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PicklePod: Tito Machado From DUPR Talks Player Ratings, a Youth Movement and More

by Jason Flamm on

Before we dive into this week's PicklePod episode, congratulations are in order for our own Thomas Shields. He recently graduated with his MBA from the University of Texas-Austin. Congrats Thomas!

Now, on to the highlights from this week's pod (Click here to subscribe).

Takeaways from MLP Atlanta

The 2024 MLP season began in Atlanta last week, and all the things we love about it — the competition, the intensity, and learning new rules — were on full display. Zane recaps what it was like being back from a pro player’s perspective.

And he wouldn’t be Zane unless he had a few suggestions for improving it moving forward. A few of the things he opined on ...

  • Should the freeze rule come back?
  • New serve rules
  • 2024 tiered points system

An illegal substance found on a paddle

The MLP released a statement about an illegal substance found on a player’s paddle before a match. They also mentioned that they sent the paddle for testing.

Depending on the outcome of the investigation, the player in question could face up to a year-long suspension. Rumors say the substance may have been pine tar, but right now, it’s all just speculation.

Getting rowdy with the Hustlers

Speaking of allegedly, Thomas tells a second-hand story of how Lea Jansen had some choice words for some New Jersey 5s fans during the MLP event, and Jack Sock apparently "wanted to punch someone in the face."

Oh, the drama. It’s always fun to relive our high school days, isn’t it?

The $2.5 million dollar man

In case you missed it, CNBC recently shared that Ben Johns makes $2.5 million in salary. Way to flex, Ben. Good on you.

#1 Pickleball Pro Makes over $2.5 million per year
Ben Johns recently told CNBC what his expected pickleball income will be in 2024. The figure may surprise you.

Tito Machado from DUPR joins the pod

Tito Machado is the CEO of DUPR. For those who don’t know, DUPR stands for Dynamic Universal Pickleball Rating, a global rating system for pickleball players of all levels. Steve Kuhn developed it in 2021, and it has since been adopted by many as the go-to rating system for pickleball.

Tito took over the CEO job about a year ago.

What’s the status

Since it was developed by Steve Kuhn – who also founded Major League Pickleball – some have questioned where DUPR falls between the different organizations and entities. Thomas and Zane ask Tito the question pointedly.

"We are completely independent to the group that was running us in the past…" he says. "We get to be agnostic and play ball with anyone."

Getting younger, younger, and younger

"The platform is getting younger and younger and younger," Tito said. "Forty-seven percent of our users are below 49 years old."

He adds that the average age continues to drop thanks to recent DUPR college and junior events. Anyone who still considers pickleball an "old person’s" sport, you may want to start re-thinking that.

DUPR Unveils Its First Ever Individual Collegiate Player Pickleball Rankings
DUPR just released its first ever collegiate player rankings for pickleball in advance of the 2024 Collegiate Individual National Championships, set for June 1-2 in West Chester Township, Ohio.

Get started in The Dink Minor League

With over 150 events planned for the year, The Dink Minor League events are popping up across the United States. Tito explains The Dink Minor League system during this section of the podcast.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Dink Minor League
Looking for more information about The Dink Minor League? Want to learn more about how to host a local event? We’ve got all of your resources.

If this is the first time you’ve heard of The Dink Minor League, here are five reasons you should consider participating in one this summer.

Should pros be allowed to play in college events

This section is a must-listen for those interested in college pickleball events and where the sport is heading. Currently, established pros who are still in college are eligible to play in college-level events.

But should they be?

Tito explains why they should be allowed and how it will help the sport grow.

What’s on the horizon?

Besides collegiate tournaments and The Dink Minor League events, what’s coming up for DUPR? 

"The main focus right now is to keep getting the algorithm to be where we want it to be," Tito said. "Everyone in the world is sending us match results, so we’re able to give people a sense of where they stand in the pickleball world. And give them the opportunity to find level-based play in their community."

If you want to sign up for DUPR, you can do that for free here.


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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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