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Kyle Lewis Interview

Kyle Lewis Interview

Kyle is a Pro Pickleball Player Ranked #23 in the World

Kyle Lewis at

What do you like about pickleball?

It’s amazing to me how fun pickleball is and how social/inclusive it is. I’ve seen hundreds of people playing pickleball that otherwise wouldn’t be outside exercising with friends and family.

For me personally, it’s been a new and exciting challenge to switch from high level tennis to a new sport and see how far I can go with it. Pro pickleball is growing so quickly and no one really knows where it will end up, even in just a few years. It’s just really fun to be a part of something like that.

What got you interested in pickleball?

At 26, I started training again for pro tennis and was going to give it one more shot. Then, Covid happened and all tennis tournaments were shut down. Apparently, the government didn’t know they should also shut down pickleball tournaments, so I entered a few during that time and realized there might be an easier pathway to playing pro and making a living at it than in tennis.

What did you do before pickleball?

I lived at a tennis academy when I was 19 and played tournaments for a few years up and down California. My highest ranking was about 58 in California in tennis. At 23, I started coaching tennis in Santa Monica, California.

Where did you grow up? What was your life like as a child?

I grew up in Santa Barbara and had a pretty fun, activity filled childhood. I played a lot of tennis and went to the beach often.

What do you like about singles as opposed to doubles?

Singles is much closer to tennis in my opinion, so I’ve had more early success on the singles side with a ranking of around #20 on the PPA tour for the last couple years. My doubles is catching up now that I’ve been playing pickleball for nearly 3.5 years. Doubles has a lot more strategy and touch shots, whereas singles tends to be more power with shorter points.

What problems have you encountered as a pro player, with pickleball players, or pickleball in general?

With such a new sport, there have been several “growing pains” from the pickleball tours, but overall, it’s been a fairly smooth ride. On the player side, there can be some cheating here and there because players make their own line calls, and referees tend to watch the kitchen line for foot faults more than the ball. This seems to be getting resolved with video replay in the finals, two referees in bigger matches, etc.

Have you had anything unusual happen at a match?

Several times! Wind so strong the ball goes sideways, balls melting because it’s so hot, heated moments with other players who were cheating, and many more.

Kyle’s pickleball website is

Kyle is now also designing Shopify stores for pickleball companies and other small businesses. You can reach Kyle through Tell him Jeff sent you!

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Great Kitchen Rally

Great Kitchen Rally

Enjoy this really long kitchen rally. Notice how the guy on the top left covers well into his partner’s area of the court as needed.

Notice also how the rally ends. The first guy after all that time who tried to accelerate the ball lost the point. That’s so common in kitchen rallies to the point that it’s almost an unwritten law: The first one to accelerate the ball is on the side that will lose the rally, unless it’s a sure put-away.

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Krishna’s Amazing Pickleball Trip To India

Krishna’s Amazing Pickleball Trip To India

Between January 18 – 24, 2024, Krishna Raichura, founder of Pickleball Organized is going to host up to 16 pickleball players on a special trip to India.

“As we journey through this amazing country, we will have professional pickleball clinics and play almost every day. Our adventure will take us to the exotic cities of Mumbai, Goa, Jaipur and Agra. This is a very special trip for Krishna as she gets to share her heritage and culture with her students and friends!”

I hope you can join her tour!

Here are the details:

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Criticism, Praise and Pickleball

Criticism, Praise and Pickleball

It has been studied and documented that we hear thirty-two items of criticism for each item of praise! It starts when we are babies, ” Ooooh, your diapers stink!” or ” Can’t you keep out of trouble for even one minute?” Sure, we may not have known what the words meant, but even Continue reading Criticism, Praise and Pickleball

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Our Obligation as Pickleballers

Our Obligation as Pickleballers

Pistas de pickleball en Madrid España, Polideportivo Municipal Gallur

We have no obligation! Just go out there and play the game, as long as you are not hurting or bothering others.

However, we do have opportunities:

We can be examples of good behavior both to our fellow pickleballers, as well as the general public. For instance in this website, you’ll see no references to smoking, drinking, drug use, or bad behavior.

Is it possible that through the ripple effect that we pickleball players could eventually create a better society? Can I go so far as to suggest that if we all do that we’ll quite possibly end world warfare?

So, anytime you’re on or off the courts and have a choice of acting badly, or acting nicely, well… you get the idea.

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A Brief History of Pickleball

A Brief History of Pickleball

Pickleball was invented on Bainbridge Island in the US state of Washington by Joel Pritchard, a man who later became a US congressman, senator and lieutenant governor, and two of his friends, Barney McCallum and Bill Bell.

Joel Pritchard, co-inventor of pickleball
Joel Pritchard became US Senator two years after co-inventing pickleball.

