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Pickleball Pro: This is the "Juicing Era of Pickleball"

by Jason Flamm on

Travis Rettenmaier, Pickleball pro and owner of the Florida Smash in Major League Pickleball, shared a hot take on the current state of pickleball on Instagram over the weekend.

In a new weekly session he's (for now) calling "Unplugged with Travis," he asked, "Are we in the Juicing Era of pickleball?"

You can see the clip here:

What's the 'Juiced' part of pickleball?

Travis is mostly discussing the current situation in pro pickleball, but his main point is that pickleball paddles are currently more powerful than they've ever been – and maybe more powerful than the sport should allow.

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With the recent USA Pickleball "Great Delisting" of JOOLA Gen3 paddles and some others, it's hard to argue against that point.

He compares this era to the early 2000s era of Major League Baseball when players like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Barry Bonds were hitting 60-70 home runs in a season.

Years later, these players were found to be using steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs to help propel them to produce these numbers.

Will there be an asterisk in pickleball records?

"While we don't have that kind of juicing in pickleball right now, the paddles are juiced." He continues: "It's tough to tell if somebody is really [expletive] good or if they have a really great paddle."

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His question becomes, will there be an asterisk next to titles and medals that these players win?

Is the advantage really that large?

According to Travis, yes.

Toward the end of the video, he offers this final take: "The advantage is about as substantial as I've ever seen in sports. There's nothing like it. It's like metal bats to wooden bats."

What happens next?

Right now, a massive shift is happening, with paddles being delisted by USA Pickleball (USAP), the governing body of pickleball for 30-plus years.

There are rumors of more delistings to come.

However, paddle companies aren't just going to let this happen without a fight, as we saw last week when JOOLA officially filed a lawsuit against USAP.

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The JOOLA Gen 3 paddle saga continues. One day after USA Pickleball confirmed that the paddles are not approved, JOOLA responded and hinted at taking legal action. A class action lawsuit has also been filed in Florida against JOOLA.

Where this will ultimately end up is hard to tell.

The UPA-A was formed by the UPA in May to provide an alternative governing body for pickleball. In its announcement, the UPA-A mentions that it plans to form the Equipment Manufacturer Advisory Board, which will seat some of the top paddle manufacturers in the industry, including JOOLA.

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What do you think?

Do you agree with Travis? Are we currently in the juicing era of pro pickleball?

We'd love to hear your take or the state of the paddle industry and how it might be affecting your enjoyment of the sport. Send us an e-mail here with your thoughts and we might publish your response in a follow up article!

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Jason Flamm

Jason Flamm

Jason is a writer from St. Louis. He’s been a coach in several sports and is currently working on his pickleball coaching certification. He loves to teach and share his passions.

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