Even though summer may be winding down, the sport of pickleball is heating up in a number of ways... ☀️
- Pickleball is more popular than ever! We have proof...
- On court temps, as well as on court play, are not letting up...
- Pickleball now has spin-off sports?
Let's serve up the details, plus more tips for the next time you hit the pickleball court, the inside scoop from others in the pickleball community, and be the first to know about our secret launch!
#1. HELP! I'M BEING TARGETED - OR "ICED OUT" - ON THE PICKLEBALL COURT!
A common pickleball strategy is to target the weaker player. What if this pickleball strategy is used against you? What do you do if you are the player that is targeted? On the other hand, what do you do if you are "iced out" of the point and your partner is targeted? Both situations—whether you are being targeted or your partner is the one being targeted—are difficult and bring their own unique challenges.
Click here to learn the pickleball strategies to use when you are being targeted, and when your partner is being targeted, on the pickleball court, so that you can overcome and persevere when your opponents decide to target the "weaker" player.
#2. WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU ARE PULLED OUT WIDE ON THE PICKLEBALL COURT
Crosscourt dinking is a popular pattern on the pickleball court. It is also common to put extra pressure to be better and better on every successive shot. Eventually, due to this continuous crosscourt pattern, a crosscourt dink from your opponent may be such a strong shot that it takes you out wide on the pickleball court and out of position.
What do you do when you are pulled out wide and out of position on the pickleball court? Click here to learn pickleball strategies to combat the aggressive crosscourt dink, so you know what to do the next time you are pulled out wide on the court.
#3. WATERS SPOTLIGHT - TEAM WATERS WINS ON & OFF THE PICKLEBALL COURT AT TOC
What is it like to be a pro pickleball player at one of the largest pickleball tournaments of the year? Just off the red eye flight home (and freshly certified on Instagram and Facebook ✔), pro pickleball player, Leigh Waters, gives you an inside look into her week at the Tournament of Champions at Brigham City, Utah, with her husband, Stephen Waters, and her daughter/pro pickleball player and partner, Anna Leigh Waters.
Click here to learn from Leigh herself how her and Anna Leigh keep things "light" off the pickleball court, their favorite stops in Utah, why the Tournament of Champions is known as the "tournament of upsets," her coaching tips to the pro women's singles champion (Anna Leigh does it again! 🥇), and what her greatest takeaway and lesson was from the family trip to Brigham City.
Continue to follow Leigh's and Anna Leigh's journey here in Pickler's free pickleball newsletter, as well as on Instagram and Facebook. Also, mark your calendars to watch Leigh and Anna Leigh compete in the PPA Orlando Cup in Orlando, Florida, Thursday, September 9th through Sunday, September 12th! You can catch them in action on the PPA Tour's YouTube channel.
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#4. QUICK TIP - HOLD THE LINE
Most points in the sport of pickleball are won and lost at the Non-Volley Zone line (also known as the Kitchen line). As a result, it is so important to get to the Kitchen line, and then hold that line!
The reason for this is to (1) take time away from your opponents to react to a shot; (2) take away angles from your opponents and put more pressure on your opponents to hit a quality shot; and (3) avoid exposing your feet to your opponents, which would otherwise make for an easier put away shot by your opponents. Generally, the closer your feet are to the Kitchen line, the more difficult you will make it for your opponents to hit a winning shot.
With this in mind, the game of pickleball is changing and is getting faster, with more drives and more speed-up shots. As a result, sometimes, it is necessary to take a step back off of the Non-Volley Zone line in order to give yourself more time to react to speed-up shots or other hard shots from your opponents. This is okay to take a step back off the Non-Volley Zone line to give yourself more time to react, and can even be a good strategy (assuming you are not moving and trying to hit the pickleball at the same time, which will likely result in more errors than you'd like). However, if you take a step back off of the Kitchen line, it is imperative that you immediately step back in and hold the line!
Bottom line... Hold the line!
#5. WOMEN'S CORNER - WHEN ONE DOOR CLOSES, A WINDOW OPENS, FOR PRO PICKLEBALL PLAYER, JESSIE IRVINE
After the sport of tennis closed the door on Jessie Irvine's career, Irvine found a window of opportunity with the sport of pickleball. And, Irvine is looking to take full advantage of this window of opportunity, as she strives to be one of the best pro pickleball players in each of women’s doubles and mixed doubles.
