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LTA Petition Gaining Momentum | Pickleball England reports record membership registrations

How to Beat Bangers in Pickleball | Major League Pickleball and PPA Tour finally complete merger | Upcoming UK Tournaments & Festivals

LTA Petition Gaining Momentum

Source: change.org

Last week we reported that the LTA is making a play to control pickleball in the UK after applying to Sport England to take the sport under its wing.

I interviewed Karen Mitchell co-founder of Pickleball England to get her view. You can watch it here.

The news has caused a passionate response in the pickleball community, with seemingly the majority of people against the news, if comments on social media are anything to go by.

Pickleball player Alex Richards felt so passionate about the subject that he started a petition on change.org called ‘Do not let the LTA take over Pickleball‘ in which he states “There is already a Pickleball England and Pickleball Scotland organisation setup which has successfully built the game over several years in the UK while the LTA had no interest in the sport. Pickleball needs a separate governing body.”

At the time of writing the petition already has 1,865 signatures in its first week which shows there is some real resistance to the LTA taking on pickleball.

The comments from signers are also pretty frosty. We reported last week that the LTA has seemingly done very little for Padel since taking it on 5 years ago and one commenter has hinted the same applies for beach tennis.

Here are a few more of the comments on change.org.

Speaking to Pickleball Addiction, Alex said:

“I feel that the LTA want to take over Pickleball to increase their active player numbers rather than help grow the sport and should focus on growing tennis instead.

I think that it would be to the detriment of both sports, and different sports need different governing bodies, for example it would be ridiculous for Basketball England to be running Netball.“

Alex Richard - ‘Do not let the LTA take over Pickleball’ petition.

It will be interesting to see if this petition influences Sport England’s decision. The pickleball world awaits news following the next meeting between Pickleball England and Sport England when we hope to learn more.

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Major League Pickleball and PPA Tour finally complete merger

Major League Pickleball and the Professional Pickleball Association have finally completed their merger agreement.

The merger comes after months of on-off negotiations, drama and hostility between the competing pickleball leagues. They will now lock arms to decide the future of professional pickleball.

The merger will also bring a $75 million investment injection from an investment group that includes PPA Tour owners Tom Dundon and the Pardoe Family, private equity firm SC Holdings, D.C. Pickleball Team owner Al Tylis, as well as some of the existing MLP team owners.

“Today is an exciting day for everyone involved or interested in the world of pickleball“

PPA CEO Connor Pardoe

The merger will unify the two largest pickleball tours into one holding company, with both companies retaining their own brand and tournament formats.

As part of the agreement, the MLP and PPA players have signed new multiyear contracts. Many of them are set to participate in a larger calendar that combines both PPA Tour and MLP events throughout the year.

“I think that everybody in pickleball is ready for the fresh start that this provides.”

Zane Navratil - Pickleball Pro

The merger was first announced in September 2023 and it’s been a rocky road getting it over the line, with a very public falling out between the two tours. This initiated a spending spree in an attempt to lure the top players to play exclusively for one tour or the other. Subsequently, they were forced to ask players to take a pay cut after panic spending too much on contracts.

“Commercially, this unification positions us to be even better partners, as sponsors, broadcast partners, venue operators, equipment manufacturers, and others will benefit from the combined, expanded 2024 schedule of PPA and MLP events”

Bruce Popko - MLP CEO

The new organisation is expected to be better for the professional sport overall, as it will provide players, fans, and sponsors with the benefits of a more coherent pickleball schedule.

I think it’s fair to say that most people are pleased this merger has concluded and we now look forward to seeing what’s in store for pickleball in the months and years to come.

Coaching Corner

💥 How to Beat Bangers in Pickleball 💥

Following last week’s coaching corner, I once again bring you another article inspired by Kyle Koszuta’s delivery on, How to Beat Bangers in 2024.

I also interviewed Kyle for the Pickleball Addiction podcast and the episode is out this week. To make sure you catch it, subscribe to the Pickleball Addiction YouTube or on your favorite podcast app.

In pickleball, a "banger" refers to a player who consistently hits the ball with power. This article provides strategies and tips to effectively neutralize bangers, improving your chances of winning against such opponents.

Know Your Enemy

The first step in beating bangers is to understand their mindset and tactics. Bangers aim to overpower their opponents by hitting every shot hard, whether it's the first, third, or any subsequent shot. Recognizing this pattern is crucial to anticipate and counter their plays effectively.

Adopt the Right Mindset

Embrace the mindset of "if they bang, they pay." This means being prepared and not surprised by their powerful shots. Expect and anticipate these hard hits, which will help you remain calm and respond effectively.

Master the Physical Game

The Serve and Return

Bangers often have powerful serves designed to keep you away from the kitchen. To counter this, position yourself a few steps behind the baseline to handle deep serves better. When returning, aim to hit the ball deep, giving yourself time to advance towards the kitchen and putting the banger at a disadvantage.

Controlling the Court

When returning serves or engaging in play, aim to keep the ball deep. This strategy limits the banger's opportunities to dominate the game with their power shots. By forcing them to hit from the baseline, you reduce their chances of executing successful bangs. 💥

Tactical Play

Positioning and Movement

Understand the importance of positioning and movement. When a banger sends a powerful shot, your placement and readiness to respond are key. Ensure you're not too close to the net, which gives you more time to react and counter their shots.

Anticipating Shots

Learn to anticipate the banger's moves. Since they prefer hitting hard, they are likely to target players moving toward the net or try to catch them off guard. By predicting their shots, you can position yourself better to block or counterattack.

Advanced Strategies

The Power of Deep Returns

Emphasise deep returns to keep bangers at bay. Deep shots force them to hit from a distance, reducing their power and effectiveness. This also allows you more time to set up for your next move, whether it's approaching the net or preparing for a counter-strike.

Exploiting Weaknesses

Identify and exploit the banger's weaknesses. If they struggle with soft shots or precision plays, use these to disrupt their rhythm. Mixing up your shots can prevent bangers from settling into a comfortable pattern of power play.

Psychological Warfare

Don't shy away from applying psychological pressure. Showing confidence and resilience against their power shots can deter bangers from pursuing their aggressive strategy. Demonstrating that their style isn't intimidating you can be a powerful tool in swinging the momentum in your favour.

In Conclusion

Beating bangers in pickleball requires a combination of mental preparedness, strategic play, and physical readiness. By understanding their tactics, maintaining a strategic position, and employing varied shots, you can neutralize their power and take control of the game.

Remember, the key is to stay calm, anticipate their moves, and use their aggression to your advantage. With practice and patience, you'll become adept at countering bangers and enhancing your overall performance on the court.

For more detailed information and examples, watch this video from Kyle Koszuta.

Pickleball England reports record membership registrations

Source: Premier Pickleball League

Pickleball England reported 738 new membership registrations in February 2024 which was almost double that of January’s 372 registrations, which was in itself a record.

This is following a big initiative to get as many pickleball players in the UK as possible to register with Pickleball England but also demonstrates the huge growth of the sport.

If you’ve not registered already, go ahead and do it now. The more registrations we have the more seriously pickleball will be taken by the governing bodies! It’s FREE!

Upcoming UK Tournaments & Festivals

1 new event 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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