“Pickleball changed my life. It gave me the chance to compete again at the highest level of the sport.”
It’s not every day that a qualifier makes it to a pro singles final, whether it’s in pickleball or any other sport — and yet that’s exactly what 23-year-old Collin Shick managed to pull off at the PPA’s Red Clay Hot Sauce Florida Open earlier this year.
Yet meteoric as his rise may appear, it didn’t come completely out of the blue. Shick is a former collegiate tennis player specialized in doubles who considers Rafael Nadal his role model. Suffice it to say he’s no stranger to racquet sports.
After deciding against a pro tennis career, Collin started playing pickleball for the same reason all of us do — for fun. Yet what started as a fun pastime quickly evolved into an obsession. Ultimately, it was the team spirit that drew him to pickleball the most.
“In my experience with college tennis, team events have always been my favorite thing,” says Collin. “Whether it was juniors or college, I love playing for a team and having your teammates grinding with you day in and day out."
A med student at the University of North Carolina, Collin was playing pickleball at a local park with a friend one day when the UNC Pickleball Club president walked up and encouraged him to join the club.
That’s when Collin discovered DUPR Collegiate tournaments. “My favorite memory is winning the first-ever DUPR Collegiate National Championship,” he says. “That was pretty special, it was the first real professional pickleball event I ever played in.”
After a little over a year of perfecting his pickleball skills, Collin decided to go pro in 2023, with a sponsorship from Selkirk and joined DUPR as a DUPR athlete in July 2023.
After reaching the quarterfinals in the Boca Masters in January, Collin went on to compete in PPA’s Florida Open in Daytona, where he barely lost to Ben Johns in the finals.
Wondering how Collin manages to juggle med school, pro pickleball, and being a college athlete all at the same time?
“I like to stay busy. I can’t study all day, every day in medical school. I love getting out there, getting some exercise, and getting to be competitive again. Also, working on something new, that’s how I stay motivated.”
Clearly the future is looking bright for Collin. Here’s to his success and to many more matches where he keeps us at the edge of our seats!