National Pickleball Month starts April 1st (PSA - don't be fooled on April Fools' Day by those pickleball jokesters), and continues throughout the entire month. To celebrate, we have some exciting news up our sleeves. Stay tuned! 😎
But, to keep you entertained until the news is announced, let's dive in to the latest must-read stories, tips, headlines, and more from the pickleball court...
#1. THE MOST COMMON MISTAKE ON THE PICKLEBALL COURT
From beginners to pros, we have noticed a common theme of mistakes on the pickleball courts, which is a backswing that is too big.
Click here to learn why a big backswing is a mistake and how to fix it. 💪
#2. THE PICKLEBALL TROLL
Don't believe everything that you read online (unless it is here at Pickler). For instance, if you spend any time on pickleball’s many Facebook groups, you’ll find posts by Doug Wanoy. Wanoy is a frequent poster who appears to be a gray-haired man living in New Jersey, and an avid recreational pickleball player. But the “Doug Wanoy” you see doesn’t exist. “Doug Wanoy” is a fictitious pickleball troll.
Click here to learn more (including what is a pickleball troll). 👹
#3. HOW TO AVOID LETTING THE WIND BEAT YOU ON THE PICKLEBALL COURT
One thing that all pickleball players can agree on is how much we dislike wind 💨 on outdoor pickleball courts. Wind can cause the pickleball to move in crazy and unexpected ways, which is exactly what happened in the latest string of pro pickleball tournaments in the State of Florida.
After watching some players thrive and other players falter in the wind, we thought it would be helpful to address the wind head-on and dive into some tips to play better pickleball in the wind. Click here to learn how to avoid letting the wind beat you.
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#4. MURMURS FROM THE LOSERS' BRACKET: A PICKLEBALL TRANSLATION GUIDE
Pickleball has double-speak. The words you hear on a pickleball court may not mean what you think. 🗣
In an effort to give you a better understanding of the true meaning of expressions you might hear on the pickleball court, we here at Murmurs from the Losers’ Bracket offer you this pickleball translation guide (*for those new to Murmurs, this is a humorous tongue-and-cheek opinion piece - don't take us too seriously... we are trying to have fun, just like we do on the pickleball court).
Click here to have a laugh with Pickler writer, Frank Cerabino, as he breaks down pickleball's somewhat passive-aggressive double-speak. 🤣
#5. PICKLER THE PODCAST - KOOOOOOOOOOP SHARES HER INSIGHTS
Andrea Koop - a top pickleball pro, tournament organizer, and full-time practicing attorney - joins Pickler The Podcast co-hosts, Stacie Townsend and John "The People's Champ" Davison, to share her experience with the sport and insights into the game. Along the way, Koop also shares some great tips for recreational and professional pickleball players alike. Listen in and get to know Andrea Kooooooooooop! 🎧
Do you have any questions that you would like Stacie and John to address? Or, do you have any ideas for a guest? 💡 Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org!
And, don't forget to subscribe to Pickler's YouTube page, so you never miss another Pickler video - whether it be a podcast, pickleball tip video, or other can't-miss video.
#6. WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH PRO PICKLEBALL
With the rise of the two pro pickleball tours (the PPA and the APP) and Major League Pickleball (MLP), you have the ability to watch live pro pickleball almost every weekend. If you are not already watching pro pickleball matches, you may want to consider streaming or otherwise tuning in from time to time. Click here to learn why. 📺
#7. QUICK TIP - NEVER HIT THE SAME DINK TWICE
Dinks are not only crosscourt, middle, and straight-on on the pickleball court. Dinks have different spins, speeds, depths, angles, heights off of the bounce, and placement on the court. So, never hitting the same dink twice is actually easier than you think. 🤔 For instance, you could hit ten crosscourt dinks, but with different depths (maybe one is short by the net, while others are deep into your opponent’s feet), spins (slice or topspin), speeds (one with pace and one off-speed), etc.
Be creative when you are at the Non-Volley Zone line. Mix up your dinks and remain unpredictable on the pickleball court. The more unpredictable you can be, the more you will catch your opponents off guard and confused. So, never hit the same dink twice!
