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Newsletter: The OTHER Fastest-Growing Sport

by The Dink Media Team on

Nailing those drop shots.

"What's your favorite scary movie?" Forget Scream VI...or any film, for that matter. If I were Zane Navratil's opponent, I'd answer: watching his post-point scream.

Zane really let one rip over the weekend. Clocking in at 4.19 seconds, his victory yell may very well have been the longest in pickleball history.

We expect Zane will have a lot to say for himself on the next episode of PicklePod. Let's hope he does so using his indoor voice.

4min45sec

In today's issue:

  • Nailing those drop shots
  • The other fastest-growing sport
  • A Cinderella story's not-so-happy ending

Let's go!

PPA Florida Open Results

A Cut Above the Rest

Most pro players can anticipate a drop shot and use it as a free invitation to the kitchen line.

This weekend, Collin Shick breathed new life into the drop volley. A crucial part of Shick's silver medal run was the ability to surprise opponents with the drop.

Let's take a closer look. Shick is shaving the surface of the ball and letting the grit of his paddle pull the ball down into the court. The amount of backspin he generated forced errors and miscalculations from all of his opponents, including Ben Johns.

His buttery soft grip is loose on the paddle, allowing him to absorb the pace of the ball.

Watch him take a drive from Johns, read it a story, and tuck it into bed. His drop shot doesn't even cross the kitchen line.

Three keys to adding the drop volley to your game:

  • Slice - Open the paddle face 45 degrees and move from high to low
  • Soft Hands - Loosen the grip to a 2 or 3 out of 10 to take pace off of the ball
  • Angles - Use angles to keep your drop shallow in the court = make them run 🏃‍♂️

Shick's version of the drop shot is high risk, high reward. He cuts through the ball in an exaggerated motion that shows pro level precision. Years of executing the tennis volley are paying off in pickle.

To remove some of the risk, you can cut down on the motion from a full swing down to a just a punch. Have fun dropping; your opponents are going to hate it.

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.

The Other Fastest-Growing Sport

Beyond any reasonable doubt, pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the US. But what is the fastest-growing sport in Europe? Most say it’s padel.

If you’re not familiar with padel, you should be. Played in a glass cage with open doors (that players are allowed to run through to retrieve errant balls), padel’s fast-paced nature reminds us of pickleball.

Check out this particularly crazy padel volley:

Esquire recently wrote about padel: “Padel had been sold to me as a social game: less energetic and nerve-shredding than tennis. This is a sport where you might find a court-side DJ, and the losing team buys the first round at the bar.”

Sounds oddly familiar to pickleball’s vibe. And like pickleball, it isn’t as easy as it looks:

“My glasses are steamed up, my hand is sticking to the leather handle of the fiberglass racquet and sweat pools in my socks,” the writer admits.

Another familiarity: there are 5 million players in Spain alone, and several international sports celebrities have invested in padel already. Both pickleball and padel were invented out of boredom and remained in relative obscurity for decades.

Padel even has the Pro Padel League (currently seeking pro pickleball players for the inaugural draft this month) with the same model as MLP.

Don’t worry about padel overtaking pickle, though. A padel court can cost as much as a mid-sized car to build. A PB court is as easy as bringing chalk to your local tennis club.

It’s like Airbnb...but for Pickleball Courts

As if you need another reason to add a homecourt to your backyard, now you can share your court with local players when you aren’t using it.

Swimply allows court owners the chance to rent out homecourts and players the opportunity to reserve a private court for their game.

PPA Florida Open Recap

One game away. The weekend's Cinderella story Collin Shick was one game away.

After his epic run on Thursday, Shick shocked the Championship Sunday crowd by taking game one against Ben Johns. Then Johns completely flipped the script in game two, winning 11-3 and closing the match with a pickle 11-0.

After the slow start, Johns didn't drop another game. He and Anna Leigh Waters put in reps on the practice court throughout the weekend and were determined to hoist the mixed doubles trophy. They smothered Catherine Parenteau/Tyson McGuffin in the final 11-5, 11-2, 11-6.

MLP Champions Thomas Wilson and Julian Arnold strung together a run to Championship Sunday. They benefited from the Riley Newman/Tim Parks failed experiment opening up their side of the bracket (if you don't recall, Newman paired with MLP Hard Eights Owner and 3.92 DUPR-rated Tim Parks, essentially just for fun).

Arnold/Wilson met the Johns bros in the finals who continued their undefeated streak with another men's doubles title.

Catherine Parenteau and ALW both earned double gold this weekend. Their opponent in the final was Lacy Schneemann and Jade Kawamoto, who upset the #2 and #3 seeds in their first tournament together.

Parenteau locked up back-to-back women's singles titles with a gritty win over Lea Jansen. This week was a little bit sweeter after Parenteau finally upset ALW on Thursday.

There is no downtime in March. The PPA Tour flies back to Texas for the Austin Open Thursday, then back to Daytona Beach the following week for the second MLP of 2023.

Athletic Wear Designed for Pickleball Players

AVI is elevating Pickleball by creating exceptional athletic wear. They believe everyone — from professional athletes to casual enthusiasts — deserves well-constructed, expertly designed clothing made just for their sport.

With pockets created specifically to hold pickleballs, comfortable fabrics, and ultra-lightweight feel, AVI is elevated performance wear for both on AND off the court!

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