by Wyndi Kappes, Photography by Elle Wood
Chris Wolfe | Age: 44
Atlanta Pickleball Association Co-Founder, USAPA Ambassador and Certified PPR Teaching Professional
After years of feeling burnt out from playing high-level tennis, Chris Wolfe discovered pickleball while out on assignment as a radio host in Greensboro, North Carolina and fell in love. Five years later, Chris is now a sponsored player, teacher and co-founded the Atlanta Pickleball Association to provide Atlantans with resources to play the game.
Q: What is pickleball?
Chris Wolfe: Pickleball is a paddleball sport that combines elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis. It is traditionally played on a smaller version of a tennis court with a modified net.
Q: How does playing pickleball keep you in shape?
CW: Obviously, pickleball is a cardio sport on a one-on-one level, but it also tests your flexibility! To play with skill and abide by the rules, you are often stretching and working smaller muscles that help with balance and coordination. It also really improves your mental health. I think of it as a moving meditation, with the game being the only thing I think about for two to three hours.
Q: What do you think sets pickleball apart from tennis?
CW: It’s not intimidating and can be much more welcoming and friendly than tennis for those new to the sport. You don’t have to be a pro athlete, know a long list of rules or have played before to pick it up and play a game. It’s primarily a fun social thing!
Q: How do you stay fit outside of pickleball?
CW: I do tons of cardio, including walking on the treadmill at a 10-12 incline. Pickleball has a lot of crouched side-to-side movement, so I also do plenty of squats. I weight lift to strengthen my shoulders and triceps so I can perfect my backhand.
Q: Why do you think pickleball is so hot right now?
CW: Outside of being an accessible sport for all ages, fitness levels and economic backgrounds, I think communities are beginning to realize that pickleball courts take up less space than tennis and get more people involved.
Q: Outside of pickleball, what else keeps you happy and inspired?
CW: From 2-7 p.m. on Sundays, you can catch me on air at B98.5 as an evening radio host! I love yapping about life and Atlanta. I also enjoy dabbling in residential real estate and own my own clothing company, ElevenOSouth.
For more information on where to play pickleball, how to get involved or to find lessons, visit www.atlpba.org.