Playing better pickleball starts with your health. As they say, "your health is your wealth" or, in our case, what allows us to keep playing pickleball. Stay ahead of the game by going to those doctors' appointments and preventative screenings, which can help you detect and get ahead of any issues early. Our friends at Life Line Screening have already screened over 10 million people to help save countless moments on and off the pickleball court. Click here to schedule 🗓 your preventative screening today.
#8. RULES REFRESH - OUCH! KEEP PLAYING...
What happens if the pickleball hits you, like it did to pickleball pro, Vivienne David, in the clip below? 👇
After the serve, you may only contact the pickleball with your paddle or your hand in contact with your paddle below your wrist. If you contact the pickleball with any other part of your body (including your hand in contact with your paddle above your wrist), or anything that you are wearing, then you would have committed a fault.
Using the clip of David above, the pickleball hit her hand below her wrist. As a result, the hit was legal and play continues. If the pickleball had hit her elbow, or any other part of her body or clothing, then it would have been considered a fault, but this did not occur in this circumstance.
Lastly, to note, if you are a pickleball player that either changes hands, or hits a two-handed backhand, then, as long as both hands are in contact with the paddle, the pickleball may hit either hand below the wrist and still be considered in play. For this exception to apply, both hands must be in contact with your paddle. Also, if you drop the pickleball before you hit the serve, and the pickleball hits your shoe or other body part, then this is not a fault. This rule only applies after the serve is hit.
For a deeper breakdown on all of 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.
#9. HEADLINES FROM THE COURT
Extra! Extra! Your pickleball headlines are here... 🗞
- CBS and Paramount+ announced that pickleball will be hitting their airwaves later this year with a new two-hour special called "Pickled" from Stephen Colbert’s Spartina, Funny or Die, and CBS Studios. Pickled will feature a “comedic pickleball tournament” where celebrities will battle it out for the "Golden Gherkin" trophy. Which celebrities do you want to see hit the pickleball courts? If anyone from Spartina, Funny or Die, or CBS Studios needs any help - from extras to showrunners - let us know!
- NFL great, Tom Brady, cuts his retirement short and heads back to Tampa Bay because... simply put... he "is not ready for pickleball."
- Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the country, including amongst the one percent. Town and Country Magazine notes that pickleball is the new preferred sport for the one percent and that having a pickleball court may be the new sporty status symbol of the elite. While we may have court envy over some of the new private pickleball courts that will certainly be popping up, hopefully these celebrities and other one-percenters will share lots of social media content on the pickleball court to influence their followers to try the game, which will help further fuel the growth of the sport.
- Pickleball continues to hit notable media outlets, like CNN, Shape, The Telegraph, and ESPN. Again, the sport has something for everyone, so it is a new and noteworthy topic for media outlets to reach the masses.
- A pickleball player in Denver, Colorado - who is known as "Mayor of Pickleball" there for his endless dedication of teaching others to play - is facing possible charges for using a permanent market to draw pickleball lines on a public recreational center wood floor. Hopefully, it was just an honest mistake - or at least encourages the community to create more dedicated pickleball courts. Nevertheless, the lesson for all of us is to use removable marker (rather than permanent marker) or some other temporary solution when making lines on public areas.
- Major League Pickleball (MLP) - which was the event of the year in 2021 - is starting to make rumblings, as it announced that it is holding its second event this summer, June 3rd through June 5th. MLP will have a larger prize pool (up to $250,000 💰) with more teams (12 teams, from 8 teams in its first event) and more players (48 players, from 32 in its first event). If you are a pro pickleball player and want to throw your name into the draft pool, click here. In the meantime, MLP is promoting a few pro pickleball exhibitions at Dreamland, which include an event where outside challengers take on the resident pros at Dreamland (Tuesday, March 22nd at 7:00 pm CST) and a battle of the sexes face-off (Tuesday, March 29th at 7:00 pm CST). Tune in to MLP's YouTube channel to watch.