Click here to learn how pro pickleball player, Jessie Irvine, lost her dream of being a pro tennis player, but found a new dream in being a pro pickleball player. Also, learn what Irvine does on and off the pickleball court to achieve her goal of being one of the best there is.
#6. RULES REFRESH - CROSSING THE PLANE
Imagine your opponent attempts an Erne. However, you hit the pickleball just out of reach, so that your opponent cannot hit the pickleball. In the Erne attempt, your opponent's momentum carries him or her out of bounds just passed the pickleball net. FAULT!
Now, why was this a fault? The rules of pickleball state that a pickleball player may not cross the plane of the pickleball net (or the imaginary extension line of the pickleball net beyond the net posts) until after that pickleball player has hit the pickleball. This includes anything that the pickleball player is wearing or carrying, such as a pickleball paddle. So, your opponent committed a fault in this example because your opponent did not hit the pickleball before passing the imaginary extension of the pickleball net. Again, your opponent may only cross the plane of the pickleball net after he or she strikes the pickleball (which he or she did not hit the pickleball in this example).
There is one exception to this general rule in that a pickleball player may cross the plane of the pickleball net before striking the pickleball if and only if the pickleball bounces and has enough backspin or wind to cause the pickleball to return to the other side untouched (i.e., the over-and-back pickleball). In this case, the player may reach across the plane of the net to strike the pickleball.
For a deeper breakdown on the rules of pickleball, check out Pickler's Ultimate Guide to the Rules of Pickleball.
Have you had an interesting rules issue on the pickleball court? Send it to us at email@example.com, so we can share with the rest of the pickleball community in a future newsletter.
#7. 3 WAYS TO FORMAT YOUR NEXT PICKLEBALL ROUND ROBIN
As the sport of pickleball becomes increasingly popular across clubs, facilities, and parks, more players are looking for ways to be able to play socially with friends, while also having a way to compete. Round robins are a way to bring many pickleball players with diverse backgrounds together to play in a social, yet competitive, manner.
Round robins come in a variety of formats, and can accommodate various skill levels, as well as various sized pickleball facilities. Click here to learn three ways that you can run your next pickleball round robin, as well as score some materials to make organizing your round robin even easier.
#8. NOTEWORTHY - PICKLEBALL IS MORE POPULAR THAN EVER
Pickleball has never been more popular than it is right now. Google searches for "pickleball" are at an all-time high, as shown by the graph below.
Also, at an all-time high is membership for USA Pickleball, which has jumped almost 30% over the last year, from 37,000 members in 2020 to over 48,000 members to-date in 2021.
Not only is interest in pickleball exploding, but players are getting younger. According to USA Pickleball, the average age of a pickleball player is 41. We would suggest that this average age will continue to decline, as more young people get more opportunities to play and get pickleball paddles in their hands.
Bottom line: The sport is taking off and we are happy that both you and we are all in this sport together! 🤗
#9. HEADLINES FROM THE COURT
Catch up quick! Serving up some headlines from around the pickleball court...
- One headline jumped out these past couple weeks, which comes from Iron Mountain, Michigan. The headline goes... "Rowdy teens? No. Adults playing pickleball." Apparently, a few neighbors have heard enough of the sound of a pickleball hitting a paddle. The city has decided to restrict hours of play. Hopefully, someone educates the city and neighborhood soon that (1) there are acoustic blocking technology out there that can be applied to fencing; (2) there are noise-dampening pickleball paddles on the market; and (3) every activity has some level of decibels (and pickleball is actually not very high). Maybe the solution is for the upset neighbors to get a paddle in their hands and start playing? If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right?
- USA Pickleball endorsed the PickleballTournaments' World Pickleball Rankings as its Official Pickleball Ranking System for professional players. The top 20 ranked players as of September 1st each calendar year will also earn a golden ticket to that year's USA Pickleball National Championships (assuming that those players competed in at least two qualifying events).
- From August 10th through August 15th, Pickleball Canada hosted about 800 players from across Canada for the Pickleball Canada National Championships in Red Deer, Alberta. During these National Championships, players and fans alike also celebrated National Pickleball Day in Canada, which fell on August 14th.
- The sport of pickleball was introduced to Uganda in 2018. Now, just three years later, the country will host the Uganda Open in December 2021.
