Relishing Pickleball: 2020 Pickleball Rocks Players of the Year

David Zapatka

2020 was a crazy year. Many pickleball tournaments were cancelled. Public pickleball courts were closed and padlocked. That being said, Arizona pickleball players found ways to safely play, and even through the pandemic, new players found pickleball in record numbers.

For 2020, Pickleball Rocks Clothing and Equipment Company recognized a mixed doubles pair and an individual as outstanding players of the year.

Pickleball Rocks’ winning pair burst on to the pickleball scene right here in the valley three years ago. This brother and sister duo quickly captured the hearts of people nationwide. Their mixed doubles style of teamwork is fun to watch and has put them on medal stands across the country.

Lindsey and Riley Newman quickly became famous for their two-handed strokes for drives, dinks, and even blocking. This style is now being tried by the top pros as an effective way to control the ball during a point.

Lindsey and Riley were seen on the biggest pickleball stages all over the country and in all sizes of tournaments. They even hosted the Arizona Open right here in the valley last October, where 440 players participated. They are great examples of fantastic teamwork, but more importantly, class, and good sportsmanship. This support for our great sport during a truly trying year meant a lot, according to the judges at Pickleball Rocks, as well as the many people who sent in their votes and feedback.

Thank you, Riley and Lindsey Newman, for being beacons of light for pickleball in Arizona and across the country. When you see them here in the valley or somewhere else in the country, give them a hearty thanks for their contributions to our sport.

Stephanie Lane is the other Pickleball Rocks player of the year. Throughout 2020, Stephanie donned her mask and journeyed to courts everywhere to teach her famous clinics.

Stephanie is also one of the top trainers for the International Pickleball Teaching Professionals Association, and 2020 was a banner year for her. Stephanie taught pickleball players and tennis-teaching pros all over the country promoting our sport. Congratulations to Stephanie for a tremendous job well done under challenging conditions.

Want to know more about the sport, the rules, equipment, or have some picklicious news you would like to share with our pickleball community? Email David Zapatka at [email protected].