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  • 3 DAYS LEFT! - 20% Off Black Friday / Cyber Monday sale| PPA Finals start this week | First Pickleball Court opens at the Rafa Nadal Academy

3 DAYS LEFT! - 20% Off Black Friday / Cyber Monday sale| PPA Finals start this week | First Pickleball Court opens at the Rafa Nadal Academy

Mastering the 3rd Shot Drop | APP continues to innovate with Round Robin Indoor Championships | Upcoming UK Tournaments & Festivals

PPA Finals start this week with invitation-only Elite Players

Source: PPA Tour

This week marks the start of the PPA Finals in San Clemente, California on Thursday 30th November.

This event will be unique for a few reasons:

  • Only the top 8 men and women, based on PPA Points they have accumulated throughout the year, will compete in singles and mixed doubles.

  • Only the top 16 men and 16 women will compete in gender doubles

  • Players pick their own partners from the pool of players (see below)

  • They will compete in round-robin pool play with two pools of four. The top two players/teams advance out of pool play into the semifinals.

Singles players are seeded based on their PPA tour points and will be split into the pools as follows:

Men’s singles

Pool 1
Ben Johns
Connor Garnett
Christian Alshon
Jay Devilliers

Pool 2
Federico Staksrud
Tyson McGuffin
JW Johnson
Pablo Tellez

Women’s singles

Pool 1
Anna Leigh Waters
Mary Brascia
Lauren Stratman
Judit Castillo

Pool 2
Catherine Parenteau
Lea Jansen
Irina Tereschenko
Yana Newell

How were doubles teams selected?

This is where it gets interesting. The top-seeded players based on PPA points were able to select any partner from the remaining pool of players and in the case of gender doubles, the gender didn’t matter. Whoever had more points, picks first. For example, Anna Leight Waters got the first pick and she chose Ben Johns.

This has resulted in some partnerships having been formed that have never played together before which should be fun to see. Interestingly, when Matt Wright had the chance to pick his old partner Riley Newman, he opted for James Ignatowich instead fueling speculation that there may still be some bad blood between the players following Riley Newman dropping Matt Wright for new partnerships earlier this year.

Here’s how the doubles partnerships shaped up:

Women’s Doubles

Pool 1
A. Waters / C. Parenteau
A. Jones / E. Wright
M. Dizon / J. Johnson
J. Irvine / L. Schneemann

Pool 2
A. Bright / V. David
C. Smith / L. Kovalova
L. Jansen / Jade Kawamoto
Y. Newell / I. Tereschenko

Men’s Doubles

Pool 1
B. Johns / C. Johns
M. Wright / J. Ignatowich
T. McGuffin / D. Bar
J. Arnold / AJ Koller

Pool 2
JW Johnson / D. Frazier
R. Newman / T. Wilson
F. Staksrud / P. Tellez
DJ Young / J. Devilliers

Mixed Doubles

Pool 1
A. Waters / B. Johns
A. Bright / J. Ignatowich
C. Parenteau / T. Wilson
T. McGuffin / L. Jansen

Pool 2
R. Newman / V. David
J. Johnson / JW Johnson
J. Irvine / D. Frazier
L. Kovalova / M. Wright

The top partnerships clearly just picked their current partners so we can expect them to be favourites and likely dominate but could one of these new partnerships click and give the Ben John’s and Anna Leigh Waters something to think about?

I’m particularly looking forward to seeing Tyson McGuffin and Lea Jansen compete together. Both are very vocal on the court and should be exciting to watch.

Read more about the PPA Finals and how the picks happened here.

APP continues to innovate with Round Robin Indoor Championships

Source: APP

Tomorrow marks the start of the APP Indoor Championships to be held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois. Given that all tournaments in the UK are indoors, this may not seem like a big deal but it is somewhat of a novelty in the US where most major tournaments are played outside.

The event is open to amateurs and professionals of all skill levels and ages in singles, mixed and gender doubles.

The competition will take place on Pickleball United True Courts, the exact same courts used at the English Open this year, and on the championship court at the English Nationals.

The APP will also be debuting its revamped amateur tournament format, moving to a Round Robin format with pool play and playoffs (same as the PPA Finals above).

“I’ve said since day one of the APP that we have to treat all players equally. That’s why we are so proud to receive such positive feedback about how we treat all our competitors, and it’s why we work so hard to ensure that the tournament experience is the same outdoors as it is indoors.

“We have world-class partners in Pickleball United, C&D Nets, and USA Pickleball, and they work with us to ensure that wherever we go, players in our events are able to focus on the pure spirit of competition in a friendly, welcoming environment. 

