Introduction - Gabe French

Hello everyone…! The name’s Gabe, I’m born and raised in Florida, and I’ve been playing Pickleball for almost four years now. I first got introduced to the sport at a resort I was staying in, and a couple there taught me the rules of the game. Don’t know what it was, but I fell in love with the sport. It wasn’t too long after that I got my first equipment and started playing regularly. Today, I’m still playing, and I don’t plan to quit. Although I have not played a competitive match yet, I have played too many recreational matches to count across my county. In-fact, I was invited to be a part of my community’s Pickleball travel team, but had to decline because of the game-times that were conflicting for me as a student. In 2018, I helped manage to bring Pickleball into the P.E. program at my middle-school, where over 500-students learned the basics of the sport. It was awesome seeing how everyone, even those who weren’t the most athletic or enthusiastic in the classes, were having so much fun, and I’m proud to say that many of them are still playing it to this day. Due to complications and the tricky transition that is from middle- to high-school, I had to take a break from the sport for a significant amount of time. However, I never truly stopped playing it. Thankfully, now that I have the time, ability, and leisure to, I am back in the game. I’ve spent lots of time over this quarantine rebuilding my fundamentals and climbing back up to where I once was. Today, I’m the best I have ever been in the sport, but I don’t plan on stopping there. I plan to play my first competitive matches soon, and when the time comes, my first tournament as well. I’m proud to be a part of such an incredible, uplifting, an ever-growing community. See you around…!


Wow! What a neat story about how you were introduced to pickleball. Thank goodness you went on vacation and stayed at that resort, eh!?! :stuck_out_tongue:

Oh man! You’re in for a treat! Playing competitive pickleball and duking it out at tournaments is the best! There’s nothing like someone standing 14 feet away from you and smashing a wiffle ball at you as hard as they can! hehe.

This is incredible! What did you do that got the school interested in the sport? Are there some tips you could share with the community that could be duplicated in other counties to help other youth to learn the great game of pickleball?!

Sorry you had to take a little break from the sport. I pickled :smirk: up my first paddle back on March 29, 2019 and haven’t yet had any sort of hiatus, except for some winter weeks when I only got to play once or twice.

Did you see the challenge that @PickleballPhil and I put together for the community? Even though it’s technically over, you can still go back and complete all the different fitness routines shared by some of the top pros in pickleball!

I’m so pumped to see you here in the community. You have been a true pickleball ambassador to your locale and I look forward to seeing your light continue to shine among the great members of this online pickleball community!

#pickleon my friend!!


Thanks, Jordan!

What did you do that got the school interested in the sport? Are there some tips you could share with the community that could be duplicated in other counties to help other youth to learn the great game of pickleball?!

…To answer that question, my P.E. class was trying to find more engaging and inclusive sports, both of which are things that Pickleball sure is. I brought up the idea to the coaches one-day after school, and conveniently, two out of the three of them had played it before.

Late that school year, they brought in temporary nets, wooden club paddles, and taped the gym floors. One of the coaches and I helped teach the basics of the game, and people started learning the “Do’s” and “Do not’s” very quickly. My year was supposed to be the testing group, and when they asked if it was something we wanted to do in future years, everyone was very enthusiastic about keeping it.

The way we taught it was giving the basic ground rules (like underhand serving and the kitchen), demonstrating what was legal and not, and then having them spend a few minutes practicing that element in groups before reconvening.

I was amazed how quickly people learned. Before the end of the first week, everyone knew how to keep score, not commit faults, serve, and dink. Our units typically went by very quick, but we had plenty of time to have days of just recreational matches, and eventually a class tournament.

My biggest tip would be this: Don’t overwhelm people with rules and techniques (aka TMI). Give everyone a chance to understand the concepts and play them out as well, creating the building blocks that will eventually lead to them playing games in no-time.


This is AWESOME!!! Fortunately for me we actually played pickleball when I was in High School back in 2006.

But to specify, was it your gym teachers that were the barrier? Once they were more comfortable with the fact that it would work in class they were onboard? Possibly the cost of a trial run had previously prevented the coaches who had played it from bringing it to class?

It would be incredible to figure out an effective way to get Pickleball into more schools!

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The only “barrier” that there could have been would’ve been the cost of all those wooden paddles, pickleballs, and nets. Enough for six entire doubles courts (24-paddles, 6-nets, a ton of pickleballs).

Thankfully, though, our P.E. department was given a grant for somewhere around $5,000 from an organization that year; that was what sparked them asking us 8th-graders if there were any sports we thought would be fun to teach, and that is when I presented the idea to them after school.

I know that Selkirk has a program to help bring the sport of Pickleball into communities, schools, and other functions like YMCA’s by giving away free paddles to a few every year. It would be awesome if things like that became more common to share the love of the sport…!


You’re spot on! The youth are the future of the sport! The sooner we can get them “addicted” the better :wink: