A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA

SACMedia

A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA

SACMedia

A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA

SACMedia

Academics counselor by day, Pickleball champion by night

Shane+Poulter+and+his+teammate+winning+a+pickleball+championship.+
Shane Poulter
Shane Poulter and his teammate winning a pickleball championship.

Shane Poulter, 55, is an athletics counselor at Mt. SAC. Pickleball has been a raging new topic lately and Shane is an active participant in the sport in his freetime.

Before he took up pickleball, three years ago he was playing basketball. Unfortunately, due to an injury, he wasn’t able to play basketball for weeks. It was during this time of having to sit out that made him realize that he was getting too old to play basketball.

His friend told him that he should take up pickleball instead of basketball and invited him out to play one Saturday morning. “It was my first time playing and I wasn’t that good,” Poulter said. “Luckily I had some guy who was really patient, kind of showed me how to play. But I caught on pretty fast.”

Poulter added that the person that showed him how to play pickleball wouldn’t play with him because he was so competitive that he wouldn’t want to play with anyone that wasn’t good.

“I just started playing, like I became fanatical,” Poulter said. “I started playing every day. I bought a pickleball machine and then I’d have it in my garage and I’d just drill everyday.”

Fast forward three years later, Poulter went from barely learning the game to entering competitive tournaments. His last three tournaments he won gold.

Poulter credits a lot of his pickleball successes to his partner Louis Vayo who is also a fellow employee at Mt. SAC. “The guy is a stud. He swam competitively, got a D1 scholarship for swimming at UC Berkeley,” Poulter said. “He was at one time ranked at the top 50th swimmer in the United States. He trained with Michael Phelps. I mean this guy was a stud.”

In the most recent tournament that Poulter and Vayo participated in they played a much younger age category to push themselves and compete with people who were at their skill level. Poulter said that in this division he was the oldest person participating. This was not an easy task it was still a challenge but the duo pushed through and came out victorious.

“I felt in control and I felt empowered, and I felt like whatever I wanted to do, I was able to make it happen with the pickleball,“ Poulter said. “And then it was the championship game and we just blew away and everybody was twice as young as me.”

Poulter said pickleball welcomes everyone to play, no matter how old or skilled they are. He wants more people to join in because it’s a very inclusive game for everyone.

He also mentioned that unlike most sports which may not be suitable for the whole family, pickleball is a game that everyone in the family can enjoy playing together.

“One thing about pickleball is you can get good at the sport pretty fast. It’s pretty easy to get good, But it takes kind of a lifetime to master it,” Poulter said.

Some advice that he wanted to give aspiring pickleball players is to first is to go out and have fun. See if its even something you like. Don’t go out and invest your money in all the expensive equipment if it’s not something you’re going to enjoy doing. Second, he says to go on Youtube and watch pickleball videos and learn. For a more hands on experience he encourages people to go out and find someone who will help you learn.

“The pickleball community is so friendly that you don’t have to pay for lessons. Somebody will mentor you,” Poulter said. “Practice twice as much as you play.”

When asked how he prepares both mentally and physically for games he explained, “All my weaknesses I try to turn them into strengths. Because gametime tournament you don’t want weaknesses because as soon as you have a weakness, your opponent on the other side, they’ll pick it apart.”

“It burns me that I didn’t find out about this sport 20 years ago,” Poulter said.

He explained that his biggest challenge with pickleball is his age. He is 55 years old. “What I lack maybe in speed, I make up for in just my hand eye coordination,” Poulter said.

“I’m so thankful I found pickleball and now I’m just as fanatical about pickleball. But if you took basketball, I’m not going to play basketball at 60,” Poulter said. “Because I am not going to go against guys that are dunking it and running twice as fast as me,” Poulter added.

“You don’t want to just fall in love with a sport that you can only play with until your 25-30 and then you have to give it up. And then what do you do when you give it up? Share the game with others because it’s so much fun. Share your passion,” Poulter said.

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About the Contributor
Ariel Phillips
Ariel Phillips, Co-Features Editor
Ariel Phillips is the Co-Features Editor. For the past year, she has been pursuing journalism and likes to write personal feature stories. A fun fact about Ariel is that she knows her numbers in seven different languages.

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