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Rising concerns over eye injuries in Pickleball | Major League Pickleball announces revised schedule

What is stacking and what are the strategic advantages? | Catalog of upsets at PPA Austin | Upcoming UK Tournaments & Festivals

Report warns of rising concerns over eye injuries in Pickleball

Ophthalmologists are issuing a warning over potential eye injuries in pickleball. Following a recent article in eyenet magazine, there is evidence of an increased number of eye injuries as participation in the sport increases.

Source: Retin Cases Brief Rep

The pickleball ball, while lighter than a tennis ball, can reach speeds over 25 miles per hour, posing a significant risk to the eyes. Injuries can result from direct ball impacts or incidents involving the ball ricocheting off a paddle.

Players, especially in doubles, find themselves in close proximity. The small court size inherently reduces reaction times and increases the likelihood of eye injuries.

Michelle Pfeiffer is one high-profile celebrity who has recently shared a pickleball eye injury on social media.

Source: Michelle Pfeiffer Instagram

Medical Insights and Preventative Measures

Although eye injuries in pickleball are relatively rare, the medical community has documented various cases, from corneal abrasions to retinal tears. These injuries often occur in the absence of protective eyewear, highlighting the need for preventive measures.

The intersection of pickleball's burgeoning popularity, the sport's inherent risk factors due to its compact playing environment, and the increasing reports of eye injuries have called for a concerted effort toward eye safety.

Embracing protective eyewear and raising awareness around the risks are essential steps in fostering a safer game for all players.

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2024 Major League Pickleball Updated Post-merger Event Schedule Announced

Major League Pickleball (MLP), presented by Margaritaville, has unveiled its comprehensive event lineup for 2024. The season is set to feature 11 distinct events, with a single event scheduled each month from May through to August, and a minimum of two events planned each month from September to November.

Competition Structure

The competition will showcase six teams from both the Premier Level and the Challenger Level, each consisting of 12 teams. This ensures that every team in the MLP will participate in at least four events throughout the year.

Challenger and Premier Level Teams

The Challenger Level will feature the teams Austin Pickleballers, BLQK Bears, Florida Smash, Frisco Pandas, Las Vegas Night Owls, Los Angeles Mad Drops, Milwaukee Mashers, New Jersey 5s, New York Hustlers, Seattle Pioneers, SoCal Hard Eights, and the St. Louis Shock.

At the Premier Level, the teams are the Atlanta Bouncers, AZ Drive, Bay Area Breakers, Brooklyn Aces, Chicago Slice, Columbus Sliders, D.C. Pickleball Team, Dallas Pickleball Club, Miami Pickleball Club, Orlando Squeeze, Texas Ranchers, and Utah Black Diamonds.

Nationwide Event Locations

The MLP events are set to take place in various prominent locations across the United States, including cities such as Atlanta, Washington D.C., Grand Rapids, Kansas City, Salt Lake City, New York, Virginia Beach, Las Vegas, and Miami.

Postseason Events

The 2024 MLP season will culminate in two postseason rounds. The initial round will be hosted in Dallas, Texas, followed by the final round in Orlando, Florida.

The MLP Draft

The MLP draft will take place on the 2nd of April for the Premier Level and 3rd of April for the Challenger Level. Strangely, there will be a different drafting process for each division. The Premier Level draft will use a ‘dynamic bidding process’ whilst the Challenger Level will use a snake draft.

Coaching Corner

What is stacking and what are the strategic advantages?

Another article inspired by Kyle Koszuta’s excellent videos. Check out his video about stacking here.

What is Stacking?

Stacking is a tactical approach in doubles pickleball where players align themselves on one side of the court to maintain their preferred positions. This strategy allows players to leverage their strengths or mitigate weaknesses by ensuring they are positioned on their stronger side throughout the game.

The Basics of Stacking

In stacking, players adjust their positions based on the game's score. For even scores, players maintain their starting positions, while for odd scores, they switch to the opposite side. The technique ensures that players can play from their preferred sides, enhancing their ability to control the game and exploit their strengths.

Implementing Stacking

When a team wins a point, they may choose not to switch sides traditionally. Instead, they align on one side, with one player serving from an unconventional position to continue playing from their preferred side. This adjustment is made within the game's rules and offers strategic advantages, particularly in maintaining preferred positions and exploiting opponent weaknesses.

