“We’re reaching an expiration date for pickleball.” “It’s a way to be athletic without actually being athletic.” These are the errors in thinking we pickleball fanatics deal with on the daily.
Sadly, these are also direct quotes from Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a laid-back interview conducted on the I’ve Had It Podcast. Cringe.
To her credit, AOC did clarify that a friend of hers held a pickleball party in which guests “seemed to really enjoy themselves.” So at least a little positive PR there.
Meanwhile: the future of the MLP x PPA merger is more unclear than ever. We’ve heard from insider sources…more below.
In This Issue:
🤝 Merging is always a hassle
🏋️ Keep your knees bent
🌪️ APP starts with a twist
Lots to cover today. Let’s move.
The Costly Mistake You Didn’t Know You Were Making
When a firefight starts, your brain stops. You lose track of space and time and just rely on instinct and reaction speed to win the point.
During those hand battles, you’re likely making a critical mistake without even realizing it. Because they are so quick there is little to no time to recover.
So after one shot your form is out the window and you're out of position. On last weekend’s PPA Masters broadcast Jay Devilliers hopped in the booth and pointed out this exact problem.
During a firefight in men’s doubles, Wyatt Stone has a counterattack fly long because he is out of position.
When the firefight starts, Stone is in ready position, with knees bent, and counters the first attack
But the shot gets his feet moving and pushes him off the kitchen line
On the next attack, Stone is standing straight up and has to stretch for the ball sending it deep
Or as Jay says on the broadcast (please read with a French accent) “He’s pretty low on the first counter. The second he stands up, he opens the face of his paddle, and it flies a little bit long.”
Because things happen so fast in the hands battle, it’s important to maintain a ready position and limit exaggerated body movements. The counter should be a short punch that can be reloaded quickly.
An exaggerated follow-through or standing straight up will leave you out of position for the next ball. Watch the clip in real-time here.
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MLP x PPA Deal: UPDATE
Last week, both PPA Tour (PPA) & Major League Pickleball (MLP) stakeholders communicated to The Dink that the merger was a 98% done deal. And yet, I pegged it at 50/50. Why? Because I've seen enough to know that until the deal is done, it's not done.
So what happened? Here’s the short version:
Money was supposed to be injected into the new entity in equal amounts from MLP & PPA
On the MLP side, Jason Stein (SC Holdings, NY Hustlers) and Al Tylis (DC Pickleball Team) were to contribute the majority
Then, a new financial model emerged:
$35m committed by the PPA ($15m cash, $20m in asset value)
$35m committed by MLP, consisting of $10m from SC Holdings (Stein) and $10m from Tylis' group (with 25% liquidation preference), and the rest split amongst the various ownership groups evenly
As lead investors, SC Holdings & Tylis would also earn a 2% management fee and 20% of all profits
But as the deal approached the finish line, Knighthead Capital Management (Knighthead), a firm founded by Tom Wagner, part of MLP's Vegas Night Owls ownership group, offered an alternative:
Knighthead will serve as the lead investor instead of Tylis and SC Holdings
Knighthead will not charge the 2% management fee and 20% of profits
Knighthead would reduce the liquidation preference from 25% to 23%
Meanwhile, a slew of other issues are beginning to boil over:
It’s reported players' agents and attorneys have begun to press MLP executives on why players have yet to receive any compensation
Some Major League Pickleball owners have wisely pointed out that PPA players aren't required to participate in all MLP events, devaluing the product
The longer the deal remains in limbo, the less players will feel secure in their futures
As you might imagine, there’s lots more context to fill in. Naturally, we’ve done so here.
(Side note: We are hearing that shortly after publishing that article yesterday, select MLP owners held a conference call in which it was decided that Wagner and Knighthead would withdraw their offer. It is assumed that this will realign all parties and pave the way for the meger to move forward as planned).
Did we save the merger? Form your own conclusions (but yes, we did).
A Change of Pace in Punta Gorda
The APP season is underway with an interesting twist. Due to weather concerns, rally scoring was instituted in Punta Gorda with matches being played best 2 out of 3 up to 15.
Top seed Hunter Johnson looks to remain on top of the men’s singles field in 2024. He’s reached Championship Sunday and will play Christopher Haworth for gold.
Men’s Singles Finals
Hunter Johnson vs Christopher Haworth
Bronze: Yates Johnson vs Jack Foster
The women’s singles final will be a lively matchup between Megan Fudge and Judit Castillo. Fudge passed through the field without dropping a game.
Castillo met Parris Todd in the semifinals and split two close games before finally closing the match 15-7 in game three.
Women’s Singles Finals
Megan Fudge vs Judit Castillo
Bronze: Jess Warren
Rain in South Florida has delayed the start of play today, look for it to resume later this afternoon. Mixed doubles and the remainder of the weekend will be streamed on APPTV.
What’s the largest pickleball facility you know of? We’re looking for the largest in world. Shoot us an email if you know of any.
Raising the Bar
Franklin Sports is helping raise the bar and writing the next chapter of competitive pickleball with the new FS Tour Series Pickleball Paddles.
Their Tempo and Dynasty paddles are engineered to help pickleball players improve their shot-making skills and reach their maximum potential. Its T700 carbon fiber surface allows for controlled touch and killer spin, while its optimized swing and twist weight enhance your technique.
Check out the paddle that won nationals and start playing like pro today.
Learning From Pickleball Legends
Jack Munro is a pickleball OG. He picked up the game before it was cool and was a junior national champion a decade ago.
After a long hiatus, he is back to reclaim his throne in America's fastest-growing sport. Zane and Jack are joined by Carlos Di Laura who is putting together a pro pickleball playground and training center in Austin.
Headlines & Quick Hits
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A review from the Dink Fam...