A Big Shock, a Dreambreaker, and a Blue Card. And that’s just Day 1.
MLP Dallas continues today, and while the event is building excitement, we suddenly feel a tinge of…is it sadness? Relief?
Mixed feelings — that’s what we have — because next year, MLP matches will look a little different. And while this change will likely be constructive, it’s just sort of weird to think that it’s all about to change in a couple months…
More on those changes, and a full Day 1 recap, below.
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In This Issue:
🔪 Slice master: you
📅 Conjoined MLP/PPA Schedule
🗺️ A new global pickleball leader
Master the Backhand Slice
The backhand slice can be a deadly weapon on the pickleball court. It can leave an untrained opponent swinging at nothing but air.
Continental Grip- He prefers a continental grip for this shot. In the video, he provides a tip to always find the correct continental grip.
High to low - Your swing path on the slice will be different than most shots. For the slice your path should start high in your backswing and end low at your followthrough.
Contact Point - BK suggests you contact the lower half of ball with the high-to-low motion to generate the most spin.
Sweet Spot - He also recommends contacting the ball not directly with the middle of your sweet spot but slightly below it. That gives the ball room to roll on your paddle at contact.
Lock the Wrist - Your wrist does not need to get involved to make this shot effective. Reduce your chance for errors by locking it in place.
These tips will help take your slice from meh to mastered. Leave your opponents swinging at air and enjoy the cool breeze.
Play Like Zane
Zane Navratil’s own paddle features an Ultra-RAW carbon face that is designed to maximize spin and power.
That same technology is now available in a standard shape with 5-inch handle and wider face that allows for a big sweet spot and even better accuracy.
So whether you're a fan of the standard shape or an elongated paddle, you can play like Zane with a paddle from ProXR.
MLP/PPA’s 2024 Conjoined Schedule
While we still lack details on the status of the MLP/PPA merger, the organizations have released their first joint announcement as an almost-merged entity: an integrated 2024 schedule of events with slight changes to both sides’ structures.
The list includes a total of 34 combined and standalone events across 25 U.S. cities and 18 states, promising to "bring pro pickleball to more fans than ever before.”
Both PPA and MLP will have season-ending championships that will be the pinnacle of the athletes’ and teams’ results throughout the year. In addition, there will be a dedicated off-season for players following the final event of 2024.
PPA 2024 details at a glance:
Tour structure features Slams (worth up to 2,000 ranking points), Cups (worth up to 1,500 points), and Opens (worth up to 1,000 points).
Ranking points on the PPA Tour will qualify players for the PPA Tour Finals in San Clemente, California
Every PPA Tour stop will provide pickleball enthusiasts of all levels with the opportunity to “play where the pros play” in amateur divisions across ages and skills.
MLP 2024 details at a glance:
Goodbye Premier & Challenger divisions. New structure features 24 MLP teams playing a regular season schedule, divided into six divisions of four teams each.
Teams will play at least 40 matches over the course of the regular season, facing every other team at least once.
Division opponents will meet three or four times and teams will play everyone in their “rival” division two or three times.
The two-week MLP Playoffs will follow the conclusion of the 2024 regular season.
See all the tour stops and learn more about the structure changes in our blog.
A Shocking Start to MLP Dallas
MLP Dallas began an 11-day streak of pro pickleball from the new home of Nationals, Dallas, TX. The twelve Challenger Level teams broke-in the new courts at Brookhaven Country Club yesterday.
The defending champion SoCal Hard Eights picked up right where they left off. The Eights had a 3-0 day, led by Atlanta's MVP CJ Klinger. Their 3-0 performance however was only strong enough to receive a 2nd seed in the playoff bracket.
The surprise of the day was an electric performance from the St. Louis Shock. The Shock also went 3-0 and received the top seed in the bracket.
Rounding out the playoff bracket are the California BLQK Bears, New York Hustlers, LA Mad Drops, and picking up their first MLP match wins, the Frisco Pandas.
The only Dreambreaker AND Blue (warning) Card of the day came in the Hustlers match vs the Milwaukee Mashers. The card was issued to Kyle Yates who let out frustration on a ball aimed at DJ Young following their mixed doubles game. Read more about day one in Dallas here.
As we speak, the Premier Level matches have already begun. You get your choice of four different streams on the MLP YouTube Channel.
The Bay Area Breakers will be without Etta Wright this weekend due to injury. They’ve selected Susannah Barr to step in and help fight for a Championship.
Maggie Brascia is also a late scratch due to illness. The Columbus Sliders will slide in Megan Fudge as a replacement.
Follow @pickleball on X (Twitter) to keep up with the action all weekend long.
Easy, Safe, Fun: Lectric
Forget the hassle of finding parking at pickleball courts.
The XP Lite is a unique eBike with easy maneuverability, a twist grip throttle option, a basket to hold your things, and five levels of pedal assist.
Learn more about this fun transportation option here.
USAP explains recent paddle failures
We pulled back the curtain on paddle testing by interviewing USA Pickleball's Director of Equipment Standards. Carl Schmits explains what is going on with the new wave of paddles hitting the market and the discrepancy between testing organizations.
Zane and Thomas weigh in on the accusations of cheating that brought an army of extra eyes to Championship Court.
Forget The Tour Wars…
…We may be on the verge of International Governing Body wars, though that doesn’t fly off the tongue quite as well. And they probably won’t duke it out like the PPA & MLP did pre-handshakes.
In our last issue, we told you about a potential merger between the International Pickleball Federation and the World Pickleball Federation.
Enter: the Global Pickleball Federation, a new organization formed to unify the sport internationally and gain recognition from the Olympic Committee responsible for approving new Olympic sports.
The GPF will work in collaboration with the continental federations, their member countries, and other partners on the following priorities:
Gaining recognition by the International Olympic Committee as the International Federation for the sport of pickleball.
Securing inclusion for pickleball in the Olympic and Paralympic sport program.
Providing member countries and their pickleball players with access to equipment, official rules, & educational resources.
Fostering active ambassador networks, international tournaments, and equipment standards.
Four of the five continental federations, including the Asian Pickleball Association, Confederation of African Pickleball, Oceania Pickleball Federation and the Pickleball Federation of the Americas, are aligned exclusively with the GPF and have immediate board representation within the new organization.
Starting the first of January, 500 pickleball starter sets will be available to GPF-member countries, with another 1,000 available at a subsidized rate of $100.
Headlines & Quick Hits
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A review from the Dink Fam...