Chess GOAT enters pickleball

Sock's downfall. Pickleball moms rule.

Proprioceptive training is the sciencey term for physical activity which doesn’t just train your body, but your mind as well.

“You cannot achieve anything without understanding where you are in space and time,” says Louisa Nicola, neuroscientist.

She recommends activities which use all of your senses (light, sound, and touch) to track not just where something was, but where it is going.

See where we’re going with this? Congrats, you’re very proprioceptive.


By the way, congrats to our Free Paddle for Life giveaway winners:

In This Issue:

  • Back to basics

  • MLP’s latest slate of investors

  • Pickleball moms

  • Rising stars in pro pickle


Mismatched Socks

Jack Sock covered the full spectrum of results in his pro pickleball debut. Quarterfinals in singles, first round knockout in men's, and a gold medal in mixed.

So what's with the huge discrepancy in results? Well, it helps that Anna Leigh Waters is on her own level in the women's game. But how do you go from gold in mixed to losing in the first round in men's?

Let's take a look at the duo that spoiled Saturday's fun with the upset. Eric Roddy and Jim Dobran are NC natives that actually practice with Sock in the Charlotte area.

On a new It Feels Right, Travis Rettenmaier explains how he, Sock, Dobran and Roddy were practicing together to prepare for the event. Rettenmaier remarked on the matchup:

"It screwed him over. If you would've asked him what one team do you not want to play, it would be that team, because they have such a good read on him."

He added:

“The game plan was pretty clear. Make him hit 3, 4, 5 dinks in a row and you’re probably in good shape.”

Real Clear Stats shared their analysis of the match from a data-driven perspective. The biggest stand out = unforced errors.

Sock/McGuffin had 26 unforced errors compared to 8 from Dobran/Roddy.

Rettenmaier explains that McGuffin/Sock were trying to avoid the long dink rallies. As a result, they resorted to taking more high risk shots and tried to force the action.

“I think he saw the pattern wasn’t going to work in his favor if Jack kept dinking. So maybe he felt like as soon as he had the opportunity he had to push it, to try to create some organized chaos.”

This is evident in the stats as well. Firefights started by McGuffin/Sock = 25 vs Dobran/Roddy = 17

A final factor working against the tennis phenom was thirds. Like so many other bangers, the first instinct is to DRIVE.

Sock elected to drive all of his third attempts. Only 15/21 were successful, 71%. In most pro matches, that number should be >90%.

This meant fewer opportunities to reach neutral and win points the old-fashioned way. It appears you can take the man out of tennis but you can't take tennis out of the man.

The takeaway here: the basics still matter. You have to have both. No matter how strong your drive is, if your soft game is weak, it will be exposed at higher levels.

But hey, as Sock's Twitter bio reads "I like to hit forehands." Me too Jack, me too.

The Paddle with No Cons?

Our paddle reviewer strikes again — this time, he’s taking on the Bread & Butter Filth, a Thermoformed, foam-injected, virtually-indestructible carbon faced paddle.

“Most thermoformed paddles have a crazy amount of power and pop, which is fantastic, but I personally find them harder to control and hit consistent shots,” he explains.

The Filth, on the other hand, may not be AS crazy powerful as these, but B&B found a sweet spot between amazing control, responsiveness, and power.”

See the full review here.

Meet MLP’s New Investors

Yes, we’re going to talk about WNBA, NBA, and NFL stars. Yes, we’re going to mention the YouTubers again.

But before any of that, we’d like to point out that one of the newest investors in Major League Pickleball’s AZ Drive is Magnus Carlsen, a Norwegian chess grandmaster.

Yes, chess. He’s a 5-time World Chess Champion, and the number-one rated player in the world for over a decade. He was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine in 2013, the year that he won his first world championship.

When we said pickleball is chess, tennis is checkers…I guess he listened!

LA Mad Drops: Pro athletes Jayson Tatum (4-time NBA All Star), Haley Jones (WNBA’s Atlanta Dream), and Josh Allen (2-time Pro Bowl QB of NFL’s Buffalo Bills).

Frisco Clean Cause: YouTubers Dude Perfect, Texas A&M University Alumni known for trick shot videos with 60 million subscribers.

Miami Pickleball Club: Jewell Loyd (No. 1 overall pick, WNBA’s Seattle Storm) and Zach LaVine (2-time NBA All-Star and 2-time NBA Slam Dunk Contest Champ).

The diversity of interest in pickleball is on full display in this list, echoing the sport’s spirit of “anyone can play.” MLP season one wraps up in San Clemente next month.

Moms. They make the world go ‘round.

MLP moms!

When you’re a mom, it’s hard to find ways to re-energize. I was there. Doing it all and ending up completely exhausted.

Then I found pickleball (well, pickleball found me). And things changed.

I was meeting people, other moms, who completely understood the need for something new, fun, and low stress. It gave me a chance to blow off some steam and have a few laughs.

Conversations at home quickly changed from homework woes to everything pickleball. The whole family wanted in. We played in the driveway, brought paddles and balls on dog walks to the park, and convinced our neighbors to let us set up a net on the street (don’t worry we live on a very quiet dead end).

This Mother’s Day, I asked some influential mom’s in pickleball how the sport has changed their lives and their families lives.

Over and over, I heard the same thing:

  • Pickleball is a breath of fresh air

  • It’s inclusive

  • The community is amazing

  • Pickleball has helped me meet other mom friends

  • Pickleball brings all generations together

Being a mom is great. But being a pickleball mom is awesome. Happy Mothers Day! -- Kim, Head of Partnerships at The Dink (left in photo)

Pickleball Jewelry That Really Sparkles

Jeweler Kristina Tamas has been designing and selling jewelry for over 15 years. Now, she’s turned her passion for pickleball into some truly stunning work.

Check out Born to Rally's catalog of pickleball-themed charms, earrings, keychains, bracelets, necklaces and more here.

Johnson & Devidze Lead the Pack in Cincy

William Sobek has been on a tear in 2023. Yesterday in Cincy he overcame his six-seed ranking to power through to bronze.

Sobek actually beat Yates Johnson in the semifinals but lost in the rematch bronze medal match. Johnson advances to Championship Sunday where he will face his brother, Hunter Johnson, again for gold.

It appears to be a runaway weekend for Salome Devidze. She cruised the draw and awaits a rematch with Jenna Hessert on Championship Sunday. Devidze won their first match 11-7, 11-4.

Hessert is a name to learn in the women’s game. She has crept up the rankings since making the jump to pro last year.

Mixed doubles action picks up this morning in Cincy. Reminder: the broadcast won’t begin until tomorrow at 1 pm Et on APPTV. Don’t miss the special CBS Sports broadcast from 12-2pm ET on Championship Sunday.

“I’m Going to Tell the Truth”

Travis Rettenmaier is going to tell it like it is. He shares about the Red Rock paddle challenge, the world of pickleball chirping, and what happened to the infamous 2 vs 1 NML match.

Rettenmaier is an expert in the tennis-to-pickle transition. Catch more of his in-depth analysis on Jack Sock’s debut performance in Charlotte.

Listen here or watch here.

Headlines & Quick Hits


Homecourt Havens

There should be a training montage filmed here for the next great pro. Clear your mind of anything but pickle. Escape to the desert and train all day, every day.

If you have a homecourt that you’d like to start paying the bills, sign up for Swimply’s pickleball feature: coming soon.

A review from the Dink Fam...

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