$120 Million Hurdle for NY Pickleball

Dropping your best third. Sock breaks PB's sportsbook.

Sooo...did you think we meant that the serve was changing everywhere?

Last issue, we discussed the PPA’s provisional service rules for this weekend’s Masters. And we want to be clear, as of now, that’s all they are: provisional.

“In case you didn’t know, the rules surrounding serves were temporarily changed for The Masters event:

There is no tossing the ball up on the serve

The ball must leave the hand in a downward motion

The ball must leave the hand at or below the top of the hip”

The Dink Newsletter 1/10/24

But let’s just say the PPA decides to implement them permanently. These changes would still only apply to the PPA, and unless we hear otherwise, would not affect USA Pickleball, MLP, the APP, or most amateur tournaments.

Lastly, a lot of readers wanted to know whether these provisional rules affect the drop serve. They do not.

So don’t worry, go back to crushing your serves. And if you need some tips, we’ve got you covered.

In This Issue:
🥉 Dropping your best third
🗽 Pick up the pace, Empire State
🥇 Sock breaks PB's sportsbook


Third Shot Drop Crash Course

The third shot drop carries a lot of weight in the game of pickleball. It’s the key to neutralizing the returning team’s advantage and advancing towards the NVZ.

If you're an avid reader of the Dink, chances are that you know how to execute a 3rd shot drop. In a new video, John Cincola explains the variations of drops that he uses and the logic behind his shot selection and placement.

Flat Drop
This is the basic drop that focuses on two variables, power and height. Fine-tune how hard you push through the ball and the angle of your paddle face to get consistent with the flat drop.

Topspin Drop
The topspin drop adds the risk of making a mistake but also adds the reward of challenging your opponent.

To execute: Square up the face of your paddle and brush up the backside of the ball. Cincola likes to use the topspin drop when aiming down the line.

Underspin Drop aka Slice Drop
For the underspin drop, the paddle face opens up to a roughly 45-degree angle. Because the paddle face is open, the swing can follow a level path instead of swinging up. As opposed to the topspin drop, Cincola prefers to use underspin when going cross-court.

Where to hit your third?

Cincola also provides a hierarchy for where to hit your thirds.

1. Confidence trumps strategy. If you have a favorite location to hit your drops, then hit it there. Confidence and consistency are keys to a good third shot.

2. Choose your spot. When confident hitting to any location, target the player that is less of a threat on the fourth. Avoid erne threats and forehands that can reach into the kitchen if possible.

Cincola’s third tip requires a little more explanation and can be found here.

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I 💔 NY

Unsurprisingly, there’s an increase in pickleball demand in the Empire State (much like there’s an increase in demand everywhere). But New York has some serious – and expensive – catching up to do.

The state will need to build 3,558 courts at a project cost of $124.5 million to keep up with demand over the next 5-7 years, according to The Sports & Fitness Industry Association’s 2023 report.

That’s nearly 3 million square feet, or about 50 football fields.

We recently learned from the SFIA that Texas will need to build 2,527 courts at a project cost of $88.5 million to keep up with demand over the next 5-7 years.

But at least Texas still has the space for it. Sure, once you get out of the city, New York has some room…but it’s still the Northeast. Property is expensive to buy and expensive to develop.

Regardless, New York needs to kickstart its pickleball investment if it wants to serve the pickleball public. According to SFIA’s report, it ranks last in the nation in terms of dedicated court coverage. 

With only 0.23 dedicated courts per 10,000 people, that’s 81% below the national average.

Sock a Threat for Gold

We're about halfway through the PPA Masters in Palm Springs but there is already so much to catch up on.

Let's start with the top seed, Ben Johns. He was upset by one of the game's rising stars, 17-year-old Quang Duong. Side note: Duong was forced to make a last-minute paddle switch because his white paddle was deemed illegal.

Also in men's singles, Jack Sock has made his presence felt with an upset over the four-seed Connor Garnett. Side note here: Fan Duel Sportsbook resumed pickleball betting and bettors could have jumped on Sock at +750 mid-match.

  • Sock and Catherine Parenteau are still alive and appear to be a threat in mixed doubles

  • He and Collin Shick were eliminated last night by Riley Newman and Thomas Wilson in men’s doubles.

Genie Bouchard's debut was a good indicator for all the pickleball haters out there who think they can hop off the couch and enter the pro ranks. Try it and see what happens. The former #5 player in women’s tennis lost her first match in each division.

The Vulcan ball has forced players to adapt to a new play style. The new trial serve has caught some negative feedback from pros and resulted in a ton of faults.

Play resumes today 1pm ET with Championship Court on pickleballtv and Grandstand Court on YouTube.

Healthy Hydration


Drinking enough water isn’t just about keeping your blood pumping or your body properly hydrated.

You literally need water to stay smart and strong on the court. If you’ve ever asked yourself if you’re drinking enough water, the answer is: probably not.

Click here to find the best water bottle for you. Their bottles keep fluids cool all day, whether you’re practicing with friends or competing for gold.

The Rule Changes Tripping Everyone Up

The progression draw has been met with some pushback. Some pros aren't fans of being pushed aside to make room for tennis superstars.

The new carry rule has players everywhere arguing and pulling out their rulebooks. Zane lays out his bold predictions including another new serve rule.

Watch here or listen here.

Headlines & Quick Hits


Homecourt Havens

Ultimate vibes coming from this homecourt. There’s something about palm trees surrounding the court that hits differently.

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A review from the Dink Fam...

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