Players to Watch – Kim Jagd
Like so many others that excel in the sport of pickleball, Kim Poppa Jagd (pronounced Jade) was first introduced to competitive tennis in her youth. Playing at the Jack Kramer Club, located in Rolling Hills Estates outside Los Angeles, Poppa Jagd’s athletic abilities were clearly evident on the hard courts. But, it was another sport that would eventually garner her full attention.
Growing up in South Bay, indoor and sand volleyball were the sports of choice for so many and eventually Poppa Jagd would develop into a nationally-recognized setter and defender. Her play caught the attention and earned her an athletic scholarship to perhaps the finest college volleyball program in the country – UCLA. A member of a national championship team for the Bruins, Poppa Jagd would also be a solid player on the sand, competing on the pro-beach circuit for three years before returning to coach the women’s indoor program at UCLA for 20 years.
Poppa Jagd was first introduced to pickleball five years ago by another member at her club – Desert Horizons Country Club in Indian Wells. And, as is the sport’s customary allure, Poppa Jagd was hooked instantly. “Being a life-long competitor and coach by trade has really helped me excel at pickleball. I have thoroughly enjoyed learning this crazy game and loved the grind to improve my skills & conditioning to be the best player I can be. I’m very grateful to pickleball to extend my athletic career and do what I love!” And, extend it has on the golf course as well. Poppa Jagd is the current Club Champion.
Playing across the country and in Canada, Poppa Jagd, an Indian Wells resident quickly elevated her game well enough to capture medals at the US Open, Tournament of Champions, Grand Canyon State Games, SoCal Classic and won gold at the Indoor Championships in Centralia 2018, the Mountain Regional, Atlanta Open and Beer City Open in 2019. “Pickleball is fast but requires patience. It’s incredibly athletic, yet strategically thoughtful in its successful execution. After a long rally or game you can’t wait to have the next!”
The mother of two, both of Poppa Jagd’s kids graduated from UCLA, played volleyball and ventured into the sport professionally. Her daughter, Nikki is the owner of VIBE Volleyball Lab in El Segundo while son Ryal, coaches volleyball in Colorado. Ryal also played football for the Bruins.
Coachella Valley is home to some of pickleball’s finest players, namely Marcin Rozpedski, Morgan Evans, Jen Wilhelmson, Scott Burr, Maks Bartiuk and Jasna Stefanovic all good friends of Jagd’s. “We have an incredibly gifted training and playing group who also happen to be fantastic people.”
From skiing, swimming, basketball and softball to riding dirt bikes with the neighborhood boys to a formidable career in volleyball, Kim Poppa Jagd is now one to watch for at this year’s Margaritaville USA Pickleball National Championships. “The partnership between the USAPA and Indian Wells Tennis Garden is a huge springboard for our sport’s premier tournament that will assuredly attract all of the top players from the US and Canada.