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Emerging pro Noah Zwiren talks realities of the professional circuit, growing up in the “pickleball state”


By Brynn Grissom

on Mar 29, 2024

Noah Zwiren stands on a pickleball court at the kitchen line. He is holding his SLK Halo out in front of his body in a ready position.

Unlike most people in the country, Noah Zwiren was exposed to pickleball at a young age. 

A resident of Issaquah, Washington — a mere 30 miles from Bainbridge Island, the birthplace of pickleball — Zwiren first began playing the sport during his middle school gym class. 

In high school, he and his friend purchased wooden paddles and began playing on a local neighborhood court. At the time, Zwiren was a passionate centerfielder for his high school’s baseball team and pickleball was solely a hobby. 

It wasn’t until the pandemic that he noticed it wasn’t so easy to walk onto his neighborhood courts anymore. 

“Growing up playing with my friends, it didn’t matter what time it was, you could pretty much guarantee that the pickleball court would be open,” he says. “During the pandemic, it didn’t matter when I went, the court was always packed. That’s when I noticed the sport was absolutely taking off.” 

So, Zwiren picked up his paddle more seriously. After many months of playing pickleball every day, Zwiren got the chance to face off against professional pickleballer Irina Tereschenko

“I was able to make the matches competitive and I was shocked because she’s a top pro, so I felt like I could give the professional game a shot,” Zwiren recalls. “Irina really encouraged me to try it. She said, ‘There’s literally nothing stopping you. Just go sign up!’” 

So, he entered a Professional Pickleball Association tournament in Las Vegas in 2020 where he won two matches. Zwiren competed in a few other tournaments throughout the next several years, but it wasn’t until 2022 that he began to figure out how to pursue his pickleball goals while maintaining his work schedule. 

As a senior consultant of analytics for an advertising agency, Zwiren, now 27, has the opportunity to work from home, which affords him the flexibility needed to travel to tournaments. That being said, it can be costly to travel across the country with no promise of prize money. 

To help offset the costs of travel, Zwiren teaches pickleball to Seattle locals and shares Airbnbs with other players at each event. 

“I’m just so lucky to have a remote job where my value as an employee is not rooted in my physical presence,” he says. “I’m able to travel to pursue my pickleball goals while also maintaining a disciplined work schedule. A lot of other players I know don’t have that opportunity and it’s definitely not something I take for granted.”  

Zwiren is able to attend an average of 15 tournaments a year where he focuses on being a consistent, strategic force on the court. 

As a leftie who plays pickleball with his right hand, Zwiren says his greatest strength is his backhand shot. So this year, he’s working to improve his forehand drives and rolls. 

Noah Zwiren executes a backhand shot with his SLK Halo near the net on the pickleball court.

While on the singles court, Zwiren enjoys pushing himself and his competitors to their physical limits. In doubles, he likes to get into the flow state with his partners. 

“I just like getting into the zone with my partner,” he says. “It’s great when we can get locked in because there’s nothing else around us, it’s just us and the ball.” 

Aside from getting signed to a professional league, Zwiren has a long-term goal to play for Israel when pickleball becomes an Olympic sport.  

“I can claim Israeli citizenship through my religion, and I think being able to represent my faith and play pickleball would be amazing,” he says.

As Selkirk Emerging Pro, Zwiren uses the SLK Halo XL as his paddle of choice. His biggest piece of advice for others hoping to go pro? 

“Never be the best player in your group,” he says. “It’s similar to the business mentality where you never want to be the smartest person in the room. You always have to push yourself to find more challenging players to go up against. If you don’t, you’ll never be able to compete at higher levels.” 

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