Our top player predictions. Baiting your opponent. Love on the court.
It happened again. While you were binging football or fútbol, the pickleball world was busy cutting deals.
Remember the MLP-PPA Tour gold card we mentioned a couple of issues back? Over the weekend, it became the must have accessory for an overwhelming majority of pickleball pros.
This new wave of player exclusivity could be the massive blow that ends the tour wars once and for all.
Quick (and random) Notes
- If the wrong score is called, any player or referee can stop play before the return-of-serve to correct it and then restart the point. But if you stop play and the score was actually correct, it's a fault
- Nike released its first batch of pickleball clothing...here they come
- Dead Paddles: they exist. Dead paddles can subtly and negatively impact your game (less power on drives, frequent dinks into the net), but sometimes they're tough to identify. Hit a few shots with your backup (you should always have one), or maybe your friend's paddle, and see if you notice a difference in the pop
Let's dive in!
Have You Tried a Bait Ball?
Tired of getting beat up by the quick hands of your opponents? Flip the script on them by removing the element of surprise.
At the 4.0 level, players often unintentionally leave dinks high, opening the door to surprise speedups and putaways.
You think your dink is safe, even offensive; then before you know it, your partner is sporting another pickleball-shaped bruise. Get ahead of the attack by intentionally leaving a dink high for your opponent.
Feed a bait ball selectively to their backhand, then load up for the counterattack. Force them to attack.
For most players, the backhand attack off the bounce is not their strong suit. Give them something that is too good to be true, then see if they can beat you with their backhand.
Riley Newman uses this tactic to stack up pancake putaways and assert his hand speed dominance. Add it to your repertoire and start playing chess out there.
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!
Love is on the Court
By now, you know that the pickleball court is the best place to find a partner. We're not talking doubles, we're talking life. More and more relationships are having their meet-cute moments with a paddle in-hand.
We want give a shout-out, a congratulations, a mazel, to two of our own.
MLP fan-favorite and pro veteran Altaf Merchant popped the question to amateur US Open gold medalist Ashley Craig last week while at a private concert featuring Rascal Flatts. These two met on the court, and like many others, have found love through pickleball.
Gold Cards All Around
Last month's unveiling of the MLP-PPA Tour gold cards was met with mixed reviews. The enticing incentive of 2X prize money and appearance fees would come at the cost of tour exclusivity.
Over the weekend, the PPA started announcing players, and the list is longer than a CVS Pharmacy receipt. The expected PPA-contracted players including Anna Leigh Waters and Ben Johns are in, but a surprising number of the APP faithful have also crossed over.
We're talking Dekel Bar, Zane Navratil, Anna Bright and more. Two names that we have not seen pick up their gold cards are JW Johnson and Dylan Frazier. If you recall, Frazier and Johnson famously defected to the short-lived VIBE league, likely influencing the MLP-VIBE merger.
With everyone jumping ship, the duo might have just orchestrated a way for them to clean up on the APP Tour next year.
We will find out more throughout the week as the MLP Premier League Draft goes down today. The results will be revealed Dec. 15 on the Tennis Channel at 9pm ET.
A massive player pool makes this draft the most interesting in MLP history. Players that have been divided by the tour wars will be compared and selected to create cohesive teams and battle for a championship.
We expect the Top 5 will look a little something like this:
1) Anna Leigh Waters 2) Ben Johns 3) JW Johnson 4) Anna Bright 5) Catherine Parenteau
Oh and that's not all
- MLP also released a statement this morning naming Brian Levine as interim CEO responsible for building out the executive team.
- The statement also amended the MLP schedule adding Pictona in Holly Hill as the location of the Mar 23-26.
- Parris Todd still not listed as draft eligible
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.
Step Aside, Pickleball
It seems the world is more receptive to niche sports than ever before. Just take a look at padel (pronounced puh-dell).
A cousin of tennis and pickleball, padel is played in a glass cage that the ball may bounce off of and players may even exit mid-point to cover errant shots. Already popular in Brazil and Europe, the game recently touched down in Brooklyn, NY with a dedicated facility.
But you have to wonder if that would have been possible without pickleball. We all know that one relative or colleague who’s said something like, “I didn’t even know about pickleball a few months ago; now it’s everywhere.”
More money being poured into pickleball acts as case-in-point for other niche sports seeking footholds in the US. You’re welcome, Padel.
Tuesday Night Pickleball is Back
Live from The Orchard in Scottsdale, AZ, four of the PPA Tour's most electric competitors will face off in Tuesday Night Pickleball.
This week, the stakes are even higher. The winning team will walk away with a massive $10K payout. Not a bad day's work. Attend in person or stream online Dec 13 at 8pm ET on PPA TV.
We all want more energy without the jitters, sketchy ingredients, or sugar lows. Organifi Red Juice will keep you moving with powerful adaptogens.
First off, Red Juice doesn't contain any caffeine - and it doesn't need any. An organic fruit blend packed with ginseng and cordyceps provides energy support when you need it without keeping you up at night. Research-backed delicious superfoods support pickleball performance.
And, each glass of Red Juice only contains 2 grams of natural sugar for sustainable energy - no sugar crash mid-meeting or mid-game!
Best of all, Red Juice tastes amazing! Like a healthier fruit punch, bursting with berry flavor...Oh yeah, did we mention it's 100% organic?
Our pickleball community loves Organifi's products and enjoys the performance benefits on the court.
Headlines & Quick Hits
- US Open champ weighs in on pickleball — and why she's sticking with tennis
- How pickleball took over - YouTube
- Pickleball no longer allowed at Seravalli Playground
- More courts in more locations, find them in the app
- Absolutely lethal backhands
- Count 'em if you can
- This point is pure poetry
- Don't leave him hanging