​Suncoast Pickleball Association Pickleball Camps

Camp #1 Pros

Sept. 12-17, 2021



Deb Harrison

Deb was raised in Walpole, Massachusetts. Home of Cedar Junction formerly known as Walpole State Prison! Her sports of choice in the good old days were Field Hockey, Basketball, and Softball. She went on to major in Physical Education at The University of Massachusetts and was Captain of the Field Hockey Team and selected to the United States Field Hockey Squad from 1968-1972. Chatham High School in the state of New York was her first teaching position. She was responsible for ALL activities including all the sports she loves to do PLUS cheerleading and gymnastics. Deb received her masters degree from East Stroudsburg State College in Pennsylvania then proceeded to coach/teach at Pine Manor College in Boston, Mount Holyoke College in Northhampton, and the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut. Prior to moving to The Villages in 2005, Deb co-owned a jewelry store on Cape Cod for close to 20 years and coached and taught tennis at various racquet clubs in Massachusetts.

Deb is the author of “Intense Pickleball Camp”Take it to the Next Level. She is also the creator of the ongoing instructional series on You Tube with over 90+ episodes devoted to improving your skill components: picklepongdebyoutube.

Currently, she enjoys teaching Pickleball in the Villages and loves being able to offer intense Pickleball workshops throughout the country as a traveling clinician. Pro-Lite Sports Inc. has selected Deb to represent their endeavors. As a Pro-Lite Pro she has offered workshops with Nationally acclaimed player Simone Jardim. She has traveled to San Francisco, Dallas, Minneapolis, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and all parts of Florida, (Jupiter, Clearwater, Englewood, Sarasota, Piper's Landing, Riverbend).



Mindy Yoder

Mindy hails from Fort Wayne, Indiana. She was introduced to Pickleball three years ago by her father. Since then, she has played in tournaments across the United States and has been on the podium more than 60 times, including a Gold medal at the 2018 Nationals in California.

Mindy is a certified IPTPA instructor and is sponsored by TMPR Sports. She also serves as National Events and Team Building Coordinator for Pickleball Rocks. She embraces The Pickleball Rocks mission which is “to help Pickleball grow”.

She is passionate about helping others to have fun and be healthy through the sport of Pickleball. Mindy says, “attending clinics and camps, like Coach Russel’s Suncoast Camp at Montreat have been instrumental in my growth as a player, so I’m excited and honored to be an instructor this year at Montreat!”



Jim & Yvonne Hackenberg

Jim & Yvonne Hackenberg began playing pickleball in 2009. In the ten years they have been playing they have won a combined 37 Gold Medals in Men’s, Women’s, and Mixed Doubles, and Men’s Singles in the USAPA Nationals, and 14 Gold Medals in the U.S. Open Pickleball Championships. They have also won many area and regional tournaments, too numerous to mention individually.

Jim was inducted into the Pickleball Hall of Fame, Class of 2020.

They are founding member of the International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association, (IPTPA,), are USAPA Ambassadors-at-Large, contributors of training articles for Pickleball Magazine, Tournament Directors of the Pickleball Fever in the Zoo Tournament.

Jim is a member of Team Onix and Yvonne is a member of Team Paddletek. Jim & Yvonne embrace the opportunity of helping players improve their skills and enjoyment of pickleball.



Helle Sparre

Helle Sparre was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1956. She began playing tennis at the age of six and by age 19 she was the Number One ranked player in her country.

As a professional, Sparre competed in all four major grand slams - The Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. Once ranked as high as 49th in the world on the professional women’s tour, she captured the 1978 U.S. Clay Court Women’s Doubles Championship with partner Helena Anliot. In 1997, Sparre competed for the victorious U.S. Women’s 40’s team in the World Cup and won the 40’s World Doubles Championship.

Helle is the author of the book Dynamite Doubles and the creator of the Dynamite Doubles System which helps all levels of tennis players understand how to play smarter and win in doubles immediately. She has adapted and teaches the Dynamite Doubles system for Pickleball as well. She is also one of a growing number of former tennis professionals who have successfully converted to Pickleball. In fact, in an addition to playing professionally, she is recognized as one of the best Pickleball instructors in the nation today, while serving as an advocate for the growth of the game at all ages and all levels.



