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Pickleball Lives Here

It Feels Right Ep 15: Fighting for the Future of Pickleball

by The Dink Media Team on

Rob and Stone tackle the biggest topics facing pro pickleball this week. The MLP-PPA alliance has left players scrambling to decide their fate. Will the APP and new best friend UTR provide a more enticing option? And can they deliver it in time? This is a can’t miss emergency episode of It Feels Right.


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Show Notes

4:00 MLP Huge Player Announcement
9:30 The PPA Squeeze
14:03 $200K bonus pool
16:35 Premier League vs Challenger League
24:22 UTR Pressing the Pickleball Button
31:15 Pro player deadlines
37:55 APP and UTR only one week in
48:42 Four top players prohibited from MLP
55:02 DUPR vs UTR
23:37 APP has to move fast
1:08:44 Steve Kuhn’s proclivity to put players first
1:14:20 Rob in action this weekend in Mesa

Rob  0:00
It's like, do you say button or button? I say button, press the button. Button button. Yeah. Well, Texas boy, Georgia boy. And honestly, when people when people like, like, actually enunciate the T and words like that Like button. It just sounds ridiculous. But Right, right.

Adam Stone  0:22
Okay, another, another. That's for foreigners. There's no T H. That's very true. Like that.

Rob  0:39
feels right to be here today. lots happening with the announcements from PPA MLP, releasing details of what 2023 looks like, application deadline, December 5 for players to input their name to be eligible to be drafted. A lot of controversy kind of surrounding this announcement. A lot of players upset? I'm sure a lot of players have be what's your take on it?

Adam Stone  1:15
Yeah, it was man, do you think we'll ever be able to just like do a podcast every Tuesday or something like that, and just kind of have it smooth. I mean, the things, the things are changing so quickly, and we're jumping in for these emergency pods. And, you know, by the time some of these podcasts come out, it's they're almost irrelevant with how quickly things are changing. So yeah, this was this was quite quite a bit of information. And, unfortunately, a lot of information that just leads to more questions. So we knew that there was a big time crunch. And yeah, I mean, keeping the same timeline with the draft. And as you mentioned, December 5, deadline, there is a lot going on, and I'm not sure either entity MLP PPA or the a PP UTR new combination really completely has their their bearings and their legs underneath them quite yet for for the these two mergers and these team and tour stops for 2023.

Rob  2:31
Yeah, and I know a lot of the players are like with that December 5, deadline, a lot of players are upset at how fast it's happening and how fast they need to make a decision. And I get that, but I also understand that, you know, this merger came together very, very last minute, and the season starts, you know, in less than two months, right? So it's like, a lot of this has to happen fast and a lot of it's going to feel rushed. But I think some of the players frustrations that are that, you know, it's that there's two there's two tour cards, right? So what they what they've decided to do is go to a have a gold tour card players card, as well as a silver tier Tour players card. I don't have the email right in front of me but the gold card. All right, the Gold Card, I'll give you what I remember from it. So the gold card gets paid effectively to x, NLP prize money earnings to x PPA prize money earnings, they get appearance fees at PPAs as well as MLPs. They get they get player benefits such as rental cars, I think medical was on there, as well as Invisalign, which Invisalign. Everybody got a good chuckle out. But they are a big sponsor of the PPA, so no surprise there. And I think so the issue that I know most players have with this, this two tour card system is the fact that the silver card says you get 100% of your winnings in NLP, but it's effectively 50%. Right? If the gold standard if the gold tears getting, you know, 2x So they're getting double the pay. So you know, let's say I'm in the silver silver atom and you're in the gold, right? And we're on the same team and MLP and let's say we win, we win it, you're walking because you're in that gold tier, you're walking away with double the prize money that I am.

Adam Stone  4:37
Right, and it's as described to me that they're paying everyone the same base plate base pay, but PPA is just giving an added bonus to their gold players. So it's not technically written into the into the situation that you're getting one one team or one player is getting 100% and one's getting 50% It's Everyone's getting 100%. But there's a bonus paid out by the PPA for their gold tour members.

Rob  5:06
Right? Still effectively half though, for the silver.

Adam Stone  5:09
I mean, numbers don't lie, Robert,

Rob  5:12
I know you're a numbers guy, Adam does the numbers. That's what you do.

