VISUALIZING OUTSTANDING VOLLEYS
Fine-Tuning Your Serve
Where Should I Hit the Ball?
December 2020 Issue
By Bob Nibarger
This month’s Junior Spotlight shines a light on 14-year-old Morgan Brown from Naples, Florida. And even though she’s competed in many different sports, pickleball is her game! At 12, Morgan fell in love with the game and has been playing practically nonstop for two years. She’s currently a 7th grader at Pine Ridge Middle School and is proud to be a straight-A student.
The life lessons and values that are a part of pickleball closely mirror Morgan’s own principles and core beliefs. Pickleball has helped her through many difficult times and continues to teach her valuable life lessons.
Through persistence, grit and hard work, Morgan’s game continues to improve. She has progressed rapidly from being a “banger,” to concentrating on a soft-hands approach and focused placement. She maintains a positive attitude, is constantly smiling and always has fun. Morgan’s favorite shot is her two-handed backhand volley. Her all-time favorite pros are Simone Jardim, Ben Johns, and Kyle Yates. Her dream is to one day play in a tournament with them.
Morgan has had the good fortune of learning, playing, and winning with many great partners. She has played in and/or medaled in many tournaments, including the U.S. Nationals in Palm Springs, California, the US Open in Naples, and a tournament at the PicklePlex in Punta Gorda, Florida, where she took gold playing with her mother, Sharon Brown.
Morgan has won many medals in singles, doubles and mixed doubles, but her most memorable tournament was the 2019 US Open where she was noticed and sponsored by Paddletek. Recently, she has accepted sponsorships from PB1965 and Jigsaw Health and is the “face” of the Naples Pickleball Junior Academy. Morgan is so excited and humbled to represent these brands and looks forward to what the future brings.
“What I love most about pickleball is that it’s so friendly and I love how it’s a great way to meet new people,” she says.
The socialization, experience and camaraderie in pickleball has taught Morgan that practice, dedication and hard work will always pay off. She’s always watching videos, taking lessons or hitting against a wall. This has considerably helped her to become a 4.0 player.
During the summer, Morgan assists her mother, who runs the Veterans Park Pickleball Program. Specifically, Morgan plays when needed, checks and sells program memberships, helps in the pro shop, takes lessons when it is slow, and assists with the lessons when it is busy.
Morgan would like to become a Pickleball Ambassador to help inspire more kids to join the sport. She’s currently studying to become a referee and a Level One IPTPA Certified Trainer. Her long-term goal is to become a professional pickleball player and a veterinarian; and of course, to marry Ben Johns. When Morgan is not on the courts hitting or training, you can find her playing with her dog Finn, or filming TikTok and YouTube videos with friends.
Morgan will continue to follow her dreams to show the world that persistence, dedication, and intense focus pays off! •