Interview with Pro Pickleball Player Rachael James
With a decorated background in collegiate tennis, her current post CEO and coach at Bull CityTennis LLC, and now a thriving professional pickleball career, Rachael James knows her way around the court.
We sat down with Rachael to learn some of her best tips and tricks for leveling up your pickleball game – and chilling out afterwards!
On Her Pickleball Journey…
What three words would you use to describe pickleball?
Fun, strategic, and… fun!
What made you convert to pickleball from tennis?
I wouldn't say I'm a complete convert. I love tennis and now I love pickleball too.
On Developing Stamina and Bouncing Back…
You've talked before about being "tournament tough" – how do you keep up your stamina during long days on the court?
You have to eat well, sleep well, and do off court training to ensure a top performance.
And how do you like to chill out mentally and physically after a hard practice session or a tournament?
After a tournament, I typically take a couple of days off, and depending on how I do I may celebrate at a winery – haha! After a hard practice, I stretch, drink tons of water, and stay inside.
On Leveling Up Your Game…
What mistake or bad habits do you see a lot with beginners?
The dinks land too deep. For beginners, I always recommend dinking shorter.
Any tips on nailing a great, consistent serve?
Understand the angle of the paddle at the point of contact and what it can naturally give you without you having to force it.
What advice would you give to a casual player who wants to take their game to the next level?
For singles: come in after the return and return down the line. For doubles: DRILL. Drill your drops, transitions, and dinks until you get 10 in a row down the line and cross court.
What has pickleball taught you about yourself?
I need to be more patient, haha!
Huge thanks to Rachael for sharing some of her expertise with the Recess community! Give her a follow on Instagram at @bullcitytennisllc to keep up with her pickleball career.
Ready to put Rachael’s tips into action?
You know the drill – grab a friend, grab a drink, grab a paddle. Let’s play!