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Taylor Swift sends pickleball social media crazy | UK Pros face Anna Leigh Waters and her mother Leigh Waters in women’s doubles

Learnings from hitting 1 million dinks | Joola launches a catalog of new tech in their “Gen3” paddle lineup

Taylor Swift sends pickleball social media crazy

Source: Taylor Swift YouTube

Taylor Swift recently gave fans an intimate look at her daily life through a YouTube short, featuring a variety of personal and leisure activities. The video included cozy moments with her three cats, time spent with her boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs American Football player Travis Kelce, and her attempts at perfecting a cinnamon roll recipe.

Additionally, she shared clips of her playing pickleball, a segment that captured the interest of her followers and pickleball fans around the world.

Sports and Style

In her video, Swift was seen using a Kansas City Chiefs-branded paddle, highlighting her connection to Kelce's NFL team. But it’s not just the fact that she was playing pickleball that sent social media into a frenzy. Her influence on fashion also had people asking where she got her outfit.

She dressed in a fitted white shirt, white sneakers, and a lavender athletic skort by Pop Flex Active. This particular skort, which retails for £51, had already been popular on social media and gained further attention following Swift's appearance.

Pop Flex Active expressed their delight on Instagram:

From a team full of Swifties … this truly is our WILDEST DREAMS come true.

Pop Flex Active Spokesperson

In addition to showcasing her fashion, Swift used the "recap" video to promote her latest album, "The Tortured Poets Department." The video included scenes from her pickleball outing among other highlights.

The album's lead single, "Fortnight," has inspired a social media challenge, inviting fans to share experiences related to the song's theme.

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Joola launches a catalog of new tech in their “Gen3” paddle lineup

Source: Joola USA

Overview of JOOLA Gen 3 Paddles

JOOLA, a well-established brand in pickleball, has launched its Gen 3 paddle series, showcasing significant advancements in pickleball technology. This new series, available in various shapes and thicknesses, offers players a broad range of options tailored to enhance performance across different playing styles.

Innovations in Paddle Technology

The standout feature of the Gen 3 paddles is the Propulsion Core technology.

This innovative design incorporates an additional layer of foam around the paddle's edges, extending approximately one inch towards the center before meeting the traditional polymer core.

This structure not only adds flexibility to the paddle's perimeter but also creates a trampoline-like effect in the core, substantially increasing power output. The paddles maintain their durability and lightweight properties by using thermoformed technology with a raw carbon fiber facing.

Performance Characteristics of the Gen 3 Series

Power and Pop

Each paddle in the Gen 3 series is designed to fall into the 'power' category, with varying degrees of power and pop among the models.

The paddles have significant power, often placing them in the 90th percentile for performance metrics. This series matches the power seen in Gearbox's Pro Power Elongated paddles but offers additional forgiveness and stability.

The paddles provide a substantial increase in power during play, which can create more scoring opportunities, enhance serve and return pressure, and end rallies more decisively.

Control and Feel

The Gen 3 paddles present a unique feel, described as lively and somewhat harder compared to other paddles on the market. This distinctive feel may take some time for players to get accustomed to, particularly when adjusting to the enhanced power and pop.

While the paddles initially require a period of adaptation, their performance stabilizes as they break in, making them increasingly manageable and effective in play.

Sweet Spot and Forgiveness

The sweet spot on the Gen 3 paddles varies across the different models, generally offering more forgiveness than comparable paddles. The vertical dimension of the sweet spot shows some variation, with a noticeable drop in power toward the throat, which may affect shots under high-pressure scenarios.

However, the overall performance remains robust, particularly in models with larger sweet spots.

Differences Between 16mm and 14mm Models

The 16mm and 14mm versions of the paddles differ in terms of ball trajectory and feel. The 16mm models tend to produce a higher ball arc, which may be advantageous for certain playing styles, while the 14mm models offer a lower trajectory that can aid in keeping shots lower and more controlled.

The feel also varies, with the 16mm paddles providing a more forgiving experience compared to the harder feel of the 14mm paddles.

NFC-enabled chips

Additionally, JOOLA has introduced an innovative feature for registering and authenticating paddles through an NFC-enabled chip embedded in the handle.

Users can verify their paddle's authenticity by scanning the handle with the JOOLA Connect app. This technology simplifies the management of warranty claims and aids in the prevention of counterfeit products.

Source: Joola USA

In summary

The JOOLA Gen 3 paddles represent a significant evolution in pickleball equipment, with innovative technology that pushes the boundaries of what players can expect from their gear.

While they offer increased power and opportunities for aggressive play, they also demand a higher skill level to manage the enhanced performance features effectively.

For players looking to elevate their game with cutting-edge technology and customizable options, the Gen 3 series offers compelling advantages.

Coaching Corner

Source: Pickleball England

Learnings from hitting 1 million dinks

This article is inspired by a video tutorial on the Zane Navratil YouTube channel. Check it out here.

