Battle for Viewership

Good morning. Welcome to The Dink Newsletter. May we have this dance?

Ready yourself for one of the biggest professional pickleball weekends to date.

The PPA Tour and Major League Pickleball will both be hosting events August 5-7. Each event will feature formats that break away from the traditional bracket.

On the Court: "leaving it" is one of the most challenging and underrated skills in pickleball. How many times have you given your opponent a second chance by playing a ball that would have been out?

Focus on this next time you're out there. It's an underrated skill to have in your arsenal.

Let's get into it.

What to Work On When You're Numero Uno

At some point in your pickleball journey, you will find yourself in a game where you're the best on the court. It's those times when you can work on some of the finer parts of the game.

See the Ball Hit Your Paddle - Sure. Very Obvious, but hugely overlooked. Don't just watch the ball hit your paddle - pay attention to where it hits on your paddle. Are you really hitting the sweet spot as often as you think?Footwork - Get in position for every shot. Bend your knees, take the extra step. Too often players get lazy in 'easy' matches. Laziness and bad form = bad habits on the court. Dance like the pros: split-steps and quick shuffle-steps.

Talk: Mine, yours, just kidding, mine again - In crunch time, breaths get shallow and mouths get dry. Communication can dwindle when nerves obfuscate. So when the game doesn't matter, talk. Get in the habit of talking to your partner and create the habit now, so you can implement it later (when it matters).

Give Up the Middle - If your partner recognizes you as the better player, they'll likely want you to take middle balls. Encourage them to cover more of the court. Play the weak side and find ways to maximize your impact. Think about how Pro Collin Johns has become a lethal 'weak side' (right side if you're a righty) player.

Since you're not the focus, take time to analyze your opponent's tendencies, identify their 'tells' and become a pickleball body language expert.

Speedups with Kyle Yates

"Most of the time, it's a fair assumption that the other team is going to get the ball back. It's just a matter of how can I make them as uncomfortable as possible with this ball?"

Kyle Yates is thinking two shots ahead when he initiates speedups. A well-placed speedup has only one job, to set up the next shot.

A quick flick into an uncomfortable spot (think chicken wing, shoulder or high to their backhand) starts the firefight. The opponent counters with a rushed or awkward attack. Having started the fight, Yates is ready for clean up on this sweet little 1-2 punch combo.

The initial flick is bait for the opponent. If they take the bait and try to attack back, it's likely to be a high uncontrolled attack. That is exactly what Yates is looking for. A ball that is just high enough for him to put it away.

It's common to think of the speedup as an attempt at a winner. It can be. But at higher levels, you have to expect that the ball is coming back. Use that to your advantage.

A New Place to Shop

We are excited to introduce The Picklr Shop (www.thepicklrshop.com). The Picklr Shop team is comprised of pickleball enthusiasts, including some of the top players in the world. They are committed to bringing you the best pickleball paddles and gear on the market.

The Picklr Shop offers same-day shipping, rewards on every purchase, and a 30-day guarantee for you to love your paddle/gear or your money back. Get your next paddle at The Picklr Shop.

Whose Court is it Anyways?

The 12 tennis courts at Robb Field in San Diego have become some of the most fought-over real estate in the area. Pickleballers have been trying to set up shop on the courts that have been intensely guarded by the Pennisula Tennis Club.

Last Thursday a group from Pickleball SD broke out the temporary nets on the open courts. A PTC manager confronted the players claiming that a fee is required and the courts are tennis only. Police were summoned to remove the pickleball group and the dispute was recorded.

But the pickleballers had done their homework before hitting the courts.

  • The PTC's permit from the city to use the courts was expired

  • The land (courts) is public property and is first come first serve

  • Pickleball SD acquired a special use permit to use the courts

Police determined that the pickleball group was allowed to stay and play on the courts because of the lack of permitting. Since then, the PTC claims to have received an updated permit and has considered "banning" the group involved in Thursday's disruption.

More on this story here.

The Battle for Viewers

We are a few days away from the first head to head battle for viewers between MLP and the PPA Tour. 72 of the world's best players will be split between the two Southern California events.

Major League Pickleball - Newport Beach

  • The second of three MLP events scheduled for 2022

  • 48 players divided into teams of 4

  • Teams compete in a group stage that leads to a 6-team playoff

  • $100k awarded to the winning team

Selkirk Labs Showdown

  • First of its kind event featuring contracted and non-contracted PPA players

  • 24 players divided into 3 groups. Groups here.

  • Groups play an individual round robin stage leading to a knockout stage

No matter how the weekend shakes out, the ultimate winner is the fans (in the short run). MLP has created a product that brings excitement to the game. The PPA Tour is striving toward 'made-for-tv' pickleball. It might not be possible to create pickleball that's as entertaining to watch as it is to play, but the two organizations are doing their best.

When it comes to building a watchable pro structure, Pro Rob Nunnery offered his thoughts:

He later clarified: "I wasn't referring to MLP necessarily. Anyone can do it"

Responses to Nunnery came both in agreement, disagreement and some even suggested a combination of the two. Whereas others thought pro pickleball is "too early" altogether.

Food for thought. Reply to this email and tell us what you think.

Get to Know the Algorithm

As DUPR more and more becomes the standard across tournaments, clubs and even international federations, players have burning questions. DUPR's data scientist and CEO are answering all of your questions live on Tuesday at 12:00 PST. You can register and/or submit a question here.

Headlines & Quick Hits

Highlights

  • Three giants and a Stone. Patience and defense on display here

  • Here's a quick way to win a point. Just don't catch yourself on the wrong side of it

  • Behind the back in a cowboy hat

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