Meet the Pros - Lenny Chimino

by elizaled on Apr 20, 2019

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Meet The Pros - Lenny Chimino

Cynthia Tietze January 15, 2018 · Congratulations to CarlTietze & Michael Cox for battling into the dark and taking home the SILVER?MD 5.0 65-69 at the Southwest Regional, way to go all you guys! Gold to Seymour Rifkind & Lenny Chimino, and Bronze to Mark Freidenberg & Al Hager MD 5.0 65-69 at the 2018 Southwest Regional -  Al Hager & Mark Freidenberg - Bronze, , Lenny Chimino & Seymour Rifkind - Gold and Carl Tietze & Michael Cox - Silver

Lenny Chimino is an Illinois-to-Arizona snowbird who sometimes can't convince folks back home that pickleball is a sport. He's a retired teacher and coach, so that makes him a subject matter expert on what a sport is in my eyes. Enjoy!

Can you list for us your major wins so we can correctly introduce you to our readers?

2018 USAPA Nationals MD 65-69 5.0 Gold with Ted Meyer
2017 USAPA Nationals MD 65-69 5.0 Gold with Ted Meyer
2016 USAPA Nationals MD 65-69 5.0 Gold with Ted Meyer
2016 USAPA Nationals MX 65-69 5.0 Bronze with Sally Dobson
2015 USAPA Nationals MD 65-69 5.0 Silver with John Grasso
2014 USAPA Nationals MD 60-64 5.0 Silver with John Grasso
2013 USAPA Nationals MD 60-64 5.0 Gold with John Grasso
2012 USAPA Nationals MD 60-64 5.0 Silver with John Grasso
2011 USAPA Nationals MD 55-50 4.5 Silver with Mike Rains
2018 SW Regional MD 65-69 5.0 Gold with Seymour Rifkind
2018 SW Regional MX 65-69 5.0 Gold with Carolyn Bagley
2016 Huntsman MD 65-69 5.0 Gold with Ted Meyer

Head Radical Pro

What paddle do you play with and why?

This past year I played with the Head Radical Pro and Radical Tour paddles. I like the grip, touch, control and power of these Head paddles.

Head Radical Tour

What is your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?

I was asked to come play pickleball while on a hike in Sabino Canyon, Arizona. I learned more about the game from John Grasso and Tony Calendrillo and watched tournament play to learn to compete. I also spoke with Pat Kane and Chili.

What is your preference – playing indoors or outdoors?

I like playing outdoors in the sun, fresh air and elements.

Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?

I prefer doubles. I like the strategy, teamwork and dink play. I also prefer to play tournaments with different players during the season.

What is your favorite place to play? Why?

I don’t really have a favorite place. I love tournament play as well as any place there is good play, good fun or learning opportunities.

Lenny Chimino Casa Grande Juli Goft, left (hand), Estelle Dechaine, Rob Barrett and Lenny Chimino play a game of pickleball at Mission Royale. (photo credit Oscar Perez/ Casa Grande Dispatch, Feb 23, 2016)

What is your secret sauce? Any tips for players? 

Not really. I try to “Keep it Simple.” So my advice? Keep the ball in play. Play soft and be patient. Be a positive encouraging partner.

What is your day job?

I’ve been retired since 2005. I was a high school teacher, coach and administrator over my 31 years in public education.

How many hours a week do you play? How do you make time to play?

I try to play 3 times a week, probably 10-12 hours. I also enjoy golf and biking.

Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

I used to be superstitious when coaching basketball, but not with pickleball or tournament play.

Do you have any pickleball goals you would like to share?

My goal is to play as long as physically possible and as long as my skills allow me to be competitive.

Anything else you would like to share about your experience being one of the best pickleball players in the world?

Enjoy the game. Always show good sportsmanship on and off the court as a partner and opponent.