We know you’ve been slacking, or should we say: playing pickleball instead of holiday shopping. Don’t worry, we get it. But surely this means you’re in need of a few last-minute gift ideas?
Thankfully, we’ve scoured the internet in search of pickleball gear guaranteed by Amazon to ship within a couple days. Find our list here.
And since we did that favor for you, would you mind doing one for us? A really quick one?
Just answer these three questions for us. We’re working on some end-of-year content and would love your feedback. Thank you, Dink Fam.
In This Issue:
🔫 Turn your serve into a weapon
📰 The state of pro pickleball
🤛 You want lefties
Turn Your Serve into a Weapon
When it comes to aggressive serves, no one knows the game better than Shea Underwood. Shea helped push the limits of the spin serve before it was banned last year.
Players load their weight onto their back foot and explode into a weight transfer during the serve
The serve is one time where a large backswing is permittable and actually helps generate more power
Limit wrist movement, align your paddle face before the toss, and push through the ball
At the end of the day, placement is the priority. Make sure your serve lands deep in the court and preferably target your opponent’s backhand.
Work your way up to adding more power and spin without sacrificing placement.
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What’s the State of Pro Pickleball? Somewhat Shaky
An important detail has emerged regarding the future of pro pickleball:
"If the merger is not completed by Jan. 31, 2024, these new agreements will be null and void, and deals will revert to the contracts you signed with MLP or PPA, which will leave the future viability and sustainability of MLP uncertain.”
Letter from MLP to players
"The letter" is an email, titled "Where We Stand", from Major League Pickleball to its players. It's an indirect response to the Player Collective's letter to MLP stakeholders in which they expressed their many grievances.
If the MLP/PPA merger is moving in the right direction, and both parties are happy, we assume they would extend the timeline accordingly vs. abandon it altogether. Seems arbitrary.
On the flip-side, some optimism:
“In MLP’s Thursday letter, the league also touts that MLP owners have pledged an additional $10 million annually to fund operations and will be receiving another $50 million on Jan. 1.”
We assume the $50m is the previously announced infusion by executive board members Jason Stein and Al Tylis, and not in addition to.
They’ll also be allotted $10m for the year via owners, AND they raised $4.8m via the recent Dutch Auction that determined next year’s Premier Level teams.
So now, these questions arise:
If the merger does not happen: is that $50m withdrawn? We think so, but it's worth noting that the $50m will hit the newco's account on Jan 1, and the merger deadline is Jan 31.
Is the Dutch auction that secured $4.8m also ‘null and void’ if the merger does not happen?
What about the $20m (2 years, $10m per year), is that no longer on the table?
Only time will tell. Check out the full article for more details and speculations.
Last night the Gilbert Gladiators and Peoria Pythons battled in the championship match of the Arizona Pickleball League. You've heard of the Manningcast, but fans were treated with a surprise Johnscast as the world's best doubles team, Ben and Collin Johns jumped on the call.
The Gladiators dominated the first three games of the match and were looking for a clean sweep. The Pythons found life in men's doubles and got a win to force a set breaker.
In the set breaker, Augie Ge and Craig Johnson were determined not to let a perfect season slip through their fingers. They closed the match with plays like this to bring home The Orchard Cup.
Congrats to the Gilbert Gladiators: Ashlee Candelaria, Arielle Butler, Augie Ge, and Craig Johnson on the perfect season and Arizona Pickleball League Championship. Catch a replay of the match here.
You Want Lefties on Your Team
Collin Johns - famously not a left-handed player - took to Instagram to spread a little love for the lefties in our lives.
“If you are lucky enough to be a lefty or have a left-handed partner, you want to maximize this enormous advantage by employing a specific strategy to increase the strength of the team,” he says.
What’s that strategy? Stacking the lefty on the right side, of course. Here’s why it works:
Forehand poaches in transition (like during a shake-n-bake) can be made from either side
Reaching cross-court lobs is easier when both partners can defend with a forehand overhead or run around their partner for a forehand shot
Defending the middle is a crucial skill as that’s where most putaways are focused (especially when pulled wide). Fortunately, a righty-lefty duo has the middle covered with both forehands.
Say “goodbye” to the chicken wing as both partner’s paddle hip and shoulder are positioned on the outside of the court allowing you to intercept the ball as crosses in front of you with a stronger backhand volley
We don’t expect Collin to be in the market for a new left-handed partner in 2024 but we do appreciate the advice. If you play with a left-handed partner, forward them this email and tell them you love them.
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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 its got some players on the defensive.
Thomas sums up the games’ 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 here for your chance to win.
Watch here or listen here.
Headlines & Quick Hits
A review from the Dink Fam...