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Player of the Year Goes To...

by The Dink Media Team on

Conquer the soft game. DUPR goes to college.

You know what's great about online-only awards? Nobody can hog the mic in their acceptance speech.

Although, come to think of it, we'd love to see the attire Tyson McGuffin would sport at a red carpet event. We'll have to re-tinker our events budget for next year...

Keep reading to see the results of this year's Dink Awards, the "People's Choice Awards of pickleball."

5min5sec

Also on the docket for today:

  • 7 soft game tips for the price of one (I mean, it's free, it's all free)
  • Daytona Beach preview
  • The media speaks out on watching pickleball

Let's go!

7 Ways to Conquer the Soft Game

The most frustrating players to play against are the ones who beat you in the soft game. Mark Price has 7 tips to make sure you come out on top when the game slows down:

  • Create pressure with your positioning - Squeezing tight to the kitchen line can make the NVZ look smaller. If you're picking balls out of the air, they will have less time to react and recover between shots.
  • Connect in front - Keeping the ball in front of you is ideal for consistent, controlled dinks.
  • Keep it simple - Speaking of consistentcy, limit your motion when possible to a swing from the shoulder, which is all that is required in many situations.
  • Small back-swing - It's pickleball, not golf. No trophies for distance here.
  • Light grip pressure - I'd move this to number one in my book. When the pressure is on, the tendency is to tighten up and SQUEEZE the paddle. Keep it loose and breathe.
  • Stay focused - ADHD can take over in a long dink rally. Try to stay patient and wait for a time to strike.
  • Learn slice- Slice is a weapon in the dink game. Adding spin to the ball makes life difficult for your opponent. It changes how the ball bounces and how it reacts off their paddle.

There you go, 7 tips for the price of one. Write them on your water bottle or put them on an armband like Peyton Manning. Just don't forget them next time you hit the courts.

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!

The Winners of the 2022 Dink Awards

The people have spoken. The winners of the 2022 Dink Awards are here! Thousands of pickleball fanatics voted on their favorites in America's fastest growing sport.

Here are some of this year's honorees:

  • Player of the Year (W) Anna Leigh Waters, (M) Ben Johns
  • Event of the Year: Major League Pickleball - Austin
  • Match of the Year: Matt Wright/ Riley Newman def. Ben Johns/Collin Johns - PPA Tournament of Champions
  • Senior Player of the Year: (W) Julie Johnson, (M) Dave Weinbach

Our partners at Selkirk wanted to hook up some of the best in the game with a little seed money for 2023

  • Content Creator of the Year: The Pickleball Studio - $2000 Grant
  • Ava Lee Women's Most Improved Player: Anna Bright - $1000 Grant
  • Selkirk Labs Men's Most Improved Played: Dylan Frazier - $1000 Grant
  • Selkirk TV Best On-Air Personality: Dave Fleming - $1000 Grant

We'd like to thank all of our industry supporters this year — MLP, PPA, APP, USAP, Selkirk, and PicklePlay — for celebrating pickleball's historic year.

Check out our blog to see the full list of this year's winners.

Shave goodbye to stubble trouble.

The world’s leader in men’s below-the-waist grooming just released their new line of beard products, so you can now make the drapes match the carpet!

For a limited time, you can click here to activate 20% off + free shipping on The Beard Hedger Pro Kit by MANSCAPED.

APP Tour Hits Daytona Beach

Move over Daytona 500. Pickeball is passing on the left. Slingshot, engage. The newly upgraded courts of Pictona will host the Daytona Beach Open, one of three pro events hitting Daytona in Q1. (PPA FL Open 3/9-3/12 and MLP 3/23-3/26)

Parris Todd and Hunter Johnson will look to plant themselves firmly atop at APP rankings with another multiple medal performance. Veteran of the game, John Cincola, is due for a podium result and could knock one of the Johnson brothers from the stand.

Andrei Daescu and Kyle Yates aim to go back to back to start the year. They will have to fend off Joey Farias and the 6'9'' Andreas Siljestrom who is rapidly ascending the pickleball ranks.

Tune into the action starting tomorrow on APP TV.

DUPR Goes to College

Slide your paddle into your backpack, DUPR is going to college. The DUPR Collegiate National Championships are back in 2023 with an extended competition schedule and increased scholarship money.

This year DUPR will host 12 regional tournaments and two National Championships, one for teams and one for individuals.

The events will include scholarship money for the winners:

  • DUPR Regional events $4,000
  • DUPR Collegiate Individual National Championship 4/14-4/16 $22,000
  • DUPR Collegiate National Championship 11/17-11/19 - $31,000

It's never too late to go back to school. Click here for more details on how to enter.

Soft Touch, Fast Hands, Exceptional Control

Look out for the latest performance paddle company, PCKL. We featured the PCKL Pro Series in our latest review and had this to say "The large sweet spot is forgiving and will keep your play consistent.

If you are looking for a higher-end paddle for a budget-friendly price then this is a great option.” Check out the full review and use code DINK15 to save 15% off sitewide!

The Media on Watching Pickleball

A writer for Tennis.com recently attended the MLP event in Mesa, Arizona, and found that there were some key differences between attending a large tennis tournament and attending a pickleball event.

“In many ways, it was giving off college tennis vibes. But it had a bit of a bigger feel, as the production at these tournaments is top notch,” the author says.

One major difference they note is that unlike the US Open, you can watch pro pickleballers practice during these events.

“...There weren’t any fences obstructing my views. If it’s something that interests you, there was also the option of reserving some of the courts and playing directly next to some of the pros. You won’t experience that anywhere else.”

Overall, they praised the relaxed, open atmosphere of the event.

Meanwhile, another headline about spectating pickleball recently popped up on our feed; this time, an imposing article from The New York Times boldly asking, “Will Pickleball Be as Fun to Watch as It Is to Play?” (paywall).

A Smith College professor is quoted in the story with that same tired line we keep hearing: pickleball looks too easy, particularly when viewers watch it on television. The point is then made that because it’s much more engaging to watch the game in person than on TV, its popularity is doomed to plateau.

Our response: isn’t that true of any sport? Take baseball for example: it can be brutally boring to watch on TV, but actually being at the park is a different experience. And don’t get us started on soccer…

We're surprised to be saying this, but we think the NYT could take a beat from Tennis.com.

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