PICKLEBALL PRO JESSIE
IRVINE TALKS PADDLES,
SLANG, AND THE MOST
RECENT MOVE SHE
One of the most dynamic young players on the tournament circuit today, this former tennis pro from Cary, North Carolina, has made a name for herself since she discovered pickleball in 2018. Here she fills us in on her process, from preparation to paddles, past to present.
FIRST THING I DO WHEN I STEP ON THE COURT:
I give myself a strategic game plan if it’s during a tournament, or something to work on if it’s during practice. This helps me focus and get into the right state of mind.
LAST NEW PICKLEBALL SLANG I LEARNED:
“Find my equal!” which you say when you’ve played an amazing point full of offensive and defensive shots and ended up winning [the point]. It was created by Chet Subaru [a comedic character portrayed by pro player AJ Koller].
FIRST PADDLE I EVER PURCHASED:
An Engage Elite Pro Pickleball Paddle.
LAST SONG I LISTEN TO BEFORE A GAME:
Dance music. Anything with a really good pumped-up beat.
FIRST THING I DO AFTER I LOSE A MATCH:
I usually find a quiet place to decompress and reflect on the match while it’s still fresh in my mind, to figure out where I need to improve.
LAST MOVE I MASTERED:
The one-hand-backhand full-stretch attack flick. It’s hard to do but can be highly effective!
I PLAYED IN:
At the end of November 2018, I played 4.5 mixed doubles with AJ, who helped me learn the ropes and introduced me to players in my area.
LAST PERSON I’D WANT TO FACE ACROSS THE PICKLEBALL NET:
My dad. He was my tennis coach growing up, and he’s very strategic and analytical. Now that I’m playing pickleball at a professional level, he’s starting to get into it as well.
FIRST THING I TELL PEOPLE WHO’VE NEVER HEARD OF THE SPORT:
It’s like chess…easy to learn, hard to master, but oh so much fun.