Good morning. Isn’t it so 2021 to have an article about turf wars between picklers and tennis players with no real solution in sight?
The NY Post’s latest attempt presents a rather pessimistic view of the sport. More on that below.
In This Issue:
📰 What every pickleball article looks like these days
✌️ Pro pickleball doubleheader
🧮 Court math can propel your game
What the Hell is the Scorpion?
If you’ve watched any pro pickleball this year then you have probably heard the term ‘scorpion’. You might be scratching your head, thinking, ‘I know the Bert and the Erne but I don’t remember any scorpion in Sesame Street.’ Well, this new shot has taken over the professional game.
It’s a close cousin of the Riley Newman ‘pancake.’ Watch Thomas Wilson use it to end the point here:
The shot is used to defend against an attack from your opponent. It changes the vulnerable ‘chicken wing’ into a deadly sting. Instead of defending with a backhand, players are loading up a high forehand and squatting down to turn the shot into a mini overhead.
Raising the paddle into this position resembles a scorpion ready to strike. It turns a defensive backhand shot into an offensive forehand shot that catches your opponent out of position.
You read your opponent and determine a speedup is imminent
But even then, you’re unsure whether they’ll speed up middle, to your forehand shoulder (chicken wing), at your chest, to your backhand, etc.
But by crouching at the right moment and loading up your scorpion, you’re ready for all of it
That said, if they bait you into thinking it’s a speedup, only to lob over you while you’re crouched at the net…you might have to retire for the day.
It takes some anticipation to get it right, but if you can read your opponent right, you can end points with the quick strike of the scorpion. Read more about it here.
Elevating the Pickleball Game
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The Most Unoriginal Pickle Piece
“Roughly 35% of the nearly 45,000 pickleball courts in the U.S. and Canada were converted from tennis courts, leading some to cry foul,” says a line in the latest smear piece against pickleball in The New York Post.
Those people crying foul, referenced in the article include parents in NYC; Glendale, CO city council; a Cape Cod, MA man who continues his appeals at town meetings…
…If any of these complainers sound familiar, it’s because their stories have been clubbing news headline readers over their heads for months, if not years.
We get it, news outlets: people don’t like pickle-thwacks or sacrificing tennis courts.
The Post follows up the above line with another brilliant quote:
“If pickleball is that popular let them build their own courts:),” tennis great Martina Navratilova wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, last year.
What a novel idea, New York Post/Martina. Build our own courts…Genius!
These negative “news” headlines only ever talk problems, not solutions. They highlight some extreme cases, regurgitate the very well-established fact that pickleball is growing exponentially, and leave it to the reader to feel enough outrage that they share the post to their feeds for maximum page views.
Of course – as a pickleball newsletter – The Dink wants your page views, too. But at least we’re honest about it.
Pro Pickleball Doubleheader
PPA Championships in Las Vegas, NV
A lot has happened since the last PPA Tour stop in Kansas City. The Tour Wars reached their breaking point and merged, everyone assembled for MLP Atlanta, and the PPA inked a new deal with Tennis Channel.
We’re not expecting things to look different despite all the drama, but returning to business as usual feels somewhat unusual.
Speaking of business as usual, the odds are in favor for another triple crown from both Ben Johns and Anna Leigh Waters.
Hurricane Tyra Black will play singles in Vegas and could meet ALW in the semifinals. The two have not played since Black upset Waters at the Takeya Showcase.
Federico Staksrud got his Championship Sunday win over Johns in Kansas City and is the 2-seed again here.
Anna Bright and Lea Jansen will attempt to break ALW and Catherine Parenteau’s women’s doubles undefeated streak.
Tyson McGuffin and Hayden Patriquin will form an all-swagger duo and try to shake up the field.
PPA action is coming to you live on Amazon Prime starting tomorrow at 10 am PT.
APP Dallas Open in Dallas, TX
The APP Tour is having their own back-to-back week. They’re coming fresh off last week’s Atlanta Metro Open.
Megan Fudge returns to action to defend her double crown from Atlanta. Andrei Daescu will also make the trip to Dallas and will look to reclaim mixed doubles alongside Susannah Barr.
Parris Todd and Simone Jardim will look to get back on top of the women’s doubles game after dropping last week’s final to Fudge and Barr.
Look for the broadcast from Dallas to start Saturday at 1 pm ET on ESPN+.
Use Weights Just Like Ben Johns
What do Simone Jardin and Ben Johns have in common? They agree adding weight to your paddle helps add more power and control!
Pickle Lessons from a Mathematician
You’re probably not busting out a protractor during an overhead put-away or a dink battle, but a little math may help you in these situations more than you realize.
Trish Hammer, Mathematics PhD, will be bringing her unique skill set to Nationals in November.
Here’s how she’s framing pickleball as one big optimization problem:
Angles & margins of error determine shot placement, which is a tough ratio to balance.
It’s the same thing when you’re reacting to opponents.
“Should I move up and then over? Should I just take the shortest path?…The direct distance may not necessarily be the quickest distance.”
“...For every dink you hit, you have three placement choices, two speed choices, and three choices for spin. Every time I hit the ball, I have 18 different ways to hit this one shot which translates to 5,832 ways to sequence three shots.”
Always look for patterns in your opponent.
A fellow pickleballer told Hammer that when opponents get ready to hit a shot, he analyzes it this way:
There is a 75% chance the shot will land in one place
A 20% chance it will land in a second location
A 5% chance it will go in yet another direction
“Based on that calculation, he prepares for the locations the shot is most likely to land.”
Headlines & Quick Hits
A review from the Dink Fam...