This is our first newsletter for 2022 - Happy New Year! 🥳
We are excited for what is in store for our favorite sport this year. And, to kick it off, let's "Start Your 2022 with a Dink" - and a giveaway! 🎉 We have teamed up with Amazin' Aces - maker of quality pickleball paddles at a great price - to give away a total 8 paddles, 12 pickleballs, 2 nets, and 3 pickleball video collections. These prizes will certainly jumpstart anyone's journey from beginner to pro out on the pickleball courts... Click here to enter!
#1. WHEN TO DRIVE AND WHEN TO DROP THE THIRD SHOT
Whether to hit a third shot drive or a third shot drop may come down to your individual style of pickleball play, your strengths as a pickleball player, and the effectiveness of the shot against your particular opponents. However, there are a few scenarios where one is more effective than the other.
Click here to learn the best times to hit a third shot drive, and the best times to hit a third shot drop, on the pickleball court. 🤔
#2. BEST PLACES TO HIT YOUR THIRD SHOT
The third shot is considered the most important shot on the pickleball court, as it is imperative to help you and your partner to move from the baseline to the Kitchen line as the serving team. One of the best ways to maximize your third shot - and your chances to win points - is to focus on placement.
With that said, where are the best places to hit your third shot on the pickleball court? Click here to learn the best places now. 🎯
#3. PICKLER THE PODCAST - 10 YEARS AGO TO NOW & PRO PICKLEBALL DRAMA?
In the first episode of Pickler The Podcast in 2022, Pickler founder, Stacie Townsend, and John "The People's Champ" Davison discuss the shake-up in the pro pickleball landscape 🤯. Plus, Stacie and John take a look back at what pickleball looked like 10 years ago and give their thoughts on trends to watch out for in 2022. This one is a must watch!
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.
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#4. MURMURS FROM THE LOSERS' BRACKET - OZEMPIC PICKLEBALL AD
Yes, this is a new featured segment of the newsletter! Murmurs from the Losers' Bracket will include humorous tongue-and-cheek opinion pieces from Pickler's Frank Cerabino. Don't take us too seriously... we are trying to have fun, just like we do on the pickleball court. 🤭
And, to kick us off, Frank is going to discuss that TV ad that you have probably seen for the Type 2 diabetes drug that features pickleball. Or something that is supposed to pass for pickleball.
Click here to read the first edition of Murmurs from the Losers' Bracket to have a laugh as Frank breaks down everything that is wrong with the Ozempic pickleball ad and how to fix it.
#5. QUICK TIP - DRY THOSE WET COURTS FASTER 💦
One of the worst things as a pickleball player is a wet pickleball court. Wet pickleball courts can be dangerous, and in order to play, it is important to learn how to dry the courts as quickly as possible—so you can get out on the court and play as quickly as possible.
One tip to dry pickleball courts quickly is to have a quality squeegee. Once you have a quality squeegee, start in the center of one side of the pickleball court. Then, like the video below, squeegee in a circular motion ↺ until you have completed the entire half of the pickleball court (as opposed to going in a straight line from side-to-side of the pickleball court). Then, move to the other side of the court and repeat as necessary. Also, consider using towels to wipe up any residual moisture after you squeegee (especially on the lines of the pickleball court, which can be slick if wet).
Bottom line: The circular squeegee motion is the most efficient way to dry a pickleball court.
#6. LENDING A HAND IN KEEPING SCORE
If you have an Apple Watch ⌚️, there’s no shortage of apps you can load on it that you never thought you needed. So, it makes sense that eventually we’d have watch apps to address a need that is central in our daily lives: Keeping score in pickleball.
After downloading the app and using it on the pickleball courts, Pickler contributor, Frank Cerabino, gives us his review on whether the app helps answer the common on-court question, "What's the score?!" Click here to read now (you will certainly have a laugh!). 🤭
#7. OFF-COURT ESSENTIALS
Some of the best things that you can do for your pickleball game actually happen off of the court. These include:
- Fitness - whether it be running 🏃♀️, walking, biking 🚴♀️, swimming 🏊♂️, lifting weights, Pilates, HIT workouts, etc. - which can help you track down more shots and keep you going longer;
- Stretching, as looser muscles will result in more flexibility and better reach on the court 🙆♂️;
- Nutrition, as junk food can slow you down and make you feel lethargic on the courts;
- Hydration 💧, which can help you recover faster and avoid cramping when playing; and
- Preventative health to help you stay healthy and out on the pickleball courts. Go to those doctors' appointments and preventative screenings, which can help you detect and get ahead of any issues early. For instance, Life Line Screening has 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).
