Chas Howard turns pandemic hobby into career


Senior Chas Howard plays in Pickleball tournament. He hopes to continue playing in order to go pro.

Howard’s pickleball hobby turned around into a sponsorship 

Senior Chas Howard is a pickleball athlete. He played football freshman year and currently plays baseball, but has turned a new leaf into pickleball. Howard is at a level where he has played nationally and has multiple sponsorship and endorsement deals at the age of 17. 

Samuel Ford: What made you get into pickleball?

Chas Howard: My uncle was the one that got me into it, and his friend had a court in his backyard, and my uncle got into it and told my dad, ‘You guys gotta try this sport out, it’s way better than other sports. It’s not as attacking on the body. It’s easier to play and easy to pick up.’ Then my dad got us into it, and it’s started since then.

SF: How did you get to the level that you’re at?

CH: I’ve been playing a lot. I’ve played for the past two years. It really started over quarantine and sports were out of high school and couldn’t practice. Our family started playing pickleball as a hobby, and it became more of a big deal.

SF: How has baseball helped?

CH: Baseball has helped pickleball because playing in the infield you need to move quickly laterally so the footwork and quickness from that translates well with pickleball and baseball has great hand-eye coordination which you need in pickleball.

SF: How does it feel being at the level you’re at with sponsorships and opportunities like that?

CH: It’s pretty cool because in other sports you don’t really get sponsorships until you go college or pro level, but it’s pretty dope getting free stuff for at my age.

SF: How did all the sponsorships start?

CH: My sponsorship started when I played in a tournament at Legacy Sports Complex. The Foot Solutions Arizona Grand Slam, and Gearbox was a sponsor for the tournament. I happened to be swinging the paddle at the time and they liked how I played. I had a conversation with the people at the tournament and they offered me a sponsorship opportunity to get free paddles and gear.

SF: What are your future goals for yourself in the sport?

CH: I want to go pro. Being at the top would be the dream.

SF: How do you go pro?

CH: To go pro, you can’t just play a lot. You have to practice and drill to get the consistency of each shot, and when you play you need to challenge yourself.

SF: What is probably your biggest accomplishment so far?

CH: For now, playing at the level I am and qualifying and competing at nationals. It’s been pretty big for me.

SF: How did you start to become competitive in it?

CH: I started to play competitively because of my uncle. He played in a few tournaments and said how fun it was, so then my dad played in one, and I went and watched and wanted to play myself, so then my little brother and I played in a tournament together.

Howard is already on his way to more sponsorships and endorsement deals. He is preparing for his next tournament and as well preparing for baseball season.