Athlete spotlight: Internationally ranked pickleball champion, William Sobek

William Sobek first discovered pickleball when he was just four and a half years old. A beach day with his parents, introduced him to the sport and now at 14 years old, Sobek has traveled around the world to compete in numerous pickleball tournaments. Pickleball is a paddle sport that contains elements of badminton, tennis, and ping-pong. Two to four players use paddles to hit a perforated polymer ball over a net. The uniqueness of the game is what originally drove Sobek and his family to play and has kept him interested all these years.

“Pickleball is something that not many other people do. It’s fun, it’s challenging, and it’s different. I’ve played other sports like tennis, but pickleball is really my true passion.” said Sobek.

Photo courtesy of Rosti Sobek

Sobek has played in international tournaments such as the U.S.A. Pickleball Nationals, U.S. Open Pickleball Championships and tournaments in Spain, Italy, England as well as local tournaments where he has won the Mixed Doubles Pro Division and silver in the Men’s Pro Division with his dad. He has also taken part in the Bainbridge Cup, the inaugural event of the International Federation of Pickleball, where he has played on North America’s team against European teams.

When Sobek plays in Key West, he is the only teen so he often plays adults who are 19 years or older as well as in most tournaments aside from the U.S. Nationals. Sobek has done extensive training and practice to get to where he is at today. He practices nearly six days a week, right after school and on the weekends. This commitment to the sport has brought him sponsorships from companies like Paddletek and his father works as the distributor for pickleball paddle sellers; Paddletek and Prolite.

Sobek’s next tournament is in Vero Beach, Florida, on March 14th, where he will play the Men’s Pro Singles Division. This summer, he will travel to Germany to participate in another Bainbridge Cup, until then he will continue practicing and striving to maintain his pro status.

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