We are resolved to improve our off-court habits this year because we want to live healthier lives, but more so want to play better pickleball. We hope you join us.
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Adventure, the ocean, piña coladas 🍹, and pickleball games await...
#8. HEADLINES FROM THE COURT
A LOT has happened in the past two weeks! Catch up quick on the pickleball headlines... 🗞
- If you missed our latest podcast (see above 👆), then you may have missed a lot going on in the world of pro pickleball. To give you a quick rundown, Tom Dundon (billionaire investor with deep pockets and investments in the Carolina Hurricanes, Top Golf, Carvana, etc.) bought a majority stake in Pickleball Central, PickleballTournaments.com, and the Pro Pickleball Association (PPA) (which also means that Fromuth Pickleball is no longer the Official Store of the PPA Tour, as Pickleball Central will now take that title)...
- Then, the PPA (which, as an aside, has been operating at a loss the past two years) required all top pro players to sign 3-year exclusive deals, meaning no PPA-contracted player could play in any other pickleball event. This led to negotiations between the PPA and Major League Pickleball (MLP) over players, which fell apart quickly. Then, the MLP aligned with PPA's rival - the Association of Pickleball Professionals (APP). Not to be outdone, the PPA then responded by announcing that it will have its own team event (which would be designed to compete with the MLP). So, in summary, in the first 10 days of the year, the pro pickleball landscape is turned on its head and there is a major face-off between the PPA, on one hand, and the APP and MLP, on the other. Oh, and the PPA banned any spin serve in the pro division. Phew. That was a lot. There will certainly be more to come on this one (as both the APP and PPA promised major announcements later this month and next month)... 🤯
- Outside of the United States, pickleball continues to grow as the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) just hit 68 member countries (14 new member countries in the past 6 months alone)! As a reminder, 75 member countries is the goal to start Olympic discussions.
- Pickleball is trending in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧, as the interest in the sport grew 76.2% in search history between 2020 and 2021.
- Coming back to the United States, the State of Washington is even considering making pickleball its official state sport!
- Our own Frank Cerabino broke down his pickleball resolutions for 2022. One of our favorites that we received back from Joanne in our Pickler community was: My resolution is to make contact with the ball. I'm a newbie.
- Pickleball hits the headlines... again! This time, Forbes... Golf’s Growth Has Nothing On Pickleball, But The Two Sports Enjoy Synergies Nationwide ⛳️
- Alistair Wright, a teen from Douglaston, New York, organized a pickleball tournament to raise thousands for local food bank after sustaining an injury that kept him off of the tennis court. Well done, Alistair! And, way to turn a negative into a positive! 👏
- Mark your calendars 🗓 for live pro pickleball at the next major pickleball tournaments and events - given all that is going on in this neck of the pickleball woods, these events may be extra interesting 🍿:
#9. RULES REFRESH - WATCH YOUR HEAD!
Imagine you are playing pickleball on a windy day. Your partner hits the pickleball, so that it ricochets off of your head 🤕, and then heads (pun intended) back over the pickleball net and into your opponents’ side of the court. Your opponents continue to play the rally, until eventually you hit a “winning” shot. This is exactly what happened to John, one fellow pickleball player in the Pickler community, in the video below. What is the ruling? Who wins the rally? 🤔
According to the rules of pickleball, you may only contact the pickleball with your paddle or your hand in contact with your paddle below your wrist (as this part of your body—the part below your hand in contact with the paddle that is below your wrist—is deemed to be part of the paddle). If you contact the pickleball with any other part of your body (including your head or your hand in contact with your paddle above your wrist), or anything that you are wearing, then you would have committed a fault.
