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2024 MLP Draft Results are in | Parent company for PPA and MLP with branding announced

Pei Chuan Kao gets double gold | Mastering the Art of Speeding Up in Pickleball | Upcoming UK Tournaments & Festivals

2024 MLP Draft Results are in

Source: Major League Pickleball

Drama prevailed in the 2024 MLP Draft as the Premier Level team owners needed to commit meaningful investment into their teams via a Dutch Auction to determine their picks.

How does the Premier Level Draft Work?

In a fantasy-style draft, each team was given 500,000 “Free” draft points to bid for draft slots in the auction. Teams were allowed to spend up to $500,000 of real money for an additional 500,000 draft points, giving a total available fund of 1 million draft points. These additional funds go directly to the league and are not related to player contracts directly.

At each round of the draft, teams bid for the right to that slot (not a specific player!) with the highest bid earning the right to claim that slot. If there is a tie in the amount that teams are willing to play for that slot then those teams go into a live chat and bid with each other separately in a head-to-head battle for that slot.

Once you’ve claimed the slot you can then announce the player that you wish to draft.

Ben Johns is the first pick for 840,000 draft points!

There were many different strategies employed by the teams but it seems that the Seattle Pioneers wanted Ben John’s back in their team at whatever cost. They bid an incredible 840,000 draft points for the number one pick, leaving only 160,000 points for the remaining 3 players on their team.

The New Jersey 5’s were also keen to secure the services of a player previously in their team, bidding 680,000 draft points for Anna Leigh Waters.

Here’s how the rest of the first round went:

Given that this year’s draft was carried out via a dynamic bidding process, the LA Mad Drops managed to successfully bid for both picks 9 and 10 picking Catherine Parenteau and Thomas Wilson in the process, whilst the Utah Black Diamonds didn’t manage a first-round pick at all, having to settle for pick 19 in the second round where they picked up Tyson McGuffin.

There was another reason for this. Utah did not want to spend any ‘real money’ in the draft and was the only team to complete its team under 500,000 draft points not spending a single penny of ‘real money’. In the Premier League draft, 5 teams spent their entire 1,000,000 draft points and another 4 teams came very close.

Man of the moment Andrei Daescu managed to get picked in 5th place which is a fantastic result for him and one that he certainly deserved on recent results.

Arguably, the talented ex-tennis pro Jack Sock picked in 6th place is more of a marketing play by the NY Hustlers allowing them to tap into his huge social media following rather than based on his current skill level.

Whilst Sock has proved himself as a top singles player, he’s yet to dominate in the doubles format which is certainly a more important skill for the MLP format.

You can watch the full draft as it unfolded on YouTube here.

What happened in the Challenger Draft?

The Challenger Draft was administered using the more traditional format of a snake draft. The draft order was randomly selected with the teams picking in order in rounds 1 and 3 and a reversed order in rounds 2 and 4.

The following exceptions applied.

  • Ahead of the draft, Miami traded picks 9 and 12 for picks 3 and 18 with the Bay Area Breakers.

  • During round 3, Atlanta traded picks 26 and 35 for picks 24 and 37 with the Brooklyn Aces

The ATX Pickleballers and Milwaukee Mashers decided not to operate this season and were bought out by the newly formed United Pickleball Association. See below.

Here are the picks in the first round:

Pick Number




Frisco Pandas

Ewa Radzikowska


Chicago Slice

Jack Munro


Bay Area Breakers

Vivian Glozman


Atlanta Bouncers

Jaume Martinez Vich


Florida Smash

Travis Rettenmaier


Brooklyn Aces

Lina Padegimaite


SoCal Hard Eights

Irina Tereschenko


Las Vegas Night Owls

Chao Yi Wang


Miami Pickleball Club

Milan Rane


California Black Bears

Rafa Hewett

To see the full results of the Premier draft, click here.

See the full Challenger League draft here.

MLP’s 2024 season schedule will begin with MLP Atlanta, May 9-12.

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Parent company for PPA and MLP with branding announced

Source: United Pickleball Association

The name of the new parent organisation of the PPA Tour and Major League Pickleball has been announced as the United Pickleball Association (UPA).

The new organisation is also launching a United Pickleball State Championship Series.

Connor Pardoe will continue to head up the PPA, while Bruce Popko will continue as CEO of MLP. The leagues will continue with distinct brands and operations under the UPA umbrella.

The UPA has its a website and Instagram account and is also launching a United Pickleball State Championship Series.

Source: United Pickleball Association

Coaching Corner

Source: Pickleball England

Mastering the Art of Speeding Up in Pickleball

This article is inspired by a video tutorial on the Kyle Koszuta YouTube Channel. Check it out here.

Understanding the Basics

Speeding up the ball in pickleball is an essential strategy that players can use to transition from defense to offense, aiming to win points effectively. This tactic is not just about hitting the ball harder; it involves timing, positioning, and choosing the right moment to increase the pace.

Strategic Positioning

The foundation of a successful speed-up strategy is your positioning. Being on your back foot can be detrimental, as it limits your ability to generate power and control. Instead, focus on maintaining balance, shifting your weight forward, and preparing for the next shot. This proactive stance enables you to respond swiftly and effectively to your opponent's return.

Paddle Technique

Your paddle technique is crucial when speeding up the ball. A compact, controlled swing with the paddle tip down helps maintain balance and disguises your intentions. Optionally employ a short windshield wiper motion to add spin and lift to the ball, making it more challenging for opponents to counter.

Targeting and Deception

Choosing where to hit the ball is as important as the execution. Aiming for specific areas like the opponent's right hip or shoulder can exploit weaknesses and force defensive plays. Avoid predictability by varying your shots and targets, keeping opponents on their toes.

Psychological Aspect

Taking balls out of the air and applying pressure can mentally challenge opponents, causing them to falter. A strong stance and quick, deceptive movements can create opportunities and force errors, giving you the upper hand.

Continuous Engagement

A common mistake is to relax after speeding up the ball, expecting a point win. Always be prepared for the ball to return, maintaining focus and readiness to continue the rally or finish the point with a decisive shot.

See the two-handed backhand in practice here.

Pei Chuan Kao gets double gold and a silver at PPA Australia in Auckland, New Zealand

UK-based Pei Chuan Kao took a trip down-under to Auckland, New Zealand to participate in the PPA Australia tour stop.

This turned out to be a very fruitful trip for Pei who took down the gold in both the women’s doubles (partnering with Hsieh Yu-Chieh) and the women’s singles and a silver in the mixed doubles (partnering with Vishal Masand).

The final turned out to be a battle for the triple crowns with men’s player Mitch Hargreaves also winning gold in the men’s singles, and men’s doubles before taking down the mixed gold with Emila Schmidt. The mixed doubles final finished 11-9 so it could have gone either way!

Watch Pei and Hsieh win women’s doubles gold on YouTube here.

Watch Pei and Vishal in the mixed doubles final here.

Upcoming UK Tournaments & Festivals

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