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  • Team RAQT crowned Franklin PPL champions | Johns Brothers get pickled at Selkirk PPA Red Rock

Team RAQT crowned Franklin PPL champions | Johns Brothers get pickled at Selkirk PPA Red Rock

Billie Eilish plays Pickleball | Mastering the Backhand Dink in Pickleball | The future of Pickleball Coaching with Rob Williams | Upcoming Tournaments & Festivals

Team RAQT defies seedings to be crowned the inaugural Franklin PPL champions

Source: Premier Pickleball League

The inaugural season of the Franklin Premier Pickleball League culminated in a thrilling final at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, an Olympic venue. RAQT, led by captain James Chaudry and vice-captain Jess Wilson, clinched the championship title after an intense day of competition.

Playoff Journey and Final Match

Starting from a fifth-place position (out of six) in the league standings, RAQT bought their A-game throughout the playoffs. Their journey included a victory over SB Pickleball in the quarterfinals and a memorable match against number 1 seeds and favourites The Pickleball Store in the semifinals, culminating in a decisive 'Dreambreaker' victory.

In the finals, RAQT faced the formidable PicklePlay, captained by PPL director Louis Laville. The matchup commenced with a singles battle between the 2023 national champion, James Chaudry, and the 2023 European champion, Louis Laville, with Chaudry taking the win.

Despite a comeback attempt by PicklePlay in the mixed doubles, RAQT secured the championship with victories in the men's doubles and the women’s singles, where Jess Wilson delivered a backhand crosscourt winner to secure the win. The finals concluded with a 4-1 victory for RAQT, marking a significant achievement from their league standings throughout the season.

Team PicklePlay
Source: Theresa Hawkins Facebook

Professional Setup and Community Engagement

The event featured a professional live streaming setup, broadcasting the finale live on the Tennis Channel and RAQT's streaming platform, furthering the reach of the league and Pickleball in the UK.

Additionally, the event also featured PPL Pro Clinics, a 70-person festival, and engagement activities like a fantasy team event, resulting in an entertaining experience for both players and spectators.

The final exceeded my expectations. There were many things I was excited by on the day, the quality of the video reviews, the amazing broadcast but what was most pleasing was the incredible level of play.

PPL was introduced to try and help push up the standards of English pickleball and I think it's really done that!

Ed Hares - Premier Pickleball League

Reflections and Future Prospects

Reflecting on the growth from the league's humble beginnings, Louis Laville highlighted the evolution from basic facilities to an Olympic venue, underscoring the league’s expansion and the increased professionalisation of the events.

The anticipation for Season 2 was set high with promises of new divisions, more pro clinics, and additional festivals, aiming to enhance the competitive and inclusive atmosphere of the league.

Team Pickleball Store
Source: Premier Pickleball League Instagram

Season Standings and Acknowledgments

The final resulted in the following standings:

Champions: RAQT
Runner-Ups: PicklePlay
Third Place: The Pickleball Store
Fourth Place: SCAN
Fifth Places: Advanced Pickleball
Sixth Place: SB Pickleball

As the league looks forward to its next season, the foundations laid during this inaugural event promise an even more exciting future for all participants and fans of the Franklin Premier Pickleball League.

The future of Pickleball Coaching with Rob Williams, Advanced Pickleball

In this episode, I talk to Rob about:

  • How he got started in Pickleball

  • His background in Pickleball Coaching

  • The Pickleball England Coaching Curriculum

  • The Premier Pickleball League

  • Commentating on Pickleball

  • The future of Pickleball in the UK

We cover a lot of ground in this episode, I hope you enjoy it!

Watch on YouTube here or listen on your favourite podcast app.

Johns Brothers get pickled at Selkirk PPA Red Rock

Source: PPA Tour

If you were hooked on the Premier Pickleball League finals in the UK you’d be forgiven for not witnessing a first for the John’s brothers at the PPA Tour Selkirk Red Rock Open in Utah.

During the semifinals, Gabe Tardio and Andrei Daescu proved that the first time was not luck by defeating Ben and Collin Johns for the second time this year.

