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Tatiana Ruhl Pickleball Pro and Teacher
Kate Hope

 

Once upon a time in the charming town of Magnolia, a love story unfolded that combined passion for education, sports, and an unexpected racquet game—pickleball.

Tatiana Ruhl Pickleball Pro and Teacer

Meet Tatiana Ruhl, a dedicated teacher and assistant tennis coach at Magnolia West High School. Her journey with pickleball began in an unexpected way when a coworker introduced her to the sport during a break at Unity Park, where they had been playing tennis. The transition from tennis to pickleball was both intriguing and amusing, as the game shared similarities with its racquet sport cousin but had its own unique flair.

Curiosity piqued, Ruhl ventured to Jurgens Park in Tomball, mistaking the pickleball courts for scaled-down tennis courts. Little did she know that this mix-up would lead her to a newfound love for the game. The "ten and under" tennis courts turned out to be pickleball courts, and she embraced the opportunity to play for fun and learn the intricacies of the game.

As the days turned into months and the months into years, her skill in pickleball blossomed. Today, she stands proudly as a professional pickleball player, ranked #16 on the APP tour and 49th in the world. A tournament in Atlanta awaited her, where she was gearing up for an exciting run in Women's Doubles, her favorite event among singles, mixed doubles, and women's doubles.

“I was captivated by the sport’s simplicity yet complexity which required players to be quick and relaxed simultaneously,” she said. “Especially in intense rallies referred to as "firefights" or "hands battles." The mental challenge and strategic elements of the game fuel my enthusiasm,” she added.

Reflecting on her journey, Tatiana credited her tennis background for giving her an edge in mastering pickleball swiftly. The sport's inclusivity and social nature, where players of all ages could find success and enjoyment almost instantly, contributed to its surging popularity.

Tatiana Ruhl Pickleball Pro and Teacher

However, her pickleball story wasn't just about individual achievement. Her team was the community itself. Starting from Jurgens Park, her circle of friends and fellow athletes expanded across Houston and beyond. Every person she met became a source of inspiration and a valuable learning experience.

In her role as a teacher and coach in Magnolia ISD, Tatiana's gratitude overflowed. From her elementary school days at J.L. Lyon to her current position at Magnolia West, she fondly recalled the teachers and coaches who shaped her. Her involvement in the A/V program and coaching the tennis team brought a sense of fulfillment, a full-circle moment that highlighted the deep connection she felt to her hometown.

Currently, she is providing pickleball lessons at ERA Pickleball in The Woodlands/Spring area and is leading a professional development lesson for PE coaches with the help of ERA Pickleball. She has worked with them to also create a curriculum and drills packet for coaches to use. 

“It has been a joy to spread the fun experience of pickleball to my colleagues so that they can pass it on to their athletes,” Ruhl said.

As if her achievements weren't impressive enough, she recently became a Pro Sponsor for Gearbox, a renowned pickleball paddle company. The partnership was a testament to her dedication and the recognition she received in the pickleball community.

In the small town of Magnolia, Tatiana’s story became a testament to the power of community, the joy of learning, and the unexpected paths that lead to newfound passions. Whether in the classroom, on the court, or the pickleball arena, her journey continued to inspire those around her, creating a ripple effect of enthusiasm for sports and education in the heart of Magnolia.