Callie Smith: The ‘Rapunzel’ of Pickleball Ascending the Ranks

Callie Jo Smith pickleball


Callie Smith, an invigorating force on the pickleball court, entered the professional realm of the sport in 2019. This right-handed dynamo from Orem, Utah, quickly established herself as a formidable player in the world of professional pickleball. Standing tall at 5′ 10″ and with a Dupr rating of 5.95 in doubles and 6.06 in singles, Smith is a force to be reckoned with. She’s known for her signature long braid, earning her the affectionate nickname “Rapunzel”. But this pickleball powerhouse’s journey didn’t begin on the pickleball court – it started on the tennis court.

Callie Smith From Tennis to Pickleball

Born on September 4, 1991, Smith was a four-time state tennis champion in high school and played Division 1 tennis at the University of Utah. However, a friendly pickleball tournament with her husband’s 90-year-old grandfather changed the course of her life. Despite her initial skepticism towards the sport, losing to a pair of older players

changed her perception. Realizing that there was more to the sport than she had initially thought, she decided to delve deeper into it. That decision marked the beginning of a successful career in pickleball.

In August 2018, Callie officially began playing on the Pro Tour, quickly becoming one of the top female players in the sport. By April 2021, she had already bagged the title of U.S. Open Champion in Women’s Doubles. She currently ranks #3 in PPA Women’s Doubles and #6 in Women’s Singles.

Callie Smith Off the Court: The Woman Behind the Player

Smith is not just a professional pickleball player; she’s also a coach at the Paddle Up Pickleball Academy, where she shares her knowledge and experience with aspiring players. She firmly believes in establishing the right contact point and footwork, emphasizing these fundamentals to her students.

When she’s not training or competing, Smith cherishes her time with her husband, Kyle, and their two children. Known for her sweet personality and contagious smile, she enjoys a wide range of hobbies including outdoor activities, cooking, baking, singing, watching movies, playing piano, and spending time with her family. Smith is also an active presence on social media, where she regularly shares instructional workout videos that showcase her intense physical training as a pro athlete. This not only underscores her dedication to the sport but also serves as an inspiration to her followers

Callie Smith’s Pickleball Tips and Strategies

CALLIE JO SMITH pickleball

Callie Smith, renowned in the pickleball world for her distinctive playing style and strategic approach, has been generous in sharing her insights with both novices and seasoned players. She recommends a few key strategies to elevate any player’s game:

  • Patience: Callie Smith highlights the importance of patience in pickleball. Pickleball, much like a game of chess, requires players to think several moves ahead. She advises players to avoid rushing points and instead, focus on keeping the ball in play. This strategy often pressures opponents into making errors.
  • Mastering the Third Shot Drop: Smith emphasizes the necessity of mastering this technique. A soft shot landing in the opponents’ non-volley zone, the third shot drop pushes opponents back and allows the serving team to advance towards the net.
  • Effective Communication in Doubles: Smith believes clear and timely communication is crucial in doubles play. She notes that confusion between partners often leads to lost points. Therefore, improving coordination through effective communication can greatly reduce unforced errors.

By incorporating these strategies – patience, technique, and communication – any player can significantly enhance their pickleball performance. Smith asserts that success in pickleball involves more than just talent. It requires strategy, physical fitness, and the right gear.

Smith maintains a rigorous and targeted training regime, emphasizing stamina and agility. She regularly shares her workout videos on social media, demonstrating her commitment to maintaining peak physical condition. To augment her skills, she uses the Onix Evoke Premier paddle, which she believes offers the perfect balance for both power plays and softer shots.

Beyond physical fitness and gear, Smith understands the importance of a well-executed game strategy. She maintains that the right contact point and footwork form the foundation of a strong game. One of her favorite techniques is the backhand flick, a move she has recently mastered. Smith’s approach to losses is refreshingly positive. Rather than viewing them as setbacks, she perceives them as learning experiences and opportunities to enhance her game.

Callie Smith’s Pickleball Gear and Style

CALLIE JO SMITH pickleball paddle

Callie’s choice of gear reflects her aggressive style of play. She uses the Onix Evoke Premier paddle, which she loves for its balance between power and soft play. Her gear also includes a pro pickleball bag essential for carrying her equipment.

Callie Smith New Goals

Callie Smith has tasted great successes in her career, but her journey hasn’t been devoid of challenges. The pressure to perform, not just from her family, but also from her sponsors, is a constant presence. However, Callie has a unique method of dealing with this pressure: she views each game not as a win-or-lose situation, but as a learning opportunity. In her perspective, a loss isn’t synonymous with failure; instead, it serves as a chance to learn and improve.

This optimistic mindset has been instrumental in helping her surmount numerous obstacles, undoubtedly contributing to her success on the court. In 2021, she clinched the US Open Women’s Doubles title and the SoCal Classic Women’s Singles title, a testament to her formidable performance.

Yet, Smith is far from complacent. Having achieved her initial goal of becoming number one in women’s doubles, she has now set her sights on the “triple crown” – a feat that involves winning singles, mixed doubles, and women’s doubles in a single tournament. Her competitive spirit, coupled with her relentless pursuit of improvement, are shining testaments to her true sportsmanship.


In conclusion, Callie Jo Smith is a force to be reckoned with in the world of pickleball. Her journey from a tennis player to a top-ranked pickleball pro is nothing short of inspiring. Her dedication to the sport, her family, and her community makes her a role model for many. With her continued passion and commitment, there’s no doubt that Callie will continue to make waves in the world of pickleball.

For more stories about inspiring pickleball players, be sure to check out our blog.

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