Adam Stone  5:16
Right. And then And then so also Rob, and that commitment with the silver tour card, you must play a minimum of five PPA tournaments. And with the gold tour card, you must play a minimum of 20 ppa tournaments. So obviously, gold tour card is full time PPA. And a lot of the issues with some players that are having is to have to play that five tournaments and also play a slate of ATP tournaments to get the appearance fees and kind of, you know, get the points that you need to get into a stipend range, it's going to be too much of a burden and too much in terms of number of tournaments in the year. And I think that that makes a lot of sense. Rob? Yeah. So

Rob  6:05
I mean, if you have to, if let's say you're in the silver tier, you're typically you know, a non sign PPA player, you have to play five PPAs, six MLPs, which is 11. And then, you know, how many APs are you gonna be able to play beyond that to actually be able to Yeah, like you mentioned, add them to, to earn enough points to where you're, you're still able to get the stipend on the tour. One thing that one thing that I think is attractive to players looking at PPA is that, you know, they in terms of appearance fees, you're you're you're basically getting a guaranteed dollar amount for the year, right. Whereas in the AP P It's based on rolling rankings, or it has been in the past, I don't, I believe it's still some, it's still on a rolling ranking system based on if you're in the state that or not, and, and that favors whoever plays the most APs. Because you have, you have the opportunity to generate a lot of points like that. So it'll be interesting to see how it plays out. I know the ABP also had a call yesterday, kind of talking about where they're at in their new partnership with UTR. We'll get into that here in a minute. But any any other thoughts Adam on MLP PPA I know it's, uh, I know, it's, it's a big deal. There's been a lot of pushback on the silver tier, and players getting half of what the gold players are going to be getting.

Adam Stone  7:33
And, you know, that that and the and the requirement because as you said, points are so important. And there is available 25 ppa tournaments total, they kind of have it tiered out with majors and some different levels. And then there's 28 PP tournaments. And then, you know, not to mention, you know, some random, you know, exhibition stuff, things like that. And then you also have the beer city open nationals and US Open as their own separate tournaments. So yeah, if you're, if you're planning on playing a full slate of API's, you're battling to get into a higher tier, and then you have the six MLPs, and the five PPAs, tacked onto that 20 that you want to play to get that volume that's 31. Not to mention, you know, possible, those three other big, big individual tournaments and some other stuff that could get squeezed in along the way. So this is a real commitment. We heard a lot about player fatigue and burning out towards the end of this year, and it doesn't really look like with what we've seen so far lined up for 2023 There's going to be any reprieve for that burnout as it's a lot of tournaments.

Rob  8:52
Yeah, it's a lot of tournaments. And I mean, my argument this year would player burnout unless you were like, even if your PBA contract I think the minimum this year was like six play you gotta play 16 PPAs or something like that. ABP there's no, there was no minimum. So a lot of the like, a lot of the players just did this to themselves, in my opinion, right? Like you. You see these tournaments on the schedule, you're like, Okay, an opportunity to go earn money to go to work. But it's, you know, when pickleball Pickleball is this new? It's hard to it's hard to put a to put a break on a tournament when when you can that's that's how you go make money in the sport right now. So yeah, I understand. But a lot of the a lot of the burnout this year, in my opinion was self inflicted. Next year, it seems like it's gonna be torn flicked,

Adam Stone  9:42
or inflicted, right. So and kinda, you know, I hate to use the word vibe, but it's just such a good word I'm gonna keep using. It's kind of it's kind of fun to throw in there. But yeah, the vibe of the MLP PPA meeting was kind of a little more TPA driven than maybe I was thinking, you know, it's a partnership, obviously, Brooks Wiley was on there. And I don't believe and was able to make the call. But it was kind of a lot of, you know, Connor kind of describing what was going to happen. And there wasn't really besides for, you know, the, the format and the name and whatever it didn't, there didn't seem to be a lot of, you know, MLP new rules for them rules coming from them coming from their side as a little back and forth, it seemed a little more lopsided towards the PPA. So I think it's important to know that basically, in this moment, I believe PBA has somewhere something around 20 or 25%, stake and MLP that these two are together, they're not really the vibe that I got separate entities working together, they are a team at this point.

Rob  10:53
Yeah, it's not MLPs running PPAs allowing players to play that kind of thing. And it seems very much driven by the PPA at this point, and, and less so by MLP. And it's interesting, because MLP has always had the ethos of you know, of non exclusivity and you know, not like allowing players to have freedom to play anything, which you know, making a five making a five PPA minimum part of this deal goes against that. But on the other hand, I do understand it from a business perspective of, you know, the PPA MLP partnership and wanting players to play PPA, of course makes sense. But it does it is in stark contrast of, of what MLP has always preached,

Adam Stone  11:38
right? Yeah, no, I agree. And it's the, you mentioned it a little bit at the beginning, when we first hit that button, but if it's kind of like the PPA squeeze, seems like they're just always wanting decisions that weird times and putting tight timelines and kind of, I don't know, trying to take advantage or stop the players from getting all the information possible, you know, a couple of those statements that I just made her a little speculative, speculative, of course, but yeah, it seems like we were just in this situation, or the players, I can't consider my one in this exact moment. At the beginning of the year was the same thing. So it was just kind of, yeah, it kind of seemed like they were they were in a rush to maybe get some people to commit to things without gathering all the information. And that, you know, that seems a little dicey. At the same time on that AP call, it didn't really give a lot of information, Rob, they, yeah, they have some new people on board, they have some new, some players with some new titles, the UTR guy jumped on there and spoke a new British guy that I can't remember his exact title, but he was very well spoken. But in terms of actual tangible information and numbers there, there wasn't a lot given. And I understand that it's been a week for UTR to be paired up with the, you know, the intersport and the HPP. Guys, so it's a very quick timeline. So you can't really expect them to have it all figured out. But but definitely they weren't willing to commit or give information. And maybe that's a good thing that they're not willing to, to make promises that they can't keep, or they have to have it all kind of trickle down and see what the situation is before giving us those figures. But it definitely left a little bit to be desired. Leaving that meeting last night.

