Rebecca Sidoti spent her entire career as an accountant, project manager, and change management professional. Little did she know that she would become a sports coach at some time in the future and enjoy life like never before!
The Haslet resident is a pickleball coach, teacher, and league director. She’s also an ambassador for USAPickleball.Org and is proudly devoted to promoting the sport in the community.
“I am busier now that I am retired than when I was working 40-60 hours a week,” Rebecca shared with a wide smile! “I am doing what I love. I find it very fulfilling to help players on their pickleball journey and point them towards the league where I see them grow, get better, advance by playing each week and be successful in a tournament.”
A hybrid of badminton, ping pong, and tennis with its unique elements, pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the US and worldwide. According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, more than a half-million people have picked up a pickleball paddle since 2020, and now nearly five million Americans call themselves pickleball players.
“Pickleball is easy to learn, has a smaller court size, and can be played as recreational or as competitive as you want; that’s why more and more people are interested,” Rebecca said. “My brother taught me how to play pickleball in 2017 when he came for a visit. As a tennis player, I found the sport easy to learn and fun to play.”
One day she went to the community’s town hall and asked if there were people that play pickleball. That’s when one more chapter of her sports journey unfolded. Locals Barbara Long and Beth Bailey joined her and created the Haslet Area Social Pickleball (HASP) Facebook page.
“I also posted a note on several social neighborhood and Facebook pages asking if there were other folks out there that wanted to play pickleball in the park. Several locals responded and joined us,” Rebecca mentioned. The group has 100+ active members.
“Several of my spiritual gifts are helping, teaching, administration, and hospitality,” she further shared. “By using my gifts, I am able to serve others by teaching them the sport, create the excitement, try new things to keep it interesting, and foster a healthy pickleball community.”
“Rebecca is a wonderful teacher and is incredibly patient, particularly with newcomers to the sport. She explains the rules (which can be quite complicated) very clearly and is extremely encouraging. We have thoroughly enjoyed our lessons with her,” one of the students shared.
Considering the community’s enthusiasm and support, last year, in June, the team decided to go for the HASP Pickleball League! There was a whole new set of challenges to pull it off; however, under Rebecca’s leadership, HASP and the entire community united to make pickleball one of the celebrated sports in Haslet.
Rebecca’s family shares a passion for pickleball. Her husband, son, and siblings love to play the sport. “I am blessed to have a husband who also loves to play pickleball. We played in our first tournament together in March 2022 and came home with the GOLD,” she shared.
“That age 61 isn’t a limitation in this sport. Neither is 71, 81 or even 91,” husband Gary shares his experience. “I’ve played with them all, and each decade has its challenges, but technique and experience trump age at many levels of the game.”
With a number of affiliations and involvements within the community, Rebecca contributes most of her time to helping people grow their love for pickleball.
Playing a sport not only improves our physical and mental well-being, but it teaches some important lessons that could be implemented in various walks of life. Playing pickleball has taught Haslet locals how a small start with a strong foundation could lead to steady growth and more considerable achievements. “Have fun, and don’t take it too seriously. Never sacrifice friendships for the game,” Rebecca mentioned what she learned in the last year of the pickleball community. “I have met some great people who have surprised and overwhelmed me with their support, generosity, and friendship.”
While the Sidoti couple continues to work on a succession plan to maintain the continuity of Haslet Pickleball, they have a message for all: “You are never too old to do what you love. If you have not tried pickleball, try it; you’ll like (love) it!”