The shot all pros wish they had

Pickleball's debut at the African Games. Draft Day announced.

We made it. Spring is finally here. That means local parks will be reinstalling their nets and temps will finally reach a level where pickleballs don’t shatter on impact.

Look for a new wave of players jumping on the bandwagon and hitting the courts in the coming months. If you do spot a newbie, welcome them to the courts, explain how the paddle rack works, and tell them to subscribe to The Dink Newsletter.

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In This Issue:

🌍 Pickleball on display at the 13th African Games
🗓️ The date is set for the MLP Draft
💪 Get your backhand in check

Off we go.

Anna Leigh’s killer two-handed backhand

Anna Leigh Waters can do a lot of things on the pickleball court that most people only dream of. One of those things is hit a two-handed backhand dink for a clean winner.

As a pro at just 11 years old, the two-hander was born out of necessity. She shared on the PicklePod that early in her career she didn’t have the strength to hit a one-handed dink.

She started hitting a two-handed backhand instead and after years of getting stronger, it’s now one of the best shots in the game.

She gave three tips for hitting her aggressive topspin dink cross-court:

  • Let the left (non-dominant) hand take over

  • “Drop the wrist” or loosen the wrist and point the paddle head down so you can roll over the top of the ball

  • Create space between you and the ball so you can extend your arms

  • Optional: ALW also extends her pointer finger on the paddle face for added control

ALW says she loves to use the shot when she is pulled out wide. This makes it easy to create space from the ball and gives you the most aggressive angles to work with.

Join the list of pros looking to add this shot to their game.

Special Delivery for Pickleball Players

Do you wish someone would send a box full of pickleball gear to your house every three months?

If only they’d curate some of the newest and best products on the market, pack them together, and send them to my door. Well, look no further. Pickleball’s #1 subscription box is here.

Sign up for The Essentials Box or The Pro Box and receive a ton of pickleball gear for nearly half the price. Don’t miss out on the spring box, shipping soon!

International teams unite at African Games

Last week, pickleball made its historic debut at the 13th African Games. Ten nations sent teams to Accra, Ghana, to compete in this first-of-its-kind event.

Benin, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and South Africa all sent players to take part.

At the end of the week, it was Kenya that nearly swept the competition. Competitors from Kenya finished first in men’s doubles, women’s doubles and women’s singles.

Egypt was able to interrupt Kenya’s dominance and brought home the mixed doubles and men’s singles titles.

This international competition demonstrates that pickleball might be closer to an Olympic bid than previously anticipated. It seems like a new nation is buying into the sport with each passing day.

The undefeated streak is shattered

Last weekend’s Austin Open was plagued by wind and rain. As a result, four of the championship matches were pushed to Monday. This deviation from the typical Championship Sunday yielded some shocking results.

An end to the women’s doubles streak
Since teaming up late in 2022, Anna Leigh Waters and Catherine Parenteau had not lost a match. On Monday, Anna Bright and Rachel Rohrabacher put an end to that streak in a big way. They knocked off the champs in three straight games.

Anna Bright’s Double Gold
In our last newsletter, we highlighted Andrei Daescu’s double gold weekend. That was before we knew AB was cooking up one of her own. Together with Daescu, AB upset Ben Johns & Anna Leigh Waters for the first time in 2024. Now she’ll have to decide if she’ll stick with Daescu or reunite with James Ignatowich when he returns from injury.

Judit’s First Title
Two first-time finalists squared off in Monday’s women’s singles final. Judit Castillo dropped the first game to Kaitlyn Christian before rallying back in the second and third games to win her first PPA title.

The PPA’s next stop is the North Carolina Open, April 1-7. This event will have a little extracurricular activity courtesy of Major League Pickleball.

The Newest Technology in Pickleball

Being able to change your paddle is a game-changer.  

The GAMMA Airbender features variable weighted endcaps and Zorbicon Shockbuster gel inserts, you can tailor your paddle to fit your game perfectly. Adapt on the fly and reduce harmful vibrations for a smoother play.  

Learn more about the Airbender from GAMMA Sports and customize your game.  

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a draft date

Kevin Costner was locked in on Vontae Mack before pulling his magic on Draft Day. Now, Major League Pickleball owners will have a chance to pull a little magic of their own on MLP Draft Day.

MLP announced that the Premier Level draft will be held remotely on April 2 at 6 pm ET. The draft will follow a dynamic bidding process to divide the top 48 players onto the 12 Premier Level teams.

Owners will have a set budget and bid against one another for each draft position. This unique process will allow for more application of strategy in the draft.

The Challenger Level draft will follow the next day, April 3, at 6 pm ET. This draft also has a special twist. Challenger teams will have an expanded roster to six players — three men and three women. The draft order will be randomly decided and will follow a snake draft format.

Get your war rooms ready, Draft Day is approaching soon.

Headlines & Quick Hits


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