Game On, Ladies! EmpowHer’s Pickleball Revolution

In Turks and Caicos, EmpowHer by KaSandra Gehrke empowers women through pickleball. KaSandra's approach prioritizes personal growth, fostering sisterhood, resilience, and pickleball excellence among participants.
Pickleball contest

Pickleball contest underway

A special getaway in Turks & Caicos is energising ladies with the thrilling game of pickleball in a tropical setting. EmpowHer was founded by former professional pickleball player KaSandra Gehrke. It's not simply a place to retreat, it's also a voyage of self-discovery, skill development, and community building. KaSandra’s inspiration sprouted during a Pickleball Getaways trip with fellow players Ben Johns and Dekel Bar.
I went on a Pickleball Getaways trip with Ben Johns and Dekel Bar and I had a blast. I wanted to create something that was the same, but different,” shared Gehrke. “I thought about a women’s-only event because there was nothing like that anywhere, so I came up with the idea of EmpowHer, a pickleball camp just for women.”
Gehrke discussed the advantages of a pickleball experience specifically for women players.
I think what’s so special about the pickleball space is that a lot of people come in and have never played a sport in their life before, but when you get on the court and you’re against this guy who’s hitting the ball as hard as he can at you, you’re annoyed because he’s being a jerk. Now, you don’t even want to be on the court anymore because it’s bringing you anxiety,” noted Gehrke. “Creating a space for women to be able to go and learn and feel safer in that learning environment has been really special.
“For women in general, we’re really hard on ourselves, and having events like this to hype each other up and smack ourselves out of our own head, that’s when you see change. It’s just empowering and a great way to get some girl time,” said Gehrke. During a standard day, the initial two hours of the retreat consist of training and exercises led by Gehrke and the rest of the coaches. Next, there will be time to go to the beach, partake in an outing, and unwind away from the court.
In the afternoon, they practice their new skills in open play, and in the evening, there is a group activity to foster interaction and relationship-building among participants.
A big goal of ours is that we want you to leave as stronger women, and we’re teaching how to empower each other through pickleball,” explained Gehrke.
Having said that, pickleball is a game that involves competition. There is a victor and a defeat. Therefore, how does Gehrke maintain equilibrium between the competitive factor and empowering players as well?
Gehrke emphasizes the importance of early mindset setting for success on the court. She advises higher-level players to see playing with lower-level players as an opportunity to improve skills, rather than a setback. Focusing on personal development rather than wins or losses can lead to a more enjoyable and productive experience on the court. Having visited Turks and Caicos and Cancun this year, EmpowHer demonstrates steady growth and influence on participants.
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