Pickleball has attracted a wonderful following and the top pickleball players all have their own fan bases. Most fans are aspiring pickleball champions, as well as new pickleball players. Today we are going to focus on Tyson McGuffin, who has been the world’s number one male pickleball player, and is an inspiring player with his fairly quick rise to fame.
Tyson McGuffin’s Background & Move to Pickleball
Tyson McGuffin is American, born in 1991, and only started playing pickleball in 2015.
In a small matter of a few years, you might be wondering how he made it to pickleball championship status so quickly but the truth is he put his heart and soul into the game, as he did with his previous careers, first as a wrestler and then as a tennis player.
McGuffin wrestled and played tennis during his high school years, deciding to stick to tennis only and becoming a coach when he left school. When he was invited to a game of pickleball by one of his older students, he said yes immediately, and the rest is history.
After playing for just one month he knew he had finally found his game. The good news? He was good at it!
McGuffin put away his tennis rackets – a probably loss for tennis – and focused on pickleball, which was indeed a win for pickleball. He played his first tournament in 2015, after a month of playing, practicing and learning the rules, and immediately enamored himself to other pickleball players.
He earned a good name in the sport, winning championship after championship, his first major win coming in 2017.
This first win was at the USA Pickleball National Championships, in 2017, played in Arizona.
Some of his biggest pickleball games have been at the Minto US Open where he has constantly come up against Ben Johns, the two of them vying for ranking number one.
One Of McGuffin’s Biggest Pickleball Matches
This was probably in 2019 at the Minto US Open in 2019. McGuffin was ranked number two at the time, Johns number one. The match was intense although you could see the difference in the two players from early on.
Johns was more relaxed and focused on strategy, McGuffin seemingly energetic and determined. Of course, strategy, energy and determination all go a long way and the match itself was intense.
McGuffin, in the end, appeared to be the better athlete although Johns, who had conserved energy during the game, pulled out all stops towards the end.
Tyson McGuffin won one of the most important matches of his career.
He has continued to play on and earned prize money from tournaments, although 2020 was not a great year for the sport, with many tournaments being cancelled.
He plays professionally today, and coaches players of all ages and abilities, and is a real mentor and role model in the game.
Is Tyson McGuffin Sponsored?
Right now, McGuffin is associated with the brand Selkirk Sport who design and make pickleball equipment.
He prefers their Enrique Ruiz Signature Epic paddle but has also played with the Maxima and enjoys it too. He recommends these both, in particular the Maxima, saying it is a good paddle for those who have come from the game of tennis, in particular because of its extra length.
Singles Or Doubles for McGuffin?
McGuffin prefers singles, again attributing his excellence at singles to the game of tennis. He also enjoys the extreme workout he gets from singles, but definitely enjoys doubles too, which was how he was first introduced the game.
Some of the upcoming tournaments that McGuffin is registered and listed on McGuffin’s website.
How Often Does McGuffin Play?
In an old interview, McGuffin said he plays between five and eight hours of pickleball per day, although one can be sure this includes coaching.
He enjoys coaching at all levels and says he loves introducing new people to the game, and taking good players to new levels. Pickleball is one of the fastest growing racket and ball sports and McGuffin is passionate about it.
Before a match he trains hard, works out and always has a solid breakfast. He love the game and says he is a total addict and that the game has an incredible community of people, offering sport, competition and a fabulous social scene.
Tyson McGuffin has a lot of followers on Facebook and Instagram, as well as on his website, TysonMcGuffin.com. McGuffin sends out a monthly newsletter to his fans and other pickleball players, and runs pickleball camps for players of all levels.
So How Much Money Does Tyson McGuffin earn?
It is hard to know how much McGuffin earns from pickleball tournaments alone, but top pickleball players earn between USD 50k-200k per year.
They also get sponsored, and McGuffin is sponsored by Selkirk Sport, who make high contributions to his sport. It is thought that top players get over USD 80k per year in sponsorships. On top of that, there is the pickleball coaching, so it is fair to say McGuffin earns well!
Pickleball players don’t earn anywhere close to what the big tennis players earn, simply because the game does not (yet) have the same following or television coverage.
Pickleball pays pretty equally between men and women but you need to be really good, in the top five at least, like Ben Johns and Tyson McGuffin, to earn enough as a salary.
In the 2019 USA National Championships the singles finalists only got USD 2500 for winning. So you need to play a lot of tournaments to earn a lot of money. As well as getting sponsorship and supplementing your income, probably as a pickleball coach.