Sweet home Chicago. The APP Tour returns to Chicagoland for an Elite Series stop on Labor Day weekend.
There's nothing more Chicago than summertime baseball, and the big league ball clubs have opened up their doors to pickleball. Last summer, in the heat of a game, bottom of the fifth, the Cubs famously broke out their paddles in the bullpen.
This year, they invited APP Tour President Ken Hermann to Wrigley field for a little on field pickle. Over on the South Side, #1 seeded mixed duo Simone Jardim and JW Johnson will throw out the first pitch as the White Sox take on the Royals tomorrow night. 40,000 fans. No pressure.
On another note, are you tired of ATPs? Neither are we. But apparently, some people are...
And according to USA Pickleball's recently released proposed rule changes for 2023, they're entertaining getting rid of them altogether. More interesting rule changes below.
APP Philadelphia Open Results
Mind Your Shoulders
Shoulders are a hot topic on the pickleball court. "Aim for their right shoulder." "Dink from the shoulder." "Crap, I tore my rotator cuff."
Let's take it a step further and talk about shoulder height, and how it can impact your game.
1) Maintain shoulder height throughout your drive to keep it from sailing long. One of the fundamentals of a consistent groundstroke is maintaining shoulder height throughout the swing.
If you're an amateur player that likes to jump up on a big forehand, chances are that ball is going to the back fence. Keep your knees bent and your shoulders on one plane through the swing.
2) Lower your shoulders at the NVZ. Use the net to protect your body from the attacks of opponents. Get lower in an athletic stance. This position helps you:
- Identify balls that are going out
- Reach a dink that is headed for your toes
- Become a smaller target for opponents to hit with speedup
- Better assess whether you have an optimal angle for a speedup of your own
Let's face it, most people forget to bend their knees enough on-court. But if you think about lowering your shoulders, maybe you can trick yourself into good form.
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2023 Proposed Rule Changes
Ah yes, it seems to be that time of year. The time where we collectively lose our minds over proposed rule changes.
This year, as with every year, there are some interesting ones:
Thanks to Pickleball Effect (@pickleballeffect) for the tip!
The Picks Are In...
The Major League Pickleball waiver period has come to a close. A shockingly high number of teams (8) elected to drop players over the weekend. This includes teams that have consistently missed the knockout stage and even two teams that played in the semifinals in Newport Beach.
Two players swapped teams during the waiver process. Lee Whitwell moved from Florida Smash to the Mad Drops PC where she will reunite with AJ Koller.
Erik Lange moved from The 5's to The Bus. It was pretty obvious that the big man would find a home for the Columbus event, let's hope there's enough leg room.
The subs from Newport Beach, Gabe Tardio and Lacy Schneemann were the first two off the board. Their stellar pinch hit performances in Newport made them attractive choices for teams looking to make a run.
Owners continue to experiment with team construction, but the Ranchers might have revealed the MLP blueprint. The twelve teams have until Sep 7 to make final trades. After that, rosters are locked for MLP's last event of 2022.
The Tour Wars Rage On
The first weekend in August was a popular weekend on the 2022 calendar. MLP Newport Beach and the PPA Selkirk Labs Showdown, not so coincidentally, fell on the same weekend.
With MLP Columbus planned for Oct 14-16, the PPA Tour has announced a new October event. Can you guess what weekend it is? That's right, the PPA Tour 'Round Up' in Frisco, TX is also scheduled for Oct 13-16. The format for this event is TBA.
The tour wars continue to escalate but you can't help but see some of the positives that the arms race has birthed:
- Increased prize pools and payouts
- Evolution of, and experimentation with, broadcasting quality
- Addition of new tour venues and events
More competitions means more opportunities for players to excel. Two that competed in the Selkirk Labs Showdown, Ben Newell and Cierra Gayton-Leach, impressed MLP owners enough to be drafted for Columbus.
Next weekend, both tours will hold one of their highest tiered events on the same weekend.
- PPA Cincinatti Open (Grand Slam)
- APP Atlanta Metro Open (Elite Series, Golden Ticket Qualifier)
APP Philadelphia Open Recap
The APP Tour spent last weekend ringing the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, PA. DJ Young and Vivienne David double-dipped for mixed doubles gold on Friday. Then they each doubled-down and won second gold medals in their respective gender doubles events.
David took the title with Lauren Stratman. As strong in competition as they are on paper, the pair had a pretty uneventful run on Saturday. Young paired with Mario Barrientos and helped secure him his first APP gold, but it wasn't an easy road. Almost all of their matches went to three games.
It was an international showdown in the winner's bracket final. Young, hailing from Spain and Barrientos from Chile faced off against the Romanian towers Andrei Daescu and Eden Lica. The thriller went to extra pickle and ended with a 15-13 final in game three.
The absence of top talent gave a few up-and-comers a chance to shine.
- Milan Rane and Pablo Tellez both finished with two medals in doubles. They won the bronze together in mixed
- Alix Truong strung together four consecutive wins to finish with a bronze in women's singles
- Megan Fudge and Olivia McMillan collected their first doubles medals with a third place finish in women's dubs
JW Johnson did not make the trip to Philly but the Johnson ladies, Julie and Jorja, left with plenty of hardware. Julie completed the triple crown in the senior division and Jorja went gold in singles and silver in women's doubles.
Pickleball in the Wild
Reason 3,689 that pickleball is awesome: you can play it anywhere. In the photo above, country superstar Dierks Bentley set up a net on-stage for an impromptu game mid-concert.
Bentley and his crew spent part of the weekend with one of the world's best, Riley Newman. Newman led a clinic for the Bentley entourage who have been taking pickleball on the road with their 'Beers On Me' Tour.
A rogue pickleball court was also captured on film in some of the most expensive real estate in the country. A court was created outside of the Federal Reserve in New York City. You might say it piqued the interest (get it?) of New Yorkers.
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Headlines & Quick Hits
- Professional player Jay "Gizmo" Hall visits Pace Center for Girls in Immokalee
- Groundbreaking ceremony set for Warrick County, IN pickleball court
- North Saanich looks at options for pickleball enforcement
- Five Reasons Pickleball Is the Quintessential Miami Sport
- This pickleball app has passed 30K users
- Bang, Bang, Bang, an MLP highlight from the vault
- Poetry in (slow) motion
- Go get it Juan
- It was a big weekend for this guy
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