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Pickleball Lives Here

2023 already has its paddle controversy

by The Dink Media Team on

Sam Q is savage. Third shot stats. Punch volley tips.

Happy New Year Dink Fam! Cold temps have cracked balls throughout the northern states. A couple of brave polar picklers even shoveled what looked like a foot of snow to get their pickleball fix in.

While you restock on pickleballs (and save 10% at Fromuth with code 10DINK), we will hit you with the top stories of the week:

  • The newest wave in paddle testing drama
  • Sam Querrey has a message for all the doubters
  • A stats breakdown to guide your strategy

Is this a polar plunge? Because we're ready to dive in! But first...we changed something for 2023.

If you didn't know, readers can earn all sorts of rewards like a Selkirk paddle of choice, pickleball stickers, or as of the new year...a Paddle for Life. Check out the section below for more.

It's really simple. If you are subscribed to the newsletter, all you have to do is share your unique link (shown above) with your pickleball crew. Each referral counts toward a reward.

Punch Volley Parallels

Sometimes in pickleball, you find yourself with your back against the wall. In this video, Tyson McGuffin wants you to make that figurative situation literal.

When perfecting the punch volley, McGuffin suggests players drill with their back up against a wall. This is to prevent an unnecessary over wind-up where the paddle goes back too far.

McGuffin says the paddle should not leave your peripheral vision when executing the shot. The focus should be on punching forward through the ball to land it deep into the court. A compact, direct swing is key, like Rocky Balboa landing body shots on Ivan Drago.

In the video, McGuffin runs another drill with cones halfway through the transition zone and focuses on making sure all of his volleys land behind the line. In this scenario, the goal is to keep the opponent deep in the court with sharp punches of the ball. This forces them to make multiple attempts to move forward with drives or drops.

An added bit of wisdom from the McGuffin man: look and listen for the opponent to make "adjustment steps" before their drive. If they are off-balanced from improper footwork, chances are a hard drive attempt will sail deep.

When you're ready to get off of the wall and back on the court, think about control. You might benefit from consistent punch volleys that land deep in the court instead of trying to win the point in one shot.

Pickleball Wear that Lasts

Think of the last time you found an article of clothing that felt tailor-made for you. Was it made in the USA? Did it last very long?

American Giant wants to help pickleball enthusiasts connect on the court in style by creating a durable and polished collection that’s as inclusive as the sport it’s named for.

Each durable cotton piece is designed to breathe, stretch, and hold up to your hardest-hitting moments on the court. These hoodies, jackets, sweatshirts, sweatpants, shorts & tees make excellent gifts, too!

New Year, New Drama

The start of 2023 is looking eerily similar to 2022. Paddle-testing drama is not going anywhere in the new year. With hundreds of new paddles flooding the market, regulation of paddles and balls has become an arduous task.

The recent drama involves an alleged Paddletek paddle from Catherine Parenteau that was given to a fan. The fan claims that the paddle has a raw carbon fiber surface and is not the same version as the off the shelf USAP approved Tempest Reign Pro.

All of this is speculation at this point, but the NMLPickleball post on the subject did spark a response from USAP's Carl Schmits...

He explains of the paddle-testing process at Nationals: paddles "were marked with non-transferrable, serialized stickers that were required to be presented to officials...This process does need to scale across the 50-ish pro events this year, stay tuned."

The dust has not settled on this latest paddle controversy, but as we saw last year, the paddle testing process has been outpaced by technology. Major progress is required to keep up with the massive boom the sport has seen in the past two years.

To be continued!

Playing the World's Smallest Violin

Sam Querrey, #1 overall in the MLP Challenger Level Draft & former top tennis pro, has responded to native pro pickleballers who are “salty” that he was drafted at all despite having never played in a pro pickleball tournament.

Querrey campaigned to be drafted in the Premier Level draft, and although he missed the cut, he will be the face of the new DC squad and have a chance to prove himself before teams are re-drafted in July.

His post shows him drilling while pretending to play a tiny violin. Savage. You've got to love the banter here.

Querrey's first real test comes next week at the PPA Masters where he's registered to play all three pro events partnering with Wes Burrows in men's and Christa Gecheva in mixed.

Selkirk's Tour bag, one of the most popular in the game, now looks a little different.

An insulated food/drink pouch, ventilated shoe compartment, easy access through the top and the front, a laptop sleeve, larger mesh bottle pockets, room for two paddles, and a hard EVA top which stores your cell phone...all wrapped in a new polyfiber performance material.

Click here to learn more about the Selkirk Regal series: pickleball bags with no compromise.

What's More Important Than the Third Shot Drop?

Besides dinking, there may be no more rudimentary skill in pickleball than the third shot drop. But as basic as this technique is, pro pickleballers also know the importance of what comes immediately after shot no. 3.

Pro Pickleball Stats took a closer look at pro players’ third shot drops during the PPA Hertz Championships in December.

Over 9 men’s, women’s, and mixed matches, there were 563 drops analyzed. Those 563 third shot shots fell into three categories: third shot drops that opponents volleyed, ones that opponents played on the bounce, and ones that hit into the net. Only 4% were hit into the net.

About the fourth shot being hit as a volley or on the bounce, Pro Pickleball Stats says there are "optional" instances for both.

“Significantly more 4ths are volleyed rather than played on the bounce. The pros ‘miss’ high, not low. The pros don't mind missing high because they are confident their 5th, 7th, 9th, etc., shots will get them through the transition area and eventually achieve neutrality at the NVZ.”

Rec players: a third shot drop doesn't need to be great when you are adept at your 5ths, 7ths, etc. shots. It is worthwhile to refine your third shot drops (and drives), but it is also valuable to practice those extra shots needed to advance through the transition zone.

Headlines & Quick Hits


It’s like Airbnb...but for Pickleball Courts

As if you need another reason to add a homecourt to your backyard, now you can share your court with local players when you aren’t using it.

Swimply allows court owners the chance to rent out homecourts and players the opportunity to reserve a private court for their game.

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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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