backs the entire time. I’ll never forget it. You can watch the Nationals 2019 game here.
•We heard you loved to go to Dairy Queen after your tournaments to get your favorite treat, a blizzard. Which one do you get?
Dairy Queen is a treat, so I only go after a successful tournament day. My go to meal is a $5 chicken strip basket with a $1 blizzard upgrade. The blizzard varies depending on my mood but heath and snickers tend to be the front runners most of the time.
•Congratulations to you and your husband on your first child. (Lindsey and her husband are now parents to an adorable baby girl name "Cora" born in October.)
Do you plan on getting right back into pickleball soon after giving birth? Or will you take a little maternal leave before returning?
I’ve continued to play and teach throughout my entire pregnancy and have done fairly well competing (I got silver in women’s pro doubles at the PPA tournament in Newport Beach, CA while 7.5 months pregnant before I had to stop playing competitively). While I’m excited to be a mom and spend as much time with my baby as I can, I’m also very eager to start competing again. As soon as I get the approval from my doctor to play competitively, I’ll be the first one on the court and she’ll be there watching as much as possible; she’ll have a lot to learn.
•A pickleball tip you would like to share?
I think the biggest mistake I see from beginner players or players who have plateaued in their play is that they make the wrong decisions. I think a lot of people just think that you go out onto the court and just hit balls. However, if you really want to move up and improve, you want to make sure that you are hitting every shot for a specific reason- not to just get the ball back over. Have a purpose for every shot you hit but do NOT overthink it.
•Do you have a favorite quote?
I recently watched a documentary about Doc Rivers- previous head coach of the Boston Celtics NBA team. He said, “Pressure is Privilege.” When I look back on my life and remember all of the times I’ve ever felt immense pressure, I recall how all of those times in some way shaped who and where I am today. So many times, people are under immense pressure (both on and off the court) and they don’t seize the opportunity. Be grateful that you get to be in that position.
•Thank you, Lindsey. We hope the next time you’re visiting back home from AZ you might have time to hop on the ferry and come play a few games with us here in Port Townsend.
After interviewing Lindsey, I took the time to watch the documentary on Doc Rivers. Glad I did - it was very inspiring. Worth the watch! The name of the documentary is "The Playbook"
If you’re interested, Lindsey has her "Mach6 Vanguard signature" paddle for purchase, clickhere. Also you can follow her on Facebook.
*What’s an Erne? The Erne is a shot where you hit the pickleball either (1) in the air as you are jumping around the Non-Volley Zone (also known as the Kitchen); or (2) after you run around or through the Kitchen and re-establish your feet out of bounds, just to the side of the Kitchen.
Frank Chiappone, a former sports broadcaster for KOMO 4 in Seattle WA, and Alex Fox, a pickleball coach/instructor from Gig Harbor WA, teamed up and created "Pickleball Breakdown." In this YouTube episode you will see President Mary Critchlow and her crew, Susi Feller, Toni Davison and Sharlene Shiroma BREAK IT DOWN.
How long have you been playing pickleball and how were you introduced to the game?
Frank- I’ve been playing for about 3 years now. I discovered this great game by accident when I walked passed two courts in a neighborhood park and asked what it was. I gave it a try and have been playing ever since.
Alex- I’ve been playing pickleball for about two and a half years now. I saw it being played at the YMCA in Gig Harbor. It wasn’t love at first sight though... I was volunteering with the youth program and we would always be waiting on the pickleball players to finish up so we could start playing basketball. They would inevitably run late every week, so I thought I’d just join in one day, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I played decently high level baseball and tennis, so I became pretty good at pickleball rather quickly.
We love “Pickleball Breakdown.” Tell us how you two fellas got together and how the breakdown idea came about.
