From August 21-23, 2015, in one of the most anticipated tournaments of the year – at least for me — Royal Oak once again played host to its Annual Skill Level Pickleball Tournament on the Pat Sullivan Courts. Over the course of the 3-day event, I was able to enjoy the tournament as part competitor – playing in the 4.0 Men’s Doubles with one of my good friends from Woodside Bible Church – and part spectator, watching several of the game’s top pickleball players battle it out for weekend supremacy.
Pickleball Clinic – Tournament Preparation On The Upton Courts
On Wednesday, August 19, just two days prior to the official start of the tournament, 50 players – including yours truly – took advantage of a 1-hour clinic hosted by Kyle Yates (#2 ranked pickleball player in the country) and Scott Tingley, pickleball instructor from Punta Gorda, FL. With this “professional” instruction, I was anticipating the opportunity to stand on the medal stand on Sunday afternoon, but alas, it wasn’t to be. 😉 Most of my weekend was relegated to spectating behind the fence.
5.0 Mixed Doubles
While I enjoyed watching all levels of competition, I was particularly drawn to the 5.0 Mixed Doubles matches. The precision, execution, and, most impressively, consistency of their shots was immediately evident. Those factors, amongst other considerations, are what separates a 5.0 player from a 4.0 player. To give you a flavor of the 5.0 Mixed Doubles, I have included a clip of one of the points. In the near court are Rafael Siebenschein and Simone Jardim and in the far court are Kyle Yates and Corrine Carr.
Kyle Yates, Corrine Carr, Rafael Siebenschein and Simone Jardim — Three of the Four Have a Michigan Connection!
Having met University of Florida student and 20-year old, Kyle Yates, at Wednesday’s Pickleball Clinic, I was somewhat familiar with his junior tennis background and prowess on the pickleball courts. I was curious to learn more. I was also curious if the other three picklers from the Mixed Doubles Match that I videotaped had similar backgrounds and, indeed, they did. Here’s what I found:
- Kyle Yates – As a high school tennis player at Cypress Lake High School in Fort Myers, FL, he reached states three consecutive years and made the finals as a junior. Currently the #2 ranked pickleball player in the country.
- Corrine Carr — Played high school tennis, winning three singles and three doubles conference titles along with two doubles and one singles state championships. Golf seems to be her first love, however. In 2009-2010, she posted the 10th-best scoring season in University of South Carolina Gamecock women’s history at 74.85. She is currently a Finance Ph.D. Student at Michigan State University.
- Rafael Siebenschein — Established a Calvin College (Boo! Go Hope!) career record for tennis victories with a 128-34 overall mark, finishing 66-15 in singles play and 62-19 in doubles action. Named to the All-MIAA second team his senior year.
- Simone Jardim – In 2015-15, Simone Jardim will enter her eighth season as the women’s tennis head coach at Michigan State University. Go Green! As a player at Fresno State University, she earned All-America honors twice in doubles play and played in the NCAA Tournament in both 2001 and 2002, finishing both campaigns ranked top 10 nationally. Earlier this summer, she and MSU associate head coach, Tyler Faulkner, won the U.S. Open Midwest Qualifying Tournament in mixed doubles before falling in their bid to secure a wild card entry to compete in this year’s US Open.
While it was a bit discouraging to not advance as far as I had hoped, it was entertaining, fun and it was a learning experience, nonetheless. It was also pretty cool to watch many of pickleball’s who’s who compete in our “backyard.” In the coming weeks, I will be sharing many of the concepts/strategies that were reinforced after watching some of the game’s most talented players. Looking forward to practicing and, ultimately, implementing these skills & strategies next year. Watch out Kyle, Corrine, Rafael, and Simone! 🙂 To see the full results of the Royal Oak Pickleball Tournament, click here.
See you on the courts!
Todd is the talent behind PickleballMAX. He knows pickleball and demonstrates it on the court as a 4.5 – 5.0 player. In addition to creating content and running the PickleballMAX business, Todd is IPTPA Level II certified. As an instructor at the Ohio Pickleball Academy, he instructs students and runs adult and youth clinics. He also manages tournament desks throughout the tri state for tournaments ranging from 100-500 participants.