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Ben Johns

The Greatest Pickleball Player Of All Time


In this episode

Welcome to another episode of In Search of Excellence! Our amazing guest is Ben Johns, the greatest pickleball player of all time. He has been the No.1 player in the world in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles for most of the last 3 years.

On the business side, Ben is a co-founder of Pickleball Getaways, a vacation travel company that arranges pickleball vacations to Mexico, Portugal, Croatia, and other sunny locations. He is also the co-founder of Pickleball 360, an online instructional video subscription service that gives lessons on how to become a better pickleball player.

00:00 Introduction

  • Who is Ben Johns?

01:59 Ben’s background

  • Supportive, inspiring parents and 6 siblings
  • Encouraged to follow their own passion

04:15 Homeschooling of 7 kids

  • Mom used online resources and textbooks
  • Kids worked at their own pace
  • Personal responsibility
  • Social aspects of homeschooling
  • They pursued their interests, and social stuff happened naturally

08:59 Sports Ben played as a kid

  • Played baseball, tennis, table tennis, golf
  • Very eye-hand oriented sports

10:32 Ben's college experience

  • Switched majors from Business to Material Science and Engineering
  • How Innovators Think course by Professor Mark Wellman
  • Advice to people who don’t know what they want to do
  • Expose yourself to different things, experiment, research

17:24 Developing and innovating a new pickleball racket

  • Genuinely interested in how to make paddles better
  • Being genuine creates an opportunity in almost any area

19:27 Optimism and fear of failure

  • Optimism is important, but also confidence and work ethics
  • Do your utmost and put 100% of your effort
  • If you fail, learn from it

22:56 Ben’s first business venture

  • Pickleball had the stigma of an old person's sport
  • Wanted to make it more exciting

24:04 What is pickleball?

  • A combination of tennis and ping-pong on a badminton-sized court
  • Very easy to learn and very easy to play

27:19 The professional pickleball

  • The history of pickleball associations
  • The TPA and APP
  • The merging of 2 leagues

32:25 The ownership and worth of pickleball teams

  • The worth of major pickleball teams
  • Teams are part of venture capital groups
  • Who are the owners?

35:44 How do teams make money?

  • A revenue model
  • The vision is to make it like an NBA NFL type of league
  • No major TV contract but a rapidly growing fan base
  • Pickleball has fanatically engaged fans - a golden nugget for any investor

40:39 Pickleball statistics

  • Its popularity is growing among different groups
  • It has a great social component

45:43 The start of Ben’s professional career

  • First professional tournament – US Open in 2016
  • Won the US Open in 2017
  • Making money and covering expenses

Sandee | Bliss: Beaches

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