Collin Johns: Three Absolutely Crucial Drills

Eye protection numbers are in. Predictions for Sacramento.

Last week, we asked you whether you wear protective eyewear on the court (check out the surprising results below). This week, we're throwing a different scenario at you:

It’s 11-10 in a heated pickleball game. Your opponent has been making terrible line calls all day.

You finally have them on the ropes. They shank a return that appears to be sailing long. You prep for a forehand just in case. The ball hits the ground, but from your vantage point you can’t tell, did it hit the line?

Have you ever purposefully made a bad line call?

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In This Issue:

🦺 Collin Johns’ three favorite drills
🎩 Etiquette tips for your open debut
🗳️ Poll results: Eye protection on the rise


3 Drills You Can’t Live Without

The Johns Bros are the kings of pickleball drilling. You’ll rarely catch them in a rec game as they spend most of their time on the court doing drills.

1. Skinny Singles - at the kitchen
Ben and Collin stack. Ben is always on the left and Collin on the right. So they can spend a lot of time in this drill on one side of the court without a need to change positions.

A dink starts the rally and then the ball is live with each person trying to win the point. The drill works on “speedups, counters, blocks, different types of dinks, trying to get each other off balance.”

Johns explains that at his level this drill is preferred over cross-court dinking, “Because a lot of pickleball is attacking straight ahead and countering attacks that are hit from straight ahead.”

2. Skinny Singles - one up and one back
This is commonly played as a 7-11 game. The person back tries to get to 7 points before the person up can get to 11 points.

Johns says he prefers this over skinny singles because of the number of reps. Specifically the number of reps on important shots, the thirds, fourths and fifths.

Find Collin’s third drill and see the Johns bros practicing here.

Satisfying Spin

Selkirk is excited to introduce the Vanguard Control: an Elite Raw Carbon Paddle with Supreme Spin.

The Vanguard Control's Raw QuadCarbon Fiber Face, combined with the Vanguard X5+ honeycomb core, goes beyond providing a satisfying bite spin; it's crafted with precision using a non-thermoformed process to enhance the paddle's control capabilities.

Available in three distinct shapes - Invikta, Epic, and S2 - each paddle is crafted to suit your unique style. If you’re seeking consistency without compromising on spin, this paddle is your ideal choice. Check out the Vanguard Control Series paddle today and redefine your game!

A Matter of Etiquette

Stepping out on the courts for the first time can be intimidating. Pickleball open play is a unique beast that makes the game special in parks throughout the country.

Even if you’re a veteran of the game, you might be a fish out of water when playing at a new set of courts with different rules.

Our Johnny Barth (aka Johnny 5.0) broke down some of the most common practices in his latest piece for The Dink. Here are a few of his Do’s and Don’ts surrounding open play.

Courtside Manner

  • Observe the local waiting system (Paddle Bins, Names on a Board, etc.) - This is for when courts are full. If you’re unsure about the protocol, simply ask a local (until you find a helpful one). 

  • When players are waiting, be prepared to play one side-out game to 11 (win by 2) - It’s just the way it is.

  • Don’t hold your place in line and then disappear - It messes up the flow. Go to the car/friends/bathroom after the next game, or hold off on joining the line.

In Game

  • Greet your group, especially unfamiliar players - Exchanging names and a paddle tap/high five for good measure. Eases any unnecessary tension.

  • Be flexible with  your partner/opponents

  • On windy days, or if lighting isn’t the best,  offer to "change sides" after the first team reaches six points ... otherwise this is basically unnecessary to do.

  • Don’t take every ball - Give your partner a fair chance to get in the game with balls that are clearly playable for them.

  • Don’t walk away with someone else’s ball by mistake - have you seen the prices lately?!

You can find a more extensive list of etiquette tips and advice from Johnny at If you’ve got a rule that was left off the list, then reply to this email and let us know.

Eye Protection on the Rise

Sneakers and a paddle used to be the only requirements for pickleball players. But these days more and more players are adding eye protection to their on-court attire.

We asked the Dink Fam last week if eye protection is a must-have. A surprising majority of our readers answered that eye protection is mandatory for them.

Some might wear glasses to channel their inner Mary Brascia. Others know that eye injuries are one of the biggest risks associated with playing the game.

Collin Johns explained on the PicklePod that he made the switch to wearing eye protection last month.

There’s no denying that the game is getting faster. If eye protection wasn’t on your mind before, it should be now, and there's one brand that has emerged as the frontrunner for pickleball eyewear.

Which leads us to our next piece...

Engineered for Pickleball

With the speed of the game increasing and the need for proper eye protection becoming more apparent than ever, RIA Eyewear has emerged as the gold standard for high-performance pickleball eyewear.

RIA’s lenses are engineered in collaboration with world-renowned lens maker ZEISS through extensive color science research specifically to enhance the contrast of the pickleball, providing exceptional clarity and improving on-court vision.

RIA offers interchangeable lens options to account for various lighting conditions. All of their lenses are shatterproof, treated with anti-fog/anti-glare coatings, and are 100% UVA/UVB protective.

Keep your eyes protected from all angles with RIA Eyewear, the Official Protective Eyewear of USA Pickleball.

Predictions for APP Sacramento

The APP Tour returns to action this weekend in Sacramento. Along for the ride are a couple of familiar faces. JW and Jorja Johnson will team up in mixed doubles and be the heavy favorite going into the weekend.

Andrei Daescu and Gabe Tardio are paired up again this weekend. They will look to carry the momentum from a silver medal at the PPA Arizona Cup into a gold in Sacramento.

APP Punta Gorda gold medalist Will Howells has a great chance to make it two in a row. His performance last month landed him a spot with JW in men’s doubles.

  • Howells will also be a threat in men’s singles. But the favorite in that division is the top seed Chris Haworth, who will look to start the year with back-to-back titles.

  • In women’s doubles, keep an eye out for the team of Jorja Johnson and Jill Braverman. The uncommon duo has a great chance to run away with gold.

  • Judit Castillo and Megan Fudge are poised for another finals rematch, but Johnson will look to play spoiler here, as she will be on triple crown watch this weekend.

The event will stream on ESPN+ Friday through Sunday with a special window on ESPN2 Sunday from 10am - 12pm ET.

Players Holding on to Leverage

The PPA and MLP may have put ink to paper but some players are rumored to have not signed a contract (and we're talking some big names). Florida Smash owners Graham D'Amico and Travis Rettenmaier break down the rumors and what it could mean for the sport.

Headlines & Quick Hits


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