Barry Waddell

Barry grew up in Miami Florida playing football and baseball in the youth programs until the age of 13 when he discovered his true love, tennis. Within two years he was ranked in the top 5 in the state of Florida and top 50 in the nation. At 18 he won the Florida State High School Championships in the number one singles position earning him many college scholarships.

He attended the University of Illinois, was ranked number one as a freshman, and advanced to the finals of the Big Ten Championships. After college, Barry played professionally on the satellite tour in Europe and the United States. Following his professional tennis career, Barry returned to Florida to become the Director of Tennis at Casa Ybel on Sanibel Island.

Barry continued to play tennis tournaments and was ranked number one in Florida in the Men’s 25 and Men’s 30 division, in addition to being number two in the men’s open division. At the age of 47, and after many years away from playing competitive tennis, Barry found his new love, Pickleball.

In 2017, Barry turned Pickleball Pro and has won numerous Pickleball tournaments including 4 Florida Senior games in singles, doubles and mixed doubles.

Barry has won numerous Pickleball tournaments including the Atlanta Open with Scott Moore, the Texas Open with Steve Kennedy, the World Pickleball Championship with Paul Olin, and the most coveted prize in Pickleball, the US OPEN Senior Pro Men’s Doubles Championship with Dave Weinbach.

Barry looks forward to playing and competing all over the country showcasing the growing sport of Pickleball. He is an IPTPA Certified Teaching Professional and the head Pickleball Professional at Pickleball & Tennis US in Bonita Springs, Florida. In addition to being one of the top ranked pickleball players in the world, he is full-time Realtor with John R Wood Properties.

Visit pickleballcommunitiesflorida.com to learn more about Barry.



Rachael Kroog

Pickleball Coach, Rachael Kroog, wants to take your game to the next level.

Rachael holds a double certification by the IPTPA(International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association) and the PPR(Professional Pickleball Registry). She is sponsored by Engage Pickleball.

- Have fun
- Reduce your anxiety by calming your mind
- Increase your consistency, power and control through:
- Peace, patience, placement and lots of perfect practice

Rachael has accumulated over 100 medals in her 10 years of competition. She’s competed at the 5.0 level in tournaments across the country winning golds in state tournaments in MN, WI, AZ and TX, and gold medals at The National Pickleball Championships, The National Senior Games, The US Open and in The World Huntsman Games.

Rachael was named outstanding female athlete of her High School winning the sectional championships in basketball, softball, tennis and volleyball. She held a NY State ranking of #2 in women’s doubles which led to a 4 yr athletic scholarship to The Univ. of Ky. She was inducted into her High School Athletic Wall of Fame for achieving what no other athlete has garnered, 16 varsity letters in 4 different sports.

“My dad, my athletic hero and MN State Champion baseball pitcher,Fred Kroog, taught me how to play this addicting game and he and I had many fun years of playing together.”

In my desire to give back and honor my dad, a % of the $ made from my PB coaching goes towards offering free musical programs for our elders living in senior living communities in the Twin Cities.

Camp #2 Pros

Sept. 19-24, 2021



John Sperling

John Sperling is a professional pickleball player and instructor with over 30 years of teaching experience. John has achieved success with well know companies such as Grand Oaks Resort, PPR (Professional Pickleball Registry), Country Club of Ocala, Engage Pickleball, and Bollettieri Tennis Academy, to name a few.

John grew up in the Detroit Metro area and attended Trenton High School in Trenton, MI. It is here where he started playing tennis and began his junior tennis career. John quickly became one of the best young players in the area and reached a top rating in the state of Michigan by the time he was 17. After high school John attended College of DuPage and played tennis for Chaparrals. He reached a collegiate ranking of #7 and led his tennis team to a Top 5 Finish at Nationals.

While attending college in Chicago, John started his teaching career at Evergreen Bath and Tennis Club in Evergreen Park. Over the years, John was blessed to learn from some of the best professionals in the industry, which helped him develop into the instructor that he is today. After 30 years on the tennis court, John left the tennis world to bring his experience and expertise to pickleball. He has a style of teaching that appeals to all levels of play, from the beginning player all the way to top professionals. His passion on the court is unmatched and this transfers through to his students.

John has played professionally for the past two years and has won many local, state, and regional tournaments. He has had success at the national level by capturing a Gold/Champion medal at the 2017 US Open and followed it up with two more medals at the 2018 Open. He was also a two-time medalist at the 2018 AAU National Indoor Championships. John likes to spend his down time working with underprivileged kids by teaching them pickleball and other sports.



