Top pros trade teams. Controversial courts in Portland. The New Way to Network.
Imagine yourself pitching the concept of pickleball on ABC's Shark Tank. It's an easy sell.
- Fastest growing sport in America (market opportunity)
- An activity that builds communities and brings people together (good cause)
- Nearly everyone who picks up a paddle, never puts it down (stickiness)
Well, one shark has decided to bite. The newly launched and PPA-backed VIBE Pickleball League announced yesterday that Mark Cuban is the first team owner. They also released further detail as to what exactly VIBE is.
This of course is only one piece of the increasingly complex pro pickleball puzzle.
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Let's dive in!
Consistency Wins Over ATPs & Ernes
The thrill of hitting your first ATP… the excitement of connecting on an erne… these critical shots compose the highlight reels in our minds. But pro Dave Weinbach reminds us that these aren’t the true match-winners.
“Consistency of hitting unattackable shots, both on the dinks and the third shot drops, that’s number one” he says on the Eddie and Webby show.
In pickleball, the best players aren’t the ones hitting spectacular winners. The best players are those with the least unforced errors.
This is true at any level of play. So while we’re seeing ernes and ATPs from pros dominate the pickleball media sphere (that's on us, guilty as charged), we also have to keep in mind that it’s possible to defeat almost any opponent with consistent, unattackable shots…
…and a little offensive know-how. Dave adds that those who can force their opponents into error tend to win more matches.
“Make life miserable for your opponents, that’s how you consistently win in this sport.”
Overheard in a clinic: Mindset wins matches, particularly at 4.5 and below. You can simply outlast your opponent by playing a balanced, sound game and reducing unforced errors. You don't need to hit winners, just avoid losers. Let them make the mistakes.
Check out the best drill for developing touch here.
You need a morning boost, and organifi’s green juice is here to give it to you.
Specifics? We gotchu. Green Juice contains KSM-66 ashwagandha, an extract that’s proven effective in lowering cortisol levels. High cortisol levels lead to vibe (how topical) killers such as brain fog, fatigue, and poor sleep.
Green Juice is packed with adaptogenic superfoods—ingredients that fight the harmful effects of stress and keep you at a cool 10/10.
Best of all, Green Juice is delicious. Just mix with water and let the “minty matcha” flavor launch you into a clearer, calmer, more energized day.
Mark Cuban Buys Into the VIBE Pickleball League
The VIBE Pickleball League officially announced its launch yesterday, providing details of its structure and overall plan. Most notably, they named billionaire entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is the league's first team owner.
"Just like millions of other Americans, I’ve been following pickleball over the past few years, and I couldn’t pass up the chance to invest in the fastest growing game in the country.” - Cubes
VIBE Pickleball is a six team league that will debut in February 2023. The league is endorsed by the PPA Tour and will include the majority of the PPA roster such as Ben Johns and Anna Leigh Waters. The league has also signed the #1 men's draft pick from MLP, JW Johnson and Dylan Frazier.
The gauntlet has been officially thrown down in the billionaire shootout for the future of pickleball. One Dink Editor took to Twitter to craft what's been dubbed the 'Definitive Tour Wars Breakdown,' so for those who have had trouble keeping up with all of the drama...
Even Mark Cuban himself enjoyed the breakdown, evidenced by the fact that he followed both Thomas and The Dink! Howdy, Mark.
The New Way to Network
Pickleball has long been touted as a social game. Now those social connections are being turned into business connections. At courts all over the country, business is conducted at the pickleball court.
Fortune.com covers how pickleball has become a go-to networking opportunity for some. You can meet a ton of people in almost no time at the pickleball court. And instead of five hours on the golf course, a typical pickleball outing is about two hours.
Specialized networking events are even arranged to capitalize on the trend. Who wants to stand around a conference center handing out business cards when you can be out on the court having fun and making a real connection?
Contested Courts in Portland
While we love to see new pickleball courts built, there’s some controversy bubbling around an upcoming build in Portland, Oregon.
A homeless encampment at Laurelhurst Park was recently cleared to make room for some courts, a skate ramp, and other amenities. While the mayor hopes this will create recreational space for residents, others call it a blatant disregard for both the safety of the homeless who sheltered there and the problem of homelessness in the region.
The Mayor’s office told the press that the people who were camping on the grounds were provided a week’s notice, as well as sheltering and storage opportunities elsewhere.
Meanwhile, the Portland Mercury reports that those same individuals were targeted in harassment and camp sweeps in recent years. One unidentified camper told the Mercury it was the second time in two months they’d been moved.
The Dink isn’t qualified to comment on local politics, but perhaps a charitable tournament could be held at those courts once they’re completed.
PPA Texas Open Singles Recap
It was a war of attrition in the men's singles field at the PPA Texas Open. Double digit seeds were taking out players left and right. Ultimately, the tour's top dogs Ben Johns and Tyson McGuffin survived the chaos and will face off for gold on Championship Sunday.
- Christian Alshon pushed Johns to three games in the semifinal but could not complete the upset. Just last spring, Alshon led U Chicago tennis to a D3 national championship. Some are calling him 'the most hyped man in pickleball.'
- Former Venezuelan tennis pro and Davis Cup competitor Jhonnatan Medina Alvarez brought a unique style to the Championship Court and advanced to the quarterfinals
- Brandon Lane also made a quarterfinal run as the 45 seed, upsetting Dylan Frazier
- Pablo Tellez ended Jay Devilliers' day and earned a spot in the semifinals
The seven seed, Julian Arnold, finished in third. He powered through the back draw and out-swaggered Gabriel Joseph in a bronze medal match that needed to be televised.
In women's singles, Lea Jansen took out her doubles partner Catherine Parenteau in a strenuous three game semifinal. Jansen will take on Anna Leigh Waters on Championship Sunday.
Waters started her day with 31 unanswered points but struggled after the hot streak. She went to three games against Anna Bright in the quarterfinals and with Salome Devidze in the semifinals.
The weekend's action starts at 11:00 am EST each day., stream it live on PPATV.
Headlines & Quick Hits
- $70M Raleigh pickleball facility comes with big-name investors
- WNBA’s Chiney Ogwumike co-founds org empowering women pickleball players
- Patriots players host pickleball tournament for military members
- Steven Colbert's 'Pickled' TV special gets first look
- Threading that needle
- The world needs more pickle-dads
- You hate to see the point end like this
- Tucked in shirt = more hang time
New lights, who dis? A second set of lights was installed to illuminate these courts. The owner wisely installed two courts so no one has to wait for a game.