ProLite's Interview with Pickleball Triple Crown Champion - Simone Jardim

She's funny, a relentless competitor and has enough pickleball passion for a dozen people. She's also kind, a giver and a person we at ProLite are PROUD to say is on our team. Simone took some time out to answer some questions for us and our readers. Enjoy.

  • How do you prepare to play a particular opponent?
    Usually I will talk to my partner about our game plan before going into the match. I make sure I eat and drink plenty before going into any match. I like to stretch a little bit and warm up for as long as it takes for us to be ready. For me personally is about being lose and my muscles feeling warm enough so I don't pull anything. For my partners, I want them to feel ready and confident before we step out on the court.

  • What do you typically talk about during a tournament time out?
    It depends on the time out. If our strategy is not working then it is about figuring out what plan B or C is. Sometimes it is about nothing and just staying relaxed and focused.

  • What thoughts run through your mind when the opposing team starts a run?
    First thing is let's get a side out as soon as possible, if three points go by and we cannot then usually it is a time out and talk about changing the game plan. It can be as simple as let's return to a different spot or more complex to where we want to attack or a set up play.

  • How many hours a week do you drill for yourself?
    I'm pretty lucky now because I get to teach some good players who can keep good balls back in play, so basically I'm drilling every day. I'm not big into feeding balls, so most of the time I'm drilling with my clients. When I go out to play with higher level players I tend to warm up everything and then play points.

  • What nagging injuries do you have and how do you treat them?
    I have had problems with my hips for a while now, so I have tried so many different treatments. I have done lots of massages, ice, stretch, used natural oils, creams, and anything you can think of. I recently got in a car accident so my neck and back were pretty messed up from that, so I got massages and did lots of stretching for those areas. While I was in Brigham City Kyle Klein gave me a treatment and that helped me a lot. Kyle is a chiropractor.

  • What do you drink when competing?
    I drink water and lots of Gatorade to keep my electrolytes up. There is nothing worse than getting dehydrated and I have done that to myself and got a major migraine and even got stomach sickness. So, I've learned my lesson the hard way, but I always try to drink even if I'm not thirsty. I also love coffee and on days I know I'm going to be competing all day I try to drink only one cup in the morning.

  • What do you eat when competing?
    This is something I had to learn from playing more tournaments. I eat all day now, but small amounts. I will have bananas, granola bars, nuts and if I have some extra time I will eat a sandwich. It is very important to keep feeding your muscles otherwise cramps or just exhaustion by the end of the day.

  • How many hours a week are you teaching / playing?
    During the season, I was teaching anywhere between 25-35 hours a week. Now that the snowbirds have gone home, I'm teaching about 10-15. I play only a couple of hours a week and it will probably be less this summer.

  • What do you tell yourself when there’s a bad call? How do you keep your cool?
    I usually ask the ref and if he agrees with the call then I move on and pump myself up. If I find that I'm not over the call by the next point then I call a time out to get my mind back on track. Control what I can and let go of what I cannot.

  • Who introduced you to pickleball? When?
    I was working at Michigan State and one of our boosters and friends Walter Pelowski told me about it and said I should try it. He talked about me to Dan O'Toole who one day in January of 2015 showed up at the MSU tennis facility and told me we are playing Pickleball at the MIchigan Athletic Club and want you to join us. I went to play with Dan, Corrine and some other MAC pickleballers and had a lot of fun. I started to go play with them during my lunch hour and also joined a Wednesday night league that included a beer get together after. I had so much fun hanging out with them and playing that I started to play more. Then one day Dan and Corrine sat me down and told me they had signed me up for a tournament in Kalamazoo. After playing that tournament I was hooked and planned on playing a couple more that year including nationals in Casa Grande. The rest is history!

  • What kind of player compliments your style?
    People who I'm comfortable with in general. I am a very intense person and like someone who is more chilled. I've always been big on optimal intensity level. I play best when I'm at an eight, so I need someone on a way lower skill so when I reach ten then can bring me back to eight. Otherwise I go too crazy and spray balls everywhere. Also, my partners know I have no personal space awareness so therefore I prefer they would be accepting of that.

  • Will you be teaching in Naples for the summer? How many hours/days etc?
    I plan on teaching about 10-15 hours per week.

  • What are your tournament plans for the summer?
    I actually decided to take the summer off to be with family and stay home. I quit my job because I wanted to be around more and be able to see my kids grow. I used to work summer camps and be gone for work every summer. This past year I played a lot of tournaments and have worked a lot, more than I though I would. I'm looking forward to some beach and pool time with the kids and husband. They are the most important people in my life.

  • Which tournament is highest on your list for winning next?
    The next one I play, which will be the PPF in Bend.

  • Which ProLite paddle to you intend to use? Why?
    The Supernova because it is the paddle that I like the best. I like how it feels and the power it generates.

  • What is it you like most about the SuperNova?
    I like the fact that it has a longer handle for my two-hand backhand and the way the head is shaped. The sweet spot is larger than the Titan and it still has the same carbon fiber face. Lastly, it is a somewhat heavy paddle but mostly on the handle which doesn't bother my elbow or shoulder. I played with a head heavy paddle before and it irritated my elbow and shoulder.

  • What aspect of this paddle do you think is important but maybe not obvious to other players?
    I think the fact that the weight is on the handle, as most players like head heavy paddles.

  • Is there really that much difference between paddles out there today?
    I wouldn't be able to tell you as I have only played with a few paddles. My first paddle was the original which was pretty heavy especially on the head, then I played with the magnum which was nice but not as powerful as the Titan. The Titan I loved the first time I played with it because the power and feel combination was amazing. Once I started to play more I figured out what I looked for on a paddle and Neil, Lisa and production team helped make the Supernova which is the perfect paddle for me.

  • Give us one strategy that rec players can use to instantly improve their game.
    Work on their soft game, a lot of my clients are deadly afraid of hitting the ball high, when the problem is hitting the ball too hard. I usually work on softening their hands, absorbing pace and shortening their back swing. I get a lot of tennis players who are used to swinging fast and with Pickleball it is the opposite, you actually need to swing slower to have more control.

  • What top 3 drills do you recommend to mid-level players?
    Since we are working on soft hands I like to have them dink holding the paddle lightly or with only a couple of fingers. I look at their technique to make sure they are not taking the paddle behind their hip and cross stepping. My favorite drills are kind of boring. Down the line dinks, Cross court dinks and hitting third, fifth shots from anywhere on the court. I have done some more complex drills from tennis that have translated well for Pickleball like the two touch volleys and figure eights.