Rob  13:35
Yeah, and they didn't mention just talking about burnout and number of tournaments kind of popping back on that train. They did mention a $200,000 bonus pool for players that for players that will play 14 A PPS sit, they have to play 14 A PPS six MLPs. So that's 20. And then, you know, as as part of the silver or gold, you have to play a minimum of five PPAs. Right. So that's, I know, to qualify for that bonus pool, you've got to play 2525 events, which I bet if we look at the if we look at player player tournament count this year, I wish we had that stat I'm sure it's somewhere. I would guess there's maybe two or three players, maybe maybe a few more, but not a lot that have played a that have played that many tournaments in this year. And now Now, you know, I know it's a bonus pool, right? So it's going to be you know, and it's split what they said it's split evenly amongst

Adam Stone  14:37
evenly, whoever whoever qualifies. So hey,

Rob  14:39
let's let's say there were five. Let's say there were five people that did it this year. I mean, you'd be splitting Well, 40k each. That's a little bonus, your bonus,

Adam Stone  14:48
a little tiny, tiny gear and bonus. And to be honest. The APB basically said that they had a they made this bonus pool when they had a strategic partnership. With MLP, and they basically said they just got undercut, and that this whole new thing just popped up in the next in the last week or 10 days, and they thought that they were all set with MLP. That's why they made the bonus pool. They're gonna continue to honor the bonus pool even though things have changed. But I thought that was very interesting that they were a little bit blindsided by the merger and how MLP just jumped on board with TPA as well. So another little wrinkle wrinkle to the story.

Rob  15:30
I mean, it's interesting why if I'm an ATP, why would I like for that bonus pool? Why would I care if if my players play MLP now, right, it's like, it's, you know, there's no alliances, there's no alliances, that mean, PPA is MLP MLP is PPA. So remove the six some of these, let's you know, call it, you know. So if you remove the MLP is you remove the PPA, so maybe players don't want to play MLP. Because we didn't talk about the premier tour. And the challenge there the Premier Division and the Challenger Division, there's going to be two separate divisions. And in this version of MLP, you'll have 12 teams in Premiere, which is kind of the top 20 For men, top 20 for women. And then you're gonna have the next the Challenger Division, which is the bottom 20 for men and women, which the pay structure or the payouts are very, very different from premier to challenge are very different. So if you're in that challenge, or towards not like, especially if you're like in that 25 to 30 range, it's not going to be very enticing to play that. Maybe it's enticing for for the bottom, like the very bottom 12 players, you know that 36 to 48 range. But for the other players, you probably have higher earning potential going elsewhere. So it's interesting to see what's happening, but I knew I was gonna sidetrack myself talking about the two divisions. What was I talking about Adam? Something would the

Adam Stone  16:56
oh, I have no idea. Thank you. I'll take credit for that. Yeah, I'll take credit.

Rob  17:05
No, but I'm saying if you know, remove the six MLPs, five PPAs for HPP make it make it I don't know 16 A PPS instead of 14. And, and ABP did mention that there would be team events with the IPP starting in q2 of 2023. Which, you know, April, it's not too far off. So I think one thing the EPP needs to do, because a lot of these players that are looking at the silver gold, PPA MLP deal are like, you know, if I if I have a better option, I might go pursue that. But if this isn't my best option, I'll do it. So, you know, I think there's an opportunity here for the ATP to to announce team events to announce, you know, to announce what that pay structure might look like. So players can actually analyze it. And I know unlike on that call, they said it's it's a little bit down the road. But if I'm a BP and UTR. And this new partnership, I am trying to figure out as fast as possible how to create a team event how to how to make the purse worthwhile to hold on to some of these players. And yeah, like removing that in the bonus pool, removing that MLP requirement, because we understand you want to be stand up and honor the commitment even though they are not. But at the same time for you gotta it's time to forge your own path. You got to do your thing.

