When were you first introduced to pickleball? I was first introduced to pickleball back in college. My tennis coach was also my physical education mentor and teacher and she taught us this sport that I honestly thought she was making up (mainly because of the name and all the quirky rules). Then I included a pickleball unit each year in my middle and high school PE classes for 8 years! And finally in 2012, I heard about pickleball being played at a recreation center & wondered if that was that same game and sure enough it was and adults were playing so i joined in and the rest is history!
This has been a good year for you winning gold at the Mintos US Open Pickleball Championships and Atlanta Open. What events did you win in and who were your partners? It has been a surreal time in pickleball for me! It started with winning gold in mixed 35+ at Nationals with Dave Weinbach. Then he and I won the 45+ mixed at the Minto US Open. Now Johan Svensson (newly sponsored Paddletek player who is a teaching tennis pro from Memphis) just won the senior pro mixed in Atlanta with prize money! So, it’s really been exciting!
Pickleball continues to grow at all skill levels. How has the sport changed since you first began playing? It sure does. It keeps evolving. Dink rallies were not as long, serves were not used as weapons, offensive lobs are being utilized more and more. Plus elite athletes (playing their previous sport at a professional level) are coming into pickleball in droves!
Do you have any advice for players just getting into the game? Sure do! Start learning pickleball from the “kitchen line back”. You won’t have to unlearn bad habits as you peel back layer after layer of knowledge and wisdom of this amazing sport! Learn from an IPTPA certified instructor who has dedicated and invested themselves to learning how to become the very best pickleball instructor one can be! You will be glad you did.
Are there any drills you would recommend for players to improve? Yes. If one is dedicated to doing drills that are challenging & engaging, improvement will follow. I personally love the drill videos that Jordan Briones puts out at PrimeTime Pickleball. He is such an amazing instructor.....check them out! Also The Pickleball Channel is such a great free resource.
Is it true that you are the first player that Paddletek ever sponsored? Yes. I was using the Paddletek Phoenix Pro paddle and I had explained to my mixed doubles partner Scott Clayson that I was looking to get a lighter paddle with more feel (but not lose the pop that I enjoyed). Scott suggested I contact Paddletek (although he knew that there was only the Phoenix Pro paddle at that time). So I called one of the owners, Cody Smith, and explained what I was looking for. He confirmed that there was not a lighter paddle but if I would give him 1 month, he would give it a shot! And the Bantam EX-L was born! The rest is history..... I used the Bantam EX-L until my soft game really improved and the Tempest Wave paddle became my "weapon of choice".
Your 16 year-old daughter, LeEllen is becoming an accomplished player and is sponsored by Paddletek. Does anyone else in the family play? Andy, my husband of 27 years plays with LeEllen and I once per year. He just happens to be one of those few people who just doesn’t love this crazy sport. However, we wouldn’t be where we are without his support! THANK YOU ANDY!
When you are not playing pickleball what do you do? Working! Ha! It feels like I both work full-time and am involved in pickleball full-time. On weekends I’m usually either teaching pickleball lessons/clinics, teaching an IPTPA workshop, or competing in a tourney......somewhere in the USA! But next weekend, we are taking a break & going kayaking.... I love being on or in the water & am looking forward to some time off the court.
What are your plans for the rest of 2018? What tournaments do you plan on competing in? I’m excited to be playing in some great upcoming tourneys in Utah, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Minnesota, Georgia, North Carolina and finally California. I’m excited to be continuing my teaching along the tourney trail as well. This is the first year I can play “senior events” so the Tennessee Senior Games & the Huntsman Senior Games are new territory for me.
Major Pickleball Wins: STEPHANIE LANE // 2012 USAPA Nationals IV: 35+ women’s singles champion. 2013: USAPA Nationals V: Open women’s singles bronze. 2014: USAPA Nationals VI: 35+ mixed doubles silver with Steve Wong & 35+ women’s singles bronze. 2015: USAPA Nationals VII: 19+ mixed doubles chanpion with Kyle Yates, Open mixed doubles bronze with Kyle Yates, Open women’s doubles bronze with Christine McGrath and 35+ women’s doubles bronze with Nicole Hobson. US Open: 45+ mixed doubles silver with Scott Clayson. 2016: USAPA Nationals VIII: 35+ women’s doubles bronze with Heidi Hancock US Open II: women’s doubles silver with Donna Curry US Open II: 45+ mixed doubles bronze with Marcus Luke. 2017: USAPA Nationals IX: 35+ mixed doubles champion with Dave Weinbach US Open III: 45+ mixed doubles champion with Dave Weinbach US Open III: 45+ women’s doubles bronze with JoAnne Russell. IPTPA Certified Instructor. Regional Director National Clubwear Director for Pickleball Rocks. USAPA Juniors Committee Married for 27 years to Andy Lane. 16 year old daughter LeEllen Lane, also sponsored by Paddletek.