Mistakes you don't know you're making

Master the off-speed speedup. Unlock your opponent's weakness. And who said they play pickleball to get inspired?

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In This Issue:

💯 The secret to improving faster
🇮🇳 PPA signs 1.4B people to exclusive contracts
😬 Five HUGE mistakes you’re making on the courts

It’s Friday! Read our newsletter, then go get nachos. You’ve earned it.

Advanced Changeups & Resets

Thomas here. I came across a video. I watched it over and over. I needed to share it with you.

Pro Christian Alshon reviewed his recent bout vs the Johns Bros in North Carolina and posted it. I found it fascinating. Here’s the clip.

If you can’t watch it for some reason, essentially, Alshon speeds up two balls off the dink in similar situations, both to the backhand of Ben Johns, who is straight across the net from him. But interestingly, he hits it about 40% slower than usual. Ben resets one and misses the other into the net.

Speed is not always great

We often discuss the importance of picking your spot. For speedups, generally, you want to aim for their:

  • Forehand shoulder

  • Chicken wing

  • Belly button

But Alshon points out something else: speed variance. Like in baseball, delivering an off-speed ball can trip up your opponent. Especially if you’ve established a pattern of fastballs. Generally, this can lead to four outcomes:

  1. Opponent reads it (he must know your game too well) and puts it away for an easy winner - this shouldn’t happen if you choose the right moments

  2. Opponent sees speedup and counters too hard, expecting a faster ball, resulting in an unforced error

  3. Opponent ‘counters’ but the off-speed ball forces them to adjust just enough that their counter simply tees you up for a putaway

  4. Opponent is forced to adjust and attempt a reset, often resulting in a popup (unless he’s literally Ben Johns)

Number 3 is far more common than most realize, especially at the pro level. The speedup is not meant to be a winner. It’s meant to force the opponent into a weak counter that sets up the winner.

Watch Alshon’s movement during both speedups. He plays the ball, and if you watch carefully, executes a mini-split step as Johns begins to swing. He’s loading his paddle and hoping the next ball will be put away. He’s creating an opportunity, or at least attempting to.

But people, here’s the thing, that’s Ben Johns. It ain’t gonna be that easy.

Ben’s ability to react is worth noting. The graceful backhand cut volley. The fact that he had loaded for a counterattack, but in a split second, recognized the off-speed and adjusted to a perfect reset. It’s art. Art, I tell you.

On the second speedup, he almost pulls off a successful counter-attack winner. Luckily he didn’t, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this.

But assuming your opponent isn’t Ben Johns, I highly encourage you to test some of these strategies. When the moment arises to initiate an attack, it’s hard not to get excited and swing all out. Have the presence of mind to deliver an off-speed attack and see what happens.

Pro Tip: try one of these offspeed attacks from a volley. Reach into the kitchen and take one out of the air. That will really throw them off.

At the very least, you’ll become a less predictable player. Keep your opponent guessing.

From Diamond to Court

Warstic, a big name in baseball and softball, has stepped up to the pickleball plate, and they’re not holding back. Their line of performance pickleball paddles, including the impressive WSPB Elite Series, is turning heads and boosting games.

From the get-go, it’s clear these paddles mean business. With designs that pop and performance that doesn’t quit, the Warstic WSPB Elite Series is here to make its mark.

Grab a Warstic paddle and let your play speak for itself.

PPA and MLP Going International in 2025

The United Pickleball Association and Global Sports have agreed to bring the PPA Tour and Major League Pickleball to India, the world’s most populous country.

The organizations plan to launch key initiatives in the country, promoting our rapidly growing sport to a young market. 

Key points of this new partnership include:

  • Top PPA Tour players will hold a marquee exhibition at the PPA Tour India Monsoon Pickleball Championships in Mumbai, India in August 2024

  • February 2025 will see an official PPA Tour stop in India - the Indian Open 2025 - worth 1,500 PPA ranking points

  • PPA Tour India will officially launch, offering PPA Tour ranking points to players at events around the country to expand the global reach of professional pickleball and allow players to rise in the rankings

  • MLP India will debut with a week-long competition featuring players from India and top MLP and PPA Tour professionals

  • UPA plans to hold an open process to sell MLP franchises to launch a full 12-team season in 2025/2026

India has been making headlines lately for their play, including a group of players taking home 10 medals last week at the US Open.

The Dink Minor Leagues Are Coming

The Dink Minor Leagues announced seven Regional Showdowns for 2024, where teams in each division can earn a "Dream Ticket," automatically qualifying them for the 2024 National Championship.

Pickleball players from across the nation will have the chance to showcase their skills at each tournament, earn points for the National Leaderboard, and ultimately take their shot at the podium in late December when the National Championship is played at the Missouri Pickleball Club.

Get more information and register your team at one of these regional stops:

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Red Rock Open Off to Red Hot Start

Jack Sock is headed to Championship Sunday at the Red Rock Open

Jack Sock has officially made his first-ever Singles Championship by defeating No. 4 seed Christian Alshon, 11-1, 13-11. See him on Sunday against … you guessed it, Federico Staksrud.

Speaking of hot, no one is playing at a higher level than Fed in 2024. He cemented his spot in another Championship Sunday, making it nine for nine to start the year.

Lea Jansen will play for gold again just a few weeks after winning the PPA Houston Open. She defeated Jorja Johnson 11-4, 11-0 to advance yesterday.

Rumor has it she will be a guest on an upcoming episode of the PicklePod. Subscribe to the PicklePod here so you don’t miss it.

Mary Brascia (seeded No. 1 with ALW out) will also return to Championship Sunday by defeating Kaitlyn Christian, 11-4, 11-8.

Today, you can catch Mixed Doubles, followed by Gender’s Doubles on Saturday. Both days begin at 11am MT and can be seen on PickleballTV.

Five Huge Mistakes You’re Making

We all have blind spots in our games and sometimes make mistakes we don’t even know we’re making. That’s why you subscribe to The Dink.

Here are five huge mistakes you’re making on the courts without even knowing it:

No. 1 - You don’t warm up properly

It’s not your fault that you think warmups are boring and stupid. They are, but they are also necessary. Next time you’re about to take the court, commit to one extra movement, even if it’s just arm circles.

No. 2 - You stand too close to the baseline

Any time you have to back up before taking a shot, you’re infinitely more likely to screw it up. Instead of risking an awkward shot with poor technique, start one or two steps farther back. Your DUPR score will thank you for it.

No. 3 - You care too much about winning

No one wants to feel like a loser. But do you know who the true pickleball losers are? The ones who go 7-0 in rec play, but are at the exact same skill level they were six months ago. Focus on improving over winning.

No. 4 - You only do what you’re already good at

Cool, cool – you like to run around your forehand because your backhand is trash? Stop it. If you never practice the shots you’re bad at, you’ll never get better at them. If you can’t hit a bad shot in rec play, when can you?

No. 5 - You’re too hard on yourself

Watch a pro match next time you feel like you make too many mistakes. Count how often they hit the ball into the net or smoke a drive against the back wall. It happens more than you think. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Pickleball is harder than you think.

Headlines & Quick Hits


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