Barstool Sports called him the most "Electrifying Man in Sports", he has the most Instagram followers of any pro and he's slowly building his own media empire.
On today's agenda:
- New names to learn from the APP Sacramento Open
- Pickleball provides an outlet for a divorcee
- Team pickleball, coming to a court near you
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APP Sacramento Open
The Backhand Roll
You won't find this roll at Cinnabon, but it's just as sweet.
Ben Johns' backhand roll is the best in the game. It has helped build his pickleball legacy. Despite its fame, he still manages to catch people off guard with the roll down the line. Johns has a number of videos that explain the roll.
The roll is most commonly seen as a volley. It is frequently used to keep opponents back as they attempt to transition forward or as a speedup technique at NVZ, but its applications are endless. Execute it correctly, and it can be deadly.
But what makes it so effective? It helps to improve accuracy, particularly for backhand volleys. The increased RPMs allow for a more full swing and increased power, relative to a tennis punch-volley, which most players default to. Extra spin prevents the ball from sailing long.
The swing path is visually confusing, making it difficult for opponents to react appropriately. The paddle dips low (if you're like Ben Johns, it's completely inverted), the swing path is low-to-high and the ball's trajectory can be toward their feet, into their body, down-the-line or eventually, you can use the backswing for your lobs.
As a side note: it should be your goal use the same backswing to conceal your shots as much as possible. Johns stresses some key components when teaching the roll:
- Start with a low stance and paddle position. The swing path is low to high which is tough to do, if you don't start low. The paddle needs to be below the ball before contact.
- Limit wrist movement, your wrist is not the key to generating spin. More wrist movement = more errors.
- Swing at a 45° angle and brush up the back side of the ball to generate spin.
Sounds pretty easy, thanks Ben. Now watch me dump the next 5 into the net.
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Pickleball After Divorce
For one divorcee in the Bay Area, pickleball was the perfect remedy for a broken heart. Newsweek covered the story of KT Ryan who found pickleball shortly after her divorce.
She could hear the familiar thwack-thwack of pickleball from her office window and decided to check it out. Ryan recalled her first day on the court "Pickleball was the first time I could really get out of my noisy head and live in the present. Screw meditation! I left that first day red-cheeked and smiling."
The struggle in her personal life left Ryan with a desire to hit something, HARD. The plastic ball was the perfect answer. Similarly, Major League Pickleball owner and renowned speaker, Brené Brown, notes mindfulness as her favorite part of pickleball. In an IG post last year she explained "The court might be the only place in the world I'm fully in the now."
For Ryan, like so many others, pickleball has been more than just a gym class game. It has helped her overcome a personal struggle and add value to her life.
APP Sacramento Recap
It was a weekend of firsts at the APP Sacramento Open! Six first-time pro medalists and three new gold medalists put on a show in California’s capital. Maggie Brascia led the way with double gold and Big H (Hayden Patriquin) finally found what he had been searching for.
- Connor Garnett finished with double silver in his first pro tournament ever
- DJ Young and Anna Bright led the APP-regulars with two medals each
- Top-3 senior pro Beth Bellamy took bronze in 19+ women’s pro doubles
Brascia was all defense and consistently set up her partner Patriquin in mixed doubles on Friday, as they battled back to double dip against the one seeds and favorites Young and Bright. With his snappy forehands, quick attacks and agility, Patriquin showed that his game has really come full circle.
Then Brascia completely changed her game for women’s doubles on Saturday, taking control with her forehand in the middle. Alongside her sister Mary, they beat the two seed, Susannah Barr and Lina Padegimaite, in the winner's bracket and in the finals.
In his first pro tournament, Garnett (former Santa Clara tennis) showed glimpses of the evolution of men’s doubles with relentless attacks that led to a silver medal, with another first-time medalist, Derek Shearer. They ultimately came up a little short to Young and Mario Barrientos in the gold medal match.
Garnett then suited up on Sunday and took another silver in men’s singles. However, that day was owned by Kyle Lewis, who got his first pro gold medal. Lewis also won bronze in singles at the APP So Cal Classic back in June.
The APP Tour never sleeps. They are back in action this weekend with a Next-Gen event in Texas.
Look good. Play better.
Vulcan Pickleball has a full line of pickleball gear—paddles and backpacks, to nets, training gear, overgrips, and more. From beginners to Pros, Vulcan gear enhances your play with advanced technology and game-changing style.
Everyone's favorite website pickleballtournaments.com (pt.com) might soon be a relic of the game. The merger of pt.com and pickleballbrackets.com was announced earlier this month. The merger comes just before the mysterious launch date of pickleball.com, 10.5.22, the day before the PPA Championships in Las Vegas.
Tom Dundon's famous pickleball purchase in December included the game's most widely used registration website pickleballtournaments.com. Most anticipated a change to the website to accompany the purchase.
Tournament directors now report not being able to create any new tournaments in pt.com. It has been suggested that all new tournaments will be run through pickleball.com which will incorporate the user experience of pickleballbrackets.com and the data of pickleballtournaments.com.
While the details have not been announced, it appears the old pt.com will soon be sitting in the historical wing of the hall of fame next to the wooden paddle.
Three formats, limitless fun.
Team Leagues is a chance to play MLP style four-game matchups all year long culminating in a 2023 National Championship. The DUPR Draft series lets you sign up as an individual for round robin qualifying into your Club Championship over a season. DUPR Flex Leagues allows you and a partner to schedule your matches against opponents in your group over 5 weeks. Coming to a court near you. Get in touch to organize.
How Tyson McGuffin Makes Money
Headlines & Quick Hits
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