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Christian Alshon On the Ups and Downs of Being a Pro Pickleball Player

by Jason Flamm on

One of the best things about pickleball now is that there is almost unlimited access to professional players. If you go to a PPA or APP Tour event, you walk by and can interact with just about any professional there.

This is unique, and as the sport grows, it might not exist in the near future.

If you want to know what it's like to be a pro, you can actually ask them.

Or, as is often the case with pro player Christian Alshon – known as the "Tweener King," who might also be the king of giving us takes "no one asked for," you can just follow them on social media.

So, do you think you have what it takes to be a professional pickleball player? Let's find out.

Who is Christian Alshon?

Alshon is one of the top men in professional pickleball. He is No. 3 in our recent Men's Singles Pickleball Power Rankings.

The Dink’s Top 20 Men’s Singles Pickleball Power Rankings
A lot has changed since we unveiled our initial Men’s Singles Power Rankings for 2024. We have plenty of newcomers to the second edition of our Top 20.

And, this past MLP Premier Level Draft, he was taken No. 7 overall by the Texas Ranchers.

In the video, Alshon provides a little bit of his background in tennis and how he got to a point where he no longer cared for that sport. At the egging on of another pickleball pro, James Ignatowich, he decided to give pickleball a shot and found that joy of competition again.

He takes defeat very hard

In the video we see a raw and emotional Christian after losing in men's singles to Jaume Martinez Vich. He says, "I really don't wanna do this right now." And through gritted teeth continues, "You can't just do what you wanna do when you feel like it, or else you wouldn't be in this position."

The entire scene is a bit awkward and difficult to watch at times. Especially when he mentions, "He'd be worthless." It certainly makes you feel the emotions that probably go into the daily grind of being a professional athlete in any sport.

This goes back to the unlimited access mentioned above. These types of videos aren't seen in more established sports like football, baseball, or basketball. Those athletes have PR firms, agents, and marketing agencies that prevent (and protect) them from getting too personal.

Those emotions are kept behind closed doors, but not in pickleball, and certainly not with Alshon.

The struggle continues throughout the day

"Overall, it was a good day," he says in another car monologue after showing some of the footage from his mixed doubles match against Ben Johns and Etta Wright. "You just hate to end on a loss."

The clip ends with him staring off into space after he asks, "How do you make it to the semis and then play that bad?"


Then, in perhaps the best transition in YouTube history, we cut to an adorable pup sitting in the stands.

"Another day making it to the semis," he says once again, speaking to the camera from inside his car, "another day of losing."

He is once again disappointed and laments how difficult professional pickleball can be. When you lose, you have to go back to play another event the next day.

Toward the end of this segment, he provides some insight that we amateurs can use in our tournament experiences. He talks about how hot the day was while the sun was out, but as the sun went down, the air cooled, and the ball got faster.

"Why is it coming so fast?" he says, "I wasn't ready for it to go that fast."

We all know how the ball we play with can become more malleable in the heat and harder in the cold. If you're not prepared to change your game according to the conditions you're playing in, you might also find yourself taken off guard for a match.

Championship Sunday

The video wraps up with Christian taking us through Championship Sunday, where he plays for a bronze medal in two events: mixed doubles and men's doubles.

While he and his partner, Tyler Loong, lose their men's doubles match to Dekel Bar and Thomas Wilson, he and his partner Jackie Kawamoto take home the bronze in mixed.

"Ending the tournament on a win," he says in his final selfie interview inside his car, "I feel like a winner right now ... within reason."

Overall, the video is raw and interesting and fulfills its promise of showing the audience the extreme highs and lows that a pickleball pro experiences during the week of a tournament.

Watch the entire video here:


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Jason Flamm

Jason Flamm

Jason is a writer from St. Louis. He’s been a coach in several sports and is currently working on his pickleball coaching certification. He loves to teach and share his passions.

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