Things are heating up...again. But it's not just the paddles that are hot. Pros are going scorched earth (or are they?) on the lack of transparency around paddle testing.
Last week's MLP event sent pros "scrambling to find legal paddles," and this week, Jill Braverman called out the PPA for "moral bankruptcy". Quite the allegation.
Get the aloe folks, we've got quite an issue ahead of us.
In This Issue:
🏃 Move together
❌ Thought we were done with paddle drama?
🌎 Nationals promises entertainment
Retreat as One
One of the most panic-inducing moments in pickleball occurs when you see a lob floating overhead and out of reach.
Your head and your partner’s head snap back as you both pray to see the ball float out past the baseline.
Uh oh, it's in. Naturally, you let your partner run it down. But as a supportive partner, what's your next move?
Too often, players stay at the NVZ while their partner does the heavy lifting.
What you should do is retreat with your partner to match their depth in the court. If they're at the baseline, you should be at the baseline. Watch the Johns Bros execute it twice in this point.
Chasing down and returning a lob is one of the hardest shots in pickleball. It's essentially a third-shot drop right after a full sprint. Chances are, it will not be a perfect drop.
Standing at the NVZ makes you a sitting duck in this scenario. It’s not good for your team or your health.
Retreating to the baseline puts you in a better defensive position for the next shot. So whether it’s you or your partner chasing down the lob, you both need to be on the move.
Read more on how to hit and return the lob here.
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Jilly B’s Going Hard on Paddle Standards
The latest episode of Jill Braverman's podcast, This Pickleball Life, promises to expose "the moral bankruptcy of pickleball’s leadership."
Mmm-what? With a teaser like that, we were expecting nothing less than scorched earth from her, co-host K-Dub (aka Kristin Walla) and guest Lea Jansen.
But was it scorched earth? You be the judge.
The two cite a supposed "coverup" of Irina Tereschenko's paddle test at PPA Las Vegas where Braverman, Jansen, Anna Bright, and Tyra Black jointly challenged Irina's paddle.
What followed was a weeks-long back-and-forth during which Jill attempted to ascertain the results of the test:
Jill claims a USA Pickleball rep told her they couldn't comment on the results of the test, and that all of her questions would need to be directed to PPA reps
Jill says the reps never directly answered her question
Connor Pardoe himself reportedly told Jill and Lea at the recent MLP event that the paddle was in fact tested and that he thought it passed
Then, Jill received a text from Carl Schmits, USA Pickleball's Managing Director of Equipment Standards, that said Irina "would not yield the paddle to him” for testing
Jill & Lea dug in, hopping on a call with Conner Ogden (PPA Chief Operating Officer) and Don Stanley (PPA Head Referee) to ask them what happened…and the conversation didn’t go in the direction they’d hoped for.
The two confirm that Tereschenko’s paddle was not, in fact, tested.
Clearly, there was a misunderstanding at some point in this process. But Jill feels this is a prime example of the need for better communication from the top-down regarding paddles:
"We need rules that are universally adopted and adhered to. PPL testing is currently the best and most comprehensive testing available, as MLP has shown and the PPA needs to get on board. All we want as players is fairness and transparency."
Is this actually a coverup? Is it an error resulting from lack of communication/formal processes? Honest mistake? A mistake at all? We’ll leave that up to the jury (you).
Nationals Kicks Off with an ATP from Dirk Nowitzki
^In no other sport could you expect to read a sentence like that.
MLP is over. Now, Nationals takes over Dallas, and it’s off to an entertaining start with a celebrity exhibition match last night:
The match included sports legends John Isner, Dirk Nowitzki, Scottie Scheffler and Marty Turco, with Tony Romo providing commentary from the broadcast booth.
NBA Superstar Luka Doncic and the Dallas Stars’ hype team were in attendance as well.
The point of the night was an ATP from Nowitzki in a mixed doubles match against Turco and Catherine Parenteau.
Of course, these aren’t the only celebs taking part in this week’s festivities. American Idol winner Phillip Phillips will be performing on Friday night.
A few pro medals have already been awarded for the split-age competition where pros pair up with a senior pro.
Men’s Pro Split-Age Champions: Riley Newman & Dayne Gingrich
Women’s Pro Split-Age Champions: Anna Bright & Christine Karges
Mixed Pro Split-Age Champions: Anna Bright & Altaf Merchant
The format for the rest of the week is a progression draw which will be unfamiliar to most pickleball fans. Every day pros will play one round in singles, men’s/women’s doubles, and mixed doubles.
Today all three divisions will only play their Round of 32 matches. The winners from today will play their Round of 16 matches tomorrow. The brackets progress one day at a time leading to the finals on Championship Sunday.
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Pros Scramble to Find Legal Paddles
Paddles were dropping left and right at MLP Dallas. Zane estimates that 90% of paddles were ruled out via PPL testing before the event. Affected pros were left searching for legal paddles.
The boys recap the MLP action including Federico Staksrud’s blow-up on Saturday, the two become one ruling, and all of the vuvuzela noise.
Headlines & Quick Hits
A review from the Dink Fam...