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NBA owner chooses dinks over dunks
Blue Jays host pickleball. Grip experimentation.
I was reviewing some footage of cross-step & ATP practice I made earlier this week.
Naturally, the video showed me with my knees bent, my back angled low, and my paddle up.
My wife walks over, sees my likeness on the screen, and says (with every bit of condescension), "Look at your little squat! Ha!" — then walks away.
Cold, darling, cold. But hey, if it works for AJ Koller, it works for me.
In This Issue:
PPA Atlanta, Day 1 upsets
Blue Jays host PB
A better investment: pickle beats NBA
Happy Friday! Let’s ride.
Get a Grip
Pickleball grips are getting longer. It’s been a trend within the industry that has grown with the use of two-handed backhands.
But there are a few players that buck the trend and rely on ping-pong grip: Hand at the top of the handle, sometimes even a finger on the paddle face *Gasp*
But why would anyone grip the paddle so high?
It’s a balance between two of the biggest buzzwords in the sport: control and power.
Most players grip their paddle at the bottom of the handle. It’s how the paddle was designed to be used and the most common practice. It provides the most potential to create power.
In rare instances, you will also see players slide their hand all the way to the top of the grip.
It’s a small number of players in the pro game that employ this technique, but you can’t argue against the success of pros like Callan Dawson and Brandon French.
A hand at the top of the handle will provide the highest level of control. From a physics standpoint, it’s a shorter lever, so less force is required to manipulate the paddle.
The downfall is that it dramatically reduces the potential power.
In doubles, most points should reach a point where all four players are at the kitchen dinking. This is where control is crucial. By choosing to use this grip, you are essentially prepped for that situation.
I can’t recommend switching to the ping-pong grip full time, but it’s worth experimenting. Try playing a game with your hand high on the paddle and notice the difference it makes.
We’d expect to see your consistency go through the roof. Once you see what is possible with a high grip, you should be inspired to develop the same level of consistency with the low grip.
Give it a try and let us know what you think.
Selkirk EVO 2.0
The SLK EVO 2.0 Series comes in 3 models, each designed for a specific play style:
EVO 2.0 Control - Has a massive sweet spot
EVO 2.0 Power - Spin-friendly and designed for those with a tennis background
EVO 2.0 Hybrid - Super comfortable grip and large sweet spot, combining the best of the above-two paddles’ technologies
At $100, the SLK EVO 2.0 Series is an affordable option for players of all skill levels.
Each is available in Max (largest surface area & sweet spot) and XL (extended length & added power) shapes. Click here to learn more.
Upsets Abound in Atlanta
Day one of pickleball on Amazon Prime was chock-full of surprises. Early morning showers delayed play and disrupted the normal schedule.
The storms threw the day off-kilter, and the top 4 seeds in the men's field all felt the wrath:
(1) Ben Johns lost to (8) Christian Alshon
(2) Federico Staksrud couldn't stop (15) Jake Kusmider
(3) Tyson McGuffin fell to (11) Connor Garnett
(4) Jay Devilliers was ‘upset’ by (5) JW Johnson
Johnson got the best of Alshon in the semis and was the first to advance to Championship Sunday. He awaits the winner of Garnett vs Kusmider semifinal which can be found this morning on PPATV.
Semifinals for the women's draw were also postponed until Friday. They will be played after mixed doubles action concludes:
(1) Anna Leigh Waters will face (4) Catherine Parenteau
(2) Lea Jansen will take on (6) Mary Brascia
Mixed doubles has already started this morning, but the threat of rain remains throughout the day.
On Saturday, men's and women's doubles takes the stage. Newly assembled women's doubles teams will try to dethrone Anna Leigh Waters and her partner Anna Bright.
A few of the top threats include:
Jorja Johnson & Vivienne David
Catherine Parenteau & Parris Todd
Jessie Irvine & Lea Jansen
The men's field has been a three horse race as of late, but with upsets abound, don't be surprised if an underdog slips into Championship Sunday.
Riley Newman went undefeated at last year's event. He and partner Matt Wright could make it back-to-back PPA titles if Newman recreate some ATL magic.
It's still surreal to see pickleball advertised on Prime's home screen. Congrats to the PPA Tour on this milestone. Tune in this weekend and help push pickle to its next landmark.
The Great Canadian Pastime
It's no secret that our neighbors to the North love pickleball. Snowbirds flock down to the US during the winter months and then return to Canada, regaling the tales of fun times had.
The highlight of the trip is often learning to play or competing in pickleball. As a result, we now have Pickleball Night in Toronto.
How's that for a little international sports inception? Canada's baseball team, the Toronto Blue Jays, will host the new favorite pastime of the nation.
Steve 'Podium' Deakin will throw out the first pitch and 15,000 fans will receive a Bluejays 'paddle' (it's difficult to consider this a paddle nowadays). The whole shindig is sponsored by Ryobi, so we will give them a pass on this one.
If you’re running through the six like Drake on Saturday, make a pitstop at the Rogers Centre and catch a game.
Pickleball Jewelry That Really Sparkles
Jeweler Kristina Tamas has been designing and selling jewelry for over 15 years. Now, she’s turned her passion for pickleball into some truly stunning work.
Check out Born to Rally's catalog of pickleball-themed charms, earrings, keychains, bracelets, necklaces and more here.
Ex-NBA Owner Says Pickleball is a Sound Investment
An ex-NBA team owner says his investment in pickleball is more sound than buying into basketball.
Marc Lasry, current co-owner of MLP’s Milwaukee Mashers, recently explained how staple sports franchises may only see their value climb by 5-10% yearly.
"Pickleball three years ago was $100,000," he said. "Today, it's $10 million, so that's 100 times."
Of course, this sounds very hopeful coming from someone who has money in the game.
But Lasry’s outlook is informed by nearly ten years of sports investment experience and mirrors MLP founder Steve Kuhn’s claim that pickleball viewership could surpass MLS, MLB and the NHL within a few years.
Great news if you have big bucks to invest. But for the rest of us pickle peons, just keep watching the game on TV so we can keep the ratings climbing.
Headlines & Quick Hits
Talk about making the most of your space. This gem is tucked right along the canal for the ultimate Florida pickleball experience. Dink with your crew while a manatee floats by.
If you have a homecourt that you’d like to start paying the bills, sign up for Swimply’s pickleball feature: coming soon.
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