English Nationals Registration and the US Tour Feud

Welcome to the first edition of the Pickleball Addiciton newsletter. Each week in this newsletter I plan to cover:

  • The latest pickleball news in the UK and around the world

  • Tips for improving your pickleball game

  • Previews and reviews of Pickleball Tours, Events and Festivals

  • Product reviews and insights

  • Pickleball highlights from around the web

  • A list of upcoming Festivals and Events

  • And more…

So, let’s get into it!

Registration opens for the English Nationals

Hot on the heels of the EPIC English Open event held in Telford this year where there were 1100 registered players, registration has opened for the English Nationals, this year to be held in Bolton.

Whilst this event won’t be as big and as glamorous as the Open, reverting back in large to taped-out courts (except for the championship court which will be using the same rolled-out courts as at the open - hopefully!), it will still be the second biggest tournament of the year accommodating 24 courts and a series of events across all ages and skill levels.

The difference between the open and the nationals? You can only register for the nationals if you are an English resident or English-born player. So no international players this time around.

See the events section below for registration details.

To lob or not to lob

Lobs are a controversial topic in Pickleball. Some believe you shouldn’t ever lob whilst others lob way too often. A lob can be something that causes chaos between you and your partner when you think you are in a dominant position at the net.

So when should you consider lobbing and how do you defend against it?


  • Firstly, is this a defensive lob or an offensive lob? An offensive lob is an attacking lob when you are in full control of your body and balanced. These types of lobs are way more successful than defensive lobs, which are generally taken when off balance or at least when the opposition is attacking. In this situation, a defensive lob is often the best way to stay in a rally giving you time to get in position for the next shot.

  • Generally, the safest spot to aim your lob is over the backhand shoulder of your opponent. This means that your opponent is likely to need to hit a backhand overhead on the move, or at best trying to run around the ball to make a forehand. In this way if the lob ends up short you won’t be feeding them a simple overhead.

  • If you are in the mid-court or even at the back of the court when attempting a lob that seems to have cleared the opponent and has got them scrambling to the back of the court, make sure to get to the kitchen as fast as you can. This is your chance to become the aggressors in the point.

  • Avoid hitting an offensive lob when you are off balance or in a poor position. You want the ball in front of you and close to your body when you make contact while keeping your body low so you can get under the ball.

Defending a lob:

  • Take the ball out of the air if at all possible, don’t let it bounce. If you can take the ball out of the air you are in an offensive position but if you let it bounce then you are likely now defending the point.

  • Generally, but not always, if you have let the ball bounce then dropping the ball over the net is likely to be the best option. If you or your partner is out of position you may wish to return the ball with a lob of your own which will give you time to reset positions.

  • Beware the no-volley zone. If you are standing at the kitchen it’s very easy to accidentally take a step into the kitchen when preparing for a volley. This can often be avoided by taking a small step back first so that you have some clearance from the no-volley zone before preparing for your overhead.

  • Pay attention to your opponent’s tendencies. When do they like to lob, what is their body shape or feet positioning when they execute the lob? If you can work out your opponent’s tells then you can be ready to take the lob out the air and finish the point quickly.

Catherine Parenteau’s free singles course

Singles isn’t for everyone, but if you do have an interest in improving your singles game then you might want to take some tips from Catherine Parenteau, the world's number 2 women’s singles player. Her course is a series of short tips covering:

  • 2 Handed Backhand

  • Groundstrokes

  • Singles Drills

  • Warm Ups

  • Serving

  • Returns

  • Skinny Singles

Paddle Spotlight

The 16mm Collin Johns Scorpeus is one of a new range of paddles from Joola. These are premium carbon paddles that come in a wide-bodied shape allowing for a bigger sweet spot when compared to its sister paddle the Ben John’s Perseus. In fact, the sweet spot seems to be huge on this paddle, one of the best you can buy.

This paddle excels at the soft game when hitting dinks, blocks and resets and a huge selling point is the swing weight of the paddle which allows for fast hand speed at the net.

So, if you’re in the market for a paddle with a large sweet spot that will help your game at the net, then you might want to give the Scorpeus a try.

Upcoming Tournaments & Festivals

If you’d like to promote your event for free in the pickleball addiction newsletter. Just drop me an email at [email protected].