As a result, in the scenario described above and shown in the video, you would lose the rally. You and your partner would have committed a fault as soon as the pickleball made contact with your head.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, so we can share with the rest of the pickleball community in a future newsletter.
#10. ASK PICKLER - TO SPIN OR NOT TO SPIN
Question: When should I try to use spin on the pickleball court? Should I use spin on the return of serve? 🌪
Answer: Good question. Generally speaking, you should look to use spin when you are in an offensive position on the pickleball court. Spin is one way you can put pressure on your opponents, but it will be difficult to use spin if you are in a defensive position. For instance, avoid using spin to attack a quality spinning shot from your opponents. It is difficult to counteract your opponents’ spin with more spin.
When it comes to the return of serve, you could use spin to put additional pressure on your opponents for the third shot. In particular, slice or backspin would be a good choice because this spin will cause the pickleball to stay low on the pickleball court and typically give you more time to get from the baseline to the Kitchen line as the receiving team. With that said, do not add spin at the expense of either hitting the return out of bounds (in which case, you would give your opponents a point), or giving your opponents a short return (in which case, they could go on the offensive and be aggressive against you and your partner). The most important thing on your return of serve is to hit the return deep into your opponents’ side of the pickleball court.
Do you have a pickleball question? Ask Pickler. Reach out to email@example.com. Plus, your question may be featured in the next newsletter.
#11. WATERS SPOTLIGHT - TAKE 5 WITH ANNA LEIGH WATERS
Leigh and Anna Leigh Waters are certainly ones to watch in 2022 - particularly, Anna Leigh, who has potential to triple crown (winning a gold medal in women's doubles, mixed doubles, and women's singles 🥇🥇🥇) in just about every pickleball tournament that she enters into. Leigh (the mother of the mother-daughter duo) sat down and interviewed Anna Leigh with 9 quick questions to start 2022:
- What was your favorite ice cream flavor 🍦 in 2021? Easy - butter pecan!
- What is something about you that no one knows? As much as I love food, I don’t like to eat breakfast.
- What was your favorite restaurant in 2021? I can’t decide, so I’m going to give you three. One is Larkspur in Palm Springs, CA, one is The Shelby in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and the third is Joe’s Steak and Stone Crab in Las Vegas.
- What is your favorite subject in school 📚 and why? History is my favorite subject because I love learning about the past and it all started with my great grandfather who was in World War II. And, since I was five, I’ve always watched history documentaries.
- What was your best pickleball moment in 2021? My best pickleball moment in 2021 was when my mom and I won the PPA Orlando Cup for women’s pro doubles, beating Simone (Jardim) and Lucy (Kovalova) for the first time.
- What was your least favorite pickleball moment of 2021? My least favorite moment of 2021 was the Championship Sunday at the PPA Championship in Las Vegas, because I just wasn’t on my game for the entire day and it was kind of gloomy outside. ☁️
- What was it like winning back-to-back national championships? I said it in my interview after we won. I honestly don’t think that when I was 12 years old (when Anna Leigh won her first championship) I really understood what it was like to win a national championship. I kind of thought it was just like any other tournament and, after winning the second national championship in a row, I really felt that we were making history.
- What did it feel like to finish the year as the #1 singles player for PickleballTournaments.com? I really first started playing singles by accident in the 2021 US Open, and I got bronze in that tournament. Since then, I started playing more pro singles and focusing a bit more on that division. Seeing all my hard work pay off by the end of 2021 was really an accomplishment that I will never forget.
- What are you most excited about for 2022? I’m most excited about playing mixed doubles with Ben Johns. I think that I can learn a lot from him and I’m hoping that we can win some gold medals along the way. 🤩
Get ready to follow Team Waters in 2022, as they get set to compete in more than 20 events. Until then, continue to follow Leigh's and Anna Leigh's journey here in Pickler's free pickleball newsletter, as well as on Instagram and Facebook
START YOUR 2022 WITH A DINK
Don't forget to enter our giveaway with Amazin' Aces for your chance to "Start Your 2022 with a Dink" with Amazin' Aces quality pickleball paddles and our best-in-class pickleball video lessons. Click here to enter by January 16th! 👍
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