Get yer' thinkin’ caps on. It’s time for another edition of Obscure Pickleball Trivia. This time, it’s an obvious question with a not-so-obvious answer.
Here’s the question. Let’s see if you’re a true pickleball fanatic:
In This Issue:
🪓 This shot will split amateurs from top players
🤝 Major merger alert
👈 Leftie needed!
Lots to cover today. Let’s move.
The Shot Everyone Will Use in 5 Years
Last year, we introduced you to the tomahawk shot. We are one year into Zane’s prediction and the shot has not taken off yet. Get ahead of the trend and add it to your arsenal.
On the PicklePod, Navratil explained the number one reason you should be tomahawking: additional inches.
The Tomahawk shot is a replacement for the backhand overhead. It is used to smash a high ball on the backhand side.
Hold the paddle up like you're prepping for a backhand volley
Turn your wrist toward your body like you're trying to read your watch, the paddle will rotate nearly 180 degrees
Reach up toward your backhand shoulder and smash any ball that enters the new No Fly Zone
According to Navratil, the wrist rotation allows for an additional 4-5 inches of reach and "additional inches are great." He must be talking about height.
From this position, you can snap your wrist more effectively and reach the ball when it is further into the kitchen.
We also appreciate the added power and angle possibilities that the shot provides. Not looking like an uncoordinated ballerina while swinging at a backhand overhead is a win as well.
It's time folks. Learn how to make the switch here.
Unleash your pickleball potential with the HEAD Radical Tour RAW EX Pickleball Paddle.
Its elongated handle is perfect for those powerful two-handed backhands, while the innovative Raw Carbon Hitting Surface offers great feel and control on the ball. This paddle is a game-changer for players seeking to dominate the court with both power and finesse.
Major Paddle Merger
A private equity firm has combined three big pickleball companies under one umbrella: Paddletek, ProXR Pickleball, and Boundless Pickleball.
Thirty-5 Capital, LLC, a firm focused on sports technology, announced the formation of United Pickleball Paddles, a subsidiary of their pickleball investment portfolio, through the acquisition of Paddletek.
Considering which pro players use those brands' paddles, this merger could be an impactful one:
Notable pros who use ProXR paddles include Zane Navratil, Riley Newman, Connor Garnett, Andre Mick, CJ Klinger, and Emily Ackerman.
Notable pros who use Paddletek paddles include world number one Anna Leigh Waters, Leigh Waters, Irina Tereschenko, Andrea Koop, and Riley Bohnert.
Thirty-5 Capital is also the majority owner of the Chicago Slice Major League Pickleball team and has recently made investments in businesses across pickleball.
Obviously, this puts a dent in Selkirk’s and JOOLA’s race to sign the top talent. They used to have the volume of signed pros, but this new paddle conglomerate is catching up. Find more details here.
PPA’s New Serve Rules: Your Take
Last issue, we asked you about the beta-tested rule at PPA Masters requiring players to drop the ball no higher than from their hip for a volley serve.
The majority of you were not fans of the (temporary) changes:
One of you wrote in, citing an opinion shared by many: that it can be difficult to determine “waist height,” and that this experimentation with the rules at the pro level is a slippery slope:
Does not help the game and will only cause confusion amongst refs and tournament players.
In an unrefereed match, can you imagine your opponent calling you on a serve? Let the arguments begin.
But the votes were split. Many of you, like the below reader, felt that the drop serve is more fair and reduces the risk of weaponization:
Far too many rec players still ‘hide’ the ball. It often looks like it's being hit out of their hand. The end result is a spin on the ball that the receiver can't see.
I'm all for a clear, visible release of the ball. If the server can't execute a volley serve in this manner, they can optionally use a drop serve.
As for the Pros, it reduces much of the ambiguities that the refs have to put up with.
Clearly, this is a split issue among pickleball fans. We expect further experimentation at pro-level events in the near future.
APP Takes the Stage
It's the APP's turn this week as the tour makes its first pro stop in Punta Gorda. Andrei Daescu dominated the 2023 season, winning double gold at most tour stops.
This year will likely be more challenging for the big man from South Florida. He and Rob Nunnery are still the favorites in men's doubles but mixed doubles will be a crapshoot in Punta Gorda.
That's because a familiar name is back in the mix. Jorja Johnson returns to the APP scene and will partner with Yates Johnson.
With some pro contracts still unsettled, it appears Jorja is jumping on the chance to compete in her home state.
Jorja will partner with Parris Todd in women's doubles, where they will be the favorite to win gold
Parris Todd will likely have a meeting with Judit Castillo or Megan Fudge in singles come Championship Sunday
Todd could find herself on triple crown watch if she and Hunter Johnson pull through in mixed
Streaming for the event will start on Friday at noon ET back on good ole APPTV Youtube.
Ready to Play. Partner Not Included
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The bundle includes the SLK Reflex Paddle, boasting the innovative SpinFlex Textured Surface for enhanced spin and control, and the G4 FiberFlex Face for optimal power and consistency. With a comfortable SLK Ultra-Comfort Grip and a 13mm SX4 Polymer Core, the paddle promises a large sweet spot and stable play.
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is 🤑
Travis Rettenmaier has found his home on the right side of the court. He is accepting open auditions for a dominant left side player and is willing to pay for any failure.
Graham and Travis provide an update on merger discussions and explain the geographical divisions that will be in play for the MLP season.
Headlines & Quick Hits
A review from the Dink Fam...