PPA Tour issues first disciplinary fine

A solution for damaged pickleballs. Retreat in stages.

How long between sessions is too long? For up-and-coming pro Christian Alshon, the itch to get back out there starts almost immediately.

The feeling is mutual.

In today's issue:

  • A pro sports right of passage

  • Finally a use for damaged pickleballs

  • It's decision time for MLP Challenger Level teams

Let's do it!

Holding Your Ground

Picture this: You or your partner pop a ball up to your opponent. The alarm bells go off and you begin to retreat. Your goal is to get to the baseline to play some defense.

One common mistake players make is forgetting to split step when retreating.

While trying to approach the kitchen after a third, it's imperative to:

  • Stop forward progress with a split step

  • Field the ball

  • Start moving forward again

Well, the same applies to retreating.

As you move backward during your opponent's shot, lateral movement is more of a challenge, and so is maintaining balance. Unforced errors are more likely.

To combat this, you need to repeat the steps above. When your opponent is swinging:

  • Stop backward progress with a split step

  • Make a play on the ball

Now you can judge if your defensive shot was a success. If so, move forward, if not, retreat again.Next time you're scrambling to recover from a high ball, remember to hold your ground during the retreat. Spilt step and give yourself a better chance at keeping the point alive.

Play Like Zane

It's been rumored for months, and the day has finally come. The new Zane Navratil Signature Carbon paddle is now available from ProXR Pickleball.

The paddle features an Ultra-RAW carbon face that is designed to maximize spin and power.

An elongated straight handle allows Zane (and you) to fit both hands on the paddle, perfect for the two-handed backhand.

Shop Now at proxrpickleball.com

Punishment Passed Down

Pro pickleball crossed another major sports milestone (is it a milestone?) this week. For the first time, the PPA Tour issued a disciplinary fine for on-court behavior. It is a right of passage for any sports league and now pickleball has its first. Other examples from around the sporting world include:

  • MJ fined $25k for his number change from 23 to 45

  • Rory McIlroy paid the price for chucking his 3-iron into the drink

  • And a host of NFL players that reserve a budget to cover excessive TD celebration fines

Remember in Monday's issue when we covered DJ Young's paddle smash gone awry? Here's a recap video if you've been unplugged for the week.

The paddle took a wicked bounce and ended up in the second row of the stands. A big no-no in the sports entertainment industry.

The PPA took action by fining Young for his display. In this case, the punishment fits the crime. The league needed to set a precedent. Their response here will hopefully deter any future incidents involving fans.

For those curious, the PPA chose not to disclose the amount of the fine.

Repurposing Spent Pickleballs

Every industry has its problems with waste, pickleball included. Product packaging comes to mind, but even more prevalent is the cracked ball conundrum.

Even rec players tend to go through at least a few balls per year – balls that inevitably end up in landfills. But a group of clever players at the Singapore Pickleball Association have come up with a solution.

They’re able to shred the balls down and recycle them into wiffle balls using a mold.

What would have been trash now has two uses: as standard wiffle balls or in unofficial pickleball games.

“Though the final product is lighter than a pickleball's minimum weight specifications, it is good enough for use in School Exposure Programmes,” SPA says in a Facebook post. “We intend to gift them to schools running pickleball as part of their PE curriculum.”

You don’t have to be an all-out treehugger to know the importance of cutting down on waste. This is a brilliant solution – bravo, SPA.

Cold can be therapeutic. In fact, it can be more.

The Cold Plunge may sound like a hard sell, but that’s exactly why it works: Studies show dipping your body in cold water increases your muscles’ ability to heal, promotes focus, reduces anxiety, and provides other health benefits.

Take the plunge and stay in top pickleball shape. Click here to learn more.

Time to Decide

The shuffle draft for the MLP Challenger Level is scheduled for tomorrow. The twelve teams of the Challenger Level had the option to drop a single player in the offseason and replace them with a new player in the draft (The Premier Level teams remain unchanged barring any trades).

Only the teams electing to drop a player will enter the draft. The player pool is made up of the dropped players and applicants outside of the league that have submitted their names to be drafted.

Notable names on that list include Jill Braverman and Brendon Long. Braverman was among the top players in the women's game before retiring last year. But things change fast in the pickleball world and it's hard to stay off of the court for long.

Her caliber of play would have put her as a top pick in the main Challenger draft back in December. The team that brings in Braverman will receive an instant boost, so much so that there has been discussion that she shouldn't be allowed to enter until season one is finished in June.

Long was passed over in the main draft but added a substantial W to his resume last month. He and Bobbi Oshiro brought home the APP Daytona Beach mixed doubles title. They defeated members of the Premier Level on their way to gold making a strong case for Long.

Look for the roster updates in Monday's issue.

Pickleball Wear that Lasts

Think of the last time you found an article of clothing that felt tailor-made for you. Was it made in the USA? Did it last very long?

American Giant wants to help pickleball enthusiasts connect on the court in style by creating a durable and polished collection that’s as inclusive as the sport it’s named for.

Each durable cotton piece is designed to breathe, stretch, and hold up to your hardest-hitting moments on the court. These hoodies, jackets, sweatshirts, sweatpants, shorts & tees make excellent gifts, too!

Pickleball's Most Public Beefs

Zane and Thomas recap James Ignatowich's recent surge into the spotlight and how players can build a personal brand. Other topics include serve legality discrepancies, on-court disputes and whether certain aspects of the burgeoning sport should be revised.

There’s still time for you to be a guest on the show - jump in the comments and leave a review. One fan from the comments will guest star on an upcoming episode.

Watch here or listen here.

Headlines & Quick Hits


Homecourt Havens

No Texas mansion is complete without a pickleball court. This estate is the whole package with a pristine covered court.

A review from the Dink Fam...

What did you think of today's newsletter?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Join the conversation

or to participate.