When you attend a major pb event like the Canadian Nationals, you get to see the rare species of pickleballers that can be competitive in the 5.0 tournament level…These are the .01 percenters – the small group of individuals that win medals in open play. Within this group, there is an even smaller number of doubles players that are capable, with the right partner, of capturing gold – and then there is someone else….someone unique….there is Sarah. In this edition I continue my interview with the lady the I think is the best female player ever.
She is also a ”loose and fun” pb instructor. If you can attend one of her clinics, don’t miss the opportunity. Sarah will make you laugh, she will make you cheer, she will inspire you, and you will be educated and entertained.
Let’s hear from the woman herself…Let’s find out more about:
Sarah Ansboury In Her Own Words
1. Sarah, I went on the Pickleball Tournament Site and checked on the tourneys you have competed in since last summer….I counted 21 gold and a number of silver and bronze medals for you…I find that amazing! Congratulations on that incredible run!…Is it hard to keep you feet on the ground when things are going so well for you?
SA – I have been very lucky to have this kind of success so early. Being able to play with such great partners along the way is directly related to my success. I have had some pretty great highs with the US Open and US Nationals, and have been overwhelmed with how grateful I am to be in the position I am.
2. What I find interesting in your run, is the diverse doubles partners you have won medals with – Christine Barksdale, Tony Tollenar, Daniel Moore, Tonja Majors, Kyle Yates, Michael Gates, Chris Miller, Cookie Drake, Brian Ashworth, and multiple medals with Christine McGrath, Gigi LeMaster and Wes Gabrielsen…Can you speak about one of the ”three bees” – believe – and how having a good attitude with your playing partner can contribute to having a successful match?
SA – The three Bs to my success are Balance Breathe Believe…I believe every time you hit a ball you have to get balanced, take a breath and believe in what you are doing. Whether it be where you are trying to hit the ball or what the purpose of the shot is…When I play with different people for me it is about working the best you can as a unit – no matter what their style of play is or whatever. I have to always have faith in what my partner is doing – trusting my partner and believing in them. It is so related to how well you play together…It’s tough to give away control sometimes. You want to hit the ball and you aren’t getting it….so I have to constantly remember to breathe and trust in what my partner is doing.
3. As well as having a busy playing schedule you have been doing a popular column in the RV Pickler Blog. How did you meet the ladies, Denise and Nancy who run the website, and are you having a good time sharing your pickleball ideas with their readers?
SA – I was invited to The Villages for their pro exhibition and Nancy and Denise had offered to house Linh and myself. We really enjoyed getting to know them and their love of pickleball as well. I thought their site was a great idea and was happy to contribute. I really enjoy being able to help people that may never be able to get somewhere beside their towns to see other types of pickleball or just all of those players that love this game and want to absorb everything out there to get better. I love getting feedback from people through my blogs and website and having discussions with them.
4. I think you must be a very organized person, because you have also been writing well received pb ebooks…Is writing something that comes easily to you? Have you been practicing that skill for some time?
SA – I don’t always feel very organized! If not for Linh, I don’t know how I could handle half of what I do! Since I was a kid I actually always wanted to write a book…I’m a big reader and I love learning. I never really thought I would be able to do some of the things pickleball has allowed me to do!
5. I recently attended the pb clinic that Gigi LeMaster and yourself put on at the Lake Okanagan Resort in Kelowna. Thanks again for your instruction…You two are gold star teachers!…Did you enjoy the clinic, and sharing time with Gigi LeMaster?
SA – I have learned so much from Gigi since I have started pickleball, and we have a great chemistry and agree on the philosophy of pickleball. We had talked about doing this clinic before I was teaching pickleball full time. We had so much fun, it was a beautiful resort, and we really enjoyed the group of people we got to help…Then we got to head to the tournament that weekend and we were able to pull it out, which was nice. It was the first time we played together since Nationals.
6. One day at our clinic we were visited by a guest instructor – top Canadian player Cookie Drake. Would you talk about what her friendship has meant to you since you joined the pb tournament trail?
SA – The first time I met Cookie I was at the Surprise Courts for the first time during the Grand Canyon State Games…It was tough to get in a good game. She graciously let my friend and I play with her group and we had a blast. A few months later Gigi was having her tournament and she got Cookie to house me. We spent that weekend hanging out and getting to know each other. Since then I have considered Cookie to be ”family”- she has helped me through some of the pickleball ins and outs as well as keeping me grounded.
