Mario Najera: Meet the Pro Pickleball Player

Mario Najera, a well-known pickleball pro player, is not only a formidable competitor but also a remarkably humble one. His playing style is distinguished by his rapid reactions, forceful shots, and assertive net play. Najera possesses a unique talent for reading his opponents and anticipating their next moves, enabling him to make fast, calculated decisions during matches.

Besides his achievements on the court, Najera is also deeply committed to promoting pickleball lessons las vegas as a sport. He works tirelessly to introduce the game to new players and communities, driven by his passion for growing the sport that he holds dear.


Know Mario’s Background

Coach Mario Najera is a certified IPTPA Level II pickleball instructor who has been an avid racquetball player for over 40 years. However, in 2012, he and his wife Geri discovered pickleball and were instantly hooked. They began competing in tournaments across several states including Nevada, California, Utah, and Arizona, before eventually expanding their participation to tournaments across the country.

After six years of competitive play, Mario decided to step away from tournaments and focus on spending quality time with his granddaughter, Lyra, in their hometown of Henderson, NV. He obtained his IPTPA teaching certification and started coaching pickleball on a regular basis, finding just as much enjoyment in teaching the sport as he did playing it.

Mario’s journey into pickleball started in August 2011 when his wife invited him to play at an indoor facility. He initially played with a wooden paddle and was impressed by how welcoming and friendly the community was compared to the racquetball scene. A few months later, he was invited to compete at the Huntsman Senior Games, which opened his eyes to the competitive side of pickleball. He watched top players like Jim Hackenberg and Mark Friedenberg and became hooked on the sport, never looking back.

Career Achievements Of Najera

Mario Najera has an impressive record of wins in pickleball tournaments. In 2017, he won Gold in the Grand Canyon Mixed Doubles (MDBL) with Roxanne Pierce in the 60+ category. He also won Silver in the 2016 USAPA Nationals MDBL 60+ with Cookie Drake, and Silver again in the 2016 Sin City Showdown MDBL 60+ with Cooke Drake. In 2016, he also won Gold in the Duel in the Desert Men’s Doubles with Scott Moore.

Mario’s favorite win was in 2013 when he won Silver in the MDBL with his wife Geri, which was his first 4.5 tournament.


Tip By Pro Mario

Mario’s secret sauce to success is his lob technique. He learned from watching Enrique Ruiz and suggests finding someone to practice drills with to improve. He also emphasizes the importance of playing with stronger players to help handle the pressure of competitive tournament settings.

Also, Learn about Joey Farias and Tao Thongvanh pickleball player


Q: Which paddle does Mario use and why?

A: Mario plays with the Selkirk S1G Polymer Graphite paddle. He comes from a racquetball background and prefers the soft, touch game to power. He finds that this paddle provides the best touch and allows him to really feel the ball while playing.

Q: Does Mario prefer playing indoors or outdoors?

A: Although he first learned to play indoors, Mario loves playing outdoors more. Being from San Diego, he feels like a true So Cal boy, and he finds the outdoor game to be faster.

Q: What is Mario’s favorite place to play and why?

A: Mario’s favorite place to play is St. George, Utah, where he first fell in love with pickleball. The Little Valley courts, which offer 24 courts, are a big draw for him. He also enjoys playing at Bend, Oregon and Apex due to their beautiful courts.

Q: Does Mario have any lucky rituals before a big tournament?

A: No, Mario doesn’t follow any lucky rituals before a tournament. He tries to keep everything in perspective and stay calm. He feels lucky to be able to play the game and enjoys it for the health benefits, regardless of the outcome of the match.


Mario Najera is not only an accomplished pickleball player but also an active member of the pickleball community. He has generously shared his knowledge and expertise by serving as a coach, mentor, and ambassador for the sport by giving pickleball lessons las vegas.

Among his contributions are organizing clinics, camps, and events aimed at helping players improve their skills and promoting pickleball to a broader audience. Thanks to his extensive experience and dedication, Najera is widely recognized as one of the world’s best pickleball players and coaches, and his impact on the sport has been significant.

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