Adam Stone  18:27
Yes. Yeah, no, I think that that's right. And that's basically what they said in the meeting is that the earliest that that could possibly happen would be quarter two, of 2023. But they didn't really give any figures or anything. So I think that that's very important that maybe I'm wrong, but I'm not sure it has to be even one to one. But it's got to be in terms of reasonable compensation. It just has to be something and reasonable. And that would really just just give those players that are that are on the on the cusp, a little nudge to go to that aipp ut UTR sign I guess we can call it that now. But yeah, after that APB call there was there was a lot of people on the on the group chat, it was basically a bunch of players in me, Rob Yeah. Yeah, there was there was 40 Plus talking about the situations talking about what should we do? Let's have you know, a stronger say as a group, whether it's male or female, and it was a very interesting call with an interesting vibe after that ATP call amongst the players. So it's it's exciting crazy times.

Rob  19:35
I wouldn't honestly say the the mood and the reaction and the vibe from the players was super positive after the ATP UTR call. It was like it just it left a lot of unanswered questions. And, you know, I think he's some people were even like, well, you know, they almost they almost did a disservice to themselves and made the PPA look more attractive with this call.

Adam Stone  19:57
Yeah. All right, Rob, and I think this is a big generalization. Yeah, no 100%? No, yeah, a big generalization, I kind of see the PPA slightly as a wool, just, let's just get them on, well, we'll kinda promise some things here and there and maybe even just make a statement and then figure it out. And I kind of got the vibe from the aipp, that they weren't really willing to commit to anything that they weren't for sure on before they got together. So while that was one, some part of that was, it was bad for the AP call, I think it kind of fits the narrative of those two entities and what a lot of people think of those two, as one being a little more business business driven, and one being a little more inclusive, and, you know, doing the right thing, which is as general as it can be, obviously, in that spot. But that that made a little sense to me with some of the patterns of behavior from the two tours and kind of the vibe of those two meetings that that we've had recently.

Rob  21:07
No, I totally agree to, and it was it was said repeatedly on the aipp UTR call is that, you know, we're playing the long game. And the long game doesn't have to be three, five years, it can be you know, can be under a year can be a year, but they're not like you said, they're gonna be trying to try to be slow and methodical with it, which is good. As a as an organization, and that's that's how you should operate, right? Like frantic, frantic and rushing stuff and making promises that you can't keep or that might change is not the way to go about it. So I totally agree with that. But I do think at the same time, that there is a high level of urgency, because there's a December 5 deadline for for players to make a decision on you know, will they commit the next two years of their lives to, to PPA, MLP? Because there is a two year commitment on on those tour cards as well. So and not only that, but there's also team exclusivity that was marked on there. So if you do team events with MLP, you cannot do team events elsewhere.

Adam Stone  22:15
Correct? Yes, that is another big factor of it, the team, the team, Team exclusivity is required even from the silver. So not not an issue for the tour situation. But for the team, possibly UTR saying they have all the software set up to do it. And they're really considering doing it. That would be the perfect example of what you are not allowed to do. But by doing that, as well. So but that's

Rob  22:40
also why they need to do something fast. And if you're gonna if you're gonna have team events, you gotta you gotta you gotta announce it, you got to make it happen. You got to run the numbers, you got to see what you can do, because you are on the verge of losing all the players that would be eligible to play that if they sign up for MLP.

Adam Stone  22:56
Right. And and Rob, maybe this is the wrong time. You can snip me if you need to. But tell me a little

Rob  23:04
bit, because it doesn't feel right to talk about it. And it

Adam Stone  23:06
does. It does feel good to talk about. Okay, I want to talk a little bit about UTR and duper. Yeah. So I believe the background is is that duper goes basically off what the UTR algorithm is. And they have several people that used to work for UTR that are now working for Dooper. So duper is definitely the smaller company of the two UTR very engrained and the tennis and the club, tennis club scene around the nation. I think they threw something out like 10,000 or something like that. And a lot of those clubs are transitioning to pickleball. And I also hear that UTR has some very legit software, and some really good stuff for you know, not only for the clubs, but also for running tournaments as well as this correct.

Rob  23:56
Yeah, absolutely. Right. So it's a bit of it's a much easier, simpler interface than pickleball tournaments to run tournaments. And it's why it's why they've grown so fast, is you know, they've got I don't remember what the number is, it's a silly number of how many tournaments they're running across, or how many people are running tournaments on their software across the world on any given month. It's a ridiculous number. And Pete, some people might look at UTR is like, Okay, well, you're late to the game. How does this make any sense? I don't Well, one, I think Pickleball is still so early. You know, if we're if we're like it's it's easy to get lost in the in the micro right of like all this stuff happening. It seems like, you know, it's come so far in a year, if we're looking macro picture of pickleball like it's it's early days, I mean, this is still so early in the pro landscape. Where I don't think I don't think they're necessarily late at all. I think they actually have a huge advantage in some respects to like you mentioned Adam being in so many different tennis clubs throughout the country throughout the world, where they already run the UTR software that universal tennis software. or where all they have to do if they want to run pickleball events is click the pickleball button and go through the pickleball interface versus, versus, you know, trying to trying to get on boarded with duper, which is can be a little cumbersome is what I've heard it just Yeah, I mean, it makes a lot of sense. They're already in all of these clubs that are transitioning to pickleball if not, now, they will transition to pickleball eventually, because the demand is going to be there. So, you know, while while Dooper is going out and trying to you know, get clubs on board, like we heard the big lifetime announcement, you know, lifetime, Lifetime Fitness uses, uses UTR, for tennis, you know, they announced using duper, for pickleball UTR is and a lot of these facilities throughout the country already. And if all these facilities have to do is go on their UTR interface and click pickleball versus, you know, onboarding a different company with duper, you know, ease of getting started is much, much simpler through UTR.

