Since I could not play pickleball this weekend, I chose to write about it…
The Association of Pickleball Professionals (APP), and Professional Pickleball Association (PPA), similar to the the battle between the American Football Conference vs. the National Football Conference in the 1960s are trying to “poach” players for their respective organizations. The PPA is offering three year contracts to various pro players. This may provide the financial opportunities for many pickleball players to leave their day jobs and focus on their sport. The expectation, is that like football, these organizations will find both business and financial reasons to merge at some point.
Commercialization of pickleball will continue to expand. There will be more playing venues, tournaments, clinics, clothing lines, paddles, magazines and podcasts to attract an affluent and receptive customer base. I don’t doubt that we will soon see $300 pickleball paddles…
On that note, I wonder when there will be online gambling on professional pickleball tournaments?
Recommended pickleball podcast: Dink Pickleball
Recommended YouTube pickleball instruction videos: anything by Morgan Evans. He has this crazy serve that is almost unreturnable. He is also the best commentator on pickleball.
I hope that Simone Jardim has a successful 2022. She announced that she would retire at the end of this year. She has been beset with injuries, personal difficulties and former tournament partners abandoning her. I remember the verbal online abuse when she withdrew from parts of tournaments last year. Turns out she had to withdraw from all her injuries, not from sandbagging.
Personal Thoughts and Reflections:
My 2022 Resolution: Invest time in drilling and practice. I have witnessed players who probably have increased their ratings by .25 to .50 by participating in weekly pickleball drills.
Presents I wish I found under my Xmas Pickleball Tree:
Willie Palm’s lobs
Linda Zarrilli’s temperament
Liz TE’s energy
Sean McCloskey’s serve
Jay Doskis drop shot
Manny Lai’s forehand drive
Troy Clemmer’s court coverage
Lee Collins’s backhand volley
Julie Close’s angled shots
Reuven Cohen’s spin shots
The local game is changing exponentially. On the plus side, we have more places to play, increased opportunities for clinics and training, more tournaments and membership in South Jersey Pickleball continues to grow. However with the growth comes challenges. Even with the additional venues, there are still sizable waitlists at various Meet-ups frustrating many. The wide community of South Jersey pickleball is slowly being re-organized into smaller units of informal pickleball groups where you can only play or participate by invitation only. In some cases, the criteria is not how you play, but how you fit in. I understand the exclusivity, up to a point, if it is based on competitive criteria. I just hope that South Jersey Pickleball does not become a group of smaller locked communities.