The top college pickleball programs

Stacking essentials. Year of the foam.

Last night millions of viewers tuned into the Roast of Tom Brady. There were over three hours of jokes made at Tom’s expense, but no mention of pickleball.

Tom’s relegated soccer club (Birmingham City) was used as ammo in the roast, but his MLP team — the LV Night Owls — were left in peace on their perch. The Night Owls will remain unscathed this week as they are one of the teams not scheduled to play in MLP’s kickoff event. More on that below.

Mother's Day is fast approaching and The Pickleball Box is the perfect opportunity to show her how much you love her. You might be past the guaranteed shipping deadline but hey, better late than never, right?

Is targeting an opponent with a return who has "hit the deck" poor sportsmanship?

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In This Issue:

🧽 Foam is changing pickleball
🥞 Stack ‘em up
🏟️ It’s MLP week

Vámonos.

Get Your Stack Right

Half stack, full stack, three-quarter stack, short stack, how do you decide which is right for you? Well if it’s breakfast, go with the short stack. But on the pickleball court, you might need a little more info.

Stacking is a strategic movement that allows you and your partner to play on your preferred side throughout a match. It’s commonly used to keep the stronger player’s forehand in the middle or both forehands in the middle for a righty-lefty duo.

When it comes to the type of stack, you have options:

Half Stack - Offense Only
The easiest way to start learning to stack is to "half stack." The half stack occurs only when your team is serving, and all you do is slide over into your preferred positions immediately after the ball is served.

Full Stack - Offense and Defense
Things get a little more complicated when moving to full stack. As a serve returner, there is more distance to cover.

In the diagram below, Player B has to return the serve from one half of the court, then travel to the kitchen AND the other side of the court. While Player B is on the move, Player A slides into the open court.

All of this movement can be confusing to a beginner. It gets easier once you break the idea that all four players have to stand in a specific spot to start a point.

As long as the server serves from the correct position and the correct returner returns the ball, their partners can stand wherever they’d like. That includes being off of the court entirely.

An alternate form of stacking has Player A waiting out of bounds during the serve and has them slide into position from there. Once teams have mastered the stack they can use hand signals to silently communicate whether the stack is on during a given point.

Pro tip: Look out for a serve close to the sideline when stacking. The distance added to Player B’s journey might be too much to overcome. Communicate with your partner and be prepared to abandon the stack on the fly.

Selkirk Launches Collaboration with Rhone

Rhone, the performance powerhouse known for championing mental fitness, has teamed up with Selkirk to drop the Backspin Collection.

As part of the collaboration, they created a co-branded Rhone x Selkirk Luxx Control Air Epic pickleball paddle in a Stormy Sea Green color (we're big fans of this). They also dropped Backspin Lined Shorts and Backspin Tee with their special edition colorways.

Everything You Need to Know

It’s been a long and strange five months since MLP teams have hit the courts. With only a few days left prior to the season getting underway, one player went on the PicklePod demanding a trade.

Okay, Zane might have been exaggerating a little. Things are looking pretty wholesome at the 5s latest photoshoot. The New Jersey 5s are one of the 17 teams traveling to Peachtree Corners just outside of Atlanta for the first MLP event of the season.

Riley Newman Returns!
The first match of MLP Atlanta will mark the return of Riley Newman to pro pickleball. His Columbus Sliders will take on the Texas Ranchers at 2pm ET on Thursday.

In April, Newman announced a revised contract with the PPA Tour but also announced that he would be MIA until the month of May.

Jack Sock's MLP Debut
Fans will also get a first MLP look at Jack Sock. Sock and his NY Hustlers will also take on the Sliders this Thursday.

[Watch] Bonus Exhibition Matches on The Dink
Make sure to subscribe to The Dink YouTube channel to watch some pre-MLP exhibition matches. We'll be streaming an Orlando Squeeze match on Tuesday 6-8:30pm ET and an Atlanta Bouncers vs Florida Smash match on Wednesday evening.

Full MLP Schedule
We will have plenty more on the 2024 MLP season as the week moves on. You can find out when and where to find your favorite team here.

Should This be Allowed?

This year, the insertion of more foam into paddle cores has been a major topic of conversation. As these paddles are being rolled out to consumers and used at the pro level, concerns are growing louder.

  • Foam is commonly placed around the edge of the paddle to provide more stability and expand the sweet spot

  • Recently, a handful of paddle companies have begun to use foam in new ways throughout the core

  • These foam layers create a trampoline effect, which adds significant power

  • Further, the paddles tend to increase in power with use. Even if they pass initial inspection, the paddle’s power can ramp significantly within a single match

The concern is that the paddles are so powerful that they:

  1. Fundamentally change the way pickleball is played

  2. Accelerate the speed of the ball to an unsafe level

Joola Gen 3 propulsion core. A secondary layer of foam that replaces areas of the polymer core to increase power - via Pickleball Studio.

Surprisingly (or maybe not), paddles leveraging this new core technology have so far passed both USA Pickleball and PPA Tour testing standards.

But most pickleballers aren’t convinced. Some pros claim that power has increased by as much as 50%. And it’s no longer just the pros who are experiencing this; amateur players across the country are sounding the alarm.

It’s hard to blame the manufacturers who are, at the end of the day, trying to sell more paddles. Regulation has fallen behind the rapid advancements in paddle innovation. Some heavy-hitters in the game - including Ben Johns - have called for an exit velocity test to set the limit, but it might be too late.

The problem in a situation like this is that you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube (well, at least not without toothpaste splattering all over the bathroom). Since the paddles have already been approved and distributed, any decision surrounding their legality will have major financial ramifications.

Tune in to tomorrow’s episode of PicklePod, where the guys dive deep into this issue with pro guest Travis Rettenmaier.

You’ve Met Your Match

In the pickleball world, having the right shoes is your foundation for success. Knowing the difference between tennis and pickleball court shoes is key for upping your game, and K-Swiss delivers with the Pickleball Supreme and Express Light shoes, crafted to boost your performance on the court.

The Pickleball Supreme is the go-to choice for competitive players craving a shoe that’s both responsive and comfortable. And if you're all about lightweight comfort and stability, the Express Light Pickleball shoes have you covered with a 180-degree Plantar Support Chassis and DragGuard outsole.

Don't let your footwear hold you back. Step into success with K-Swiss Pickleball Shoes today.

Collegiate Power Rankings

The college game is growing every day. Even schools across the pond have picked it up. Nationally, one state is leading the charge. DUPR released its updated power rankings for college teams across the nation, and the top two squads both hail from Utah.

Quickly closing in the top 10 is the University of North Florida, which jumped five spots this month. These teams are preparing for the DUPR Collegiate National Championships this November.

The team National Championships will follow the MLPlay format, with coed teams of four competing together for the title. But players also have the chance to earn a national title on their own.

The Collegiate Individual National Championships are less than a month away. At this event, players compete as a doubles team and/or singles player.

This allows players who might not be strong enough as a team of four to prove themselves individually.

The deadline to enter is quickly approaching but students looking to compete have until May 22 to register. The CINC will take place at The Pickle Lodge in Cincinnati, OH, June 1-2.

Headlines & Quick Hits

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