Fascinating details from pickleball's civil war

Colleges are picking up pickle. APP takes AUS.

And there it is. Notable holdouts JW & Jorja Johnson, Gabriel Tardio, Milan Rane & Dylan Frazier are team MLP.

Full circle: last November, it was also Johnson and Frazier who shook things up with a big move.

JW was the MLP #1 overall pick, with Frazier going top 10 as well. When the PPA’s VIBE Pickleball League emerged, it was Johnson and Frazier that defected to sign with the MLP competitor.

But this time around, the duo landed with MLP, and they brought their friends/siblings with them. Many are claiming this is the knockout blow, but we’re not convinced.

As we’ve said time and time again: you never know what’s going to happen next.

More analysis here.

In This Issue:

🧠 Maximize your field of vision
🤓 Colleges are picking up pickle
🦘 APP takes over Aussie land

Pojďme! (That’s Czech for “Let’s go!”)

Keep the Ball in Front

A recent trip out to the court with some beginners reminded me of an easy tip to improve your game: keep the ball in front.

In general, having the ball in front of your body allows you to maximize your field of vision. You can capture the ball, the court, your partner, and your opponents in your peripheral vision.

It also keeps your body moving in the right direction, forward.

Court position is key in pickleball, and with each shot, you want to improve your position by moving forward:

  • On the serve: Extend your arm a foot or two in front of your body and toss the ball from there. This creates enough distance between you and the ball and has you facing your target.

  • On the drop: Simplify the drop as much as possible. A simple, consistent drop is worth its weight in gold on the pickleball court. It starts with contacting the ball in front of your body.

  • At the kitchen: The further you can reach into the kitchen to attack a ball, the better. It improves your angle of attack and cuts down on the reaction time of your opponent.

Is this technique simple? Yeah. Is it underappreciated? You betcha. Will it help you win more points? Reply to this email and let us know if it works for you.

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About Time, Colleges

Just in time for the back-to-school season, colleges are starting to take pickleball seriously.

Drury University in Springfield, MO breaks ground this month on its new “Panther Pad,” featuring tennis and pickleball courts, pavilion grill, and beverage area.

The courts were made possible by a donation from APP pro Austin O’Reilly and his family, but it’s still a major space commitment for a college campus.

Meanwhile, eight pickleball courts and four padel courts are being built at University of the Pacific in CA, set to open this fall.

They’re really throwing some dollars down for their facility. It’ll feature lights and video cameras for live streaming, in addition to the higher cost of padel courts (they can cost $24,000 – $65,000 compared to pickle’s $5,000 for a really nice court).

San Diego Community College is running an entire course, appropriately named “Introduction to Pickleball,” teaching students the fundamentals of the game and how to build a court (side note: skip the class, just read this).

Can we go back to school, too? Never too late for a quick degree in…whatever.

Summertime Chicago Pickle

Singles day is always good for some surprises. Yesterday in Chicago, we saw the men's #1 Yates Johnson drop his first round match to Ross Whittaker.

Whittaker was then bested by Christopher Haworth, who had the best performance of the day. Haworth won the winners bracket and has the lead seat come Championship Sunday.

His first gold will not come easy, however. Jaume Martinez Vich also lost in the first round but went scorched earth in the loser’s bracket and dusted 7 straight opponents. Martinez Vich will take on Haworth for gold on Sunday.

Ryler DeHeart had himself a nice little singles day as well. The infamous bucket hat was joined by another accessory, the bronze medal.

In women's singles, Dominique Schaefer is making her case for the number one spot. Schaefer took out Salome Devidize in three games after being pickled in game one.

These two will face off again for gold on Championship Sunday. Judit Castillo ended the day in third.

Summertime is still in effect in Chicago. Temps will hit 90+ over Labor Day weekend. You can tune into the action starting Saturday at 1pm ET on ESPN+.

Great Picks for Pickleball Pride

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Look Your Best on the Court

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Fascinating Details from Pickleball’s Civil War

Yahoo Sports recently published an article profiling the Pro Pickleball Association and Major League Pickleball's messy breakup and subsequent spending war. Here are a few quotes worth noting:

I ran straight to the airport, no bag, no cell phone charger, no toothbrush, no clothes. I flew to Kansas City and I tried to save my business.

Connor Pardoe

It's a powerful visual. A young entrepreneur, still in his 20s by the way, drops everything upon learning that his company is under attack.

Everything he's built over the past five years is in jeopardy. The only thing he can do: go try and save it.

I had one of the PPA guys come up to me five times saying, ‘Hey let’s get a deal done, let’s get a deal done.’ I’m like, hold on! I need something in writing. I need to send it to my agent. I need to make some calls. It was like we were almost getting bullied into it.

Kyle Yates

High pressure tactics in a high stakes scenario. Reports are that MLP used similar tactics: both orgs were willing to do whatever it takes to emerge the victor.

When Kyle Yates entered the pickleball circuit 10+ years ago, could he have possibly foreseen this?

I’d do the same deal we had again…If I could bring that back, I’d do it in a heartbeat. I’d be more than willing to sit down and try to figure it out.

Connor Pardoe

And despite everything, Pardoe remains willing to make a deal. But at this point, is that even feasible? Imagine the paranoia…

Read more fascinating details here.

APP Heading Down Under

There’s a legitimate case to be made that the APP Tour is the only pro league taking global pickleball seriously right now.

While the PPA Tour & MLP are locked in a land grab for North American athletes, the APP is doggedly growing the sport outside of its American events. Their latest achievement? Australia.

The league is now the promoting partner of the 2023 GemLife Australian Pickleball Championships, held September 29 through October 2 in Sydney.

With over 600 players expected to compete, it will be the largest-ever competitive pickleball event in the southern hemisphere.

This event marks the APP's fifth international event partnership of 2023 - joining tournaments held in England, Sweden, India, Spain, and now Australia.

Headlines & Quick Hits


Homecourt Havens

Yeah, that’ll do. We’ll excuse the temp net for that gorgeous view. Give us a shout if you need a fourth.

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