Strategic Advantages

Leveraging Strengths: Players can position themselves to maximize their forehand reach or backhand strength, influencing the game's flow and challenging opponents more effectively.

Mitigating Weaknesses: If a player has a weaker backhand or is less mobile, stacking allows their partner to cover more vulnerable areas, reducing the chances of opponents capitalizing on these weaknesses.

Adapting to Opponents: Stacking can be a response to opponents' strategies, allowing a team to adapt quickly and disrupt the rhythm of the game.

Key Considerations

While stacking offers tactical benefits, it requires practice and communication between partners.

Misalignment or confusion can lead to positioning errors, potentially giving opponents an advantage. Teams should practice stacking in various scenarios to ensure fluidity and understanding, enhancing their ability to implement this strategy effectively in competitive play.

In conclusion, stacking is a nuanced strategy that, when executed correctly, can significantly influence the dynamics of a pickleball doubles game, allowing players to optimize their strengths and strategically counter their opponents.

Catalog of upsets at PPA Austin

PPA Austin was fraught with delays following a stormy weekend of pickleball which meant the tournament had to be extended to Monday. However, that wasn’t the only storm cast over Austin at the weekend with a catalog of upsets.

Women’s Doubles

Arguably the biggest upset of the weekend, Anna Leight Waters and Catherine Parenteau lost for the first time.

Having won over 60 games in a row since teaming up 9 months ago, the duo were finally beaten by Rachel Rohrabacher and Anna Bright in an epic 4-set match, 11-4, 3-11, 11-6, 11-8.

In the last set, it took Rohrabacher and Bright NINE match points to finally get the win over the line.

Men’s Doubles

In another shock result for the weekend, Zane and Christian beat the Johns brothers 11-6, 15-13 in the quarterfinals.

Navratil and Alshon made their way to the finals only to be beaten to the gold medal by Andre Daescu and Matt Wright. Having played more prominently in the APP, Daescu had an impressive showing in the MLP and has been playing more PPA tournaments recently and getting impressive results.

Daescu and Wright had a tough road to the final facing Gabe Tardio and Dekel Bar in the quarter-finals which went to 3 games and then facing JW Johnson and Dylan Frazier in the semifinals which also went to 3 games.

In the final, Daescu and Wright were pickled in the first set before showing mental resilience taking games 2 and 3, 11-4, 11-5.

Mixed Doubles

In another upset, Daescu and Anna Bright both managed two golds this weekend when they teamed up in the mixed doubles beating Thomas Wilson and Vivienne David in the semi-finals in a close matchup 11-9, 11-9 before going on to beat Anna Leigh Waters and Ben Johns in straight sets 11-3, 11-9, 11-3.

Daescu and Bright were in formidable form all weekend and thoroughly deserved the two gold medals they took home.

Men’s Singles

Despite Ben Johns slow start to the year, this is arguably the only result that wasn’t an upset this weekend. Ben Johns dispatched everyone in his wake through the tournament, beating Federico Staksrud easily 11-5. 11-7 in the final.

During the tournament, Johns played Jack Sock for the first time which ended up being a highly entertaining match with lots of laughs and for want of a better phrase, messing around.

In the first game Sock went 8-3 up before Johns got into his groove, eventually winning the game 11-8. Sock won the second game 11-5 and then Johns returned the favour in the final set also winning that 11-5.

One of the funnier moments of the match was when Sock challenged Johns to play a left-handed point to which Johns agreed. Click below to see who won the point.

Woman’s Singles

With Anna Leigh Waters pulling out of singles before the tournament started , not wanting to aggravate an existing injury, this left an opportunity for the remaining players in the field to take a gold without Anna Leigh on the court.

Judit Castillo secured her first PPA gold beating Kaitlyn Christian in the final 8-11, 11-6, 11-7. Judit also claimed an APP title earlier this year in January at Punta Gorda showing she is becoming a force to be reckoned with.

Catherine Parenteau who you would have expected to be a favourite in the absence of Anna Leigh lost in the Quarterfinals in a bizarre match against Jorja Johnson that included 2 pickles, 11-0, 0-11, 5-11.

Judit beat Jorja Johnson in the semifinal 11-7, 1-11, 11-7 avenging her loss in a semifinal to the same opponent at APP Sacramento 2 weeks ago.

Upcoming UK Tournaments & Festivals

5 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!

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