At the age of 12, Anna Leigh Waters became the youngest professional pickleball player in history. Just over three years into her career, she is already ranked No. 1 in women’s singles and mixed doubles.
In 2017, Waters and her family evacuated their Florida residence due to Hurricane Irma. The family traveled to Water’s grandparents in Pennsylvania. His grandfather had been playing pickleball for years up to that time. After showing the family how to play, they found themselves playing every day for the few weeks they were on the East Coast. Once they got home and found a local pickleball club, where they learned more about the rules, the rest is history.
With its ease of play and fast-paced action, the sport has become the fastest growing in America, with names like LeBron James, James Blake and Drew Brees recently investing in Major League Pickleball.
“Pickleball is so athletic and the points are so long. It’s just a really cool and different sport to watch,” Waters said. “A lot of people compare it to tennis, but if you watch a pickleball doubles match, there are so many lobs and drop shots and fast hands – there’s just a variety of things and not every point is the same. .”
M&F caught up with Anna Leigh Waters as she unpacked her things and introduced us to some of her on-pitch favourites.
They’re not just for looks, but they’re prescription glasses, so I need them to see the ball.
- Buy Flak 2.0 XL: $184, at Oakley
Normatec Hyperice Hypervolt 2 and Hyperice Venom Go
These are super important. Without them, I would go on the super cold court. I like them, especially for recovery afterwards. I feel so much better in the morning after using the Venom Go. The good thing about the gun is that I can carry it with me and between games I can just use it. I like to use it before games to warm up and after to recover. I also use the pistol and Venom between matches. In pickleball, you don’t know if you’re going to go long or short, so they’re really good. I can turn them on or off quickly, warming up before the next game.
Paddletek Bantam TS-5 Anna Leigh Waters Edition Lightweight Hybrid Pickleball Racket
I use Peddletek TS-5 paddles. The first tournament I entered I was using this paddle. I’ve been using it for about five years now. I don’t know what I would do without it.
- Buy the Paddletek Bantam TS-5 Anna Leigh Waters Edition Lightweight Hybrid Pickleball Paddle: $99.99, at JustPaddles
I usually keep a few in my bag to practice between games. A big part of pickleball is making sure you’re warmed up and ready due to the number of games you have throughout the day.
- Buy Pickle Balls (pack of 3): $9.99, at Target
I use the resistance band if I’m warming up before a game and trying to stay loose between games. Pickleball tournaments are long days, so I have to make sure my body is ready for every game.
- Buy a set of resistance bands: $2.78, at Temu
Lock the laces
I put them on my shoes, so after a game I can put them back on quickly and my shoes are untied. It really helps keep my shoelaces in place, so I never have to worry about tying my shoes.
Paddletek Pickleball Tour Backpack
I can put a lot of things here. There are lots of little pockets inside so I can keep everything organized. I sometimes throw my phone here, which is probably not smart because I lose it. But there are plenty of good pockets that I can keep a lot of stuff in and it’s a pretty big bag.
FILA Brandon Maxwell Track Pants
I used to have some to put them on between games, especially if I was in a cold or cold climate. I’m going to put them on to help keep the body warm.
Follow Anna Leigh Waters @alwaters_a1