We played pickleball with the Slim Reaper and PPA makes a big announcement
Da da da. Da da da.
Both Sportscenter and ESPN are certified pickleball fans, and certified fans of The Dink (we're blushing). That's what happens when you play rec pickleball with the best all-around scorer in NBA history. Full story below.
We've been furiously messaging Roger Federer, who retired from tennis yesterday, and his team. With he and Serena putting down their racquets for good, we won't stop until they pick up paddles.
Someone tell Federico Staksrud that his days with the 'Fed' moniker are numbered.
In other news, the PPA Tour announced big plans for a team event in December. Anybody up for a trip to Las Vegas?
The Case For the Middle Dink
You're in a dink war. The temptation to up the ante on each shot is great. You push yourself to the brink of the dink (pace, spin, angles), hoping your opponent will fold.
It's a matter of pride. A battle of ego. The message: 'I can out-dink you all - day - long buddy.' But every time you up the ante, you up the risk. Your pride left the back door open, and in comes unforced errors.
Don't let your pride get the best of you (ok, sometimes it's just more fun that way), play it safe. The middle dink ain't flashy and it won't land you on any highlight reels, but it's almost always a smart play.
Often overlooked and underutilized, the middle dink comes with many benefits:
- It forces the other team to communicate and can cause confusion. Who's got middle?
- It limits their options for attack; any attack will likely be down the middle
- It's safe: you're hitting over the lowest part of the net, and it's almost impossible to hit it out or push it too wide for an ATP
- It simply switches it up and adds another variable for your opponent to consider
Broken record time: Be patient. Let them make the mistake. Utilize the middle dink to bait your opponent into a bad shot or unforced error of their own.
If you want to be offensive with the middle dink, aim for the left foot of the right-side player (assuming they're right-handed). If you can get them to step off the line, you've just shifted the point from neutral to your advantage.
The Slim Reaper
Sorry professor, but I won't be in attendance tonight.
Thomas here for a quick story. At around noon on Monday, I got a text: "I think we're playing with KD." I only know one person who goes by KD. Financial Modeling will have to go on without me (I'm in grad school at UT).
Fast forward to the pickleball courts, and a blue Lamborghini pulls up, trailed by a Porsche 911 and two SUVs. A gangly 6'10", two time NBA champ with a 7'5" wingspan emerges, and it's on.
The next couple hours were spent teaching superstar Kevin Durant optimal court positioning, dinking strategy and the art of the third shot drop. Pros Dekel Bar, Stefan Auvergne, Lina Padegimaite, DJ Young and Brandon Nsekpong were also in the mix and put on a show for the 2018 NBA Finals MVP.
KD attracts attention wherever he goes. His foray into pickleball caught the attention of millions of eyes as it went viral across social media. The video has since been shared by ESPN, SportsCenter, Overtime, Bleacher Report and many more.
Durant's venture capital firm 35V is no stranger to investing in sports entertainment. Is a pickleball project next in their pipeline?
Childhood Dream Comes True
The Seattle Mariners hosted 'Pickleball Night' last Saturday where group tickets helped raise money for the Seattle Metro Pickleball Association.
Seattle native, Riley Newman, threw out the first pitch for his hometown team. Newman grew up a Mariners fan and shared some childhood photos of the Newman clan draped in Mariners gear on IG.
Newman is one of the best all-around athletes in pickleball. He striped one down the middle in front of 45,000+ to get the game started. The full video can be seen here.
Just how much did this mean to Riley? He was willing to miss last week's PPA Grand Slam event to make it happen.
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PPA Peachtree Classic Singles Recap
Hello upsets. Ben Johns, gone. Tyson McGuffin, outta there, and Catherine Parenteau will miss the podium again. Championship Sunday will feature JW Johnson against Julian Arnold in men's and Anna Leigh Waters vs Callie Smith in women's.
Arnold started as the 11th seed, made it to the semifinal, then took down Johns in two games 11-3,11-8. The former UCLA Bruin plays one of the most intense brands of pickleball and has won over fans with loud roars of "ANDIAMO!" when things go his way.
Johns did not walk away empty-handed, though. He moved down to the loser's bracket where he battled Federico Straksurd for an 18-16 win. Then won again in the bronze medal match against Christian Alshon to end the day in third. Alshon generated buzz after he choose to skip his senior season of tennis at U Chicago to play pro pickleball.
But still, it's unlike Johns to miss a singles Sunday appearance, let alone two weekends in a row. Is the rest of the field catching up to him?
Hand up, we'll take the blame for jinxing Tyson McGuffin. Our apologies, McMuffin Man. The number one seed was knocked out of Thursday's competition by Spanish native and up-and-comer Alvaro Terron.
In women's singles, Anna Leigh Waters had possibly her most dominant performance to date. She allowed opponents an average of 1.5 points per game, if you call that a game. She gets Callie Smith on Sunday.
Anna Bright recovered after a loss to Waters in the semifinals. Bright beat Parenteau and Mary Brascia to finish the day with bronze.
Mixed doubles kicks off today. New team combinations like Lina Padegimaite/Collin Johns and Parris Todd/Dylan Frazier will look to shake up the field.
Friday, Mixed Doubles
10:00 AM -4:00 PM PPA TV | 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM Tennis Channel
Saturday, Gender Doubles
10:00 AM -4:00 PM PPA TV | 4:00 PM - 8:00 PM Tennis Channel
10:00 AM -4:00 PM PPA TV | 4:00 PM - 9:00 PM Tennis Channel
PPA Tour and MGM Connect for Team Event
The PPA Tour announced Wednesday plans to host a 24 player team event in Las Vegas with a $175k prize pool.
The 2022 Bubly Team Championships presented by MGM Rewards will take place at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center Friday, Dec. 16-Sunday, Dec. 18. The event will air on Tennis Channel on Friday and Saturday, then ABC on Sunday.
The weekend will also include a pickleball festival complete with an amateur tournament that is expected to draw more than 1000 players.
It's worth noting that this partnership with MGM is another indication of the seemingly imminent introduction of gambling into pickleball. No official word yet, though. It's also their second rendition of a 'team style' event, which could be construed as a competitive move toward Major League Pickeball. But, I digress...
Details on the team rosters and format will be released in early October. You can view the full press release here.
Everything You Need For Pickleball Under One Roof
Rhino Pickleball has paddles, balls and portable nets perfect for players at all levels. It's the best selection of training aids to support player development. Up your game with court markers, cones and other fitness accessories that take drill work to the next level.
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We told you the pickleball garage is the next big trend. Look at this professional quality court with an enormous 26 ft high roof. The backyard slab is no longer the dream. This is court goals.
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