Player Spotlight - John Nichols
Name: John Nichols
Home Club: Mt Lebanon
What is your paddle of choice?
Most of the time I use the Masters S1 paddle. Otherwise, I use whichever paddle Bill Conaway has left at the paddle hut.
How long have you been playing paddle?
I’ve been playing “real” paddle for about 15 years. Brett Englesberg took me out to hit not long after I graduated from college and got me on the D2 team at USC Township. That said, I was introduced to the idea of paddle at a young age. When I was about 9-10 years old, my brother DJ and Ajay Khurana used to work at the Mt. Lebanon Tennis Center. The three of us and Graham Knox (not a paddle player but a former great basketball player at Mt. Lebanon) would play “paddle” with paddle racquets and a tennis ball.
What is your favorite part of playing paddle?
I have always enjoyed hanging out after league matches. You can have an intense/competitive match and then have a few beers with your teammates and opponents afterward.
Your greatest paddle strength?
I seem to swear more than most of my opponents.
What is your best paddle memory?
Defeating the Evil Empire that was North Park in a few WPPTA D1 Playoff Championships when I played for USC Township. Some of my best buddies were on those teams at USC (Brett, Ajay and Bill noted above, but also Walt Willoughby, Dan Hersh and Tyler Noland).
What do you enjoy when you’re not playing paddle?
I love spending time with my wife Karen and daughter Ella. Otherwise, I enjoy golfing and being “out” for paddle practice matches.
Do you have any pre-match rituals?
What advice would you give to beginners?
Learn the screens, lob more and make fewer errors.