Adam Stone  25:59
I like convenience, Robert?

Rob  26:01
Yeah, most people would do path of least resistance.

Adam Stone  26:04
Mm hmm. So, yeah, very, very interesting stuff. And you're right, there was several mentions of long game, which which is good is good. But they're needed, I think there does need to be a little sense of a sense of urgency, maybe not on the whole entire aipp UTR package, but at least something hence, maybe a team event or something that they can give, give the players that's tangible. Because like I said, on that call, there was a lot of players, there was 50 4050 Plus, you know, players that had not made a decision yet. So you know, that that's powerful. And yeah, it's crazy times crazy times.

Rob  26:45
Yeah. And we'll see, like, there's, there might be a big contingency of players that don't, that don't put their name in for the MLB draft until, you know, I know, there's a big push to get rid of that silver to get rid of that silver tier, so everybody gets paid equally, in terms of prize money, right. So, you know, kind of comparisons are interesting. It's like, you know, it's it's similar to you playing a US Open final, or what I'm trying to think of different comparisons in, in, in sports, where there might be different, you might have a different salary, right? Because you're, you're a better player, and you're paid more. But for winning for winning the US Open, one player is not going to get paid double the other player, you know, if you both win. So it's interesting in terms of in the way they're making it as like, well, you're getting paid the same, but PPA is going to, you know, bonus, yeah, bonus that and but PP MLP are the same organization. And they probably they probably, you know, they fudge that a little bit, right? Because if they didn't, if they just talked to gold contracted players, and mentioned that in negotiations with them, whole different ballgame, versus like publicizing it and making it known, you know, if they would have just said in that email that, you know, players get paid the same. And then in these, in these gold contract negotiations with players individually, you can be like, Oh, by the way, if you're in this tier, we're going to we're going to match your earnings, you know, for MLP little kind of under the table below the radar, way less push

Adam Stone  28:16
shocking transparency from the PPA.

Rob  28:20
So yeah, we will probably unintentional, right? Because yeah. Now everybody's pissed.

Adam Stone  28:26
It just works out. Yeah, we're just worked out that way. Yeah, yeah. And, man, big. I mean, too quick. I mean, I believe they moved up the meeting to Saturday, they were going to have it either today or Tuesday, they moved it up to Saturday, then had the ABP meeting then had you know, the players that hadn't signed have their own little their little battle. So this might be the most intense and amount of time information that we've had yet. Which is, which is wild to say on December 5. I mean, that is creep in real real hard and there's still a lot to be done.

Rob  29:03
Well, look at him this this past week was Thanksgiving, this next week. All these players are either Mesa or Orlando playing right. Yeah. Nice APB so it's like nobody's really spending time crunching numbers and like, you know, working on these decisions or preparing for this tournament and going to play it and then once that tournaments done, what's up what you're doing, you know, yeah, how

Adam Stone  29:24
many days are in this month? I don't know. What November 3030. So okay, yeah. So it'll be okay. So you have until the a week from today. Yeah, you have until the following Monday. So, I mean, yeah, there is a lot more going on with the two tournaments, but everyone's going to be chatting as well. And it's gonna, it'll definitely be a hot topic of conversation in between matches. So hopefully, everyone can just get as much information as they can about both situations and make the right the right decision for themselves. But it's tough. It's tough. I I mean, I'm very much less involved, this is probably going to ripple affect me in some way shape or form. But But I remember how tough it was when you just got blasted with some information at the beginning of the year. And then a couple days letter later, there's a rebuttal. It's even if you're very in the know, and you're you know, you have a lot of outlets, you can go to and talk to people and get information. And still, it's still really crazy when it all happens, especially when it's when it when it kind of springs on you quickly, and you and you have a deadline. So it can be very overwhelming overwhelming for everyone. And these players and all you guys and I, you know, I feel for people because it's, it's tough to, you know, wipe out all the gray area and the cloudiness and just get the real facts and make the proper decision.

