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Ben Bramblett’s Journey to Pro Pickleball: Doubts to Dominance

Ben Bramblett’s Journey to Pro Pickleball: Ben Bramblett, a former tennis standout from Dalton High School, never imagined himself becoming a professional athlete in a sport he initially viewed with skepticism, Pickleball introduced while coaching tennis in Dalton, Bramblett’s journey from hesitant newcomer to competitive pro mirrors the sport’s explosive rise across the United States. As pickleball gains momentum nationwide, Bramblett’s story serves as a example to the sport’s appeal and transformative power, both locally in Dalton and on the broader professional stage.

Discovering Pickleball: A Tennis Player’s Journey

Before 2020 Dalton High School graduate Ben Bramblett ever embraced pickleball, he was deep in the world of tennis, where he was a standout player. Coaching tennis for Dalton’s recreation department, Bramblett was initially hesitant  when approached to take on pickleball, dismissing it as a sport for older individuals wielding rackets.

My boss wanted me to try to coach pickleball. The technique is relatively similar to tennis, so it’s not that hard to coach beginner players,” Bramblett said. “I was hesitant at first. It just sounded like a really weird sport, and I thought it was for old people. I played with my uncle, and he beat me, and I was really frustrated to be losing to someone in their 60s.

Yet, from those early frustrations, Bramblett swiftly ascended.

Rising Through the Ranks: From Doubt to Success

Bramblett stands as a professional pickleball player, traversing the country to participate in events sanctioned by the PPA (Professional Pickleball Association).

Ben Bramblett's Journey to Pro Pickleball: Doubts to Dominance

Competing across singles, men’s doubles, and mixed doubles categories, Bramblett navigates through  qualifiers to secure spots in the main draws.

It’s so much different from the beginner level to the pro level,” Bramblett said. “I think that’s one of the most deceptive things about pickleball is that it looks so easy on camera.

He noted the discrepancy between televised matches, where the ball seems to move languidly, and the reality of the game’s frenetic pace on court.

“You’ll quickly find camaraderie in pickleball, Just show up at any local court, and someone will gladly teach you the ropes. I’m determined to see how far I can go, I’m fully committed until I can no longer compete.”- (Ben Bramblett)

Bramblett’s introduction to professional pickleball stemmed from his work as a freelance photographer and videographer, helping fellow pros manage their social media presence.

His rapid ascent mirrors the explosive growth of pickleball nationwide. The sport ballooned to 13.6 million participants in the United States by 2023, marking a staggering 51.8% increase from 2022 and a monumental 223.5% surge since 2020, according to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association.

In Dalton, Georgia, where Bramblett’s journey began, pickleball’s popularity led to the conversion of tennis courts at Brookwood Park in 2020. Additional courts at Mack Gaston Community Center and Lakeshore Park followed, with plans recently approved for a sizable 15-court complex at James Brown Park by the Dalton City Council. Once a skeptic, Bramblett now advocates for pickleball enthusiasts of all ages.

Looking Forward: Bramblett’s Dedication to the Game

Despite initial doubt, Bramblett has become a vocal advocate for pickleball, encouraging individuals of all ages to give the sport a try. His commitment to professional pickleball remains unwavering as he continues to compete and explore his potential in the rapidly growing sport.

You’re going to make friends super quickly,” he said. “For the most part, you can show up at any local court, and someone will be willing to help show you how to play.

News in Brief: Ben Bramblett’s Journey to Pro Pickleball

Ben Bramblett, once a standout tennis player at Dalton High School, unexpectedly found himself drawn into the world of professional pickleball after initially being skeptical of the sport. Introduced while a tennis coach in Dalton High School, his journey from novice to competitive pro reflects pickleball’s burgeoning popularity nationwide. Bramblett’s story highlights how pickleball transcends age and background, uniting communities and reshaping perceptions along the way. His swift ascent underscores the sport’s ability to captivate athletes like him and elevate its status both locally in Dalton and across the broader professional sports arena.
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