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Pickleball Lives Here

1970s Pickleball Photo Album

by The Dink Media Team on

Rally scoring breakdown. MLP preview. Mayors are scrambling.

It's time: the first MLP event of 2023 kicks off this week in AZ.

It's surprisingly cool in the desert this time of year, but we're sure teams are about to bring the heat. As always, we'll have all the coverage for you here and on our homepage.

It's also time for Awards Season. The 2022 Dink Awards are upon us, and now's your chance to recognize your favorite players, content creators, and events in categories like "Best On-Court Antics," "Most Improved Player," "Event of the Year," and more.

Click here to vote now.


How to Win in Rally Scoring

When you tune into Major League Pickleball this weekend, the game will look a little different than your traditional tournament. MLP employs rally scoring where a point is awarded at the end of every rally.

This is different from side-out/traditional scoring where a point can only be scored by the serving team.

Many players have decided to test out rally scoring to see if they prefer the MLP style of play. When you try it out, keep this in mind:

Don't give away points. Every rally that you lose results in a point for the other team. It's time to pull back on the wild third-shot drive that works 30% of the time. Instead, lean on the consistent and high percentage drop more often.

Get comfortable. In rally scoring, you pick your side of the court and stick with it. The right side player serves when your score is even and the left side player when your score is odd.

This allows you to get comfortable on one side of the court. Find an advantage and use it over and over again.

Momentum. The returning team has the advantage in pickleball thanks to the two bounce rule (the ball must bounce on each side of the net before it can be played out of the air). As a result, the returning team can get to the kitchen faster and win a majority of points.

The serve ends up changing hands between team A and team B between most points. That makes any run or string of consecutive points a huge factor. Ride that momentum wave if you're winning and right the ship quickly with fundamental high percentage play if you're losing.

Give rally scoring a try to see if you're made for MLP, or remain a pickleball purist.

A Paddle for Power AND Spin

After over two years of research and collaboration with top pros like Tyson McGuffin, Selkirk's VANGUARD Power Air addresses the need for both power and spin.

This is the future of pickleball technology. Be a part of it. Learn more here.


Apparently, Sonoma County, California has a long history of pickleball.

A photographer recently published a collection of images sent to him from a local picklefan cataloging their experience at “Sonoma Mountain Pickleball Camp” in the 1970s. Check these out:

The big hair, the (very) short shorts and striped white athletic socks...we can practically hear The Doobie Brothers playing!

And check out the form of that guy in green, clearly about to defend a smash. He's ready for that low ball!

Something we're pretty impressed by is the well-lit outdoor court. Fifty-plus years later, we're still having trouble with that in some areas.

Click here to see more of this very groovy collection of photos.

The Calm Before the Storm

The week is finally here. Major League Pickleball commanded headlines and brought billions of eyes (TMZ) to the game in the offseason. This week, the 24 teams of MLP will take the court for the first time.

The four-day tournament will be played at Bell Bank Park in Mesa, AZ. Tomorrow, the Challenger Level teams kick off the event with group stage play. Premier Level matches begin on Friday.

  • Jan 26 Premier Level - No Matches | Challenger Level - Group Stage
  • Jan 27 Premier Level - Group Stage | Challenger Level - Quarter and Semifinals
  • Jan 28 Premier Level - Group Stage & Quarter Finals | Challenger Level No Matches
  • Jan 29 Premier Level - Semifinals & Finals | Challenger Level - Finals

The unique team-based play is unlike anything else in pickleball. Every match and every point matters. The top 12 finishers across MLP's six 2023 events will earn a spot in the 2024 Premier Level.

Ben Johns and Anna Leigh Waters led their teams to the championship in the inaugural 2021 event. They return to MLP this season along with the rest of the PPA Tour roster. Can any team stop Johns' Seattle Pioneers and Waters' New Jersey 5's from meeting in the finals?

That's the beauty of MLP. Anything can happen.

The weekend will not be light on star power. Tennis legend and #1 pick in the Challenger Draft, Sam Querrey, will be competing. Gary Vee has confirmed his attendance on Twitter and with the massive list of celebrity owners, this event might need its own red carpet and paparazzi.

Read more in our preview.

What Do We Pay You For?

Somebody call the mayor…and tell them to start building more full-time pickle stations (we need a more official term for “court.”)

Oh, wait, that’s already happening.

At a literal gathering of mayors in D.C. recently, one of the breakout sessions focused on what to do about pickleball’s explosion. According to a fact sheet handed out during the meeting, the sport grew 11.5% over the last five years. The problem, as most of us already know, is that the number of new courts hasn’t kept up.

Some mayors have resorted to using American Rescue Plan Act funds designed to help with the Covid-19 pandemic to build more pickleball courts.

“People started to say, ‘When is the city going to have outdoor pickleball?’ And of course, we had to figure it out,” one of them said, spoken like a true mayor.

Another attendee argued that it's more efficient to spend money pickleball courts than on tennis courts because more people play at once. We like the brutal efficiency of this logic.

Between funding, tennis, and noise complaint controversies, city officials have a lot to overcome while trying to forge new solutions for more courts. Keep pushing, mayors.

Pure Pickleball Fuel: Why Bars

Why not reach for a snack bar that's as good as you are?

Let's keep it simple: Why Bars are made with ingredients you can pronounce, perfect for before or after exercise. Their portable, energy sustaining snack allows you to focus on your activity instead of your hunger.

Available in: Apple Almond, Blueberry Bliss, Cherry Chia, Choco Peanut, Super Cacao, Mango Ginger, and Zesty Lemon. Try them today!

Congrats, Rob

Selkirk has signed another influential member of the pickleball community. Veteran of the game, Rob Nunnery, is teaming up with Selkirk for on-court and off-court ventures in 2023, including the It Feels Right Podcast.

“We are so thrilled to welcome Rob Nunnery to Team Selkirk,” said Mike Barnes, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Selkirk Sport.

“Rob is a key ambassador for the game and an experienced professional who brings his talent and tenacity to the court every time. We can’t wait to see what 2023 brings for him as a member of Selkirk.”

Noah Rubin Learns to Pickle

Former Junior Wimbledon Champion and pro tennis player, Noah Rubin, joins the pod.  Rubin wants to see more streaming, more teamwork and believes another match should not be played until there is gambling in pickleball. This is one you don't want to miss.

Listen here or watch here.

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The Dink Media Team

The Dink Media Team

We're the premier pickleball media outlet featuring news, tips, reviews, and highlights with over 1 million subscribers, followers, and listeners.

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