Turning into an athlete at 50 years old? No problem! At least not for today’s guest!
Once a skeptic, today’s guest now champions the fastest-growing sport in the US, even inventing a unique pickleball lanyard for the game. From picking up her first paddle amid COVID-19 restrictions to playing daily and participating in tournaments, Claudia’s story reflects a journey of discovery, exercise, and fun. Learn about pickleball’s social dynamics, her vision for its future, and advice for beginners.
Pickleball Rookie: Introduce yourself. Please include a bit about your pickleball journey.
ZeroZeroStart: My name is Claudia. I am a pickleball player since 2020.
PR: Tell us about the very first time you heard the term “pickleball.”
ZZS: I had heard about pickleball before, but it was not clear to me how it was played and where. It was described to me as “mini tennis.” My sport was tennis ,so I thought of it as a silly game; boy was I wrong!
PR: What were your initial thoughts when you played pickleball for the first time?
ZZS: Covid-19 restrictions and fear led me to discover this amazing sport. My college-aged son and I bought two paddles and started hitting the ball against the wall at our house. Later on, we ventured to the closest public pickleball courts, and the love and addiction to the sport was immediate. I could not believe that I was exercising while having fun.
PR: How often do you currently play?
ZZS: I play almost every day. Pickelball turned me into an athlete at the age of 50! I regularly play in tournaments, which furthers my commitment to staying healthy and happy.
PR: What was the motivation for creating your unique lanyard?
Pickleball is very social sport so I started a pickleball Instagram page featuring the social aspects of the game as well as introducing the jargon of the game @zerozerostartpickleball.
ZZS: I also created the ZeroZeroStart pickleball lanyard, which holds a pickleball ball, and with its adjustable pin, it wraps four paddles together on the rack for the next game. This idea came to me after watching players wrap a towel or using a cap or visor to let everyone know that four paddles shouldn’t be moved around or get separated.
PR: Where do you see the sport of pickleball in 10 years?
ZZS: Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the US for a good reason – it’s fun, engaging and sporty!
People around the world are very curious and interested in the game as well so we’ll see pickleball in the Olympics sooner than later. It started as a popular game for seniors and now people of all ages are playing, even colleges have their own teams now.
PR: What advice do you have for anyone who is on the fence about getting started or is an absolute beginner?
ZZS: My advice if you are on the fence about playing pickleball, is to give it a try, it is an easy sport to learn and it is good for your body and mind as it works on your balance, reflexes, stamina, and it can be as social as you want it to be. Anyone can play as it’s the only sport that it is intergenerational. It will surprise you how well a player can be at 80 yrs old or at 10! There is no need to find players, you arrive alone and get instant partners by putting your paddle in the rack at open play. There is also no need to reserve courts at public parks.
PR: If you could make one change to the sport, what would it be?
One change I would make is build more courts! Players are anxious to play and the wait for a court could be long at peak hours.
ZZS: Where would your dream pickleball match take place? Give us specifics about the destination and why. Dream big!
My dream pickleball match would be on an island, at a court next to the ocean. I love the sea, warm weather, and tropical drinks afterward.