Happy almost Christmas. We’re hearing reports that there isn’t much snow this holiday, regardless of where you are.
But even still, this is your annual reminder that pickleball has no offseason:
So for anyone who offers an “it’s too cold for pickle” over the holiday, send them this.
And another reminder: as you get together with your families, know that it is your duty to convert as many of them into pickleballers as possible. Do whatever is necessary (Ex. buy them a Pickleball Box).
In This Issue:
❌ Amateurs, stay away
🎉 The way office parties should be
🌠 I wish for…
Do Not Try This at Home Continued
Well, as promised, the second half is here:
Heavy topspin dinks on both the forehand and backhand side have become popular at the pro level. Anna Leigh Waters’ two-hand backhand dink creates headaches for her opponents every week.
Zane points out how difficult this shot is based on the tight space at the kitchen line. The window is so small it's hard to get the ball over the net and have it dip before it reaches your opponent.
He explains that the ball only has time to rotate 10 to 15 times in such a tight space. That means unless the shot is hit perfectly, it won't have a large impact.
Let the ball get behind you
As an amateur, you need to hustle to keep the ball in front of you. That means taking an extra step back when a ball is going to get by you.
Zane uses JW Johnson as an example of how some pros can reach back and hit a ball with skill and accuracy. For most people, leaning back and hitting a ball will result in a pop-up.
Ripping the ball from the transition zone
This one is particularly hard to adhere to, but taking risks in this zone is going to catch up with you.
Zane's point here is that it's a very challenging shot, even more difficult than counterattacking. There is very little space to safely land a reset in front of your opponent.
Plus the reset doesn't provide any offense. It helps you avoid losing the point but does not put pressure on your opponent.
Focus on honing the counterattack skills for the time being.
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Goodbye, Boring Office Parties
Did your workplace throw a holiday party this year? I bet it wasn’t as cool as edu tech company Outschool’s year-end pickleball bash.
A Detroit News article says Outschool and others have discovered the joys of breaking with holly bough and cocktail napkin tradition.
They’re giving employees something they actually want at the end of each calendar year: the chance to bodybag their coworkers.
According to the article, it’s part of “an effort to be more inclusive and create the kind of camaraderie that's difficult to build on a Zoom call.”
“Part of this trend…is about not focusing on one holiday over others. The shift also gives companies the opportunity to move away from making drinking the main activity.”
Other corporate events trends apparently include:
Some intriguing ideas there, though I can’t see why they wouldn’t combine some of them with pickleball.
I’ll never complain about a post-pickle guac-off. And after murdering some opponents on the court, I could be convinced to play a game of Clue.
Can We Manifest These Wishes?
Adam here. At this time of year, there's plenty to remain hopeful for. It's the season for wish lists, after all, and my pickleball wish list is fairly long.
Here are just a few things I hope the pickleball community (or the world at large) accepts in the new year:
I wish for media companies to stop using "it's a big dill" in headlines.
Look, I get it. Puns are fun. If anyone could ever relate to this point, it's me: I literally own a book called Puns Puns Puns. They’re ok with me.
But the joke is played out. The pickleball community is still the same fun-focused crowd it always was – and the ridiculousness of having "pickle" in the name of an organized, professional sport will never be forgotten.
But must we ceaselessly repeat ourselves with this dill (dull/dill? I’ll see myself out) joke? Let's find a new aspect of the game to hyperfixate on, please.
I wish for everyone to feel like they don't need to apologize for net cord drops.
You may remember this article written by The Dink's founder Thomas about how "only pathological liars apologize for net cord drop winners."
His main point is that net cords are more a part of pickleball than they are tennis, and that the custom of apologizing for them in tennis makes more sense than doing so in pickleball.
When I first read Thomas’ opinion, I strongly disagreed with it. His supposition is that those who apologize for net cord drops are either posturing in a display of faux politeness, or keeping a tennis-based tradition alive in a sport that's different from tennis.
In his argument, Thomas neglected another sector of net cord apologizers: people with social anxiety.
If you're even a little shy or socially anxious, you're likely to apologize for this shot if you sense that's the right thing to do. I've done it, and I know I'm not the only one.
But ultimately, Thomas' points still prevail. There's no sense in feeling compelled to apologize in the first place, regardless of our reason for doing so.
Net cord points are going to happen at all skill levels in pickleball, so it's nothing to apologize for.
(Want to know the third and juiciest item on Adam’s wish list? Read the full article version here).
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So We’re Just Not Going to Acknowledge This?
There is a new deadline on the PPA/MLP merger but there still seems to be no clear path to the finish line. “Big Pickleball” has started throwing its weight around and it’s got some players on the defensive.
Thomas sums up the game’s current juxtaposition in a pickleball version of The Night Before Christmas that you don’t want to miss. Plus Zane is giving away a signature ProXR paddle, drop a comment for your chance to win.