Rob  30:45
Yeah, and it makes logistics hard. Like maybe maybe listeners, and viewers don't really understand kind of like the behind the scenes logistics of, of how we kind of get ready for a year as players. But we're we're setting up our schedules, you know, over a year in advance. And many times when, you know, once the once we get wind of what the schedule is for the tours and leagues will be for the following year, I mean, we're pretty much are pretty much reaching out to partners trying to lock that down, which tournaments we're gonna play, which tours, which leagues, all that stuff. And, you know, there might be some AP players that we're planning on playing all AP next year that Take That gold card, which is you know, now you have to basically scratch all AP tournaments and partners that you have lined up and, and, you know, now do that for the PPA and find new partners and, and to hold your schedule. So there's I mean, there's a lot of ripples with, with just stuff happening this late in the game for players, it makes it really, really difficult to schedule plan, stick to your commitments with partners, just because it's so fluid and so much is changing. At the very last minute, I mean, we're talking it's, you know, we're about to be December and, and there's so much up in the air for 2023. Like we could we could fast forward to January and we could like we could have a very different landscape of what's happening, you know, there could be a BP UTR a new league, pro team league, we don't know, it's,

Adam Stone  32:11
it's wild, it is kind of rattling, I agree having your ducks in a row is important. Even for me, someone who, you know, isn't the best scheduler, I remember how important it was when you got you got everything lined up, maybe you have, you're gonna make a couple practice runs as you travel and practice. And when it's all set up and smooth. I mean, I was considering putting my name in the draft because I'm not 100% sure that the commentary is going to work, especially when you have all this business, this business involved. So I was a little worried about it. And I was going to start my preparation right now two months before the first event and I didn't even have to deal with partners because I'm not playing I wasn't gonna play the tours. So I was I was having a lead up, I was gonna have a progression to where I wanted to be physically before the tournament. So not to have not to have that is definitely something that a lot of these guys are big into routines and they're really into their their practice their drilling their their their whatever their off court stuff. And when things are still unsettled mentally it can kind of leak over to somebody that physical preparation as well.

Rob  33:17
No 100% And it ties into kind of some of the mental and the mental hardships and the anxiety that you talked about. Like it's especially when you have to make, you know, pretty big decisions career decisions in such a short timeframe. Right. It's like it's, you know,

Adam Stone  33:36
it can wear on you during the year when you realize that you might have made the wrong decision. Yeah, you make you made that decision in a tight window and then you're seeing something else change and then you're in you know, the night before the tournament you're you're you know, you're thinking about it, you just talk to your buddy who had new information. And if you think that doesn't leak over doesn't affect you a couple of percentage points on your performance in the tournament, then you're you're crazy. You know, no, no, maybe some look like robots, but no real robots out here. So just just people playing pickleball and all these things are a factor. Oh, Robert, I wanted to mention one thing as well. So you know, I'm not a guy that likes to toot my own horn we've established but hey, correct I ever every one of these pods I mentioned a little something about team coach and G and GM. And I got a little nibble I won't be talking about I won't be talking about which team or or any of the conversations I've had but I got a little nibble on that team coach, GM aspect of the MLP and so hey, if you're listening out there team owners get at me I'm one of the only guys that's retired that everyone else is still playing I'm I got a little value in this small window here. Robert get at me. Get at me

Rob  34:51
hot hot commodity. That's right. Well, as I always say, Adam, any team would be lucky to Have you and it's a shame that more than one can't have you. Or can they? One challenge? One challenge one Premier, or There you go. Or maybe you're a coach for a new ATP UTR team or maybe you're a coach for OPA MLP. Who knows the options or like you're in a good spot, Adam, I really like a spy.

Adam Stone  35:22
I can always count on you to just pile on F after I toot my own horn.

Rob  35:27
I'm not playing along. I'm really stoked for you. I think I think you're well positioned in this in this business of pickleball your high end content creator and influencer and I think I think you're gonna change the game, Adam.

Adam Stone  35:38
Yeah, that's go Robert. My hype man. I love that. That's good stuff. I wouldn't say if I didn't believe it. Robert, do you have anything else you would like to discuss on this podcast?

Rob  35:47
We've got A's anything else feel? I mean, what's it let's just just, ya know, yeah, talk about UTR for a second. So you know, I've actually got a good buddy that that works there. Buddy Chase Hodges. He was the he was the head tennis coach at Georgia. Gwinnett. For a long time, I was his. He was my coach in college. I was his assistant coach. He was the head coach. I was assistant coach at Georgia State University and Drake University in Iowa. And I live with him for a little bit. I helped when when we were in Iowa, Gabby, his she was I think one at the time. It would be me chase and Gabby. Gabby's mom chasing her we're going through separation. And so I went I lived with Chase. It was me, him and Gabby, the one year old, it was Two Men and a Baby great times. It was awesome. We go to restaurants, and it would just be like us sitting there at IHOP. And she's launching pancakes against the wall. And we're just like, don't know how to handle this. Don't know what to do. This baby's out of control. But it's never fun. But anyway, so Chase, Chase, Chase, Chase eventually took a job at Georgia Gwinnett College in Atlanta, and a high school and became the I think the winningest coach and college sports history. Maybe the longest win streak like he won like some silly number of national championships on the men's and women's side of the of tennis for for a long time had a I think had the longest winning streak in college history and all sports. But anyway, so left that got bored, said this was too easy. I need a new challenge and got hired by Universal tennis. So he's a VP over at UTR. Now, good dude, been talking to him a little bit about their their entry into into pickleball. But I think looking at UTR, like I said, they're already really entrenched into the into the tennis world and have so many facilities and clubs on board that it's an easy transition for clubs to add pickleball it'll be interesting to see how their ratings look out of the gate, right? Because they've got their own algorithm, tubers created their own algorithm. UTR obviously has been around for much longer, and probably has it dialed maybe a little bit more, especially on the Tennessee, but we'll see how that transfers over to pickleball. Because I mean, Adam, you and I will be able to look at kind of their top 50, you know, of their of their UTR ratings for pickleball. And we'll be able to see how accurate is or not. And I think that'll be pretty fascinating.

