Speakin’ With Deakin

March 28, 2024

As winter turns into spring, we check in with Steve to see how he is doing on the PPA tour.

1. What do you like most about being a professional athlete? What do you like the least?

Those are two very good questions that I am asked a lot. I definitely like that I can play a sport to give me a comfortable lifestyle. I was a Monday-Friday 50-hour work week guy for 20 plus years. Playing professional pickleball since 2018 has given me the flexibility to work my own hours. Although I most definitely work more hours now than my previous career, at least I am doing something that I love.

What I like the least about playing professional pickleball is living out of hotels, eating out, and navigating through different airports weekly. This can wear a person down mentally and physically over the course of a long tournament year that doesn’t really have a designated off season.

2. Do you have a favourite stop on the PPA tour? Do you have a favourite venue?

I have a few favourite places to play on the PPA tour. I have always enjoyed travelling to Palm Springs to play the Masters, Atlanta, Cincinnati for one of the majors, and Vegas at the Darling Tennis Center. I would say my favourite venue is the Darling Tennis Center in Las Vegas. Easy to get around and an amazing stadium court. Plus what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas haha.

3. What skill on the court would you like to improve this year?

This is an easy question for me to answer. I want to improve my backhand roll into the body of my opponent from the kitchen line. This was one of my weapons pre wrist injury and one of the last shots to come back to me post injury. I have been working more on mixing up spots, trajectory, and pace to compensate for the lack of range of motion in that wrist. I am unable to penetrate opponent with power with this shot anymore but I can certainly be more crafty with when and where to initiate it from to set up an easy 2nd ball put away.

4. What emotions do you feel when you play well on the court?

I just finished an amazing event at the Lakeville PPA stop in Minnesota and was very happy with my play. It definitely gave me confidence that I am still able to compete with the world’s best and that the results are following. It makes me feel energized, confident, and optimistic.

5. What’s one thing not a lot of people know about you?

One thing that not a lot of people know about me is that I had substance abuse and mental health issues and that I have been clean and sober for 16 years. For anyone that struggles with these things, I am living proof that you can get through it and have a great life.

Paddle up and have fun!

Do you have a question for Steve Deakin? If so, send it to scoop@pickleballcanada.org and you could see your question in the next issue of the Scoop.