Scott Tingley

With an outstanding background as a player and instructor, Scott brings both his passion and his expertise to the court, helping you to believe and achieve your pickleball goals!

Scott Tingley was born in Clearwater, Florida and started playing tennis at the age of 10. By age 14 he was nationally ranked gaining exposure to players from all over the country.

In 2012, Scott found the incredible sport of Pickleball. His pickleball passion grew quickly and before he knew it, he was playing 15+ hours per week and loving every second of it. After 9 months of playing he placed fourth in a tournament at the 4.0 level and that fueled his fire even more. Since then Scott has over 40 medals and still counting . . .

• 2018 Riverbend Bronze Medal (Men’s Doubles Open)
• 2018 US Open Silver Medal (Men’s Doubles – Age 40+)
• 2016 FL State Championship Gold Medal (Men’s Doubles 5.0)
• 2016 US Open Bronze Medal (Men’s Doubles – Age 40+)

Scott Tingley was one of the lead instructors at the 2017 U.S. Open in Naples, FL. Over the years Scott has enjoyed teaching and coaching many different sports. He has been working as a private Pickleball coach in the Punta Gorda area and has done group clinics around the country. His teaching techniques help students feel comfortable on the court and is now a IPTPA Certifier for pickleball instructors. It is Scott’s passion to sharpen the abilities of both students and instructors so they can take their game to the next level.



Gigi LeMaster

Gigi began playing pickleball in 2011 and worked her way through the various skill levels to reach the PRO level in 2013. In 2013 she won both events in the first ever professional Tournament of Champions with the biggest prize purse ever paid out at that time for a Tournament.

She won the 2017 US Open Women’s Doubles Age 30+ Champion, 2017 US Open Senior Pro Women’s Doubles Champion, and the 2017 USAPA Women’s open Senior Champion. Also, Gigi is a four time US Open Champion, twelve time Nationals Medalist. Gigi has medaled in all the major tournaments since 2011. She is a five time International Champion including Canada, Finland, The Netherlands.

When she is not playing in tournaments around the country or world, Gigi spends her time teaching and coaching as a Certified International Teaching Professional. She is a volunteer teacher who instructs pickleball in the local Dysart High School District. In addition to being a top level Pickleball Pro, Gigi is also a USAPA Ambassador and a USAPA Certified Referee. Gigi is a member of the Engagepickleball Pro Team.



Steve Kennedy

Steve Kennedy was born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He’s an IPTPA Certified Pickleball Instructor and USPTA Elite Professional with 30 years of coaching experience. He's a National Champion and multiple national medal winner in singles and doubles and is one of the top Senior Professional Pickleball Players in the country. Steve is a member of Team Engage. South Florida Pickleball Academy is located in Davie, Florida at Bamford Park. Steve's passion is sharing the sport with others.

USAPA Nationals Medalist, US Open Gold Medalist and PPF Champion/Gold Medalist in Doubles, in addition to numerous other titles. Steve is considered one of the top senior singles and doubles players. He 28 years coaching experience at the Jimmy Evert Tennis Center for 28 years teaching tennis and pickleball. He has traveled the world playing professional tennis while earning a top 200 ATP world ranking. Now Steve is dedicated to teaching and playing pickleball full time. Steve displays a powerful style of play but he believes the majority of practice time should be spent on the dink game. His philosophy is drill, drill, drill and never let your game become predicable to your opponent.


Major Tournament Wins:

• 2019 Tournament of Champions
Senior Mens Doubles Pro
Silver: Steve Kennedy (with Scott Burr)

• 2019 Atlanta Open - The South Pickleball Championships
Mens Senior Doubles Open Pro
Gold: Steve Kennedy (with Mills Miller)

• 2019 Minto US Open Pickleball Championships
Senior Mixed Pro Doubles
Bronze: Steve Kennedy (with Lisa Naumu)

• 2018 Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships
Mixed Skill/Age Doubles 4.0/4.5/5.0 5.0:50+
Bronze: Steve Kennedy (with Gigi LeMaster)

• 2018 Texas Open
Senior Mens Open Doubles
Gold: Steve Kennedy (with Barry Waddell)

Senior Mixed Open Doubles
Bronze: Steve Kennedy (with Gigi LeMaster) ​

• 2018 Tournament of Champions
Gold: Steve Kennedy (with Scott Burr)