Frank- I was a sports broadcaster for many years at KOMO-TV in Seattle and was looking for a way I could bring my sportscasting background to the pickleball community in a fun and different way. I’m not a coach, or even a very advanced player, so I couldn’t do training videos. Besides, there are a lot of those already out there. I also knew I wanted to focus on casual rec players instead of the pros. I was introduced to Alex through a friend and knew right away he’d be a perfect fit for the show because of his great personality and the way he can explain the game in a really simple way.
Alex- The Pickleball Breakdown idea was all Frank! I gave him a lesson one time a while back and he reached out to me about his idea. I loved the thought of analyzing everyday type pickleball points and giving simple, easy to understand feedback to the community. I absolutely love working with Frank on these, especially because he does all the work! 🤣
What hobbies do you have outside of pickleball and Breakdown?
Frank- Are there other hobbies? I’m kidding! Mostly, I love spending time with my family, cooking and home-improvement projects.
Alex- Well, I have a wife, six kids, and two jobs... not a lot of extra time for hobbies! However, I do really enjoy music and playing the drums.
Favorite quote or words of wisdom you would like to share with our readers?
Frank - That’s an easy one, “Expect the fastball!” from Alex Fox.
Alex- “Luck is a concept created by the weak to explain their failures.” -Ron Swanson (Parks and Rec)
Scott Golden and Dave Weinbacher at the PPA Showcase tournament June 2020 in California,
Scott Golden, a USAPA 5.0 rated pickleball player, received his nickname "GOLDEN BOY" by a friend one day, and it just kind of stuck with him. When Scott isn't on the courts playing pickleball, you will see him behind the scenes commentating at Professional Pickleball tournaments for PPA on ESPN3. In 2018 Scott signed a major contract with Monarch/Dicks Sporting Goods. His paddle is named "The Golden Axe."
PTPC: Have you ever been to Port Townsend, Washington?
SCOTT: Not yet, but it is on my Pickleball bucket list to make it up that way.
Perhaps I can set up a future Golden Boy Pickleball Clinic in the future.
PTPC: What is your diet and workout regimen like to keep you strong for
pickleball and during tournaments?
SCOTT: Admittedly my regular diet is not the cleanest or healthiest it can be :) I like fast food and I have a crazy sweet tooth that I can’t seem to get a grip on. Lol. For tournaments I like to start drinking water with Jigsaw health electrolyte packets a few days before the tournament. On tournament day I try to eat a solid breakfast with some protein in it. Between matches I like to eat my 1044Pro protein bars. After the tournament is over, I like to go out to eat and have a cold beer and relax
PTPC: When playing mixed doubles, what strategies would you recommend?
The Woman seems to take a lot of the heat from the opponents.
SCOTT: Mixed doubles is a totally different mindset than singles or regular doubles. As a strategy, I like to let my female partner take the 3rd shots and look for windows to poach or attack off her drop or drive shot. Once at the Non Volley Zone, I would recommend keeping the paddle up and be ready to pounce on any ball that pops up a little high. You and your partner have to trust one another. Stay patient and construct the point, until you get a shot that you can put away.
PTPC: How did you get into commentary?
SCOTT: I have been live-streaming and commentating since day one. When I first started on my tournament journey, I used to play and live stream all my matches. Then if I didn’t make it to the medal rounds, I would bust out my tripod and my cell phone, and I would stream and commentate the bronze and gold medal matches. I did this consistently for basically 3 years straight. As my brand grew and my reputation for being a good commentator grew, I finally got a big break when Jan David hired me to commentate 40+ hours of pro pickleball matches at the 2018 Pickleball Global Challenge Cup! After that more and more opportunities began to present themselves. This past January in 2019 I was fortunate enough to sign a major contract with the Professional Pickleball Association and get to commentate on a large stage thru the ESPN3 platform. It’s been a very fun journey that I feel is just beginning.
