Pickleball's biggest moment just happened

Pickleball's monumental moment and courts are everywhere

Momma, we made it.

Pickleball had one glaring flaw. It lacked a crucial element, a right of passage, if you will, that only the elite professional sports experience.

Multi-million dollar payouts? Nope. Prime time TV? Try again. Olympics? Close...

On Saturday during a men's doubles match, professional pickleball experienced its first... streaker. Monumental, I know.

The masked intruder interrupted the Johns brothers' first match of the day and caused fans across the picklesphere to collectively spit out their morning coffee.

It appears the vagrant escaped the stout group of PPA officials and is still at large. Fans have floated some theories as to who was under the mask.

  • "Looks like Matt Wright took a wrong turn on his morning jog"

  • "Dave Fleming decided to take a shortcut to the broadcast booth"

  • "Tyson Apostol always said he would find a way onto championship court"

Conspiracy theorists suggest it was an inside job. Take a look and decide for yourself.

Let's go!

APP Atlanta Metro Open Results

PPA Baird Wealth Management Open

A Clockwork Lunge

We're back in the John Cincola pickleball lab for another pro tip. This week, it's the magic footwork required to move like a pro.

Cincola's strategy is to work on lunges in every direction. For this drill, he set up cones in the position of numbers on a clock. He then lunges to each cone, which simulates the motion of lunging for a pickleball shot.

When executing, focus on these keys:

  • Step with your outside foot

  • Keep strong upper body posture

  • Maintain control and balance

This drill helps to increase the strength and flexibility needed on the pickleball court. In the video, Cincola provides examples of pro players fielding shots from the lunge position in both singles and doubles.

An overlooked part of the game is that a ton of shots are actually hit from the lunge position.

Developing strength in the lunge helps players stabilize their lower body while taking the shot. It also helps them launch back up into ready position or change direction to run down the next ball.

Next time you're on the court, take a mental note of the shots you take from the lunge position. It can be a forward lunge to reach a ball in the kitchen, or a side lunge to execute an ATP. They will start to add up. Add the clock lunges to your routine so your quads and glutes are ready to fire. Build that steady base from the ground up.

Look good. Play better.

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PPA Baird Wealth Management Open

The PPA Tour took over the Lindner Family Tennis Center and put on a show for the Cincinnati crowd. Jessie Irvine and Anna Bright pieced together their best performance since joining forces in April.

In a shocking semifinal upset, they took out the boiling hot Leigh and Anna Leigh Waters. Irvine and Bright advanced to Championship Sunday where they won gold over Lea Jansen/Catherine Parenteau. These two teams meeting on Sunday reflects a change in the women's division that we have not seen this year. Kovalova/Smith and the Waters were firmly seated at the top of the women's doubles mountain. Now it appears two more teams have forced their way to the summit and created a more intriguing women's doubles field.

Jessie Irvine played back-to-back matches on Championship Sunday. She moved right into the mixed doubles final with partner Jay Devillers. Irvine and Devilliers were no match for the Anna Leigh Waters/Ben Johns duo but silver at a grand slam event is still a great result in a deep mixed doubles field.

The number one seeds prevailed in singles. Anna Leigh Waters defeated Lea Jansen in 3 straight games. Multiple rain delays broke Waters' momentum but she always finds a way to regroup and bring her best stuff when it counts.

Tyson McGuffin earned a little more breathing room in the PPA rankings. His win over Hunter Johnson puts McGuffin about 1400 points ahead of Ben Johns in the rankings. With less than 10 events left in 2022, McGuffin has a real opportunity to finish the year in the top spot.

Given his track record and consistency, it's feasible that McGuffin could hold onto his lead without the need for another first-place finish.

It is a quick turnaround for the PPA Tour with the Peachtree Classic set to start on Thursday where we could see a rematch between Anna Leigh Waters and Parris Todd. McGuffin and Johns will both be in action with the addition of APP Tour regulars JW Johnson, Dylan Frazier and Federico Staksrud.

APP Atlanta Metro Open

Speaking of Federico Staksrud, he and JW Johnson faced off again in the men's singles final. Staksrud proved that his win over Johnson in Chicago was no fluke. Staksrud has won the last three APP events and his last three meetings with Johnson.

In women's singles, Megan Fudge brought home her first APP title. She is one of the grittiest players on tour and has finally reached the top of the podium.

JW Johnson dominated doubles. He and Dekel Bar breezed their way to a title in men's and it seems the pair is finally starting to gel after a number of disappointing results earlier this year (they have potential to be a #1 duo on either tour).

Johnson and Simone Jardim had two close run-ins with Bar and Parris Todd in mixed. Victorious in both meetings, Queen Jardim and J Dub now have five titles together in 2022.

Jardim teamed up with Todd for the first time in women's doubles. Todd, who is rapidly improving her doubles prowess, is in pretty good hands, we'd say, with a mentor like Jardim. The duo improved throughout the day and double-dipped their way to gold.

PSA, a 'double dip' occurs when a team fights their way to the gold medal match via the consolation, or loser's, bracket. The team must not only win an initial best of 3 match, but then also win a final game to 15 to secure gold.

  • Mary Helen Atkins and Scott Crandall made an improbable run to gold as the sixth seed in senior pro mixed doubles

  • Paul Olin has cracked the Mattias Johansson code, he finishes on top of senior men's singles again

  • Etta Wright found her way to another APP podium, she has won back-to-back bronze medals in women's doubles

The APP Tour picks back up with their first stop in Northern California. The Sacramento Open starts Sept 22nd.

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Pickleball Anywhere

Pickleball is to sports as moss piglets are to the animal kingdom (worth the google). The point is, it can be played anywhere. The pandemic birthed a trend of makeshift courts in places like driveways and backyards.

But even now, that trend continues, and over the last year or so we've seen courts pop up in even funnier places, like a frozen lake, the New York Stock Exchange and the Cubs bullpen.

Pickleball even found its way to a MetLife Stadium tailgate for the NY Jets home opener last weekend.

Whether it's on-stage in the middle of a Dierks Bentley concert, the deck of a cruise liner or Kylie Jenner's backyard, it feels like pb is everywhere. What's the craziest court you've ever seen?

Mom Knows Best

In a Wall Street Journal story yesterday, Julie Johnson shared the six quintessential stretches for pickleball. She is the mom to two of the best players on the planet and a champion in her own right. Who better to get you prepped for a session on the courts? Plus, look at the guns on mom in this photo. Is she wielding a pickleball paddle or Thor's Hammer?

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