PB injury = golfer withdraws from Masters

The bookshelf that changed pickle. Equipment market projections.

Pickleball might have a funny name, but last Saturday, Banana Ball sold out Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. More than 41,000 fans flooded into the home of the Astros and 300k more have watched the event on YouTube.

The Savannah Bananas are the fan-focused baseball team that has reinvented baseball. Their main objective is entertainment and their model is changing the way that professional sports, including pickleball, connect with fans and drive viewership.

So if Banana Ball can fill a baseball stadium, maybe pickleball can too?

Don’t miss out on the spring shipment of The Dink’s very popular Pickleball Box. It has everything you need to get your game in shape.

Speaking of The Pickleball Box …

What product would you most like to see in an upcoming Pickleball Box from The Dink?

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In This Issue:

📚 One bookshelf changed the game
🏌️ Pickleball injury forces Masters absence
🤠 Who’s missing in Austin


The Bookshelf That Built Ben’s Backhand

Did you catch this hidden gem from Collin Johns on the PicklePod? It's one of the more interesting facts in pickleball lore.

Ben and Collin would play table tennis for hours in the Johns’ basement while growing up. The way the table was arranged, a bookshelf pinned one player (usually Ben) behind the table so he couldn't move to his left.

This forced him to take more backhands and be more aggressive with those backhands. It was essential training for Ben's infamous backhand roll, one of the most dominant shots in the game today.

When it comes to rolls, there’s no better practice than table tennis. The smaller ball is easier to spin and the rubber-faced paddles generate more friction. It’s like training wheels for developing your roll.

Your homework is to dust off the ping-pong table or at least track down a paddle and ping-pong ball. Instead of hitting a normal backhand, simulate your backhand roll.

Start with the paddle tip down and exaggerate the brush up the back of the ball. Your backhand roll will never feel the same.

Ready to Make Plays

Warstic is shaking up the pickleball court, and it's not just with their eye-catching designs.

We got our hands on their WSPB3E and WSPB4E paddles and put them to the test. These paddles don’t just play the game, they change it. Perfect for those who play hard and aren't afraid to show it, Warstic combines unmatched performance with designs that make a statement louder than your victory scream.

Ready to wield something as bold as your backhand? Read our review of the paddles on our website and then swing by Warstic’s collection to let your paddle do the talking.

Masters Legend to Miss Major Due To … Pickle?

Pickleball injuries that keep us off the court can be a real bummer. But imagine if a pickleball injury kept you from playing in The Masters?

That's precisely what has happened to golf legend Bernhard Langer. The 66-year-old had surgery on his left Achilles tendon and is expected to miss the upcoming Masters tournament, which was supposed to be his last hurrah.

It'll mark just the second time in 40 years the former Masters champion will miss the most prestigious event in golf.

Initially, it was reported that Langer suffered the injury in a training exercise. However, he spilled the truth recently on the "Musings on Golf " podcast.

"Staying fit is a priority for me, and pickleball was part of my routine," Langer explained. "Someone tried to lob me the ball, and I backpedaled to hit an overhead shot. As I landed, I heard this loud pop – like a gunshot! I knew right away my Achilles was torn." Lobbers, amiright?

Langer isn’t the only golfer splitting time between the links and dinks. Another golfer reiterated his pickleball fandom in an interview this week.

This isn't just any pro golfer. It’s PGA Tour star and 2022 Masters champion Scottie Scheffler, who is also an investor in the Texas Ranchers MLP team and a huge pickleball fan.

You may even recall the attention he got when he "absolutely worked over" Ben Johns in a hands battle. Cue eyeroll. It's good to know hyperbole isn't dead.

Last week, Scottie did an interview with the PGA Tour leading up to this week's Players Championship (where he's the defending champion), where he once again talked about his love for pickleball.

The $320M Pickleball Industry

A new report from MarketsGlob indicates the global pickleball equipment market size reached $320 million in 2023. We’re happy to have played our part in that effort by adding two paddles to the bag, a pair of new shoes and about a hundred balls.

MarketsGlob estimates the compound average growth rate of the industry to be 8.4% between 2024-2031. This would bring the equipment market size up to $610 million in 2031.

For comparison, Future Market Insights pegs the tennis equipment market to be valued at $9.24 billion in 2023. The vast difference in those figures and the number of people lined up outside the local pickleball courts makes it reasonable to believe that the pickleball industry might outpace those projections.

Find, Reserve, Play!

Struggling to find a pickleball court on your travels? Meet 365Dink – your passport to nationwide private and semi-private venues.

This annual mega pass is a game-changer for pickleball enthusiasts, offering a solution that mirrors the convenience of the Ikon or Epic pass, but for pickleball courts. With 365Dink, you gain the ability to play at premium venues across the country, seamlessly integrating your love for the game into every trip.

Exclusive offer for The Dink fam: Get a 50% discount on your first year with 365Dink using the promo code EARLYACCESS2024 for just $180, instead of the regular $365.

Big Names Missing Again in Austin

Women’s singles players in Austin can breathe a sigh of relief. Due to a minor injury in Mesa, Anna Leigh Waters will sit out from singles tomorrow but will still play in the doubles events.

A number of other pros will also miss the event. That includes Tyson McGuffin (Foot), James Ignatowich (Shoulder) and Riley Newman, who is expected to miss most PPA events this year.

Top-level talent missing an event always creates interesting partnerships. Let’s look at some of the more interesting pairings:

  • Andrei Daescu will fill in for Ignatowich. He will partner with Orlando Squeeze teammate Anna Bright in mixed and Matt Wright in men’s.

  • Gabe Tardio is stepping in for McGuffin. He will pair up with Dekel Bar in men’s and Meghan Dizon in mixed.

  • Hunter Johnson is taking Newman’s spot alongside Thomas Wilson in men’s. Jackie Kawamoto is paired with Pat Smith in mixed.

The top-seeded Johns bros will be hungry to get back on top on the men’s doubles podium after a loss in Mesa. Look for them to be all business in their home city of Austin.

The same applies in men’s singles, where a power struggle has developed between Ben Johns and Federico Staksrud. Staks looks to make his fifth straight final, but Johns still holds the advantage after winning in their last head-to-head.

Tune into the event starting tomorrow at 1pm ET on pickleballtv and YouTube. Find more predictions and the complete brackets for the event here.

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