Athlete Spotlight: Leigh and Anna Leigh Waters
AS THE SPORT of Pickleball grows in popularity and participation across the country, many people are jumping onboard because off its fast-paced play and short learning curve. Lasso recognized this emerging sport as a powerful up in comer that people of all ages can play and compete and we wanted to make sure ankles and feet were ready to play their best. Lasso’s first step was to join forces with the governing body of the sport and recently announced its official partnership with USA Pickleball as the official performance sock of the league.
Our second step was to participate in the sport authentically. The key to understanding the intricacies of a sport like Pickleball is to work and talk with its top competitors. To get the best input, we at Lasso went right to the top and started working with Leigh and Anna Leigh Waters, Pickleball's leading doubles pair and only mother-daughter team. Both are fierce competitors and rank among the best - taking home such prestigious titles as the Florida Grand Slam, the Tournament of Champions and USAPA Nationals.
We recently got the opportunity to talk with the mother-daughter pair about how they got involved in Pickleball, what motivates them on and off the court, their professional athletic career, and how Lasso Socks 2.0 are helping them Stay Moving on and off the court.
The team started playing in 2017 when their family had to evacuate their Florida home during Hurricane Irma. As the Waters family waited out the storm at Leigh's parents home in Pennsylvania, Leigh’s father passed the time by teaching them both the game of Pickleball. "My father Neil taught us to play about 3 years ago and we just fell in love with the game," said Leigh. "It is such a social sport for all ages, and we love the fast paced play!" After the storm had passed, they moved back to Florida and continued to play and compete powerfully in the Pickleball world finishing number 1 in 2019 and were Pro National Champions.
Lasso's mission is to design and produce the best possible products that improve performance, prevention, and recovery to help the modern athlete Stay Moving, and we wanted to know how they helped with Leigh and Anna Leigh's training and playing regiment. Both ladies play aggressively on the court and that high-speed type of play can take a toll on your ankles and feet. "Pickleball requires a ton of quick lateral side-to-side movement, and Lasso socks help protect our ankles as well as our feet," explained Leigh. Professional athletes like the Waters pair expect top of the line gear to help them play and recover at the highest level. "Pickleball tournaments are also very long and grueling, and Lasso socks help to keep us from getting too sore as the days and matches go on," Leigh continued. "The compression helps to protect from injuries that can occur from prolonged play."
Their journey in pickleball has been nothing short of amazing. Anna Leigh was 10 when she first started playing and quickly rose to the top of the Pros by age 12. The Waters team is the only mother-daughter team on the pro circuit and both of them come from a strong tennis background. Leigh played D1 tennis at the University of South Carolina where she fine-tuned her competitive edge and strong work ethic, while Anna Leigh learned from her from a young age. "Of course a mother-daughter team has its challenges," said Leigh. "We have had to learn how to be mother-daughter off the court, and teammates on the court." Leigh expressed that maintaining these separate relationships is critical but also said that having that mother-daughter intuition on the court has definitely helped to give them an edge.
Any professional team player will tell you that maintaining a positive attitude during a game is critical to winning. Leigh told us that that her strength as a teammate was helping to keep her partner positive and focused on the task at hand, even when a match may not be going their way. "As a person, I think I'm very driven and focused on reaching my goals," Leigh said. "I'm always looking for a new challenge." Anna Leigh has no fear on the court and that confidence allows her teammate to feel less pressure and more relaxed during game play. Leigh also told us that Anna Leigh is very strategic and communicates well in between points. As a person Anna Leigh exudes kindness and has such a joyous personality. She makes everyone around her laugh with her quick wit.
Athletes demand a lot from the equipment and Leigh and Anna Leigh are no different. They both understand that the right equipment is as critical to winning as the wrong equipment is to losing. "We demand the highest quality in our athletic equipment," Leigh told us. "We want long lasting products that actually improve us as athletes and Lasso definitely fits the bill." Ankle injuries are one of the top issues with a sport like Pickleball and any product that can help minimize this while helping with performance and recovery is a necessity. Leigh explained to us that their bodies feel better when they wear the Lasso product and they can see and feel the quality.
Lasso is so excited to be working with such a dynamic and passionate duo in the sport of Pickleball. Leigh and Anna Leigh have so much energy and positive influence on the sport that they will inspire new players and fans all over the world. "We love being at the top of the game, and with Anna Leigh being only 13 years old, she has so much room for growth." added Leigh. For more on the Water's team, read more here.
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