Have you tried pickleball? Chances are, you will! It is the fastest growing sport in the country. It is played by over 4.8 million people and growing in leaps and bounds each year. There is an unprecedented demand from players of all experience levels to find coaches who can help them improve, and one of the best in world is Richard Movsessian, better known around the world as “Coach Mo.”
He’s done it all, from coaching Phil Bagley, one of the game’s greatest players, to pure beginners, and everyone in between. He literally “wrote the book” on coaching the popular sport.
“I’ve got the handbook! ‘How to Play Pickleball’ is sold in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Canada, and the United States,” Movsessian beamed.
It should come as no surprise that a living legend of pickleball would settle down in what many call the pickleball capital of the world: The Villages, Florida.
“It’s the mecca for pickleball. There are over 250 courts in The Villages, and you don’t see that too often anywhere else,” Movsessian said.
Access to world-class instruction typically comes with a hefty price tag, but Coach Mo felt a need to give back to his community that is just as crazy about the sport as he is. That’s why every Monday, Movsessian can be found at various recreation centers in The Villages, giving free clinics to those looking to pick up the sport or just take their game to the next level.
“The most important thing is to convince somebody that you’ve got their best interest at heart,” he said. “That you’re not picking on them or telling them, ‘Don’t do this or don’t do that.’ You’re telling them that this could be the best way that you could be playing the game.
“People get addicted to pickleball. They don’t have to be great,” Movsessian continued. “They just get addicted to the game and they love being active when they get older.”
Coach Mo, now 81-years-old, believes pickleball is one of the best options for adults to improve their wellbeing while having fun at the same time.
“It’s a great conditioning sport and if you love it, you’re going to really burn a lot of calories,” Coach Mo said.
“It’s keeping me alive. If I sat in the chair for the whole day, I wouldn’t be doing too much for my body. So I’m here meeting people, having fun and they enjoy me coaching them because they want to be the best they can be and I want them to be the best they can be.”