Selkirk Sport - We Are Pickleball


Emerging Pro Ben Grant talks about the importance of following your passions, becoming a right-side specialist

By Brynn Grissom

on Mar 06, 2024

Ben Grant is an Emerging Pro on Team Selkirk.

As with thousands of other pickleball fanatics, Ben Grant first began playing the sport in earnest during the pandemic. 

He was sheltered in place near the beach in San Francisco and noticed that as the beach was closed to the public, the parking lot was empty every day. So, he turned it into a makeshift pickleball court. 

As restrictions began lifting, it became a community meeting ground for his neighbors who were looking for a way to exercise and get out of their houses. 

“It became this gathering ground for everyone to come together, socialize, and move their bodies,” Grant says. “It was so fun and it was really my first taste of the joy that pickleball can bring.” 

When it was safe to resume normal activities, Grant began taking pickleball lessons. Eventually, he began playing every day with his community in Mill Valley, California. 

It wasn’t until he took two weeks off work and played pickleball 12 of the 14 days that he realized he was obsessed. Although he was enjoying himself, Grant recalls joking with his courtmates that he wasn’t crazy, just on vacation. 

“But then a guy who is a mentor to me said, ‘I’ve been here 35 days in a row, so I don’t know why you’re making such a big deal about this,’” Grant says. “So it was then that I realized I didn’t have to justify how much pickleball I was playing and that it was something I could pursue.”  

Grant had only felt a similar passion once before in his life. In December of 2013, Grant was working his first job out of college for a consulting firm where he started a space club. 

One of the talks he prepared for the club was on satellites and how people use them every day for GPS services. 

“I really just wanted to understand how it worked, but then I realized that I could make these beautiful, mesmerizing, abstract images that focus on the way humans are changing the planet,” Grant says. 

So, Grant began posting the images to an Instagram account under the name The Daily Overview, which today boasts 1.4 million followers and counting. He posted every day for two years, which eventually turned into a book deal that allowed him to leave his consulting job.



To date, Grant has three books — Overview, Overview Young Explorer’s Edition, and Overview Timelapse — and has participated in several speaking engagements related to his efforts.  

“I don’t think I felt that energy again until pickleball,” Grant says. “The passion that I had in starting The Daily Overview, it didn’t come up again until I spent those 12 out of 14 days at the pickleball courts.” 

Because trusting his gut had proved so successful the first time, Grant knew he had to give professional pickleball a shot. Now, he’s a Selkirk Emerging Pro, competing on the PPA and APP tours. 

A lifelong athlete, Grant competed in high school soccer and basketball and rowed crew as a college student at Yale University. He credits his experience as a rower to his strong pickleball work ethic. 

“You’re putting thousands of hours into training for a six-minute race that not many people come to watch,” Grant says. “It teaches you how to train hard, and that’s been a fundamental part of who I am as an athlete since then.” 

And train he did. Grant, now 34, had limited racket sport experience before pickleball and worked his way from 2.5 up to the professional level. 

“There’s something about the beauty of that journey to me, where a lot of newer, younger pros probably never lost to 60-year-olds at their community courts before they realized what they were doing incorrectly,” Grant jokes. “But it’s been amazing to meet people from all walks of life and carry the lessons they’ve taught me.” 

At 6’5”, Grant is learning how to make his size a weapon and not a detriment on the court. He’s been doing yoga three times a week to improve his flexibility so he can reach the low shots. 

Ben Grant competes on the PPA and APP tours.

Strategically, Grant, who uses the 006 paddle,  is focused on perfecting his game as a right-side specialist. For him, it’s not about having the best forehand but having the best mental game possible. 

“I’m down to be the Robin to someone’s Batman,” Grant jokes. “Throughout my athletic career, I’ve often played a supporting role — whether it’s the soccer goalie or a member of the crew team. You’re not scoring the winning goal, but you’re doing what you need to help your team win and that’s what I enjoy most.” 

These days, Grant enjoys training with a 20-60-20 philosophy, meaning 20% of his training is dedicated to playing with people better than him, 60% to those at his level, and 20% to anyone he can to help remember his love of the community component. 

He’s even started a new tradition where after he’s done competing at professional events, he heads to the local courts to pick up some matches. 

“It’s fun because you remember what got you into the sport in the first place,” Grant says. “That’s the beauty of pickleball. You can create a combination of four completely different people and have an amazing time.”

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