Poor sportsmanship or part of the game?

Hops to drops. AZ Cup returns to Mesa.

Let’s rewind the tape. The year? 2020. The place? Mesa, AZ. This is when the PPA hosted their first event four years ago.

Back when Anna Leigh Waters didn’t have a driver’s license and wasn’t triple-crowning every weekend. Back when Simone Jardim was the queen of pickle and players were competing for oversized checks that wouldn’t cover rent for the month.

Flash forward to this week and the tour returns to Mesa for this year’s Arizona Cup. A whole lot has changed over those four years but somehow Ben Johns remains on top of it all.

Fun fact: there are now an estimated 44,000 pickleball courts in the US

Fun fact 2: in 2021, pickleball's Wikipedia page surpassed that of tennis. At its peak in 2021, pickleball's Wikipedia page was experiencing 250,000 views per month, dwarfing tennis' 100,000

In This Issue:

🏆 The boring topic that will help make you better
🍺 Pickleball remodel
🏜️ Arizona rules February

Saddle up.

Your Ready Position is Costing You Points

The ready position is a boring topic, but do you know what's not boring? Winning points. To win more points, you need to be better with your ready position.

In particular, we’re talking ready position at the kitchen line. When you have less than a second to react, it’s a necessity to return to the right ready position every shot.

Most people think they maintain a good ready position, just like most people believe they've never stepped on the kitchen line in their life. Zane Navratil demonstrates a drill for good ready position habits in a new video.

The Basics

At the kitchen line, your paddle should sit around chest level. Having it below the height of the net does not help protect your body against attacks.

Be careful not to extend the paddle too far out in front or hold it too tight to your chest. You want to find the middle ground where you can still extend forward on a punch but aren't crammed with the paddle against your chest.


One big mistake you might be making is the orientation of the paddle. Zane recommends your paddle be vertical in ready position, as in the head of the paddle pointed up.

If your paddle is parallel to the ground, with the head of the paddle facing the net, you're more susceptible to popping the ball up when attacked.

The Drill

Zane devised a simple drill to help make sure you're falling into ready position in between each shot.

  • Simply hold an extra ball in your off-hand

  • After each shot, tap your paddle and the ball together so you can hear a noise

  • This gives a physical and auditory cue that you have completed the task

  • Bonus tip: Try to move through your dink and into your ready position in one fluid motion, that way the habit is repeatable and consistent

Start off dinking with your partner and getting into ready position after each shot. The tap of the ball in your against the paddle marks the end of each shot.

Read more on the second part of the drill and why it is effective here.

Show Your Love of the Game

Selkirk Prestige

The Selkirk Prestige Collection is here to make a statement on and off the court.

It's packed with the revolutionary Power Air technology, and features a stunning array of apparel from the Stretch-Wik and Pro-Lines, all adorned in the eye-catching Prestige colorway.

Dive into Selkirk's world of quality and style today, and set yourself apart on the court with the Prestige Collection.

From Brewing Hops to Third Shot Drops

Broadleaf Brewery & Spirits in Kentwood, MI underwent a recent remodel. They traded in a massive cold room in favor of some in-house entertainment.

Instead of racking up the electricity bill trying to keep things cool, they installed two pickleball courts to heat things up. The courts have become a revenue generator for the brewery and cut down on their monthly utility bills.

Like most craft beer can art, Broadleaf has a style all their own. They brought a modern look to the “retiree sport” with bright court colors, muraled walls and custom paddles.

Broadleaf is just one example of pickleball filling the vacant space left from businesses of the past. As most pickleball enthusiasts know, once you get hooked on the game, every large room, empty parking lot, or backyard looks like the perfect fit for a new pickleball court. Where are you going to put yours?

Arizona Cup Preview

Last year in Mesa the impossible happened. Ben Johns and Anna Leigh Waters lost in mixed doubles. After another scare earlier in the month at the Desert Ridge Open, look for the game’s top duo to be fully focused and out for blood this week.

Their mixed doubles competition will include Jack Sock, who returns to action with partner Catherine Parenteau. New combo Lea Jansen and Andrei Daescu and JW/Jorja Johnson, the sibling duo responsible for the upset in Phoenix, will also be in the field.

The Kawamoto twins might have cracked the code against ALW and Parenteau in women’s doubles. They may get another shot to break the 60-0 undefeated streak this week. Also coming for the crown is the new pair of Anna Bright and Vivienne David.

  • Federico Staksrud has been the only consistent finalist in men’s singles this year. He will try to stave off Ben and field again this week for back-to-back titles

  • Dylan Frazier and JW Johnson return to men's doubles and barring any upsets will have another meeting with Johns Bros on Championship Sunday

  • Kaitlyn Christian is the name to look out for in women’s singles, she could meet ALW in the quarterfinals on Friday

The progression draw is back in play this week, which means you can catch Round of 32 matches in each division starting on Wednesday. A special Championship Sunday broadcast will air on FOX from 12-2pm ET.

The Racquet Boom Is Real!

Experience the thrill of RacquetX, the first immersive festival celebrating the world of racquet sports—tennis, pickleball, padel, and more—at the Miami Convention Center from March 24th to 26th.

This event is a haven for enthusiasts, featuring over 50 brands and nine on-site courts for tournaments and demos, alongside unique after-hours experiences. With VIP passes offering exclusive access to the Miami Open and the PPA Tournament, RacquetX is not just an event; it's an experience.

Don’t miss this chance to be part of the racquet sports event. Register now at RacquetX for a special discount and be part of something spectacular.

Fair play or poor sportsmanship?

Like it or not, bodybags happen in pickleball. There is simply not enough court space or time to react to keep everyone from getting hit with the ball.

We went to Instagram to see how people felt about using bodybags as a strategy to win points. Here are some of the comments we received:

So we want to know, how do you feel about bodybags in your pickleball circle? Are you a hands up, apology, call the medic bunch? Or a laugh and look for revenge on the next point group?

Are bodybags an acceptable strategy?

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