Over the past two weekends, there were two pro pickleball tournaments, with one event from each of the two pro tours (PPA and APP). There were some similarities between the two events - both were in Florida, both were riddled with wind 💨, and both saw first-time triple crowns 👑 for the two of the game's young stars. Starting with the PPA Riverland Open in Port St. Lucie, Florida, the main takeaways include:
- Anna Leigh Waters claims her first triple crown 👸 (a gold medal in all three pro events). More on this below 👇 from her mother and women's doubles partner, Leigh Waters! And, likely many more triple crowns to come for Anna Leigh, who has medaled in all 12 of the pro events that she has played this year (including 9 gold medals).
- JW Johnson starts to knock Ben Johns off of his perch at the #1 spot, as JW is the new #1 men's singles player and knocks Ben to the loser's bracket in two out of three events.
- With that said, Ben Johns and Anna Leigh Waters look pretty much unbeatable in pro mixed doubles. They may go undefeated the entire 2022 calendar year with the way they have been playing.
Turning to the APP Delray Beach Open:
- JW Johnson bested his performance at the PPA with a triple crown at the APP. Like Anna Leigh, this was JW's first triple crown 🤴, with likely many to come...
- Simone Jardim - JW's mixed partner - seemed to be back in old form, as she claimed two gold medals 🥇🥇 on the weekend.
- Still relative newcomer, Anna Bright, had a strong performance after falling a little flat in the couple of tournaments since her breakout weekend last month. Anna snagged three medals (including a gold 🥇 in pro women's singles) on the weekend.
- Jorja Johnson took home the silver medal 🥈 in pro women's singles (as well as a bronze medal at the PPA Riverland Open), taking her total medals in the past three months up to 12. Now, Jorja is hitting the Pickler The Podcast mic... 🎙 who has questions for her?
- Mark your calendars 🗓 for live pro pickleball the rest of March, as well as most of National Pickleball Month in April!
#10. WATERS SPOTLIGHT: 1ST TRIPLE CROWN IN RIVERLAND
Pro pickleball player, Leigh Waters, recaps her latest pickleball tournament - the PPA Riverland Open - with her daughter and pro women's doubles partner, Anna Leigh Waters, where Anna Leigh claims her first ever triple crown. Click here to learn about the pickleball tournament from Leigh Waters herself! 👑
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 at the PPA Austin Open on Thursday, March 24th through Sunday, March 27th! You can catch them in action on the PPA Tour's YouTube channel.
#11. ASK PICKLER - WHAT SHOULD YOU DO AFTER YOU RUN DOWN THE LOB
Question: I ran down the lob from my opponents. What shot should I hit next to get back in the point? 🤷
Answer: Good question – particularly because lobs are increasingly being hit on the pickleball courts.
If an overhead shot is out of the question, then your goal with your opponents’ lob is to hit a shot to get you and your opponents back on to neutral footing—in other words, hit a shot that allows you and your partner to get back to the Kitchen line. There are generally three options to accomplish this:
- Drop – The first option is to hit a drop shot, which is generally the preferred shot off of the lob, as it is the highest percentage shot. Typically, I try to hit a drop shot into my opponents’ side of the Kitchen and to my opponents’ backhand sides. This will give me the best opportunity to neutralize my opponents and give me the most time to move in to the Kitchen line. One helpful tip when hitting a drop off of a lob that bounces is to let the pickleball drop low, so that you have the most time to compose yourself and prepare for your drop shot.
- Drive – The second option is to hit a drive, which is more difficult, as you are running backward, while, at the same time, trying to generate momentum forward for your drive. Generally speaking, I would recommend a drop over a drive to return the lob.
- Lob – The last option is to hit another lob very high into the air. A lob very high into the air is uncomfortable for most players and will give you and your partner time to recover and regain position. However, this shot is a bit risky because it could result in an easy overhead for your opponents or sail out of bounds (especially if it is windy and the wind is not moving in your favor).
In summary, go for a drop to your opponents’ backhands most of the time. But, don’t forget you could go for a drive if you see an opening, or throw up a very high lob if you are under extreme pressure and out of position.
Do you have a pickleball question? Ask Pickler. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. Plus, your question may be featured in the next newsletter.
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