The big game is here. On Sunday the bright lights and TV cameras will be pointed at the 50-yard line. Until then, pickleball is in the spotlight in Sin City.
Today you can watch your favorite celebrities and athletes compete on the rooftop top courts at the Plaza Hotel & Casino in this year’s Pickle Bowl. Tune in on The Dink Youtube channel at 1:30 pm ET or catch the event live in person at the Plaza.
Want to win Valentine’s Day this year? Skip the flowers and send your “partner” pickleball’s #1 subscription box. Take advantage of the exclusive Valentine’s Day flash sale before it disappears.
In This Issue:
🔥 Keep the point alive longer
🏆 Juniors and seniors have their own place to compete
🎙️ PicklePod breaks down the most exciting match from the Desert Ridge Open
3 Tips to Defend Against Overheads
Pickleball Playbook offers three tips to help you defend against overheads in a new video.
For an overhead to end the point, it has to hit the court. The best offensive strategy is to land the overhead deep in the court at the feet of the defense.
As a defender, that means you will want to be low, knees bent, and paddle down. That way you can dig the ball back up after it bounces.
2. Backpedal and split step
When you're retreating to field an overhead, don't turn and run, backpedal. Keep your eyes forward and retreat as deep as you can before the ball reaches your opponent.
Before your opponent hits the ball, it's imperative that you split step. Give up one or two steps back in your retreat to ensure you get the split step in.
The split step gets you back on balance and ready to move in any direction
It halts your backward momentum which would be the culprit for your next poor shot
It allows you to get into a good ready position with a low center of gravity
3. Cut down on their angles
When defending the overhead, your goal is to land a drop in the kitchen that allows you to advance in the court. If your back is against the wall, your best bet might be sending back lobs until you get something softer you can work with.
This video suggests a very specific target for those lobs. Aim them deep and in the middle of the court. The thought here is that less of your court will be visible to the person hitting the overhead because of the net.
This will cut down on their ability to hit a sharp angle with the overhead. It also cuts down on the amount of court you and your partner have to defend.
Read more on why the middle lob is the right answer and how you can cover angles here.
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National Junior Pickleball Tour Takes Off
Have you ever lost to a player who can barely see over the net? Well, you might very soon! The game is getting younger by the minute and the National Junior Pickleball Tour is leading the charge.
Last weekend junior players aged 8-18 competed in Macon, GA at the first stop of their nationwide tour. The event featured round-robin play leading up to medal matches and even a team event complete with dreambreakers.
Pro players Megan Fudge and Ryler DeHeart stopped by and provided an instructional clinic to help players advance to the next level.
"Most of these kids are playing adults in their recreational play. They were thrilled to finally play with other kids their age. Some families said they're already booking flights to come to our next tour stops."
Courtney Loughridge, CEO of NJP Tour
The tour has five more regional stops and a Championship Cup planned in the 2024 season. Their next stop is at Picklemall in Tempe, AZ on March 21-24. Click here to read more about the tour and see more pictures from last weekend’s event on our website.
We Found Your Parents
While the juniors were cooking things up in Macon, GA the seniors were taking care of business in FL. Players from 38 states raced to Daytona to compete for the $75K prize purse at the AARP Champions Cup.
Last weekend the APP hosted their first Signature Event of 2024. The Champions Cup featured pro-level Champions (50+) divisions, Masters (60+) divisions and amateur divisions 40 and up.
Gold medals at the Champions level were spread amongst the top senior pros in the game.
🏆 Men’s Singles: Rick Witsken | Women’s Singles: Karin Ptaszek-Kochis
🏆 Women’s Doubles: Nathalie Bagby and Jennifer Dawson
🏆 Men’s Doubles: Jose Derisi and Mircea Morariu
🏆 Mixed Doubles: Eva Welsher and Dave Weinbach
At the Masters level, it was David Spearman established a residency at the top of the podium. Spearman won a triple crown over the weekend with the help of Kristin Hickman in mixed and Scott Moore in men's.
The next APP Signature Event will coincide with the APP Miami Open, Mar 20-24.
Pickleball in the French Riviera?
Imagine soaking up the vibrant atmosphere of the French Riviera, sharing laughs with new friends as you warm up for epic morning rallies on the courts of Nice, France. This can be your reality, fellow dinkers.
From May 6 - 11, 2024, elevate your pickleball skills with Nike's Director of Pickleball, then unwind with local wines and seaside strolls. Pickleball de France's retreat offers a once-in-a-lifetime pickleball camp (levels 3.0 - 4.0 are welcome) combined with a cultural dive into the breathtaking Mediterranean lifestyle.
Get a sneak peek of the action, check out the curriculum, and explore planned activities (hint: rosé tastings and Monte Carlo outings included).
Spots have almost filled up—join players from around the world and reserve yours now. Click for details.
Risky strategy to win more matches
The big man, Dekel Bar, steps into the PicklePod studio to get some things off his chest. Dekel is not a fan of the new serve rule and thinks it detracts from viewer-friendly pickleball.
Zane and Dekel had an epic semifinal matchup at the Desert Ridge Open. We break down the hostile attacks and game-changing clips that made the match unforgettable.
Headlines & Quick Hits
Having one court is amazing but having six courts is incredible. This $11 million SC estate put down pickleball lines on the tennis courts and now can host their own tournament.
Rent incredible homecourts like this with Swimply.
A review from the Dink Fam...