Happy New Year. We hope you spent as much of the holidays as possible on the court.
It's only Jan 3 and one of our predictions for 2024 is already coming true. Just call us the Nostradamus of pickleball.
This Friday’s issue of The Dink will look a little different as we recap 2023 with a “Year in Pictures” newsletter.
But until then, we have some catching up to do, because not even the slowest holiday week of the year could keep the pickleball news train from chugging.
In This Issue:
🗜️ Pressurize your dinks
📢 We’re slinging all the pickle news
🦁 Africa pickleball is shaping up
Crank Up the Pressure
Not all dinks are built the same. A small difference in the placement of your dink could win the point or set you up for failure.
Selkirk pro Dominic Catalano talks about finding the Pressure Zone in a new video.
Catalano divides the kitchen into three equal parts based on their distance from the net, creating an upper third, middle third and back third.
The back third is where you want to land your dinks. It puts the ball at the opponents' feet and creates pressure on their next shot.
It forces them to either short-hop the ball off of the bounce or take a low volley out of the air. Both of those options are a win for you.
It is a shot they can't attack you with and is another chance for them to make a mistake
You don't always have to hit a highlight reel-worthy offensive shot to win the point
Sometimes, you just have to keep the rally going until they make a mistake
Catalano also stresses that the zone spans the width of the kitchen. He recommends not targeting the same location more than three times in a row to prevent your opponent from getting into a rhythm.
Move the ball laterally while still keeping it in the back third of the kitchen. Change your target from their outside foot to their inside foot or vice versa.
Get tips on how to defend the pressure zone here.
Control Reigns Supreme
Introducing the Selkirk Luxx Control Air, the ultimate control paddle for Pickleball players who value finesse and precision. While the industry has focused on power paddles, Selkirk recognizes the demand for control.
Tailored for tacticians, this paddle combines Florek Carbon Fiber Technology, a 20mm X7 Thikset Honeycomb Core, 360° Proto Molding Construction, and Aero-DuraEdge Edgeless Technology for an expanded sweet spot, unrivaled control, durability, and accelerated spin.
Experience the Luxx Control Air to elevate your pickleball game. Click here to explore it for yourself and seize control on the court.
Post-Holiday Pickle News
It’s ‘New Year, New Partnerships’ across the pickleball community. Here’s what we know:
Pros Switch Paddles
Tyson McGuffin is leaving Selkirk, something we’d heard about months ago but he recently made clear in a public announcement:
“As I reflect on all of our years together, I’m so proud of all we’ve accomplished for the sport. 8 years together, 20x titles, 1 triple crown, #1 ranking in both singles/doubles, content collaboration, 2 sexy signature paddles, and a clothing line…I am beyond grateful for how you put me on the map and took care of me."
And, in a case of excellent timing, we now know precisely where he’s going next: Joola.
Less than an hour before we launched this newsletter, Joola confirmed that they’ve added Tyson to the roster. An Insta post says he’ll sport a Joola paddle at the PPA Masters in Palm Springs next week.
Meanwhile, Takeya has decided to return to exclusively manufacturing water bottles, which means Riley Newman needs a new paddle brand.
We saw him experimenting with some unnamed options, but his latest insta post with Lindsey Newman implies he’s made a decision — and is keeping us in suspense.
PPA, APP Switches Balls
Travis Rettenmaier confirmed it on the latest episode of Tennis Sucks (see below): The PPA Tour is switching its official ball from the Dura Fast 40 to the Vulcan Vpro Flight Outdoor.
If you’re unfamiliar with Vulcan’s pickleballs…well, you should be. It’s their first step into the ball market.
And what a way to enter said market. The deal is rumored to have cost Vulcan over 2 million.
PPA isn’t the only league switching balls though. The APP chose OWL’s new ball.
If OWL sounds familiar, it’s because they’re the the first USAP-rated Quiet Category equipment company, focusing on reducing the noise associated with the sport.
We hadn’t heard of OWL producing balls, but then again, maybe they're so quiet no one heard them coming?
DJ Signs with Stack Athletics
Clothing brand Stack Athletics is building momentum in the industry by signing DJ Young.
Check out some of the clothes DJ will wear this year in his recent post.
Great Picks for Pickleball Pride
Discover the ultimate blend of performance and comfort with The Pick's new pickleball apparel line, crafted by none other than APP gold-medalist pickleball pro Gina Cilento!
Elevate your on-court style and experience unmatched softness in athletic wear designed exclusively for pickleball players. Unleash your full potential with clothing that moves with you, whether you're a casual player or a dedicated enthusiast.
Dive into The Pick's range of stylish, functional, and comfortable apparel today. Check out their website and step up your pickleball game in style!
Continued Global Expansion
We called 2023 The Year Pickleball Goes Global, but international expansion is really just beginning.
For the first time, pickleball will be included in the Africa Games in Accra, Ghana.
The 2024 Games will take place in March. Players from across Africa and abroad will compete in exhibition matches.
Pickleball has established a significant presence — meaning large tournaments, multiple countries in coalition, and permanent courts — on all the major continents.
This expansion in Africa solidifies the sport in a previously-underserved region and promises to draw more resources to the continent in the new year.
Big Changes to Start 2024
2024 is not off to a hot start for one of the APP’s best duos. The Fudge-Barr partnership is rumored to have melted after Andrei Daescu was enticed to change partners from Barr to Fudge for the 2024 calendar.
Alix Truong joins the Tennis Sucks pod and covers all things APP for the upcoming year including the ball change and new tournament structure. Travis and Alix compare the pay structures of PPA and APP under the new contracts. Catch it here.