• 2017 USAPA National Championships
Senior Open Men's Doubles
Gold: Steve Kennedy (with Scott Burr)

• 2017 SoCal Summer Classic
Mens Doubles - Age Group 35+
Silver: Stephen Kennedy (with Phil Bagley)

• 2017 US Open Pickleball Championships
Senior Mens Pro Singles
Silver: Stephen Kennedy

Mens Doubles Age Groups 19+
Bronze: Stephen Kennedy (with Joshua Elliott)

Mixed Doubles Age Groups 40+
Gold: Stephen Kennedy (with Lucy Kitcher) ​

• 2016 USAPA Nationals VIII Men's Singles 50+
Silver: Stephen Kennedy



Michelle Esquivel

Michelle is an IPTPA certified instructor, Founder Ultimate Pickleball Academy and top 3 Women’s Singles Player in the World.

In 2015, Michelle was introduced to Pickleball and within a few years she decided to teach and play Pickleball Full time professionally. Since then, Esquivel has medaled in singles and doubles at several Major Professional Pickleball tournaments including the Hawaii Open, US Open and Nationals.

She graduated from Concordia University, Irvine on a full tennis scholarship with a BA in Exercise Sports Science with an Emphasis in Teaching and Coaching. After graduating, she became an USPTA instructor at Matchpoint Tennis Academy, and collegiate tennis coach at Cypress College. She later obtained her Masters Degree in Physical Education at Azusa Pacific University and began teaching Kinesiology classes.

Michelle established herself in the Pickleball community as one of the top instructors in the game and has experience teaching with: EngagePickleball Camps, LevelUp, Pickleball Getaways and Suncoast Pickleball Academy. Her passion and love for the sport has made her a fan favorite. She’s made appearances as a live commentator for several professional pickleball events and has also been featured on the Eddie and Webby show.



Rob Cassidy

Rob Cassidy is a certified IPTPA Instructor and Director of Ultimate Pickleball Academy.

As a leading pickleball professional, Rob specializes in focusing on developing one’s personal game while maintaining a strong emphasis on the fundamentals.

With 4 years of teaching experience, he is known to transform a players game at any level. Rob has coached in over 30 states and 3 countries with LevelUp Camps, EngagePickleball Camps, Boost Camps and Pickleball Getaways.

Rob Cassidy has been competing professionally since 2013. He has won several titles and has medaled at the following pro level events: International Indoor Championships, New York State Championships, Hawaiian Open, The Toronto Cup Championships and US Open. His most recent stand out was at the APP Las Vegas Open taking the Pro Mixed Open bronze medal with partner Susannah Barr.

Rob also holds a Bachelors degree in Psychology and comes from a diverse sports background which includes: ultimate frisbee, volleyball and ping pong. With over seven years of Pickleball experience, Rob Cassidy brings a positive and insightful perspective to all players. "I enjoy giving back to the game and teaching is a great way for me to do that.”



Coach Russell "E"

Coach Russell, was a 36 year employee with the Hillsborough County Parks & Recreation Department-Tampa, Florida has been involved in Pickleball since 2009. He was first introduced to the game by officiating matches at the Tampa Bay Senior Games.This sparked a fire and soon after he began playing, officiating and developing Pickleball programs in the Tampa Bay, Sarasota and now Asheville, NC areas.

As a past USTA Tennis Professional, Coach Russell received his IPTPA Certification in 2017 and his IFP Certification in 2019. As a USAPA Ambassador, he started free pickleball lessons and clinics to beginners and advanced players.

He is the current owner of Suncoast Pickleball Association which was established in 2015. He hosted 15 sanctioned and non-sanctioned pickleball tournaments in the state of Florida in 2015-2018 and finally sold these tournaments to Gamma's Lucy Kitcher.

Coach Russell was recognized by the IPTPA as having the very first Pickleball Boot Camp in the United States in 2016 in Montreat, NC. He has since established additional training in Punta Gorda, FL, Knoxville, TN, and is looking at Mentor, OH and Austin, TX for future training sites. Suncoast now primarily provides TOP Pickleball Development Training to players of all levels!

Coach Russell is an accomplished player winning medals at the German Open, US Open, the Florida Senior Games as well as many other tournaments. He has benefitted by learning from all the World's Top Pickleball Professionals and he is willing to share these fantastic tips with you as well.

Meet the Pros for Montreat 2021