For this pro, pickleball passion hit immediately, when Simone Jardin—her tennis coach at Michigan State University as well as a pickleball player—introduced her to the game. With strong defenses and on-court tenacity, Parenteau quickly rose to the number-two spot in singles and women’s doubles. Here, the 26-year-old Montreal native shares her physical and mental strategies.
What’s the key to successful partner playing?
Communication. Talk beforehand, see who should mostly get the middle balls, or who should mostly hit third-shot drops from the baseline. I love paddle taps or high fives in between points so we’re always on the same page.
When you teach pickleball, what do you focus on?
Dinking—I think the kitchen game is the hardest part in pickleball. It’s much easier to hit the ball hard than soft. Having a tight grip is very natural, but when you’re hitting dinks, think about having a loose grip, because that’s what helps absorb the ball on your paddle.
At the start of your pickleball career, did Simone give you any memorable advice?
Coming from a tennis background, I expected to have results right away. But you have to remind yourself why you started playing pickleball. She used to tell me, “Go out there and have fun. Don’t worry about the result.”
How do you handle game-day nerves?
In my first match of the day, I hit a little harder. I drive my third shot until I feel a little bit less nervous. Then I try to do some third-shot drops and play the kitchen game more.
What’s the last thing you do before hitting the court?
I have an app called I Am that’s connected to my Apple Watch and it has really nice quotes—for example: “You’re strong.” I like to read a quote before going on court—it helps me to be positive.