Game of Thrones returns. A new Lord of the Rings series airs next week. Football is right around the corner.
Can televised pickleball keep up in these deep waters? One writer suggests it can and that its recent CBS debut proved it. The numbers are in...
The Tournament of Champions is one of the most scenic events on the pickleball calendar. A mountainous backdrop and diehard Utah fanatics make this a one of a kind event. This year's champion had one of the best performances ever seen on the TOC stage.
All that, a blockbuster MLP trade and it's your last chance to get your hands on the custom 'dink' branded Jackrabbit e-bike.
Let's do it.
PPA Tournament of Champions Results
The Figure 8 Drill
Improve your warmup and up your game at the kitchen. There are a number of different variations to the figure 8 but the core concept is:
- One player hits cross-court
- The other player returns down the line
- The process repeats, which moves the ball in a figure 8 pattern
An OG version from pre-mullet Tyson McGuffin is played on half of the court, simulating a dink battle with an opponent directly across the net. This version helps to highlight how much space you actually have when restricted to one side of court.
Work on your touch and controlling dinks in a tight space.
The Volley Figure 8
Another version of the figure 8 drill can be done without the ball hitting the ground. Jordon Briones and Tyler Loong demonstrate the volley figure 8 drill here.
Control the placement of your volleys. It's common to rely on speed/power to win volley exchanges, but placement is just as important. The figure 8 drill forces you to slow down and focus on a target.
Singles Figure 8
A third version of the figure 8 involves covering the full width of the court. It resembles the 'cat and mouse' style of play common in singles. Not going to lie, it's absolutely exhausting. You'd probably be lucky to get 8 shots in this figure 8.
While it may be better served as a conditioning drill, this version does help simulate controlled shots on the move. As you tire, your form tends to deteriorate. Part of the challenge is to maintain good form throughout.
It's also good mental training for maintaining composure in the midst of a long, chaotic point when your mind seeks a shortcut like a speedup or high-risk shot. Get comfortable grinding it out and avoid unforced errors.
The Bag Built For You
The modular bag system from Cancha Bags is designed by professional tennis player, Jack Oswald. It meets all the needs of your daily game and is the perfect bag for travel. The Cancha Racquet Bag Mini is durable, customizable, weather-proof and just the right size for pickleball gear. Get yours today.
Pickleball on Every Channel
According to Show Buzz Daily, pickleball's network TV debut on CBS attracted 621k viewers. A landmark number for the professional game.
Peter Fox of SportsEd TV called August 13, 2022, "the day pickleball entered sports mainstream." He suggests that CBS' broadcast was a 'tipping point' for the sport.
He observed the same phenomenon with his former company, ESPN. The tipping point to spark ESPN's growth was broadcasting their first NFL game in 1987. This legitimized the sports network and opened the floodgates for more broadcasting deals and mainstream relevancy.
Ironically enough, just one week after pickleball's 'tipping point', ESPN debuted a feature on the sport...
One Nation Under Pickleball
Everybody now! Da, da, da. Da, da, da.
ESPN's 'SC Featured' highlighted America's fastest-growing sport with a six minute segment at 8am on Sunday morning. That's a tough call time, especially after the late night TOC action. But it's certainly worth the watch, and you can check it out here.
It's not possible to tell pickleball's full story in a mere six minutes, but the piece did feature:
- The invention of the game. Joel Pritchard's son, Frank, rules out the 'Pickles the dog' theory in favor of the pickle boat theory
- A story about a third founder, Bill Bell, who was apparently a CIA spy that helped retrieve POWs in Southeast Asia, pretty wild
- The dominant mother-daughter Waters duo that just keeps winning
- Brief statements from Washington's Governor, Jay Inslee, former professional tennis stud James Blake, PPA owner Tom Dundon and MLP owner Steve Kuhn
A Champion Among Champions
Championship Saturday belonged to 15-year-old phenom Anna Leigh Waters. She didn't lose a single game at last weekend's Tournament of Champions and secured her third triple crown of the year.
- No one has looked more impressive coming out of mid-season break than Anna Leigh and Leigh Waters. They win again over L. Kovalova/C. Smith in this smoldering rivalry
- Waters and Ben Johns rolled through a stacked mixed doubles field. They gave up an average of 3 points per game to their opponents. "Yikes" - every other mixed doubles team
- Johns took down Dylan Frazier in the gold medal match in a highlight filled singles bout
The most exciting match of Championship Saturday was in men's doubles where the Johns brothers came up short of Matt Wright/Riley Newman. The momentum of the match was flipped in favor of Wright/Newman after a finger wag from Ben Johns. The whole bout was heated, to say the least.
Newman/Wright lost game one then took three straight, speeding up every ball possible to finish off the Johns bros. If you haven't watched it, check it out here.
Ever wonder how matches impact your DUPR?
Do you perform better in mixed or gender doubles? Which of your partners do you play the best with? Wonder no more!
DUPR has released the DUPR Performance Chart (in beta) where you can learn all about your performance on the court. The black line in the chart is your current rating, and each point represents a match. Points above the line represent your over-performances, and points below the line represent your under-performances.
Check out a breakdown of Zane Navratil’s chart and instructions on how to view your chart here.
Blockbuster Trade Rocks Major League Pickleball
The offseason for MLP is no time to rest for team owners. Eight of the twelve teams made roster moves last offseason and the current offseason has started with a bang.
Team owner, Drew Brees, is bringing the all business NFL approach to the Mad Drops Pickleball Club. They have moved two pieces to start the offseason shuffle.
The Mad Drops PC traded Adam Stone and Vivienne David to the Jackrabbits for AJ Koller and Mary Brascia.
This is truly a blockbuster by MLP standards, David was the third overall pick in this year's draft and the second woman off the board, Koller went sixth overall and was the third men's player selected.
Stone has unfortunately missed both MLP events this year due to injury. He moves to the Jackrabbits who need more than a rabbit's foot for luck. They are in desperate need to switch up the pace after disappointing finishes in Austin and Newport Beach.
Headlines & Quick Hits
- The APP Tour announced two new sponsors, Lexus for the upcoming Chicago Open and Power Plate in a multi-year deal
- Selkirk finally released their long awaited Vanguard Power Air line
- Pickleball, Sport of the Future Injury? - New York Times
- Surprise win as pickleball gains advantage.
- Pickleball In The Streets!
- Zoom out, there's always more pickleball with the PicklePlay App.
- Imagine hitting it over the net
- AL said 'gimme that'
- There's no better view for this flashy, Frazier ATP
- Matt Wright made this ball disappear
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