Adam Stone  38:17
Yeah, no, definitely, with the Dooper being the younger of the two companies, but having the more of a sample size for pickleball. So is this something that, you know, UTR leapfrogs, in a short period of time? Or is it kind of more of a longer process to get to that point and then possibly surpass? I'm not sure. Well,

Rob  38:39
they're in terms of data, they're going to have the same data? I mean, I'm sure I think, Okay, super did the same. They went, they went back retro, and pull it all the results, you know, I'm sure UTR is doing the same. So they're gonna have they're gonna have significant data, it's just going to be a matter of I think, you know, I don't know how they're doing it. Like I know, duper combines gender and mixed, then they have a separate singles rating. So we'll see it, we'll see how do we'll see how UTR does it because I'm not sure how they'll be doing the gender versus mix. But it'll be interesting to see. Yeah,

Adam Stone  39:12
and yeah, I mean, that they said that they had a crazy amount of kind of email database with with 3 million, not just not just clubs, but individual people. And I think it was that number and it was consistent users or there was some, you know, baseline requirement, you know, not some people that are just popping on there every now and then. So, a pretty a pretty serious database list. And I know that those that's a big deal. I think it's been a big deal for you know, some of the whatever pickleball central some of the bigger distributors is also so having that that email list and that database, I know it's a big deal, especially, you know, for a rating system. So lots of tools in place. So we're We're gonna have to see moving forward, you know if those tools turn into product and and a great product for the pickleball community or hopefully they don't just stay tools and you know, don't transition, as well as we're hoping but either way exciting times.

Rob  40:16
Yeah. And I would imagine though, though, they'll have to create like, a branch off, right? Because I don't think they'll want to have, you know, universal tennis representing pickleball. Always, maybe maybe to get started in the space, but I think they'll they'll probably branch out to have their own branding for pickleball. Whatever it may be.

Adam Stone  40:36
Yeah, and none of these partnerships are very long. But UTR It's been one week, I think it's been, what, two weeks or a little bit more maybe, like 17 days or something since the MLP. vibe. I mean, so this is so crazy, isn't it? Yes, it's wild. That, that that's the case, that with the amount of days and in preparation that these two entities were able to come up with. So you have to you have to cut them some slack. But at the same time, as we said, it's it's decision point for a lot of these players, and you gotta have, you gotta have, you know, some hopes and dreams. But you gotta have something a little tangible as well. If you can balance that out, then that's great. But if you can't, it's going to be trouble for somebody.

Rob  41:21
Yeah, Adam, if you could, if you look forward six months, how do you see the landscape?

Adam Stone  41:27
Six months, which is Gosh, darn eternity,

Rob  41:30
very long time. And so? Yeah, I

Adam Stone  41:33
don't know. And, of course, your best guess this, the best guess is, I would say that, I will say that the players that some of the players kind of take a little bit of a stand. And either we get that requirement of five PPAs taken off, or or UTR and ABP come up with at least something tangible for a team events, even if it's in the second half of 2023. So that's, that's what I would say I would say one of those things happens they either drop the five, the five requirements, or UTR comes up with something in the nick of time, a PP. UTR comes with something in the nick of time, and it's a little more balanced and still fragmented.

Rob  42:18
And if if they don't drop the five PPA requirements from the silver card, what do you see happening? Um, I think some players will still will still apply and go for it. Right. But yes, I the vibe I get from some of our chats are like people are pretty staunch against it.

Adam Stone  42:40
Yeah, I know. I know. So, but to the point where

Rob  42:42
the players not just they just wouldn't play. Yeah,

Adam Stone  42:45
it's so hard. It's so hard to say. Because I remember that it was just like I was I was set. And then you get a little piece of information, like you get FOMO you know, you get FOMO. I was like, Ooh, they did this. They did that. And then you know, it's a big a big vibe of the of the chats with the players too, is, you know, getting stuff in writing. Yeah, having something actually tangible actually written down, actually, you can see what's happening as opposed to, you know, hopes, hopes and dreams, you know, sign that thing, and then hope they come through on their on their side of it. So I think that that's a big factor as well. And we've heard a lot about that, you know, from the player pool, you know, wanting to have something in place, as opposed to it just being verbal.