7. After the Kelowna clinic, you participated in your first Canadian Nationals Pickleball Tournament…I think the most notable part of your WD match with your teamate Gigi LeMaster, were the five games you and she played against Christine Barksdale and Joy Leising. Gigi and you came out on top, but to my eyes it did not look like an easy days work. Would you say something about your opponents, Christine and Joy, and your winning partnership with Gigi LeMaster?
SA – Wow…what a long day that was! We got finished with the final, I think, around 11pm…It was the first time Gigi and I played since the US Nationals, so that was really nice to get back on the court with her. I play Chris and Joy a lot and they are a tough team. I thought they executed well that day and really made us work for it! We had some really memorable points.
8. In your other Canadian match, you teamed up with Kyle Yates for a gold medal. In the finals your opponents – Wes Gabrielsen and Christine Barksdale – looked strong and confident. They won the first two games. Because they came from the loser’s bracket, it all came down to a 15 point tie break game…How were you feeling at that point, and what did you say to your partner, Kyle Yates, to turn things around?
SA – It was the first time I had played with Kyle, and it was smooth sailing most of the day, but Wes played amazingly well in that final – you couldn’t get anything past him!…Before the game to 15, Kyle and I just talked about what we needed to be doing – instead of focusing on what wasn’t working. We needed to get back on track with our game plan and let the previous two games go. I feel like we were able to come back out and do those things, and it allowed us to walk away on top, which was great.
9. In between your tournament play, you are travelling around doing private instruction and pb clinics. You are usually accompanied by your wife, Linh Ansboury. To anyone who hasn’t seen her picture, Linh is a young and attractive Asian woman…How did you two meet, what is her personality like, and tell us about your two boys?
SA – Linh and I met walking our dogs and we will have been married for 2 years in August. We have three dogs and travel with two of them regularly. We are working on getting our oldest on the road too. But we usually have our boys Auggie and Bennie with us….What most people don’t know, is that Linh is a very good pickleball player – she just prefers not to compete that much. She not only keeps me focused and organized with all our clinics, but works with me while teaching and really does an amazing job with players.
10. Last question Sarah, what’s a good travel song to listen to when you and Linh are on the road going to you pb destinations?
SA – We love having little dance parties in the car so sometimes we will post a little video or two on our Pickleball Facebook page. Our last video, I think, was Justin Timberlake. Whatever catches our ear…we just enjoy having fun while getting from place to place.
* Thanks Sarah…I think you and Linh are on track and going places….and Justin’s music has a pretty good pb beat to it:-)….
* You can become one of Sarah’s Facebook friends on her public site – Sarah Ansboury Pickleball
* Be sure to subscribe to this site to see Sarah’s tips columns – rvpicklers.com
* To see info about her ebooks, clinics and other info go to – sarahansboury.com or to this site:
* Here are two of my favourite tips videos from Sarah’s YouTube channel:
Paddle Tracking https://youtu.be/trJQp0SgyEE
* Who says drills have to be boring.
PB Drill With Stephanie Lane https://youtu.be/4xNgIxj4SZA
* In the Feb. 19th edition of CC I had an interview with Gigi LeMaster. In that post, I included Gigi and Sarah’s gold medal video match in WD from last years US Nationals…Here is the link to the other gold medal the ladies won together from that tournament.
Sarah Ansboury, Gigi LeMaster vs Cammy Ward MacGregor, Jennifer Dawson. WD 19+
* Here is a recent gold medal match that Sarah and Wes picked up at the Brigham City event.
Sarah Ansboury, Wes Gabrielsen vs Scott Moore, Laura Fenton Kovanda. MX Final
* So far, I haven’t seen any of Sarah’s matches from this years Canada Nationals…I’ll keep you posted if something appears on the web.
* If you enjoyed this two part edition on Sarah Ansboury, or would like to get a comment or question to Sarah, please send me an email message to me at:
* Coming up in the next Challenge Court will be comments and feedback from a variety of players who competed in the Canuck Nationals in Kelowna. Stock up on the barbecued salmon, maple syrup, poutine, oolichan grease and back bacon (and maybe a two-four of Molsons)…It’s the Canadian Wrap edition…’til then…
Thanks for the game,