Pickleball is more than just a sport for Mike Tonet. It is a passion that has taken him across the world and changed his life. In this article, he shares his story of how he discovered, learned, and promoted pickleball in his home country of Belgium and beyond.
Mike Tonet is a 44-year-old pickleball player, coach, and referee from Namur, Belgium. He is one of the best double Belgian player. (Men and mixed). He first encountered pickleball in 2020, when he was in Kuwait, working with the Belgian army and the US army during the Covid crisis. He tried many sports and activities with other foreign friends, and one of them introduced him to pickleball. He played six evenings and won many games. He was hooked.
When he came back to Belgium in October 2019, he decided to launch pickleball outside, following the Covid rules. Hundreds of people tried it for three months and he decided to create a group and play indoor. That's how the Pickleball Namur Club was born.
Since April 2022, he has played many international tournaments and met many players from Europe. He has become addicted to traveling for pickleball. He also coaches in his club and another one, and he gives lessons to players from other clubs and for all levels. As a volleyball coach, he has found many movements and similarities in pickleball. He gives his tips to help players understand how to start and use the correct movement, which is very important in his opinion.
He is around 4.5 level now and his favorite thing is to study the tactics. In 2023, he followed a basic referee course in Germany with Ron Ponders and it was amazing. Refereeing is interesting to understand another side of this sport.
He wants to be more involved in coaching because he enjoys transmitting the basics and his tips to beginners or advanced players. He is also involved in developing pickleball in his region (Namur) and with the other clubs to promote events and meet people.
On the courts, he uses to say: "When we serve we stay back - go ahead together now - me - back - ...". One of his main tips is "squat is life". Stay on your feet because your legs will help you to control the pace of the game, feel the ball, and be ready to move and react.
You can follow him and his club on Facebook and Instagram. His club page is Pickleball Namur. His personal pages are Mike Tonet and t_mike_pickleBEL.
He is a passionate guy and he likes to share his experience and his tips with all players to help them improve their level.
We hopes you enjoyed reading his story and hopes to see you on the court soon. Happy Pickling!