- Heat and altitude plagued pickleball players at the major pickleball tournaments these past few weeks, which included the PPA Rocky Mountain Championships, the APP New Jersey Open, and the Tournament of Champions in Brigham City, Utah. In fact, the heat and altitude had such an effect that medical timeouts, withdrawals, and forfeits were commonplace - even in the gold medal match for one pro mixed doubles final! This is a good reminder to everyone to take care of themselves both on and off the pickleball court in these grueling summer months...
- Both of the pro pickleball tours - both the PPA and the APP - held events on the weekend of August 13th-15th. This is noteworthy because a couple pro pickleball players (Lauren Stratman and Rob Nunnery) actually played in both events even though they were held across the country - the PPA in Colorado and the APP in New Jersey. And, on top of it, Lauren Stratman even took home the bronze medal in both women's doubles events with two different partners!
- Generally speaking, there have been some shake-ups on the pro pickleball podiums the past couple weeks. Ben Johns' singles pickleball winning streak, which lasted over one year of competitive pro events, was snapped by the young and talented, JW Johnson, at the Tournament of Champions. Also, Simone Jardim and Lucy Kovalova took silver - as opposed to their usual gold medals - in back-to-back tournaments, as the pair fell twice to the relatively fresh duo of Catherine Parenteau and Jessie Irvine (learn more about Jessie Irvine in the Women's Corner above!).
- Dayne Gingrich and Chris Karges, two senior pro pickleball players, met the morning of their pro mixed event at the Tournament of Champions in Brigham City, Utah. Just about 12 hours after meeting, the two took home the gold medal... talk about instant court chemistry!
Mark your calendars for live pro pickleball at the major upcoming pickleball tournaments:
- August 26th through August 28th - APP Philadelphia Open
- September 2nd through September 5th - APP Chicago Open
#10. PICKLEHOLE? SEWERBALL?
Someone sent us a social media post about a new game called "PickleHole." PickleHole essentially is a mash-up between pickleball and cornhole. According to the social media post, the rules are as follows:
- Grab two paddles, a pickleball, two cornhole boards, and two lawn chairs (approximately 24 to 36 inches in height).
- Place the cornhole boards 8 feet apart, and place the two lawn chairs in the middle of the two boards (back-to-back).
- Like pickleball, games are to 11 points (must win by 2). Rally scoring applies. In other words, every serve results in a point - regardless of who served (this is unlike the sport of pickleball, where you can only score on the serve).
- To start a point, the player must stand behind the back of the board and the serve must come over the board in front of them and over the chairs. The serve must be underhand.
- Every shot must bounce on the board. The players will hit the ball after the bounce. This continues until someone misses the board (again, every shot must bounce on the board).
- If the ball goes into the hole on the board, then the player that hit the ball automatically wins - this is called a "PickleHole!"
- If the ball hits the side of the board and ricochets, the ball is "good." However, if the ball hits the front side of the board and ricochets, then the ball is "bad" and the player that hit the pickleball loses the point.
We have not played "PickleHole" yet, but it is certainly on our list, as this may fuel our pickleball addiction even when we are tight on space (for instance, at a tailgate or small backyard).
Also, on our list, is to try another innovative pickle-spin-off that we saw several junior pickleball players, and Irina Tereschenko, playing at the Tournament of Champions in Brigham City, Utah, which is tentatively named "Sewer Ball." This spin-off is a mix of Spikeball and pickleball that seemed to be played like Spikeball, but featured a sewer drain cover as the "round net," as well as a pickleball as the ball and pickleball paddles (instead of hands).
We love to see the innovation and creativity, which are founding values of the pickleball itself, as the founding fathers created the sport with what equipment and space they had in order to entertain their children and families.
What are your thoughts?! 🤔
#11. LESSONS FROM THE PICKLEBALL COURT
Life lessons come from all places - even unexpected places, like the pickleball court.
One life lesson on the pickleball court is learning to share. Not only do pickleball players need to learn to share small spaces, but also learn to share a small number of small spaces (i.e., a small number of pickleball courts in relation to the demand for the sport). Click here to learn why this life lesson from the pickleball court is so important to not only your on-court play, but also for your experience with the sport of pickleball itself.
NOT A SECRET ANYMORE...
We wanted you to be the first to know that we secretly dropped three new pickleball collections that help you show off your love for the sport of pickleball. We all know that pickleball is more than a sport. Now, it's time to tell the world... 🌎
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