Matt Manasse, an early pickleball adopter and coach, has been helping titans of Hollywood get their dinks in a row. Now, as the sport’s star rises, so does his.
One day in early October, Matt Manasse, [Zeta Beta Tau alumnus], the 34-year-old “pickleball coach to the stars,” was on the phone recalling how he’d talked himself into possibly competing on this past season of The Bachelorette. Manasse—tan, athletic, good amount of hair—got so far into the vetting process that he went to the doctor, the one in Glendale to whom all the contestants, past and present, go. She tests their blood and urine to make sure their insides are as squeaky clean as their outsides, so they can go on television and fall in love the right way—in front of their parents and America.
The doctor mentioned that it was a good sign that they were meeting. Another good sign was that a show staffer told Manasse to delete certain things on his social media. So he said farewell to some of his posts as well as his pickleball clients, those at Pacific Palisades’ tony Riviera Country Club, where Manasse has spent the past year and a half teaching the entertainment industry’s leisure class the sport that has gone from quirky pastime to hate-it-or-love-it cultural phenomenon.
“I could be in a house,” Manasse told me. “I don’t have to teach pickleball for a little bit. I’m getting in shape for it. Like, it just could be fun and, who knows, maybe I’ll be famous after.”
But then the hammer: A Bachelorette producer reached out again. They were going in another direction. The house and the fame would have to wait. All good, though. Probably for the best, actually. Manasse took it as a sign that he should focus on what he had come to Los Angeles for in the first place: pickleball, and preaching to Tinseltown the way of the “dink,” the “OPA!”, and where in the world one can find the “kitchen.”
That refocus soon paid off. Manasse went to Ashlee Margolis’s gifting suite, and a producer at Stephen Colbert’s production company saw a photo that she posted to the A List’s Instagram Stories and reached out. That’s how he got involved in an upcoming celebrity-driven pickleball tournament packaged into a two-hour special airing on CBS and Paramount+. It’s called Pickled, and for it, Manasse consulted, coached “the talent” at private homes, and appeared on the courts alongside them.
Manasse had learned one of the biggest lessons in show business: Losing one job just means you’re available for the next. Also: Always go to the gifting suite.