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Local Boy is a Rising Star in Professional Pickleball

Wyatt-Stone-2022-cropped

Wyatt Stone will celebrate his 17th birthday next month. In three years, he has gone from a beginner player who first picked up the sport at the New Braunfels Das Rec to setting his sites on a spot among the top 10 professional players in the US.

Wyatt is a young man whose aspirations for pickleball greatness, we are proud to say, are supported by a sponsorship from Sport Court Texas.

Wyatt says that even though tournaments are played largely on concrete surfaced courts, he likes Sport Court’s SportGame PB surface, designed specifically for pickleball play. “I like the surface a lot,” he said. He added that before he played on the surface, he expected the ball to slide or "skip" more.

“But that really didn’t happen,” he said. “It is a great surface for backyard play for beginner and intermediate players. It is lots easier on the body than concrete.”

Keeping injuries and stress on the body at a minimum is important for Wyatt. His schedule is grueling. He practices 4-6 days a week with players of similar skills, as well as working on physical conditioning and general fitness daily. He is homeschooled, which allows him greater flexibility for travel to tournaments.

Last year, he competed in Professional Pickleball Association tournaments including the Orange County Cup in California, the Rocky Mountain Championships in Denver, the Texas Open, Pickleball Hall of Fame, Major League Pickleball Festival, and Aggieland Tournaments in Texas, the Palm Desert Amateur Open and PPA Masters in California.

All told, he played in 18 tournaments and won a total of 31 medals in singles and doubles play. He has reached the 5.0 skill level and has a goal to play exclusively in pro tournaments this year. In 2022, his schedule includes 20 tournaments.

Wyatt’s mom, Ashley, says that Wyatt has benefited in many ways from his involvement in pickleball. For one thing, he has made many friends among the players. “The pickleball community is almost a family, “ Ashley said.

Wyatt’s busy schedule also helps him learn time management skills. Ashley said he is very self-motivated and dedicated to the sport. Pickleball has also afforded him community service opportunities.

When Wyatt was first getting serious about pickleball, he offered classes in pickleball at the rec center in New Braunfels for other young people. At the time, most of the pickleball players were middle-aged or retired adults. So, he taught pickleball classes to other young people. He now reports that he sometimes sees these previous students at tournaments. He also recently had an opportunity to introduce pickleball to kids with disabilities at Wheelchair Camp Extreme.

Pickleball is known as the fastest growing sport in the US. Wyatt has seen that growth first-hand. When he attended his first National Juniors Championship in 2019, there were a total of 41 young competitors. Now there are hundreds that compete at the junior level in the US.

Central Texas is a major hub for pickleball action. Get in on it with a backyard pickleball court from Grand Slam Courts. You can follow Wyatt's progess by visiting his website, https://www.wyattstonepickleballjunior.com/ or his Instagram page, https://www.instagram.com/wyattstonepickleballjr/

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