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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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Meet Wyatt Stone—Young Pickleball Champ Sponsored by Sport Court Texas

Wyatt-Stone-Pickleball

Wyatt Stone had played all of the usual sports as a youth—baseball, basketball, football, and lacrosse. He had never played a racquet sport. But, a few years ago, he started to play pickleball at the local rec center courts in New Braunfels. Within weeks, he was hooked. Pickleball was his sport. Now he hopes to become a professional pickleball athlete. Although he is just 15, he is well on his way. In his latest accomplishment, he has also gained a sponsorship from Sport Court Texas.

After winning 3 medals in his first tournament in Oklahoma in 2019, Wyatt has earned more than 30 medals in junior tournaments and is beginning to compete at the adult level. He was the 2019 USAPA Junior National Singles Champion.

“There aren’t many sports that a 15-year-old kid can play with his 80-year-old grandfather, but pickleball is one,” Wyatt said.

Wyatt StoneAnd yet, Wyatt’s greatest desire is to get more young people involved in the sport. He admits that many think of pickleball as a sport for older folks.

“But whenever I have put a racquet in a young person’s hand, they have loved it,” he said. He and his coach organized a clinic to introduce the sport to youth in the New Braunfels area, and he said that all of the kids were leaving with pickleball racquets at the top of their Christmas list.

Wyatt is an IPTPA Certified Level 2 pickleball instructor. He says he typically puts in 30 hours of practice a week. He also has regular workouts with his coach, Matt Laz, a master teaching professional from Horseshoe Bay.

Wyatt is a member of the Pickleball Rocks Team, and has been named their National Junior Player Development Manager, which gives him responsibility for growing the sport among youth nationwide.

Said Pickleball Rocks CEO Rodney “Rocket” Grubbs, “This is an exciting time for the sport of pickleball.  So many great things are going on at both the pro level and the amateur level.  And now with the addition of Wyatt, we have just greatly increased our ability to help the sport of pickleball grow at the youth level. Wyatt already has a great reputation for being not only a very good young player, but for being a great advocate for players of all ages and skill levels. There are kids across the country who are just waiting to be invited to try pickleball and Wyatt will find them and get them on the courts.  I see him leading an amazing youth movement, and he will be great at it.  We are so happy to have him on our Pickleball Rocks Team.” 

In his association with Sport Court Texas, Wyatt will have an opportunity to advocate for Sport Court’s new SportGame PB product, a technological improvement in the typical acrylic pickleball surface. Like other Sport Court tile surfaces, it is designed to provide better shock absorption and lateral forgiveness to be easier on joints and prevent many injuries. It also provides years of play with little maintenance. But, the SportGame PB surface is also specially engineered for better pickleball bounce and traction.

Follow Wyatt in his quest for pickleball success on his Facebook page   and his website, WyattStonePickleballJunior.com.

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