After losing the first game 1-11, Tardio and Daescu rallied in the second game to win 13-11 in what was a standout performance of the weekend. They maintained their momentum into the third game and pickled the best men’s doubles team in pro pickleball, eliminating the Johns brothers from the tournament.

Although Tardio and Daescu managed to defeat the Johns brothers, they could not get the job done in the final. They were beaten by JW Johnson and Dylan Frazier in three games.

Mixed Doubles Achievements

Ben Johns did find success in the Mixed Doubles, teaming up with Etta Wright. They secured the gold medal after a 4-set battle against James Ignatowich and Anna Bright, with final scores of 12-14, 11-7, 11-8, 11-1. This victory marks Ben Johns' 19th consecutive tournament winning at least one gold medal.

Other Tournament Highlights

In the Men’s Singles, Jack Sock faced his first loss on a Championship Sunday, falling to Federico Staksrud with scores of 11-3, 2-11, 11-7. On the Women’s side, Mary Brascia clinched her first Women’s Singles gold in a tightly contested match against Lea Jansen, with scores of 7-11, 11-4, 11-9.

Lea Jansen and Tina Pisnik continued their impressive performance streak in the Women’s Doubles, defeating Anna Bright and Callie Jo Smith in straight sets to win the gold medal.

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Coaching Corner

Mastering the Backhand Dink

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

Improving your backhand in pickleball can significantly enhance your game, transforming what is often seen as a weak spot into a formidable strength. The key to a robust backhand dink lies in mastering several components: grip, stance, footwork, and technique.

Grip and Stance

The Right Grip

For an effective backhand dink, the continental grip is recommended. This grip mirrors the action of hammering a nail, providing the stability and angle necessary for precise dinks.

Stance Fundamentals

A proper stance is crucial. Adopting a wide, low base with bent knees positions you optimally for movement and balance. This stance enables quicker, more effective shifts to meet the ball efficiently.

Advanced Footwork

Implementing the Shuffle

Effective footwork at the kitchen line involves a shuffle movement, especially when the ball is outside your immediate striking zone. Always push off with the foot opposite to the direction you’re moving, ensuring a stable and centered hit.

The Angled Shuffle

Not all shots come straight to you. Sometimes, you’ll need to adjust backward with an angled shuffle. This move helps create more space and time to hit a well-placed dink, allowing for strategic play and better control of the court.

Technique and Execution

Setup and Swing

Setting up early with the correct paddle position is crucial. The paddle should face the target early in the setup, maintaining a low position in front of the knees.

Ensure your wrist is stable and the grip pressure is moderate to maintain control throughout the swing. The motion should be smooth from left to right, utilising your shoulder to guide the shot without excessive wrist movement.

Consistency and Control

Maintaining a consistent paddle angle and controlling the swing speed is essential for placing effective dinks. A controlled, moderate-speed swing with a well-aligned shot can significantly improve your accuracy and consistency.

Practice Drills

Crosscourt Dinking

The best way to practice your backhand dink is to engage in crosscourt dinking from odd side to odd side. This drill encourages movement and precision, pushing you to maintain the right stance and footwork while aiming to outmaneuver your opponent.


By focusing on these key aspects of the backhand dink—grip, stance, footwork, and technique—you can turn this part of your game into a dependable weapon.

Regular practice using specific drills will further enhance your ability to execute under pressure, making your backhand dink a feared shot in your pickleball arsenal.

Last week it was Taylor Swift, now Billie Eilish plays Pickleball

Source: The Dink Pickleball X

As we reported in last week’s newsletter, Taylor Swift was spotted by eagle-eyed pickleball fans playing pickleball during her recent YouTube short.

And now, a week on it looks like Billie Eilish has joined the band of American singer-songwriters to be spotted playing the sport.

Upcoming Tournaments & Festivals


Interested in participating in or promoting a pickleball event?

Lots of new events have been added to the pickleball calendar. Check them out at Pickled Events. The number 1 source for all pickleball events in the UK.

  • Get notifications when new events are added

  • Search Events by location

  • Search Events by date

  • Filter Events by Tournament or Festival

  • Get directions and distances to events

  • See which events are coming up next

  • And promote your own events for free!

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