2nd - 3rd September
Register here

9th - 10th September
Register here

Herts Mixed Doubles Tournament
16th - 17th September

North West Festival
29th Sept - 1st October
Register here

Pickleboobs & Balls Charity Festival
30th September
Register here

Sussex Pickleball Festival
1st October
Register here

English Nationals
26th - 29th October
Register here

Sherbourne 3.0-3.5 Fun Festival
18th November
Register here

Hampshire Pickleball Festival
26th November

Guildford Gender Doubles Day
January 7th 2024
Register here

Hertfordshire Tournival
20th January 2024
Register here

Dinkin’ in the Midlands
3rd - 4th February 2024
Register here

Cambridge Team Tournament - Stour Cup
24th - 25th February 2024
Registration Opens 10th December.
Email: [email protected]

Leigh Pickleball Festival
25th February 2024
Registration opens soon!

Hertfordshire Festival
9th March 2024
Save the date!

Around the World

USA News

Pro pickleball in the USA is in chaos! If you’ve not been following US pickleball then you’ve been missing out on one hell of a soap opera. Here’s a quick summary for those who need to catch up and I’ll try to keep you abreast of developments as they happen in the coming weeks.

So, in summary:

  • The USA has 3 pro tours - The PPA (Professional Pickleball Association) the APP (Association of Pickleball Players) and MLP (Major League Pickleball).

  • The PPA and APP follow a tour format similar to tennis, where you meet for regular events and play singles, gender doubles and mixed doubles.

  • The MLP follows a league format where a team of 4 competes over the course of a season. They are even working on having 2 divisions with promotion and relegation which is very unusual for an American sport! (But much better and a great move in my opinion)

  • A couple of years ago the PPA signed many of the top-rated pros on exclusive contracts meaning that the APP effectively became a second-rate product in many people’s eyes. The PPA led the way for the cream of the crop in Pickleball.

  • The MLP announced many high-profile investors including US sports stars such as LeBron James, Tom Brady, Kevin Durant and Drew Brees as well as entrepreneur and sports fan Gary Vaynerchuk.

  • Just under a year ago, the MLP negotiated a deal with the PPA that would allow for PPA-signed players to play in the MLP as well as the PPA. This was following the PPA announcing plans to launch their own team-based league, called VIBE Pickleball League. This agreement included plans for the organisations to merge.

  • Interest in the MLP has grown significantly in the last 12 months with these team-based events creating great atmospheres and winning over lots of fans (and players).

  • From the outside, the merger all seemed to be going ahead but this all fell apart a couple of weeks ago. It seems that talks broke down largely around how many MLP and PPA events should be scheduled in a calendar year.

  • With many of the PPA contracts coming to an end at the end of the year, the MLP swooped in and played the PPA at their own game and started signing as many pros as possible to exclusive contracts.

  • This resulted in the PPA jumping into action and also trying to sign players at the same time and thus the war to sign players was at fever pitch (and this all happened during a PPA event!).

  • Players were given deadlines of mere hours to sign contracts. Reports suggested that even the smallest of these contracts were over six figures annually meaning that for the first time, many of the top pros could live comfortably on these earnings alone. It’s also possible for pros to bolster these salaries with prize money if they do well in the events. And not to forget sponsorship deals too!

So where are we now?

  • In a huge coup, MLP managed to sign around 85% of the top 100 pros.

  • The PPA did manage to sign the No.1 men’s (Ben Johns) and No.1 woman’s (Anna Leigh Waters) players but this already dominant pair now has even less competition than ever.

  • The PPA announced a week later that the VIBE Pickleball League is back to compete with the MLP.

  • So where is the APP in all this? The APP in general has been the only tour to focus their attention on growing the sport outside the USA, including their partnership with Pickleball England at the English Open! However, it seems that the APP and the MLP may also be in early discussions to partner in some way, freezing out the PPA further!

  • Well, if you got this far, you can see it’s been quite the drama. It was hard for me to be more concise given all that’s been going on!

  • Players win here with huge contracts for the first time. Fans arguably lose because they no longer see all the best players go head to head.

  • Can Pickleball in the USA sustain 3 professional tours? Time will tell.

To get some more details on what’s been going on, here are some good links:

What in the world is going on? - PPA & MLP Feud Explained - via Tyler Loong’s Podcast

Tour Wars - via The Dink


A couple of bits of interesting news came out of Australia in the last week. Australia is the one country that is ahead of the UK outside of the US, at least in terms of the infrastructure they have built.

This week the Australian Pickleball Open was announced in partnership with the APP which now represents their 5th international event partnership following England, Sweden, India and Spain. This event will be held on September 29th - 2nd of October with over 600 players expected to compete.

But possibly the bigger news, MLP announced its first international expansion through a partnership with the Pacific Pickleball League (PPL). This partnership will mean that the PPL will rebrand to Major League Pickleball Australia!

They signed 33 top-level local pickleball players as part of the initiative.

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