Happy National Pickleball Month!
Since 2018, the entire month of April has been designated as a time to celebrate the nation’s fastest growing sport, while, at the same time, connecting with others in the community and introducing new players to the sport. And, this April 2023 will be no different!
To kick off National Pickleball Month, The Pickleball Slam event between tennis legends 🎾 John McEnroe, Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, and Michael Chang was broadcasted live on ESPN. This event highlighted the fun banter and electric play that you can have on a pickleball court, as well as the notable Non-Volley-Zone rules (the referee was able to call a lot of Kitchen foot faults 😂). The Pickleball Slam certainly brought the fun, which Agassi summed up when he said after winning the match (with his partner, Roddick), "I am playing this game as long as I can walk. I can't wait to get back out there!" We agree with you, Andre! 🙌
Now, let's dive straight into your pickleball tips, strategies, stories, news, and more... 👏
#1. 3 TIPS TO PREVENT THE LOBBER FROM LOBBING
One of the most common questions asked of pickleball teaching pros is how to prevent a lobber from lobbing. Learn the answer to this common question and get 3 tips to prevent the lobber from lobbing on the pickleball court. 👏
|LEARN THE 3 TIPS|
#2. "A GREAT PICKLEBALL STRATEGY IF YOU WANT TO LOSE": RIPS FROM THE MIDCOURT
Pickleball commentator Adam Stone asked the "GOAT" of pickleball—pro Ben Johns—if he thinks that a hard and low rip from the midcourt (also known as the transition area) is as good as a soft drop shot from the midcourt. Johns answered very directly, "It is a great strategy if you want to lose." 👎 Learn why.
#3. WHAT OR WHO IS "MEMES OF PICKLEBALL"?
Have you ever heard of a meme? Or, more particularly, a pickleball meme? Learn about the relatively new meme account - @memesofpickleball on Instagram - that is full of jokes taking aim at the world of pro pickleball and making everyone that is "inside pickleball" laugh. 🤔
AvaLee is pickleball’s first and only paddle and performance-wear brand designed exclusively for women, by women. 👏
Created by sister-in-laws, Lauren Bethany Barnes and Lauren Arlyne Barnes—the wives of industry-leading pickleball brand, Selkirk Sport co-founders, Mike and Rob Barnes—AvaLee proudly derives its name from the Barnes daughters and represents the future of pickleball—individual, fashionable, female. Each with their own style preferences and unique lifestyle demands, Lauren and Lauren understand the need for functional fit and versatile design, both on and off the court.
By uniting high-performance court fashion with comfort, quality, and wearability, AvaLee meets the needs of modern women everywhere. Because function, fit, and fashion all matter. (In no particular order!)
Together we are AvaLee. #womenofpickleball
#4. MURMURS FROM THE LOSERS' BRACKET: PICKLEBALL & THE $100 HAMBURGER
Pickleball has hit New York City's Central Park, as the Wollman Rink will be converted into 14 pickleball courts. But, to play there will cost you $120 per hour per court. 💰 Get Murmurs from the Loser’s Bracket's take on this new place to play. (*For those new to Murmurs from the Losers’ Bracket, this is a (mostly) humorous tongue-in-cheek opinion piece - don't take us too seriously.)
#5. IS THE "PICKLEBALL TROLL" MOVING ON?
Astute readers of pickleball Facebook groups will notice that Doug Wanoy is back. Again. Learn about Wanoy - who is known as the "pickleball troll" - his latest post to "stir the pot" on the pickleball social networks, and what he will be doing next. 🤔
#6. RULES REFRESH - TIMELY LINE CALL?
Line calls are frequently a source of contention in pickleball. This includes whether or not the line call is right or wrong, but also the timing of the line call. ⏳ The rules of pickleball provide that “[a]ll ‘out’ calls must be made prior to the ball being hit by the opponent or before the ball becomes dead.” So, timing of the line call is important, as shown in the video below. 👇
In the video above, pickleball pro James Ignatowich makes an “out” call for his team the New Jersey 5s in a Major League Pickleball match against the California BLQK Bears. The referee overturned the line call because he believed that Ignatowich made a late call—in other words, after his opponents made the next shot. This was then challenged and overturned again, as Ignatowich made the call timely. So, the out call stood.
