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Pickleball Lives Here

USA Pickleball CEO Stu Upson Resigns

by The Dink Media Team on

Better backhand flicks. Coach Dierks Bentley. Punta Gorda preview.

Dierks Bentley, the country star known for gettin' "Drunk on a Plane," is currently gettin' his teammates prepped for the first MLP event of the year.

That's right: he's put his guitar (temporarily) down in favor of a clipboard and paddle, coaching one of the players on AZ Drive, the team Dierks co-owns.

So if you think he's gonna settle down, he's got news for you: he's 🎵 "got lots of winnin' left to do..."🎵

Also jumping into the MLP ownership game is Superbowl Champion Odell Beckham Jr. It was announced yesterday that OBJ will be joining the DC ownership group.

In this issue:

  • better backhand flicks
  • news from USAP
  • APP Punta Gorda Preview

Let's go!

A Pro Secret to a Better Backhand Flick

The backhand flick is a shot that separates the men from the boys on the pickle court. The flick is a backhand roll shot that is used to attack an opponent. It is typically deployed as a speedup volley during a dink battle.

It is one of the last shots players master, and some pros still feel like they don't have it down. What makes the shot so difficult is the ball is usually attacked from slightly below the net level.

In the latest episode of It Feels Right, Anna Bright shares that she has been working to add it to her game.

Rob Nunnery explains his secret to mastering the backhand flick came from table tennis. He recommends a little cross-training to perfect the flick.

When hitting backhands in ping pong, "It's that same motion, it's the same upward roll. If you can just dial that in, it really helps" (see an example here).

If you're struggling to incorporate the backhand flick, maybe it's time to step off the court for a minute and belly up to the ping-pong table. Rip some balls off the wall like Forrest Gump before your next match.

Everything You Need For Pickleball Under One Roof

Rhino Pickleball has paddles, balls and portable nets perfect for players at all levels. It's the best selection of training aids to support player development.

Up your game with court markers, cones, and other fitness accessories that take drill work to the next level.

Changes at USAP

USA Pickleball, the National Governing Body for the sport, announces that Stu Upson will step down as Chief Executive Officer after a transition period.

Upson assumed the role of USA Pickleball’s first CEO in December 2020.

“I have greatly enjoyed my time at USA Pickleball and am proud of the accomplishments the organization has made over the past two years,” Upson says.

USAP Board Chairman Robert Quicksilver says, "His many contributions have helped position the organization for continued success in the coming years.”

A press release did not reveal when the transition would take place or if someone is in line to replace him. Read more here.

The World Pickleball Tour is bringing the camp experience to a whole new level.

From February 13-16, 2023, celebrity coach Matt Manasse and the WPT team are inviting guests to the coast of Mexico for the first in a series of extraordinary experiences that have been meticulously designed for those who share our love for the sport.

This luxury tourism opportunity features a 4 day, 3 night stay hosted at the Esperanza, a seaside resort nestled into Cabo’s Punta Ballena coastline in Los Cabos, Mexico, and will be jam-packed with a top-class Pickleball camp, excursion opportunities, beach lounging, fine dining, private happy hours, and more.

Registration is now open and will fill quickly. Reserve your spot now.

APP Punta Gorda Preview

Pro pickleball makes its triumphant this week with tournaments in CA and FL. We previewed the PPA Masters on Monday, now let's take a look at the APP Punta Gorda Open.

Parris Todd and Hunter Johnson are favorites in the singles divisions and will team up for mixed doubles. Todd will have to battle a couple other APP Champions, Megan Fudge and Ewa Radzikowska in the women's field.

In the men's game, former Junior Wimbledon champion and pro tennis player Noah Rubin will make his pickle debut. Rubin's crossover was made public in an ESPN piece last October. But Rubin is not the only tennis pro making a run in 2023. Formerly ranked no. 126 on the WTA Tour, Allie Kiick will make her pro pickleball debut in Punta Gorda.

The wave of newcomers will test their metal against veterans Simone Jardim, Andrei Daescu, Kyle Yates, and Corrine Carr, who will aim the defend the old guard of pro pickle.

Tune into the action on APP TV starting with men's and women's pro singles tomorrow.

Time for Practice

Practice? Yeah, we're talking about practice. Major League Pickleball teams have an extremely narrow window to prep for the first event of 2023. Only one month separates the MLP draft from when the resulting teams hit the court.

To make the most of the limited time, some teams have hit the practice court to sharpen skills and build camaraderie. New part-owner of the Challenger Level AZ Drive team, Dierks Bentley, is taking the hands-on approach to team ownership.

He's been coaching Drive team member Wes Burrows on the finer points of misdirection.

In the nation's capital, the DC club held a training session and community event with all four team members present.

The race is on to develop chemistry and devise a winning strategy. The MLP season kicks off on January 26th in Mesa, AZ.

Headlines & Quick Hits


It’s like Airbnb...but for Pickleball Courts

As if you need another reason to add a homecourt to your backyard, now you can share your court with local players when you aren’t using it.

Swimply allows court owners the chance to rent out homecourts and players the opportunity to reserve a private court for their game.

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