Nationals in 2023 was a precedent-setting event in pro pickleball. It was the first time the event was hosted in Dallas. Record numbers were set with over 50,000 attendees and 2.6 million TV viewers.
The lasting legacy however, might be the progression draw. A format the PPA plans to implement in 2024. More on this below.
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In This Issue:
🦶 Why footwork matters
📅 New match format for PPA
🎥 The first pickleball feature-length film
Footwork is one of the most underrated parts of pickleball. But efficient footwork is one of the reasons Ben Johns is able to cover the court with ease and never appear out of place.
Pickleball pro and tennis great Tina Pisnik stresses the importance of footwork in a new video.
When hitting groundstrokes, footwork is used to create the ideal position and distance from the ball. Your goal is to connect with the ball in your strike zone.
When there is enough time, top players take extra steps to get themselves in the ideal position to strike the ball. That can result in a lot of baby steps just before contact to adjust position and momentum.
To take things one step further, proper footwork can help set up your next shot.
Micro adjustments before the swing can:
Help get your momentum going forward if you’re planning to shake and bake a drive
Halt momentum that is pulling you off the court and help you get back to center
Balance your stance so you’re able to aim the ball where you want and keep your opponent guessing
It is easy to get lazy on court. But if you find yourself getting to the ball just in time for a return, you’re falling behind.
Think one step ahead. When there is time at the baseline and in transition, position the ball in your strike zone. Use your swing to help get you into position for the next shot.
The Next Chapter
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PPA’s New Format
PPA Tour Slams and Cups will look a little different in 2024. They’ve decided these events will now feature a Progressive Draw.
Players play one round for each event (Men’s/Women’s singles, Mixed Doubles, Men’s/Women’s Doubles) each individual day
Tuesday qualifiers determine who makes it to the main draw
Wednesday: round of 32; seeds 9-16 along those who made it through qualifiers
Thursday: round of 16; all seeds play one match per day, per event
Friday quarterfinals: matches for all five events
Saturday semis: all five again
Sunday: championships (for all five)
The order of events each day is as follows: singles, mixed doubles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles
PPA says in a Facebook post that the Progressive Draw format “will allow fans to know when their favorite players are playing in each event each day and where they can watch.”
Pickleball Coming to the Big Screen
But if a feature film about pickleball is set on using it, I guess we’ll let it slide if the movie bolsters the sport’s massive growth pattern.
Dink Productions (no, not us) announces "In a Pickle: A Comedy. With Balls” the first ever feature film about the fastest growing sport.
Written by Dan Brooks, Joel Boyd and Jason Reid — two of whom are active pickleball fanatics who’ve expanded pickleball in Florida and beyond — the film is currently in pre-production and set to hit theaters this fall.
Very little has been released about In a Pickle’s plot. But it’s described as “lighthearted and entertaining,” displaying the “camaraderie of the sport and its competition with tennis.”
“It’s the community – in all its wild color and variety – that I really love. And one I wanted to show my gratitude for by doing what I do best, creating humorous and relatable content. Plus the world needs more sports comedies!”
— Dan Brooks tells Kentucky Today
You know we’ll be at that premiere. But in the meantime, we’ll be sure to follow the movie’s progress via their Instagram.
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New Ball = Less Dinking
Both pro tours will feature a new ball in 2024. How will the change affect the pro game and will this trickle down to a consumer market that has been dominated for years?
New serve rules could help eliminate the game's serve regulation struggles. Individual player contracts might hamstring some pros while others are free to play where they like. Find out what Zane and Thomas think about the changes on an all-new PicklePod.
Headlines & Quick Hits
A review from the Dink Fam...