You’re a bunch of materialistic, product-worshipping sheep. That is, if the latest research about pickleball fans is to be believed.
According to YouGov, two in five Americans who follow or watch pickleball claim that they obtain more information about a product after seeing sponsored content at an event, compared to just over a tenth of all sports fans (40% vs 11%).
You’re also twice as likely as general sports fans to purchase sponsored products online (34% vs. 15%) or offline (36% vs. 14%).
In This Issue:
📐 Change your swing path based on ball height
📺 The viewership disparity
🏜️ A new home for USAP Nationals
NVZ Keep Fundamentals YOU in Control
Court position is the biggest advantage in pickleball. When you’re at the kitchen line at your opponent is stuck at the baseline, you have the advantage.
To keep that advantage, your volleys have to be a threat. But not all volleys are the same. The contact height determines how aggressive you can be with your shot.
A new video from Pickleball Journey explains how your swing should change based on the contact height on a volley.
On a high ball, your swing plane should be angled down or horizontal. There is freedom to push through the ball and land it deep in the court. Some players even close the face of the as they hit down on the ball.
On low ball the swing path changes. It switches from horizontal to vertical as the net becomes a bigger factor. A more open paddle face might be required to ensure the ball gets over the net.
Another big takeaway from this video is how the swing changes in length and speed.
“Make sure you are taking a swing proportionate to the speed of the ball”
For a ball that is hit hard and traveling fast, your swing should be short. It won’t take much to generate power and redirect the ball where you want it to go.
For a ball that is hit slowly, you can extend your swing to generate the necessary power. On a slow ball, you have time to lengthen your swing and make your volley a threat.
Raising the Bar
Franklin Sports is helping raise the bar and writing the next chapter of competitive pickleball with the new FS Tour Series Pickleball Paddles.
Their Tempo and Dynasty paddles are engineered to help pickleball players improve their shot-making skills and reach their maximum potential. Its T700 carbon fiber surface allows for controlled touch and killer spin, while its optimized swing and twist weight enhance your technique.
Check out the paddle that won nationals and start playing like pro today.
Pro Pickle’s Biggest Problem
If you’re a regular reader, chances are you’ve tuned into at least one pro league match. And if you have, you’re pretty special, because most of pickleball’s fan base apparently couldn’t care less.
As Jimmy Miller recently pointed out, over 36.5 million players reportedly played pickleball in 2023 — but there’s still a massive gap between those who play it recreationally and those who watch the pros.
So why don’t people tune in? Here are some of the key issues we’ve heard cited:
Dinking rallies are boring for the average viewer
The perceived level of difficulty doesn't appear great enough
The various sources for viewing, with different courts airing on different platforms or streams
The lack of centralized local teams, comprised of members of those communities, for locals to rally behind
The real question is...
What can pickleball do better to help bridge the gap between the professional and recreational games?
Naturally, we have a few suggestions, some of which we gleaned from commenters on our Instagram post:
Travis Rettenmaier believes a pickleball equivalent to the shot clock where the point is ended within 20-30 seconds would avoid extended dinking rallies
More of a focus on nighttime streaming of pro matches would accommodate more peoples' schedules
Keeping a centralized location for all major matches – just one viewing platform – would make it easier for the uninitiated to tune in
We're curious to hear your take: what do you think is the biggest impedance to growing pro pickleball viewership? And do you have any suggestions for solving these issues? Let us know here.
Nationals on the move... Again
Last year Nationals made the leap from the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Palm Springs to the Brookhaven Country Club in Dallas, TX. Records were set in both attendance and viewership in Texas but Nationals will have a new home again in 2024.
USA Pickleball announced today that the 2024 Biofreeze USA Pickleball National Championships will be held at the Arizona Athletic Grounds in Mesa, AZ. The weeklong event will be held November 10-17. Players can qualify at any of the 11 Golden Ticket tournaments being held across the United States.
"The 2024 Biofreeze USA Pickleball National Championships in Mesa, Arizona, is not just a major sports event, but a catalyst for economic growth. With USA Pickleball at the helm, the event promises substantial economic benefits for local businesses, from hotels to restaurants." -
Nikki Balich, Executive Director of the Arizona Sports & Entertainment Commission
Arizona is one of the nation's largest pickleball hubs. Last year USAP announced a new headquarters in Scottsdale is on the way. So it makes perfect sense to make AZ the home of Nationals.
We only hope that last year's 3-story viewing tower and drone show are topped with more extravagant pickleball pageantry this year.
Home Court for Racquet Sports
Experience the thrill of RacquetX, Miami's premier 3-day festival for all racquet sports enthusiasts, happening March 24th-26th.
Immerse yourself in a world where professional players, industry experts, and top-tier court builders converge. Gain insights from short, insightful talks by leading figures changing the face of racquet sports. Enjoy the unique blend of product showcases, professional demonstrations, and playing tips across nine courts.
Plus, seize the opportunity for free tickets to the Miami Open and APP Tour with select VIP packages. Hurry, early bird pricing ends January 31st! Join us for an unforgettable journey into the heart of racquet sports at RacquetX.
"I shouldn't say this, but..."
Riley Newman makes a special appearance on the PicklePod and shares his best stories from six years of pro pickleball. Newman covers his break up with Matt Wright and how he is building partnerships in 2024.
The guys give an update on the PPA - MLP merger and Riley explains his surprising decision to sign with MLP last year.
Headlines & Quick Hits
This icy blue court pops in the desert landscape. Minus points for the tennis net but we will let it slide on this one.
Rent incredible homecourts like this with Swimply.
A review from the Dink Fam...