The Dink Pickleball

The Dink Pickleball Logo
Pickleball Lives Here

PicklePod: Jill Braverman Dishes on Juiced Paddles, the Future of USA Pickleball and Why She's Back in MLP

by Jason Flamm on

There are a handful of things you can always count on in pickleball; Ben Johns will almost always play on Championship Sunday, "Steve" from rec play will always drive his thirds (and fifths and sevenths), and when Jill Braverman is on the PicklePod (subscribe to the podcast here), heat will be brought.

The latest episode features the latter part of that guarantee; Jilly B is in the house (via video chat), and she, Thomas Shields, and Zane Navratil discuss several hot topics about pro pickleball, including "Is this the end of USA Pickleball?"

Much to discuss.

What JOOLA claims in its lawsuit

If what JOOLA says in its claim against USA Pickleball (USAP) is accurate, USAP might be done – or at least about to take a huge hit.

In the claim, JOOLA mentions messages from the USAP COO that essentially say, "Your paddles are too hot," and if you ever submit anything similar again, it "will never be approved."

Which seems pretty damning from USAP.

Jill thinks it makes the most sense for both organizations to settle quickly, re-list the JOOLA Gen3 paddles, and move on.

It’s Official: JOOLA Files Lawsuit Against USA Pickleball
In a move that was anticipated, JOOLA has filed a lawsuit against USA Pickleball over the delisting of Gen 3 paddles by the governing body.

Why is the Gearbox Pro still allowed?

One question that always comes up when discussing paddles that are too hot is, "Why is the Gearbox Pro still allowed?"

No one seems to know the answer or if the Gearbox Pro will ever be de-listed. The guys and Jilly B discuss.

Is there really that large of an advantage?

Regardless of what some say, the extra hot or powerful paddles do make a massive difference in player ability – at least at the pro level.

The PicklePod discusses the "asterisk" era of pro pickleball and why these paddles drastically improve the skill of some players.

The timing of UPA-A entering the certification space

Last week, we discussed the newly formed certification program created by the UPA-A and some rumors circulating around it.

There's discussion around some of the details of that announcement, the timing of the UPA-A program, and how it all affects USAP.

Thomas asks, " Who will go back to USA Pickleball knowing they can and will de-list paddles retroactively?"

Meanwhile, the UPA-A seems to be doing what's necessary to create consistent and better standards.

UPA-A Makes Announcement Regarding Paddle Testing, But It’s Not What You Might Think
The UPA-A came out with an announcement Tuesday regarding how it was going to move forward with paddle testing, but it failed to mention the rumors of certification fees coming for manufacturers.

Are paddle sales down?

Jilly B states that paddle sales are down "demonstrably" this year, and she estimates that in 2-3 years, only a handful of brands will remain in pickleball.

She says it is similar to how only a few companies mainly produce golf equipment.

The Fab 5 debacle

Who are the "Fab 5?"

Jilly B discusses the recent waiver wire acquisitions in the Challenger Level of Major League Pickleball (MLP). In particular, she discusses the "Fab 5" — the name she gave the five women who were picked up and signed by teams.

MLP Challenger Level Teams Take Center Stage and Make Plenty of Waiver Wire Additions
Which MLP Challenger Level teams made adjustments to their rosters during the first waiver wire period? We’ve got all the results and analysis.

Those five women are:

  • Jill Braverman
  • Megan Fudge DeHeart
  • Yana Newell
  • Susannah Barr
  • Bobbi Oshiro

During this discussion, Zane had this hot take:

"I don't think you should've been let back in MLP."

Listen to find out why he believes this and hear Jill's reaction.

These Notable Players Are Not Playing MLP in 2024
The MLP Draft is coming up, and some notable players have withdrawn their eligibility for 2024. Find out who’s not playing this season.

Why did Jill hold out?

This PicklePod episode closes out with Braverman explaining why she originally held out of the MLP Draft and if she has any regrets about doing it.

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.

Read more