Selkirk Sport - We Are Pickleball


Mary and Vinnie Brascia give an inside look to their father-daughter coaching dynamic

By Team Selkirk

on Jun 12, 2024

Vinnie, Mary, and Maggie Brascia stand on a pickleball court at a professional pickleball tournament. Mary holds a large trophy as the three smile at the camera.

Mary and Maggie Brascia are well-known for their positive energy and sisterly bond on the pickleball court.

Competing in women's doubles, their synergy on court is palpable, and the two attribute much of their success to their father, Vinnie Brascia, who doubles as their coach and manager. 

Often traveling to the professional tournaments, Vinnie offers invaluable insight and encouragement from the sidelines. 

Ahead of Father's Day, Mary and Vinnie offered their insights into what it's like working so closely with your family.  

Q: Mary, what is it like having your dad be a coach and support system? And Vinnie, what is it like getting to support your daughters on their pickleball journey?

Mary: My dad has supported us from the beginning, and he's an amazing coach. Growing up, he coached our softball and soccer teams, taught us golf and tennis. He has always been a part of our success in sports. He is so encouraging, and he believes in us!

Vinnie: It’s amazing. I’m very fortunate that they allow me to come along for the ride!

Q: What is your favorite thing about your dad’s coaching style?

Mary: I think my dad is very knowledgeable about the game and what I need to improve on. He is understanding. He also tries to make the learning process fun!

Q: What is the hardest part about coaching?

Vinnie: Getting my kids to listen to me 100% of the time. :-) Honestly, just the sibling/family dynamic. Part of being a good coach is getting your athlete to push themselves to a place where they’re a little uncomfortable. That’s not easy when you’re “dad” as well.

Q: Mary, what is one thing that your dad does that embarrasses or annoys you?

Mary: My dad is the one who will remind me to do things I don’t always want to do when it comes to preparation for a match. “Did you bring water?” “Did you grab your towel?” Those kinds of questions. 🤣 It’s just funny because I think it is the parental instinct to make sure I feel prepared.

Q: Vinnie, your turn. What is one thing your daughters do that embarrasses or annoys you?

Vinnie: Honestly, you need to rephrase that question ... it’s ME embarrassing them! And, if we’re being honest, it’s mostly me embarrassing Mary! :-) Being the middle daughter (we have three girls, our youngest is Molly, and she’s a freshman at UCLA), Maggie is pretty good at rolling with things. But I can definitely embarrass Mary from time to time. I tend to have a lot of ENERGY … especially in the mornings, and I’m very comfortable striking up a conversation with all of the other pros. Sometimes they probably just want to be left alone, but if I see them at the venue — even if they look half awake — they’re going to get a very loud and enthusiastic greeting from me. I can see how that might be embarrassing!

Q: Vinnie, what lesson do you hope sticks with your daughters?

Vinnie: I think it’s the importance of just always trying to do your best. It isn’t easy being on tour. And, as hard as you work off the court, and on the court, the bounces don’t always go your way. Thus, you have to be satisfied and fulfilled with knowing that you gave it your all. That applies to all facets of life as well. A great lesson indeed.

Q: Mary, what is your favorite lesson that your father has taught you?

Mary: My dad is very big on the concept of controlling what you can control on the court — attitude and effort. He reminds Maggie and me to enjoy the journey!

Q: Vinnie, what is your favorite part of playing pickleball with your kids?

Vinnie: Just having fun on the court as a family. Anytime you can do something active with your kids — especially when they’re young adults — is a huge blessing in my book!

Q: Mary, besides pickleball, what do you most enjoy doing with your dad?

Mary: My whole family is super close, so I really am thankful we get to spend a lot of time together on the pickleball journey! Dinners, road trips, golf — lots of good times!

Q: What does it mean to have such a close-knit family?

Vinnie: I think it’s a tremendous blessing. It’s huge to have that family support week in and week out. I know they could succeed on their own as well, but I think it’s nice to have a close-knit family backing you up.

Q: Do you have any pre-game rituals you look forward to as a family?

Mary: Karaoke parties. We all dance and sing to EDM on the way to a tournament.

Q: Vinnie, how does it feel to see your daughters succeed?

Vinnie: It’s great. And it’s important to note that we try to measure success in a number of different ways. You can’t always “win” on the court. Only one team (or one player, in the case of singles) goes home a winner at each event. Everyone else goes home with a loss. That can wear on you. So, you look at lots of different things to define success, and they’re really doing well in that regard.

Q: Mary, how would your pickleball journey look if you didn’t have your dad as the support system?

Mary: I don’t think it would be as fun! It’s nice to have family on the road with me on the good and bad days. We are all there for each other and support one another.

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