Rob  43:34
Yeah, I mean, I don't I don't think anybody's really seen much in writing yet.

Adam Stone  43:40
Right. And and I think that was kind of funny at the end of the aipp meeting last night. It kind of ended slightly weird, because I think, I think the rivals were on the call. So I think that the HPP UTR team said something about that. The MLP PPA team invited them to be on the call as well. They declined they didn't think it was right. But then some of the the PPA MLP higher ups were actually on the call the HPP call. So it was yeah, I'm not sure. Not sure exactly what happened. But it was a little bit weird at the end, and then they kind of suggested to get with us individually and have a back and forth about your specific questions as opposed to the entire group. So it was it was kind of a funny end to the meeting last night.

Rob  44:27
Yeah, no, I know. Some players still had some questions and then it kind of Yeah, it ended quite abruptly.

Adam Stone  44:33
It did it did. So hopefully those things got cleared up individually and maybe they sent out a personal message saying get with us tomorrow. It was a weird vibe with with you know possible rivals on the call. So yeah, just it's a shitstorm it. Let's be clear. That was my first curse of this 45 minutes. Well done. With everything going on to hold it in that long. I'm proud of myself.

Rob  45:00
Mama's proud to Yeah,

Adam Stone  45:01
there you go while I waited 45 minutes

Rob  45:06
What else we got out of anything else we want to cover? Do we want to cover preview? I don't really care.

Adam Stone  45:10
No, I just I wrote down some light notes. And let's, I'll just say a general statement. It looks pretty fragmented. There's quite a few top AP players playing and, and Mesa and the PPA players are playing on Orlando, and I was hoping we'd get a little more of a combination to possibly, you know, see some of those more, the matchups we want to see, but it looks like it's pretty chalky and pretty standard with the aipp players go into Mesa and the PPA player staying in Orlando. So that's kind of sad. But that's all I'm gonna say about it.

Rob  45:41
Which is interesting, because I looked at when when we last recorded the pod. I saw a lot of the AP players signed up for the Orlando one and they must have they must have switched over to Mesa so even even some of the events a lot of the Florida guys.

Adam Stone  45:53
Yeah, exactly. I mean, that's, that's a big deal. That's that travel of cross country is a big

Rob  45:58
deal. So versus a drive to Orlando. Yeah, it's a big deal.

Adam Stone  46:01
Yeah. People people setting up their their stipend and their appearance viewpoints for next year. Yeah, it's, it's, it's a big deal. Especially if you know, a couple of people trickle over or possibly sign that's gonna put a nice opportunity for a lot of a lot of the AP people who, yeah, I'm gonna have to revisit some of the like the chart with the AP payouts and stipends it's been it's been a few weeks of that, and they didn't bring that back up in the meeting. But we obviously have that. So I'm gonna have to go back through and check that out and kind of see exactly how the financials line up, especially with the Premier and the secondary challenger League, and Epp and see how it all lines up. It might not be as drastic, it was kind of labeled, you know, get it now with the PPA and and more of a long game with with AVP and UTR. And you know, I got to see the numbers. Maybe Maybe that's not exactly the case. When it comes to certain level of players.

Rob  47:01
So yeah, no, 100% I think we should I think running the numbers would be really interesting. We should do that.

Adam Stone  47:07
Yeah, that would be good. Unfortunately, not going to happen today. But hey, we're not we're doing a pot. We're doing a pot every 48 hours. So what the hell? In a couple of days? Yeah. Well, I mean, something's gonna happen this week. It almost has to it almost has to even if it's not, you know, the complete major thing that we might get 24 or 48 hours before the deadline does something something's gonna pop out in the next couple of days. So we'll be talking about it.

Rob  47:33
Yeah. And the fun stuff, Adam, is that you're going to be in Hawaii in a couple of weeks and we'll be able to record a pot in person.

Adam Stone  47:40
Yes, that's right. pod in person on the island. Excited for that. It'll be there about 10 days I think so a couple with you and then a couple with hopefully no people around at all just relaxing sipping. What do people sit my ties are pina colada has a big one here. Okay. Either one. Sounds good with me. So. All right, Robert, always always good. Jumping on with you, buddy. Hopefully, hopefully we cleared a couple of things up even though I know we didn't clear up all of it because that's not possible at this point. So little info for the junkies and will I'm sure we'll see you in a couple of days right back on here.

Rob  48:23
Yeah, if anything big gets released. We'll we'll do an emergency pod because people like the emergency pod Adam, I've come to find

Adam Stone  48:29
the pod emergency pod. We went over our allotted time for the emergency pod but I think it felt right to do so. So why didn't I do it didn't

Rob  48:37
end it. Bye

Unknown Speaker  48:38

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