One day in 1965, their kids wanted to play badminton. They had a court with a net in their yard, but no one had a shuttlecock. The men suggested the kids make up their own game that would not require a shuttlecock. The net was lowered to resemble a tennis net, and ping pong paddles were used as tennis rackets. For a ball, they found a wiffle ball, a hollow plastic ball with holes, which is used as a substitute for a baseball for children and when playing in a small field. Shortly after, the ping pong paddles were replaced with slightly larger wooden paddles made from plywood on a home workshop band saw.

The game gathered momentum in the neighborhood, then in the state of Washington, and in the state of Hawaii, where it was called ‘pukaball.’ Puka means “hole” in Hawaiian.

There is some confusion about how the name ‘pickleball’ came about. Many claim the game was named after the Pritchards’ dog, Pickles. However, Joan Pritchard, Joel’s wife, said the dog wasn’t even born when Pickleball was created. Instead, the dog was named after the game. She claims pickleball was named after the pickle boat in the sport of crew, a rowboat in which the least competitive crew rides.

Three years after the invention in the Pritchard’s back yard, the game had caught on to the point where Joel Pritchard and Barney McCallum’s son David along with two others formed Pickle Ball, Inc. to sell pickleball equipment. In 2016, Pickle Ball Inc. was purchased by Olla LLC, which operates the online store

The sport continued to grow and is now regarded as the fastest growing sport in the United States if not the world.

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The Magic Spot

It is not hard to learn to place balls in the magic spot. The spot is as close to the corner of the baseline and the right side of the court as you can manage. The best shot to place here is return of serve. You can do it from the left or right side of the court, but the right side tends to be more spectacular. For best results, they should be long, low drives, but can also be high and floppy.

You’ll find that most right-handers, and even many left-handers struggle with this spot. One reason is it is unusual. The other is that they typically will not move far enough to their left to accommodate the shot.

On interesting effect I’ve noticed is that even if you don’t get close to the sideline, your recipients will still struggle. Just having the ball go slightly to the recipient’s left will flummox many players.

Finally, while the shot works best when deep, a variation is to place the ball close to the net. This is true whether the players are standing toward the back of the court, or up by the kitchen, although a good player at the kitchen line is likely to blast the ball back down your own sideline, or place an extreme diagonal into your partner’s kitchen. The short kitchen version must be low and ideally very close to the net.

Drilling for the magic spot is easy, and a worthwhile activity if you have a bucket of balls and time on your hands. Just bounce a ball while you are standing near your baseline, and hit it as if you are returning a serve.

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Don’t Be The Popper!

Sometimes four people will get together to play pickleball. Three of them are high intermediate players. One is a beginner or lower intermediate. This can be a dreadful situation for the one good player who is on the same side as the lesser player.

What happens is the lesser player will consistently ‘pop the ball.’ That means this player will return the ball high. When that happens, the opponents will smash it back, generally at the higher level player next to the ball popper. I have seen experienced players just turn around to protect their bodies in resignation rather than even try to return the smashed balls.

What can be amusing about this is often the popper doesn’t even realize that they are doing anything wrong. They wonder why their partner isn’t managing to return anything. Why isn’t their partner even trying?

So what do you do if you realize you are the popper? Keep your shots long and low. You probably won’t have the skill to drop balls from the back court into the kitchen. For best results you should come to the kitchen as soon you can, and direct your shots toward the opponents’ baseline. Keep them low and hard and ideally not directly to the opponents. It’s not the best strategy for an experienced player, but it is the best for the popper.

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8 Tips for Around the Post

8 Tips For Around The Post

Around the post, often called “ATP” is a shot that always gets the crowd on their feet. Here are a few pointers:

1. You may be so habituated to getting the ball over the net that you’ll miss opportunities for ATP. It helps if you’ve practiced the shot so many times that when you see an ATP option, you’ll take advantage.

2. Remember that there is no need for height. When you’re outside of the posts, there is no need to get the ball up in the air. It can literally skim inches over the ground.

3. The around the post shot must be a put-away, because you’ll be far out of position from where it is difficult to return to an ongoing rally.

4. Don’t do what I always seem to do, which is to try the shot when I’m not sufficiently outside the sideline. I always manage to hit the post instead of going around it! If you are a right-hander, then of course this is much easier when you are on the right side of the court.

5. In doubles, partner ought to maintain the usual 2 – 3 meter (6 – 9 feet) spacing, so that if you don’t put the ball away, the partner can more easily cover what might be returned.

6. If your momentum has carried you forward, and you are out of the kitchen, you can overrun the plane of the net after the shot.

7. You can run through the kitchen since when you hit the ball you’ll be outside of the kitchen.

8. Of course the best place to land the ball is just ahead of the baseline and near the sideline, well behind where your opponents are likely to be standing.

See also Around The Post

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Three Steps to Solid Groundstrokes

Three Steps to Solid Groundstrokes

What Barrett Kincheloe is teaching in this short video are the fundamentals of pickleball ground strokes. For those who don’t know, a groundstroke is a somewhat nebulous term, but it generally means a long low shot from close to your baseline to close to your opponents’ baseline. He doesn’t talk much about topspin, which is also an important component of many groundstrokes.