Members of the Eagle River Pickleball Association recently attended a professional clinic put on by professionals John Sperling and David Duncan, both of Florida.
Members of the Eagle River Pickleball Association recently attended a professional clinic put on by professionals John Sperling and David Duncan, both of Florida.
The Eagle River Pickleball Association hosted a clinic from June 25-28 featuring John Sperling and David Duncan, both Florida pickleball professionals.

Sperling is a professional pickleball player and instructer with more than 30 years of teaching experience. He has achieved success with well-known companies such as the Grand Oaks Resort in Weirsdale, Fla., Professional Pickleball Registry, Country Club of Ocala in Ocala, Fla., Engage Pickleball Academy in Oxford, Fla., and the Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Fla., just to name a few. He now resides in The Villages, Fla.

Sperling grew up in the Detroit Metro area, which is where he started playing tennis and began his junior tennis career. Sperling also played Junior A hockey in the early 1990s, with the likes of Eric Lindros and many other hockey players.

Sperling reached a top rating in tennis by the age of 17. After high school, Sperling attended the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Ill., and played tennis for the Chaparrals. He reached a collegiate ranking of No. 7 and led his tennis team to a Top Five finish at nationals.

Over the years, Sperling was blessed to learn tennis from some of the best professionals in the field of tennis, which helped him to become the sought-after instructor he is today.

After 30 years on the tennis court, Sperling left the tennis world to bring his expertise to the fastest-growing sport in the United States — pickleball. 

Sperling said it was a very easy transition and for the past two years, he was won many local, state and regional tournaments. He won a Gold Champion Medal at the 2017 U.S. Open in Naples, Fla., and followed that up with two more medals at the 2018 Open. He also was a two-time medalist at the 2018 AAU National Indoor Championships.

Sperling said he enjoys spending his spare time helping underprivileged children by teaching them pickleball and other sports.

Melody West of the Eagle River Pickleball Association, said Sperling came to the North Woods by answering a request from the pickleball club. He was able to bring with him another pro, Duncan, who also is a top-rated 5.0 player in the pickleball field. 

Duncan currently plays pickleball in the Open Pro Division and recently won a silver medal in the 2018 U.S. Open 40-plus Division. 

Duncan has launched a pickleball website, pickleballhotspot.com, which connects the pickleball community with other fellow pickleballers, instructors, courts, camps and clinics in the development of the game of pickleball.

There were approximately 60 pickleball players from Eagle River and the surrounding area who took advantage of the expertise and training of Sperling and Duncan. 

“We really are a blessed community to have two such professionals visit us in the great North Woods,” said West.