Selkirk Pro Spotlight - Mary Brascia
SELKIRK PLAYER SPOTLIGHT - Mary Brascia
Mary Brascia grew up playing a number of athletics including swimming, golf, softball, soccer, and tennis. But she’s been quietly grinding away, playing pickleball since mid 2020 after being introduced to the sport by her parents. But balancing a successful collegiate tennis career at Biola University, she was not able to commit to Pro Pickleball until graduating in May, 2022.
Mary immediately made her mark this summer on the pro tour in her first 4 pro tournaments of 2022 with 2 singles gold medals, 1 singles bronze medal, and a 1 silver medal in women’s doubles with her younger sister, Maggie. She was drafted and played in the first Major League Pickleball event of the year in Austin, TX. She played again, this time alongside her sister, in the MLP Newport Tournament in August, and will play in the final MLP event of the year in Columbus, Ohio in October.
We sat down with Mary to learn more about her life on and off the court, and how she has achieved early success on the Pro Tour:
Tell us about when you started playing Pickleball: I started in 2020 because of the Covid lockdown it was one of the only things to do. My parents had been playing for maybe a year and introduced the sport to me and my sister, Maggie.
You played Tennis at Biola University, how was that experience? It was awesome! We had the two best seasons in program history while I was there and the tennis program really grew during that time.
Was it difficult to switch from Tennis to Pickleball? I think I was introduced “correctly” to pickleball thankfully. I took lessons with Dan Roditi and he showed us early on how to play pickleball and the strategy behind it. We learned how to dink and drop right away. So it wasn’t as difficult of a transition.
What Paddle do you currently use? Why? The Labs 002. I love the Power of the paddle! (Between when this interview was conducted and this publication, Mary has also used the Labs 003 paddle in tournaments.)
What do you love about playing pickleball? Understanding the strategy of the game, and meeting good people all around. Pickleball is so friendly! I was really attracted to both the community and the sport itself.
How did your tennis background help you in Pickleball? Tennis fundamentally helps with a faster adjustment to pickleball. You’ve learned the swing mechanics and can use that in pickleball. Also the mental side of having played high level tennis helps me on the pickleball court. I’m in a focused place and know how to fight back in matches from my experiences with college tennis.
What part of your game have you been working on lately? The sport is getting quicker and more powerful all the time so I’m working on my power game. I can be naturally defensive, but am learning when to be aggressive and attack first to take the advantage.
What was your favorite sport as a kid? I played a lot of sports growing up. Soccer, Tennis, Softball, Swimming. But Golf may have been my favorite.
What is your top vacation spot? Why? We took a lot of road trips as a family. One summer we went through 26 states on a cross country road trip.
What is your favorite memory associated with Pickleball? The Mountain Regional Tournament in Las Vegas last year (2021). My sister Maggie and I played the McMakin twins, sister battle. It was so fun to be in Vegas with friends.
What hobbies do you enjoy? I love going to DisneyLand and am just a big Disney person! I also enjoy making videos, content creation, editing, and going to the beach.
What has been or is your favorite job? I was a sideline Reporter for ESPN+ when I attended Dayton!
What routines do you have before games? I always listen to music. EDM is my favorite.
What are your favorite places to play? Our home club, Nellie Gail, is my favorite place to play. I also loved playing at the LifeTime Fitness in San Clemente and the Bobby Riggs Club in Encinitas, CA..
I haven’t gotten to play in Florida yet, but am excited to play there! Also to go experience Chicken N Pickle.
What is something from your bucket list? Why do you want to accomplish this? I have a passion for traveling and love to travel domestically. But I also want to go explore countries in Europe and Asia.
What is the best advice you have been given? The best advice was from my dad - You can’t control your results, but you can always control how much hard work and effort you put in your training.
What is the best advice you can give (any topic)? Enjoy the moment.
Can you share any surprising facts about you? I’ve met Harry Styles randomly at a golf shop one time!
Follow Mary on Instagram to keep up with her pickleball career!