Charlottesville man shows his dedication to Pickleball

Published: Feb. 21, 2023 at 4:59 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A Charlottesville man is showing you don’t have to have a background in racquet sports to get good at pickleball.

Fifty-six-year-old JP Christen is joining the pickleball craze.

“I got bit by the bug, I love pickleball. I wasn’t very good when I started, but felt like it was a game that I could get good at,” he said.

Now, JP is readying to play in national tournaments. He bought a pickleball machine and spends hours practicing in his basement.

“I really just needed to become comfortable with the racquet and keeping the ball low, because as we all know in pickleball, we never want to pop the ball up,” JP said. “I practice hours a day on the wall. I will do it in the middle of the night, in the morning, whenever I get a break, I’m banging balls against the way.”

JP says he plays games with his buddies as often as he can, usually 8-to-10 matches a week.

“It’s the single-most improvement I’ve seen from anyone in any sport,” Greg Wells said.

JP says he loves the social aspect of the game, as well as the athletic workout.

“You can get into these very long points and it becomes a chess match, and the ball gets sped up and it’s hand-eye coordination, and when you win the point it can become very emotional,” he said.

JP plans to travel the country, playing in tournaments.

“It’s a chance to play against other pickleball players, to see where I’m at compared to everyone else,” he said.

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