Meet the Pros: Manish Rao - #change is inevitable #Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change
We are always on the lookout for good news stories about the game of pickleball. Manish Rao is very happy about pickleball coming into his life. He posted on Facebook recently:
This (Facebook) post is not about ego-boosting or self-marketing, it’s just a post to show gratitude to people who have made a big difference in my life. In 2011 I was reduced to minimal activity due to my back issue, sciatica. It kept me away from all sports and thus resulted in a huge weight increase, and signs of prosperity by means of hair loss. I was living in the world of fooling myself and kept saying I can’t change as it’s destiny. But its not destiny which has to change but the mind has to. Will power is important, but more important is to find the right people in the walk of life who can make this change happen through their positive thoughts.
In March, 2014 one lazy Sunday evening I met Sunil Valavalkar, who, along with his team, gave me a demonstration of an unknown game called pickleball. At that time I didn’t know that my life would change so drastically because of that Sunday. My great friend Ravi Shetty and I took the demonstration of this sport to our building and since then this sport has become my life. Its been 2-3 years that I have been playing this sport and this sport is responsible for me being happy and healthy, along with that it has given me friends all across the world. I am totally indebted to sir Sunil Valavalkar and pickleball. Not only the mental agility has increased but my physical ability is at an all time high. Sports can elevate self-confidence to a level which cannot be imagined. I am thankful to all these people in my life who were there for me at the right time and hence my life changed for the better. If not for all those people who have been a part of my wonderful journey, I would have been a Mr. Nobody sulking in life and just existing in life and not living life. I am not saying that I am the happiest person in life and no worries or stress at all. All I am saying is that my life is much better than what I had expected. Today I have a great family, a lovely sports career and a bunch of great friends. #bepositive #nevergiveup
There is always more to the story, so we asked him the following Meet The Pros questions. Enjoy!
Can you list for us your major tournament wins?
Gold : Men's Doubles : Atlantic Regional ( Portland Maine) June 2016 : Partner Ravi Shetty ( New York ) 3.5 level
Gold : Men's Doubles : 2016 : Nationals winner : Venue : Jaipur : Partner Bhushan Potnis
Silver : Doubles : 2015 : Nationals : @ Haryana , Panipat : partner Sachin Mandrekar
Gold : Mumbai Open : 2017 : Jan : Partner Bhushan Potnis
Gold : State Open : 2016 : Partner Bhushan Potnis
Gold : Mumbai District : 2015 : Partner Sachin Mandrekar
Silver: Mumbai District : 2016 : Partner : Bhushan Potnis
What paddle do you play with and why?
Early on I used to play with the Paddletek Bantam EX-L. In 2016, I shifted to thePro-Lite Rebel. I'm loving it for the balance and spin control. I totally feel like a Rebel with this paddle and can't imagine playing pickleball with with anything but this piece of art. #proliteproud: #Rebel I really am thankful to Pro-Lite for providing me with these amazing paddles.
What’s your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?
In my childhood I used to play a modified sport kind of like pickleball in our building premises. We played the game with a tennis ball and handmade paddles on the badminton court. So when we participated in the demo of this sport in 2014, we were totally hooked on the game immediately. It's been almost 3 years now since I started this game and I'm a total addict; on days I don't play pickleball I get withdrawal symptoms. We've made a dedicated court on our building premises, so every day is pickleball day!
What’s your preference – playing indoor or outdoor?
I love playing outdoors!
Do you like singles or doubles better? Why?
I am a doubles player and love the doubles game as its a game of strategy and planning unlike in single. I love the patience involved in the doubles game and the bonding with the partner makes it special, hence I always prefer the doubles game.
What’s your favorite place to play? Why?
My favorite place to play pickleball is my Home Court @ Mumbai, Mangal Kripa. This has been my residence since childhood and to have a dedicated court for this amazing sport makes it special. I love playing on this court as we are a group of highly passionate pickleball players under one roof.
What’s your secret sauce? Any tips for players?
The secret is nothing but just love of this sport and having a passion for the game. Once the passion is there it's just a matter of time to master the game. The main thing about this game is to have patience. This game is like chess, its more mind work than power. The less the errors, the more wins.
What’s your day job?
I am the CEO of my own Business of Security Automation systems, Electromech Automation Pvt Ltd. I have been involved with this firm for the last 25 years.
How many hours a week do you play? How do you make time to play?
I play approximately 7 to 9 hours in a week. We play in the evening every day after work on week days from 9:00 pm to 10:30 pm, and on weekends we try to play twice a day.
Any lucky rituals before a big tournament?
I don't believe in luck much; however, the harder I work , the luckier I get! The only ritual before the tournament is to FOCUS and not get distracted!
Do you have any pickleball goals you’d like to share?
Personally, the only goal I have for pickleball is to see this game grow in India exponentially. I want to play in the USOPEN in 2018 and every year after that! That's a goal I want to fulfill. Personally this game has given me immense pleasure in life and changed my complete outlook for life!
Anything else you’d like to share about your pickleball experience?
Oh, this is very tricky question; I can go on and on about my experience of pickleball. I will try to give a few.
I always was a sports man, but in 2010 an injury to my back got me into lazy mode resulting in putting on lots of weight. It has changed only by the addition of pickleball into my life. I got back to sports as this sport is non-invasive and easy on the body initially. The addiction of this sport gave me the will power to over come my back injury and made my goal to lose weight fast. Totally I have lost 14 kilograms in one year, all due to pickleball!
I am a short-tempered person, but I can safely say that due to this game and its very nature of requiring patience with the shots, especially dinks, it has worked wonders with my temperament. I am much more relaxed and generally don't lose my top over silly things! My confidence level is at the highest level nowadays and the interaction with the younger generation for coaching of pickleball gets me energized. I am also happy to be the First Indian Player to be officially in a sports gear contract for Pickleball in India, thanks to team PROLITE! This has been a real boost to me to make this game grow more and more. This game has been a game-changer for me and for my family. I am happy that my wife Ashwini and my daughter Tanya are a avid pickleballers too.
Thank you Manish for sharing your enthusiasm for this wonderful game of Pickleball. See you at the USOPEN in 2018!