PTPC: Out of all the pro pickleball players, who inspires you the most and
SCOTT: Megan Hall for sure. She is new to the Pro Pickleball scene, and not a ton of people know her name yet, but she is putting the work in every week to become a top tier female player in the sport. She comes from a college tennis background, but has always earned her way through life with hard work and dedication to becoming the best version of herself. She juggles work as a professional tennis coach in Florida, being a single Mom to a 3-year-old daughter named Frankie-Grace Hall, and she puts up with me on a regular basis, LOL. Just since January 2020, she has given some big names in the sport a run for their money in singles, and has had some pretty good wins over pro players, both women’s and mixed doubles. Keep an eye out for her name in 2021.
PTPC: Share something that no one else would know about you.
SCOTT: When I was in the 4th grade, I won this massive Easter egg hunt in the city where we lived at the time. I remember I won this HUGE purple Easter bunny, and the local news came and took a picture and interviewed me. Only my immediate family knows this story. Ha. I’m sure my Mom could dig up the article with the picture.
PTPC: Favorite quote?
“Freed from the thoughts of winning, I instantly play better. I stop
thinking, start feeling. My shots become a half-second quicker, my
decisions become the product of instinct rather than logic.”
— Andre Agassi
Golden Boy Scott Golden with Pro Pickleball Player Kyle Yates @ the Bardmoor Pickleball Tournament in Tampa, Florida. Kyle and Scott wore these as a way to promote the tournament and draw attention. All photos sent in by the Golden Boy himself.
When I contacted Scott to see if he would be interested in interviewing for our newsletter, he was energetic and receptive to the idea. I found him to be kind, well-mannered, and very likable. The nickname "Golden Boy" fits him well. Thank you, Scott, from all of us here in Port Townsend for taking the time out for us to get to know you better! Stay Golden!
You can follow Scott on Facebook or Youtube
Pickleball Pro & Gold medalist Leigh Waters is known for taking the Pickleball world by storm, with her 13-year-old daughter Anna Leigh playing right alongside her. These two players have been a popular attraction for many fans and bring lots of energy to the courts.
Contacting Leigh, we asked if she would like to be featured in our monthly newsletter for "September" as a Guest Appearance.” She was more than happy to take the time to answer a few interview questions.
PTPC: Have you ever been to Port Townsend, WA?
LEIGH: I have never been to PT or even to WA state!! WA is definitely on my list of places to visit!
PTPC: What brand of Shoes do you wear on the Pickleball Court?
LEIGH: I love and exclusively wear Babolat shoes for pickleball. I love the quality, the support, and the longevity of their shoes. They have so many styles to choose from, and the designs are fashionable which makes getting a new pair exciting! As for the shoes, we get them from Babolat, but you can purchase on www.babolat.com, or online from tennis warehouse or tennis-express. My favorite style is the Rage, but I also wear the Propulse Fury and the Jet Tere. I kind of alternate around the three.
PTPC: What kind of workout regimen & diet do you follow that helps you strengthen for pickleball?
For me I find that a hard, intense 2-hour drill session a few times a week serves as a great way to get the cardio and heart rate up as well as allows me to get those touches on the ball. Then I usually power walk 3 miles a day which helps with endurance. Finally, I get some footwork agility training by joining in on Anna Leigh’s soccer practices when they do conditioning. As for my diet, I eat a ton of raw veggies, lots of beans, and oatmeal every day. I also eat eggs for breakfast every morning.
PTPC: During a tournament, what types of food do you eat before your game and in between to give you energy?
LEIGH: Usually before and during tournaments I eat pasta, and I won’t lie — bread. For breakfast I carb up with a hearty cereal and toast. During the tournament I snack in between matches with bites of bagels and pretzels. Liquid IV is my electrolyte beverage of choice. At night for dinner, like I said, we usually do pasta or a steak and potato dinner — with you guessed it—bread!
PTPC: Your favorite quote?
LEIGH: “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
— Walt Disney
Thank you to Leigh Waters for being our Guest! We love you and Anna Leigh back here in Port Townsend and will be looking forward to you both visiting us here in the future.
All photos sent in by Leigh Waters
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