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English Open Registration Opens | DUPR updates their algorithm | Pickleball Slam 2

How to execute a block volley | Upcoming UK Tournaments & Festivals

English Open Registration Opens

Source: Pickleball England

Registration for the 2024 English Open is now open. This was a truly spectacular event last year and we can expect the same again with the venue, Telford International Centre, remaining the same and an expected 1,500 - 2,000 registered players making it the largest tournament outside the USA.

Powered by the APP, it is expected that the event will again attract pro players from the USA and around the world. I head on a podcast There will be 40+ dedicated roll-out pickleball courts making a great experience for all players and a real spectacle.

If you’re on the fence about attending, let me tell you that the English Open is an event like no other that stays a long time in the memory. You should go!

This year’s event will run from the 8th to the 14th of August 2024.

For more information and to register, go here.

Visit the Pickleball Addiciton Store

For a wide range of paddles, nets, and accessories at great prices, visit the Pickleball Addiction store.

Use code NEWS10 for a 10% discount.

DUPR updates their algorithm

Source: DUPR

Any player rating system is going to have its critics and you’re never going to please 100% of the people, 100% of the time.

“I should have a higher rating”

Random Pickleball Player at any event

But, DUPR has had a lot of flak since the rating system was introduced with many people challenging the way that calculations are made. This month DUPR updated its algorithm to include a host of changes that many users will appreciate. Here’s what the update included:

  • Points Count - DUPR now assesses how close a match was and this affects the rating. Previously you could win 11-0 or 15-13 and the effect on the rating, positive or negative would have been the same. Now, every point counts towards your DUPR, keep fighting for every point!

  • Recency - The matches you played most recently will have a bigger effect on your rating than those you played months ago.

  • Match Count - If you play a lot of matches that contribute to your DUPR then your score will fluctuate a lot less after matches than if you have only a few matches. Makes sense and I can’t imagine how this was not already factored in before!

  • Unrated Players - Scores now count if you play against unrated players or players that are new enough to DUPR that they don’t have a rating yet.

This seems to be a very positive update for DUPR which, hopefully, will give more accurate player ratings. These changes also apply to historical results so if you log in to DUPR now you should see a change to your rating.

Check your updated rating or sign up for DUPR here.

Coaching Corner

Source: Pickleball England

How to execute a block volley

Today’s inspiration for Coaches Corner is a video from Simone Jardim.

Executing a successful block volley in pickleball requires a blend of precision, timing, and the right technique, particularly when softening powerful shots from anywhere on the court.

This skill, often rooted in tennis fundamentals, is crucial for pickleball players seeking to enhance their defensive play. The block volley's essence lies in its simplicity and the player's ability to use minimal movement while effectively managing the paddle and the ball's pace.

Fundamentals of the Block Volley

The foundational practice for mastering the block volley involves exercises that encourage players to 'catch and send' the ball, emphasizing the importance of a soft grip and the ability to absorb the ball's energy with the paddle.

These drills not only improve hand-eye coordination but also teach players the art of softening shots, a technique invaluable during high-paced exchanges. An example of this is the Two-Touch Volley Drill.

By practicing both forehand and backhand volleys with this method, players can develop a gentle touch, ensuring they effectively counteract aggressive shots with controlled, precise returns.

The Two-Touch Volley Drill

  • Objective: Improve hand-eye coordination and develop a gentle touch for softening shots.

  • How to Execute:

    • Start in the ready position at the net.

    • Partner feeds the ball gently to your forehand and backhand alternatively.

    • Catch the ball softly with the paddle and then "send" it back over the net with a controlled volley.

    • Focus on absorbing the ball's pace with a soft grip and minimal paddle movement.

Minimizing Movement for Maximum Control

Transitioning from practice to game scenarios, players learn to minimize their swing. The key is to reduce unnecessary movements, focusing instead on maintaining the paddle out in front and making contact with the ball in a forward position.

This strategy allows for quick, responsive play, crucial when facing fast volleys at the net or mid-court. Emphasizing less swing and more push helps in absorbing the pace and redirecting the ball with minimal force, essential for a successful block volley.

Incorporating Body Movement

Incorporating body movement into the block volley technique is another critical aspect. Keeping the chest forward and weight on the balls of the feet rather than the heels enables players to stay agile and ready to respond.

This posture is vital for maintaining balance and readiness, allowing for a quick adaptation to the ball's speed and direction.

Practice Drills for Perfecting the Block Volley

Finally, practicing block volleys from different court positions, including the kitchen and midcourt, helps players understand how to adjust their technique based on the ball's pace and their location.

The goal is to make the swing or motion as compact as possible, minimizing paddle movement and maximizing body involvement. This approach enhances the effectiveness of block volleys and contributes to a player's overall defensive strategy, enabling them to handle high-paced shots with confidence and control.

By focusing on these key elements—softening the grip, minimizing swing, and maximizing body movement—players can master the block volley, turning defensive plays into strategic advantages on the pickleball court.

To see this in action and watch more drills, watch this instructional video from Simone Jardim.

Andre Agassi & Steffi Graf defeat John McEnroe & Maria Sharapova in Pickleball Slam 2

Source: Pickleball Slam

On the 4th of February, John McEnroe and Maria Sharapova teamed up to take on husband and wife team, Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf in Pickleball Slam 2. The four tennis legends with 42 Grand Slam titles between them competed for a $1m purse.

Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf defeated John. McEnroe and Maria Sharapova to win the slam.

The format was unusual in that there was a total of 3 doubles matches with players from each team competing alongside former tennis players but current pickleball players, Jack Sock and James Blake.

The first two matches were fought out for 1 point each, with the ‘final’ worth 2 points. In the first game, Agassi and Sock beat McEnroe and Blake in 3 sets, 11-7, 9-11, 11-8 and in the second match, Graf and Sock beat Sharapova and Blake in a very close 3-set battle 9-11, 11-8, 17-15.

As a result, Agassi and Graf took a 2-0 lead into the Final and were able to beat McEnroe and Sharapova in two sets, 11-7 and 13-11 to win the title with a 4-0 victory.

In the UK, you are unable to watch the entire match but there are 40 minutes of highlights here, which is enjoyable, not least because of a few McEnroe outbursts.

If you’re based in the USA, you can get the full match on ESPN.

Upcoming UK Tournaments & Festivals

2 new events added this week!

Thanks to everyone using the Pickled Events website to promote their events.

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.

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