Seymour Rifkind – A Pickleball Pioneer

Meet Seymour Rifkind, affectionately known as “Rif”, a pickleball player, coach, author, and leader who has made significant contributions to the sport of pickleball.

He is the founder and president of the International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association (IPTPA), the first teaching organization in the sport. He is also the founder and former president of the Pickleball Hall of Fame, which he established in 2017. In addition, he is the founder of the World Pickleball Federation (WPF), a global body that promotes the sport across the globe.

From Gymnastics to Pickleball

Rifkind’s athletic career began with gymnastics, a sport he excelled at from an early age. As Seymour Rifkind gymnastics he became synonymous with exceptional skill and achievement in the world of gymnastics. He won the 1969 Illinois State All-Around and State Parallel Championships, as well as gold and bronze medals at the International Gymnastic Competitor in 1970. In 1969, he was featured on the cover of The Modern Gymnast Magazine, and he went on to become a coach and judge in the sport.

From Gymnastics to Pickleball
From Gymnastics to Pickleball

Rifkind discovered pickleball in 2012 when he was seeking a new challenge after competing in triathlons and marathons. He was quickly smitten by the fast-paced and enjoyable game, and he chose to apply his gymnastics talents and experience to pickleball. He swiftly ascended to the top of the senior category, winning multiple national and international titles. He also became a qualified instructor and a passionate promoter of the sport.

Seymour Rifkind

A Visionary Leader

Rifkind’s ambition for pickleball was to make it a professional and standardized sport with a high level of coaching and training. He launched the IPTPA in 2015 to provide pickleball teachers with certification, instruction, and tools. The IPTPA has now grown to become the sport’s largest and most well-known teaching organization, with over 2,000 members from 26 nations.

A Visionary Leader
A Visionary Leader

Rifkind also feels the need for a pickleball hall of fame to honor the sport’s pioneers and legends. In 2017, he established the Pickleball Hall of Fame, and he served as its president until 2023. So far, the Pickleball Hall of Fame has inducted 12 individuals, including Rifkind, who was a member of the 2023 class.

A Visionary Leader

Rifkind’s most recent project is the World Pickleball Federation, which he established in 2023. By providing governance, regulations, rankings, events, and development programs, the WPF hopes to unite and expand the sport of pickleball across the world. Through the game, the WPF also hopes to promote pickleball as an Olympic sport and to develop worldwide peace and cooperation.

The Best Author

Rifkind is not just a pickleball player and leader, but also a best-selling book author. He has published many pickleball books, including:

seymour rifkind The Best Author
Seymour Rifkind The Best Author
  • Smart Pickleball: The Pickleball Guru’s Guide, teaches the fundamentals and strategies of the game.
  • Pickleball Zen: The Inner Game, which explores the mental and emotional aspects of pickleball.
  • Pickleball Hall of Fame: The Stories of the Legends, which profiles the inductees of the Pickleball Hall of Fame and their achievements.

Both critics and readers have praised Rifkind’s books for their insightful and engaging content. Some of the sport’s finest players and coaches, like Dave Weinbach, Sarah Ansboury, and Mark Renneson, have also sponsored them.


Seymour Rifkind is a pickleball pioneer who has dedicated his life to the sport. He has achieved success as a player, coach, author, and leader, and he has affected and inspired a large number of people. He is a great pickleball legend and a deserving member of the Pickleball Hall of Fame.

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