The 5.0 skill you can learn quickly

Pickleball is forever. Recovery is not optional. And Lea Jansen breaks down the pro landscape.

Pickleball is forever

Which is good, because forever is an awfully long time.

If Fed says it, it must be true.

Do you plan to play any local or regional amateur tournaments this summer?

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In This Issue:

🙅‍♂️ Concede the kitchen? Never
0️⃣ Even the best get pickled
🎤 Lea Jansen discusses the state of pro pickleball

Grab your massage gun. Weekend recovery begins now.

A 5.0 Level Skill Anyone Can Develop

One of the biggest gaps in strategy and technique between 4.0- and 5.0-level players is that 5.0s can execute strong fourth (and sixth) shots that keep their opponents back off the kitchen line.

They understand the importance of applying maximum pressure and never conceding the kitchen line unless absolutely necessary. Let’s discuss how you can learn from them.

First, they take the ball out of the air

Hitting balls out of the air takes time away from your opponent. This should be your first instinct. If you’re not leaning in to eliminate as much of the kitchen as possible, then you’re doing it wrong.

  • Lean in and set up early while maintaining your balance

  • Use a wrist flick to apply pace to the ball

  • Hit your shot deep–preferably at a moving target, aiming for their feet

Second, they back up to create more space

You can still apply pressure if your opponent hits a decent drop you can’t quite reach by leaning in. But it requires you to back off the kitchen line to create space. While this space lets them get closer, it also allows you to put better technique and pace on a bouncing ball.

  • Once you recognize it’s a good drop, take 1-2 small steps back and rotate your hips

  • Attack the ball at its peak after the bounce

  • Add topspin and hit to their weaker side or at their feet if they’re still moving in

Third, they avoid short-hopping the ball

It’s almost impossible to apply pressure off a short hop, and it’s also very easy to pop these balls up. Avoid taking fourths (or sixths) on a short hop at all costs.

  • Recognize the quality of the drop early

  • Set yourself up: either lean in or take steps back

  • Commit completely to whichever shot you choose

Lastly, they concede the line if they must

Sometimes, your opponent hits a great drop, and you must concede the kitchen. If this happens, your goal is to make the next ball unattackable.

  • Aim a soft-ish dink to your opponent’s weak side foot (left foot if righthanded, right foot if lefthanded)

  • Prepare to play out the rally

For more about the fourth shot, check out this article that includes a great video from pro John Cincola.

Step on the Court With Confidence

Step into the Selkirk Pro Line Collection, where top performance and unique style collide.

Designed for those who know their way around a pickleball court, this collection brings you gear that's as bold and dynamic as your game. With cutting-edge designs that refuse to blend into the background, you're not just playing to win; you're playing to stand out.

Gear up with the Selkirk Pro Line Collection and make every match memorable.

Johns Bros Get Pickled at Red Rock

“The Giant Killers” Gabe Tardio and Andrei Daescu upset the Johns Bros again, this time in the semifinals at PPA Tour Selkirk Red Rock Open.

Gabe and Andrei lost the first game handily (1-11) but bounced back in the second game in arguably the best doubles game of the weekend, 13-11.

In the third game, they showed us something we’ve never seen before: they pickled the greatest men’s doubles team in pro pickleball.

The elimination kept Ben and Collin from pursuing their fourth gold in four weeks. Gabe and Andrei lost to JW Johnson and Dylan Frazier in three games in the final on Sunday. Congrats to J-Dub and Dylan.

Ben Johns did get a gold medal alongside Etta Wright in Mixed Doubles, defeating James Ignatowich and Anna Bright 12-14, 11-7, 11-8, 11-1. Ben has won at least one gold medal in 19 straight tournaments.

Jack Sock lost his first Championship Sunday Men’s Singles match, getting taken out by the machine that has become Federico Staksrud, 11-3, 2-11, 11-7.

Mary Brascia edged out Lea Jansen in a battle for the ages to capture her first Women’s Singles gold 7-11, 11-4, 11-9.

In Women’s Doubles, Lea Jansen and Tina Pisnik (who have both been on an absolute tear in 2024) defeated Anna Bright and Callie Jo Smith in three straight to take the gold.

Check out our full recap of the Red Rock Open, complete with all the memorable shots from the week in Utah.

Recovery Methods for Pickleball Players

Recently, we asked you, “What products do you use to optimize recovery after pickleball?”

More than one-third (37.4 percent) of you said massage guns are your go-to. Others turn to other methods, including creams, foam rollers, and ice baths.

We recently explored each of these methods — including some simple ones you may not have considered — in greater detail to provide pickleballers with ways to recover from playing too much pickleball.

Let’s face it. Time comes for us all, and if you want to play this game for the rest of your life, you must get serious about your health and recovery.

And, let’s be honest – there’s no such thing as too much pickleball, right?

From Diamond to Court

Warstic, a big name in baseball and softball, has stepped up to the pickleball plate, and they’re not holding back. Their line of performance pickleball paddles, including the impressive WSPB Elite Series, is turning heads and boosting games.

From the get-go, it’s clear these paddles mean business. With designs that pop and performance that doesn’t quit, the Warstic WSPB Elite Series is here to make its mark.

Grab a Warstic paddle and let your play speak for itself.

Let the Players do the Talking

Lea Jansen joined PicklePod after her first singles title in three years. She discussed paddle technology, her return to singles, drug testing, and the new wave of players in the women's game.

Find out what Lea would change to help the game keep up with other professional sports. Check out the new episode here.

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