Nevertheless, be wary of the timing of your line calls on the pickleball court. Make your calls timely (i.e., before your opponent hits the next shot) and loudly! 📢
#7. QUICK TIP - WHAT TO DO IF YOU POP UP THE PICKLEBALL
We all try to avoid the dreaded “pop up” on the pickleball court, particularly when we are at the Kitchen line. However, as much as we try, pop ups happen to the best of us.
If you accidentally pop up the pickleball, then heed the advice of pro Wes Burrows and either:
- Step back off of the Kitchen line, stay balanced with your feet, get your paddle low and out in front of you, and try to defend as best as possible; or
- Go into a fetal position with a look of panic on your face after the horrible shot you just hit (*kidding*)! 🤣
If so, then have a laugh and get great pickleball tips with longtime humor writer Frank Cerabino's book I Dink, Therefore I Am: Coming to Grips with My Pickleball Addiction! 📚
#8. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO "DISCONNECT" FROM YOUR PARTNER & WHEN TO DO IT
Learn what it means to "disconnect" from your partner on the pickleball court. Plus, learn when and why to disconnect in order to apply more pressure on your opponents and win more pickleball points. 💥
#9. HEADLINES FROM THE COURT
Serving up the latest pickleball headlines over the last two weeks... 🗞
- The Association of Pickleball Professionals (APP) released new research regarding the participation of pickleball in the United States. The APP found that 19% of the adult American population have played pickleball in the last 12 months (for a total of 48.3 million adult Americans). The study also found that the average age of pickleball players is 34.8 years, so pickleball is no longer just your grandparents’ game. 📈
- Pickleball is hitting some marquee space, as the sport was featured on the video boards of Times Square in New York City, will take over Wollman Rink in Central Park in New York City, and was broadcasted live on ESPN with The Pickleball Slam (discussed above). 🔥 All of which help to shine a spotlight on the sport and introduce pickleball to new players and fans. Be ready for even more people to pack the pickleball courts near you!
- Overland Park, Kansas was named the most pickleball obsessed city in the United States, according to analysis on internet search patterns and the availability of pickleball venues by Offer.bet.
- Pickleball was at the center of a few jokes on TruTV’s hit show Impractical Jokers. 😂
- The Arizona Diamondbacks are leaning in to pickleball, as pro player Tyson McGuffin will throw out the first pitch on April 11th and will host a pickleball night at the pre-game expo. ⚾️
#10. ON THE TOUR - BEST DOUBLES PICKLEBALL GAME EVER?
Major League Pickleball (MLP) held its second event for the 2023 calendar year in Daytona Beach, Florida, where the Seattle Pioneers took home the title in the Premier League and the Bay Area Breakers won for the Champions League (for the second time in a row). 🏆 MLP continued to showcase the exciting atmosphere of team-based pickleball and even featured what is arguably the greatest doubles pickleball game of all time (whether men’s, women’s, or mixed)—the women's doubles match of The 5s versus BLQK is a must watch! Get the full recap on MLP Daytona Beach.
Following MLP, the APP Tour held its largest tournament of the 2023 season so far, as over 1,300 players took part in the APP Mesa Open. The headlining news from the event was that local Phoenix player Pesa Teoni took home his first-ever professional gold medal 🥇 (with his men's doubles partner, Andrei Daescu). Get the full recap from the APP Mesa Open.
Don't forget to mark your calendars for more pro pickleball action this National Pickleball Month! 🗓
#11. ONE COMMUNITY LAUNCHES PROGRAM TO MAKE PICKLEBALL FRIENDLY FOR FIRST-TIME PLAYERS
With pickleball exploding in growth, there are more and more beginners hitting the courts. But, when heading to the local courts, it can be intimidating for a beginner to learn the game or join open play. Learn what one South Florida community is doing to proactively solve this problem and make its local courts a more welcoming place for new players. 🤗
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BALL'S IN YOUR COURT...