For me, that’s the soul of the APP.”

Ken Herman, APP Founder

Coaching Corner

Mastering the 3rd Shot Drop

The 3rd shot drop-in pickleball is a crucial skill that can elevate your game significantly if you can execute it consistently. Ben Johns calls the 3rd shot drop “The one shot that every player must master”.

In this article, we will explore the technique, mindset, and practice drills necessary to master the 3rd shot drop.

  1. Understanding the 3rd Shot Drop: The 3rd shot drop is the third shot of the game, following the serve and return. Its purpose is to drop the ball into the no-volley zone (kitchen), allowing you time to advance to a better position on the court. Unlike a drive, the slower travel of the ball gives you this crucial time.

  2. Technique for the Perfect Drop: Proper execution of the 3rd shot drop requires connecting with the ball in front of you, maintaining a light grip, and ensuring a significant follow-through. This high follow-through is crucial to clear the net. The goal is to make it difficult for your opponent to attack by forcing them to reach forward and hit up on the ball.

  3. Developing the Right Mindset: The 3rd shot drop is challenging, and even top players can miss it. Therefore, it's important to build confidence and be comfortable with making mistakes. Focus on clearing the net first and then work on bringing the ball lower gradually. Remember, aiming high initially is better than hitting the net.

  4. Drill #1 - Diagonal Slinky Drill: Start close to the kitchen and aim for a target within it. Gradually move back with each shot, maintaining your form and technique. This drill helps in getting the feel of the shot from different distances.

  5. Drill #2 - Partner Hand Feeding: In this drill, your partner hand-feeds you the ball while you're behind the baseline. Focus on connecting early, staying low, and waiting for the ball. Avoid dropping down at the last minute to meet the ball; instead, prepare early and maintain a level stance.

  6. Drill #3 - Paddle Feed: Progress to a more game-like scenario with your partner paddle feeding from the baseline. Aim for the target in the kitchen, but don’t worry if you miss it. The key is to aim for a specific area and adjust as needed.

In summary, mastering the 3rd shot drop in pickleball involves understanding the shot, practicing the correct technique, developing a resilient mindset, and engaging in targeted drills. With patience and consistent practice, you can make this challenging shot an integral part of your pickleball strategy.

To watch a video from Pickleball Central covering the 3r shot drop and the above techniques, click here.

3 DAYS LEFT! - 20% Off Black Friday / Cyber Monday sale

Only 3 days left to claim 20% OFF EVERYTHING at the Pickleball Addiction store. This is the biggest discount of the year!

Why not take advantage of the discount and get some Christmas gifts sorted early this year?

To claim your discount, just use coupon code BF20 at checkout.

Upcoming UK Tournaments & Festivals

Thanks to everyone using the Pickled Events website to promote their events. More have been added this week!

To find events popping up near you, visit the Pickled Events website!

If you’d like to promote your event for free in the Pickleball Addiction newsletter and on the Pickled Events website. Go here.

First Pickleball Court opens at the Rafa Nadal Academy

Source: Rafa Nadal Academy

The Rafal Nadal Academy has announced the opening of its first pickleball court ahead of The Mediterranean Open Pickleball Tournament due to take place on the 8th-10th of December.

This Rafal Nadal Academy is home to racquet sports already featuring 19 hard-court tennis courts, 15 outdoor clay courts, 7 covered clay courts, 4 indoor courts, 2 squash courts, and 15 Padel courts. Now the Rafa Nadal Academy can officially add pickleball to that list.

The opening was marked with an exhibition match between professional players Carlos Pérez and UK-based Pei Chuan Kao and Maribel Nadal (the Academy’s Commercial and Marketing Director) and Tomeu Salvá (the Academy’s Head Coach).

After the match, 12 tennis players from the Rafal Nadal Academy had the chance to learn the rules and get some coaching from Carlos Pérez and Pei Chuan Kao.

The Mediterranean Open will be a great showcase for Pickleball helping to promote the game across Europe.

The Mediterranean Open will feature players of over 20 nationalities and its director, Luis de Cristóbal, said “Today we have taken one of the biggest steps in the history of pickleball in Europe. We can only enjoy this moment, which we will remember for many years”.

Pickleball Addiction will be attending the Mediterranean Open, so I look forward to sharing my experience on the ground upon my return.

To read more click here.

I also recently interviewed, Luis de Cristóbal, Director of the Mediterranean Open on the Pickleball Addiction podcast. It was an interesting interview, so if you missed it, don’t worry you can catch up here.

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