My name is Matt, I’m the guy behind Pickleball Portal. My love for racket sports started at a very young age. I grew up in a small Midwestern town, the youngest of six brothers! To keep us occupied (and I suppose to keep us from constantly fighting) my dad outfitted the basement with some classic table games (foosball, a pool table… and ping pong).
I loved hanging out down there, especially in the winter and have great memories of playing ping pong for hours with my older brothers. I can still remember the fake wood paneling and thick green shag rug.
We lived right across the street from the town’s public school and our dining room faced the back of the school where the sports facilities were so I could see the football field, hockey rinks and tennis courts from inside the house and scope out what was going on sports-wise any time of year.
Although we had 6 kids in our family it was not unusual. In those days big families were common in the area and there were families in town with 9 and even 10 kids! It was a great time and place to grow up if you loved sports, with so many kids around there were lots of pick up games and you could almost always find enough players for some kind of match up.
My love of racket sports…from early on.
If there were no other kids around I’d go to the tennis court and hit balls (they had one of those practice walls with a white line painted at the height of a tennis net). Not to give away my age but these are the rackets we used!
I’ve played recreational tennis for most of my life. I took lessons as a kid and played in a few local tourneys but never really played at a competitive level although I did have friends in high school and college that did – so I watched my share of tennis matches to cheer them on and gained a great appreciation for the sport.
My father was a teacher at the local community college. He was a book worm and really not very athletic (kind of geeky to be quite honest), but he did play one sport- racquetball!
I used to love going with him on a Saturday to the college gym. I loved to wander the labyrinth of different weight rooms, basketball courts and locker rooms.
Eventually, as I got older I spent less time wandering and more time on the racquetball court. My dad played against other teachers, so playing against guys 30 years older than me was tough but by the time I was in high school, I could hold my own. Those Saturday mornings on the racquetball court honed my racket skills and feed my passion for racket sports.
In summer we would migrate from the basement to the backyard where we would always have some group of kids matching up in the sport of the day…football, baseball, etc. My dad also bought one of those net sets where you could play badminton and volleyball….so I got a taste for badminton. It was fun and came naturally to me having played other racket sports but I never really got much joy hitting a shuttlecock -compared to a ball- and there were a lot of sports competing for my attention.
So what does all this have to do with Pickleball Portal?
If you’re here you probably already know that pickleball was invented using a hodgepodge of equipment and modified rules from three sports: table tennis, tennis and badminton.
My journey = Ping Pong + Tennis + Badminton [+ Racquetball] …Pickleball
So much later in life, once my knees and elbow started telling me (very clearly) that I needed to slow down, I found pickleball was the ideal solution. Having played racket sports early in life made the transition easy.
From my own experience, I can easily see why so many other people like me have migrated from tennis (and other racket sports) to pickleball. The smaller court and doubles play is much easier on my body (especially compared to singles tennis) but pickleball does still offer a challenge – the same type of eye-hand coordination and the competition can be quite fierce.
Another great thing about is the social aspect and camaraderie– I’ve made a whole new circle of friends at the pickleball court so it’s been a great way later in life to keep socially and physically active.
So what is this website exactly?
I started Pickleball Portal as a personal blog, just a way to share some interesting articles and videos that I found online about the growing sport. From there added some tips and beginner advice. As I posted more content, online readers and friends on the court started asking for recommendations on gear and various other topics.
So, I started compiling more playing strategy tips, paddle buyers’ guides and profiles of pickleball equipment manufacturers. The more I got into pickleball and testing gear I realized there were a lot of questions to answer and topics to cover so continued to expand the website. As the sport grows, pickleball equipment manufacturers are releasing so many new paddles it’s hard to keep track as the paddle technology is constantly evolving as the sport itself evolves.
Who I Am Not
Although I do give some advice I don’t call myself a pickleball expert as I am always learning. I am not a 5.0 player – I’m not even a highly competitive player. After playing a wide variety of sports my whole life, my body has recently taught me to slow down (chronic Achilles tendonitis, tennis or “pickleball” elbow and a bad knee). I just love the game (playing, writing about it and talking about it) and it’s become a big part of my life.
I also like to research. My corporate job – for the two decades – has all been about product testing and quality control as well as documenting guides for users, so comparing equipment and compiling useful information is what I’m good at.
The time, effort and costs that go into maintaining this website are supported through affiliate commissions. Many of the links on this site are affiliate links meaning if readers click and make a purchase I will earn a small commission for purchases they make – at no extra cost to you– the commission is paid by the retailer.
Do affiliate commissions make us biased?
The only compensation is in the form of affiliate commissions if readers click on affiliate links and then purchase items.
The products we recommend as a result of our analysis and research. A lot of the info we gather by talking to friends and competitors on the court – chatting about what they like and dislike and playing with each other’s gear to compare.
If the readers return their purchases we make nothing – so there is no incentive for us to recommend inferior products. We think the affiliate system is fair one that provides us with some funds to keep the site going while keeping us committed to serving our readers first.
The most important thing for us is the trust our readers have in us to make recommendations. If we were to give biased reviews, in the long run, our readers like you would stop supporting our work. If for any reason you are not happy with a product you purchased based on one of our articles, please contact us and let us know why you thought it was a poor recommendation so we can improve the site.
Please let us know if there is anything else you would like us to write about or questions we can answer.
Thanks for taking the time to check us out!