Pickleball has evolved significantly over the years, yet the strategic use of the dink remains a cornerstone of high-level play. This article distills key strategies from extensive experience to help players transform their dink from a mere return into a potent tactical weapon in their game arsenal.

Perfecting the Ready Position

The foundation of an effective dink begins with the ready position. Ensuring your paddle is positioned consistently can significantly enhance the accuracy and reliability of your shots.

A high ready position, slightly above waist level, facilitates quicker and more controlled responses, making your dinks more effective. Remember, starting each play from the same position leads to more predictable and stable shot execution.

Maintaining a Strong Wrist Position

A stable wrist ensures that your paddle remains secure and doesn't rotate upon impact with the ball, especially when the ball hits off-center. This stability is crucial for maintaining control over the shot and avoiding unintended spins or misdirection of the ball.

Practicing wrist strength can be as simple as pulling the paddle towards your face without moving your arm, which helps reinforce a firm wrist position through various strokes.

Visibility of Your Paddle

Keeping your paddle within your field of vision is essential. This practice prevents you from taking excessively large swings, which are common errors at the amateur level. A controlled swing with your paddle visible ensures that your dink remains soft yet precise, allowing you to place the ball strategically within the kitchen area of the court.

Strategic Dinking: Offensive vs. Defensive

Understanding when to apply offensive dinks and when to remain defensive is pivotal. An effective dinking strategy involves adjusting the arc and placement of your shots based on the pressure exerted by your opponent.

If the incoming ball poses a challenge, a more conservative, higher-arc dink might be necessary. Conversely, a favorable setup allows for more aggressive, low-net shots that can push the opponent and potentially force errors.

Simplifying Your Swing

In pickleball, especially with dinking, less is often more. Aim to minimise your movements to just what is necessary to get the ball over the net.

This approach not only builds consistency but also prepares you to incrementally incorporate more complex techniques, such as adding spin, once the fundamentals are solidly in place.

By focusing on these critical aspects, players can elevate their dink technique, turning it into a strategic asset that enhances their overall game performance in pickleball.

UK Pros face Anna Leigh Waters and her mother Leigh Waters in women’s doubles

Source: Pickleball England Facebook

Following on from our coverage of UK players in the US Open in last weeks newsletter, UK players continued to see success whilst having a whole lot of fun in the process.

Women’s Doubles

The highlight of the last 2 days of the tournament was arguably Thaddea Lock and Pei Chuan Kau having the opportunity to take on woman’s world number 1 Anna Leigh Waters and her mum, Leigh Waters in the women’s doubles quarter-finals.

Pickleball England streamed the match on Facebook here.

Unfortunately, Thaddea and Pei were unable to get a dream result but played some great points against the formidable partnership ultimately losing 11-6, 11-1. Anna and Leigh Waters went on to win the gold medal.

Thaddea and Pei had a great run in the tournament winning the round of 32 and the round of 16, 11-6, 11-2 and 11-7, 11-3 respectively against the number 8 and 9 seeds.

In the back draw, Thaddea and Pei beat 10 seeds Ryann Foster and Regina Goldberg 15-13 before losing to number 4 seeds Megan Fudge and Alix Truong 15-2.

Thaddea and Pei ended the tournament 7th out of 29 entrants. A great performance!

Men’s Doubles

James Chaudry and Louis Laville faced tough opposition in number 6 seeds and ultimately 4th place finishers Jack Munro and Andre Mick in the first round, losing out 11-4, 11-2.

In the back draw they managed to put a decent run together winning 2 games comfortably against the number 22 and number 17 seeded teams before going out to the 8th seeded team Ross Whittaker and Brandon Lane 15-6.

Louis and James ended the tournament 15th out of 32 teams. Well done James and Louis!

Mixed Doubles Qualifier

In a huge qualifier bracket to make the main draw Louis, Pei, James and Thaddea had mixed results. The top 8 teams (of 40!) qualify for the main draw.

Louis and Pei paired up and won their first match convincingly 15-2 before losing 15-5 in the next match. James and Thaddea teamed up and following a bye in the first round lost in the second round match 15-10.

The teams finished the qualifier in 17th and 27th place respectively so missed out on the main draw.

However, following the exit from the qualifier, both teams were able to play in the Mixed Doubles Qualifier - Bonus Draw.

Mixed Doubles Qualifier - Bonus Draw

In the bonus draw Louis and Thaddea went on a great run winning their round of 32 match and round of 16 match 15-5 and 15-3 convincingly before going out in the quarter finals against eventual silver medalists Melanie Delsart and Bradley Mixson, 15-10.

Thaddea and James also made it to the quarter-finals winning their first match 15-8 and getting a bye in the second round before losing to Warren Jr. Fulgenzi and Danna Hamilton, 15-9.

Louis and Pei managed to finish 5th out of 27 teams, while James and Thaddea also finished the tournament highly in 8th. Great performance from both teams!

Upcoming UK Tournaments & Festivals

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