A Pickleball Machine Comparison: Lobster vs. Tutor

Pickleball Machines
Pickleball Machines at Pickleball Central

As pickleball grows, the number of ball machines on the market also grows. At Pickleball Central we carry the two most popular brands – Pickleball Tutor and Lobster. These two companies have proven themselves to make reliable products for players, instructors and clubs. If you’re looking to keep your game sharp, there’s no better investment for practice.

Lobster Pickle Ball Machine

Both Lobster and Tutor Sports have continued to add features to their ball machines making it easier than ever for players to set up the kinds of drills and shots they want to work on. Now with the ability to easily set up six pre-programmed drills, the Tutor Plus Ultra and the Lobster Pickle Champion Pickleball Machine offer the ability not only to hit different types of spin but also to practice the most commonly used drills.

Tutor Pickleball Machine

With several models available from both Lobster and Tutor, we get lots of questions from people about which pickleball machine they should select. The good news is, they are all great machines that offer a variety of features, you just need to decide which of those are most important to you. The table below lists the specifications and features of all of the pickleball machines. They run the gambit from Tutor Mini – a light weight and simple machine, to the Lobster Pickle Champion and the Pickleball Tutor Ultra Series – machines with drills pre-programmed that can be simply activated with an easy push of a button.

Major Differences

One of the Lobster Pickle Ball Machine’s main benefits are its 8″ wheels which allow it to be easily maneuvered without the need for lifting or dragging. Its ability to put spin on pickleballs is unique, and makes it a great choice for learning how to counter tricky shots. It holds a slightly higher amount of pickleballs than the Tutor along with an extra hour of maximum charge in the base model.

Lobster Pickle Ball Machine

The Pickleball Tutor has a lighter weight, longer overall warranty and has the least expensive model. If you often take your machine from court to court, the Tutor line is easier to get in and out of a vehicle.

Pickleball Tutor Mini Ball Machine

How Are They Powered?

Both machines can be run through battery or AC power. The Lobster comes standard with a battery (internal or external) and has an additional component (Lobster Elite Power Pak) that can be purchased to switch it to AC. The Tutor can be purchased with battery or AC power for the same price. The Tutor Battery Unit can also be used with an additional External AC Power Supply.

Optional Add-Ons

In addition to an External AC Power Supply, there are a number of options that both machines offer. You can add remote controls (Two-Function or Multi-Function and FM or Phone-based depending on the machine you choose) and an external battery pack that will add significant battery time on the court, and both have a cover that can protect the machine from debris and dust while in storage.

The Lobster also has the option of a Fast or Premium Charger which allow you to charge the unit more quickly.

Why a Ball Machine

Whichever model you choose, practice with a ball machine can improve your game. From developing muscle memory to being able to set up and practice against all kinds of shots, pros will tell you that drilling is vital to success. With a machine, you can drill on your schedule or work with a partner to develop good habits.

With so many great machines available, which one do you find suits your requirements? If you have experience with one or both, we’d love to hear your feedback on what makes these pickleball practice powerhouses handy around the courts.

To learn more about all of the models offered by both Tutor and Lobster, visit our Pickleball Training Machines page.

Meet the Pro: Parris Todd

Parris Todd
Pickleball Player: Parris Todd

At just five years old, Parris Todd asked her parents for a tennis racket for her birthday. Her parents knew nothing about tennis so this surprising request came out of the blue. Soon after, Todd’s tennis journey got underway, unleashing her talent and passion for the game. With more training sessions and hours on the court she continued to develop her gift, becoming a top junior player starting at age ten. Currently Parris holds over 85 tennis titles.

As the pandemic slowed down the globe, pickleball summoned her to the pickleball courts. Since fall 2021 Parris has been playing pickleball, competing in her first pickleball tournament in January 2022. We sat down with her to talk about her rising status as a pickleball pro, her goals, and more!

Parris Todd

How were you introduced to pickleball? 

My grandparents started playing pickleball ten years ago, and I used to make fun of them for playing an old persons’ sport. I was playing tennis at TTC in Newport Beach and they have a very big pickleball presence, so eventually I thought why not give it a shot.

Parris Todd
Parris with her Tennis Trophies

What are some of your most memorable pickleball moments?

PPA Foot Solutions in February was my first ever singles tournament, where I was able to beat some of the top Women’s singles players and take 4th overall and have a breakthrough tournament. My recent win in San Clemente PPA has definitely been my most memorable; winning my first PPA singles title meant so much to me. I have put in a lot of hard work off the court in the last few months and it was an awesome reward. 

Parris Todd
Parris Todd

How has your tennis background influenced your pickleball game? Strengths? Differences?

Having a tennis background helps with court movement, hand eye coordination, and overall patterns. Pickleball has a lot of soft elements to it; the dinks and drops requires much softer hands then what people are used to with tennis. 

Parris Todd

We know fashion is another passion of yours. What do you look for when picking out your looks for tournaments? Do you design what you wear?

I absolutely love matching sets! They are just so easy to throw on and color coordination is a big thing for me. Currently I am only wearing other brands that I love, but hopefully soon I will be designing and collaborating with other activewear brands to bring a different style and flavor to pickleball.

Parris Todd

Where do you see this sport in 5 years? Any short-term and long-term goals?

Being a sport in the next Olympics would be a huge achievement for pickleball. I would personally like to see it grow more internationally to bring more awareness to the sport. I think it’s on the right path as the fastest growing sport. 

Parris Todd

What can you tell us about your strategy and game mindset?

I always believe I can win, no matter who is on the other side of the net. Rest at the end, not in the middle!

What are you doing when you are not playing pickleball?

There aren’t too many days I’m not on the court, and if I’m not on the court I’m probably still thinking about pickleball! I like to relax with my friends on my days off, go out to dinner, go shopping, see movies, all that exciting “normal” life stuff.

Parris Todd

We’re looking forward to seeing where this exciting player’s pickleball career takes her!

6 Ways to Serve Up Fun on National Pickleball Day

National Pickleball Day was only created last year in 2021 by instructor Deirdre Morris, but the game has been going strong since its creation in 1965. Millions of people across the world now enjoy pickleball, and we agree that this is worth celebrating! Do you have anything planned to appreciate the sport today? If not, we have some ideas you can implement with friends or on your own.

August 8th is National Pickleball Day

Play Pickleball (Or Its Variations)

The most obvious way to celebrate is by enjoying the sport itself! Hit the courts and play a few matches, or if you want to do something out of the norm, try out one of the game’s variations. These include skinny and slender singles, a casual round robin or a dink battle to test who’s the most consistent with their soft game.

Play Pickleball On National Pickleball Day

Train Your Mind with Pickleball Trivia

If you’re all tired out from matches, then you don’t necessarily have to stop playing pickleball-related games. Did you know there’s now a Pickleball Trivia Game available? Test your knowledge with your closest pals regarding the sport’s history, pro players, tournaments and rules while learning more about your favorite game in the process.

Pickleball Trivia at Pickleball Central

Share the News on Social Media (or Locally)

While pickleball has greatly grown from its humble beginnings, most of us would love to welcome even more players into the fold. Today is the perfect time to post about what pickleball means to you on social media so your connections might give it a try. If social media isn’t really your thing, you can always bring pickleball-related candy or gifts to your work to introduce more people to the sport.

Give Back to the Community

If you have a local club or community group that manages most of your pickleball-related fun, offering a donation to support their efforts will never go amiss. If you’d like to aim broader, you can also donate to USA Pickleball’s initiatives such as their grant fund and Sid Williams Junior Pickleball Fund which all go towards opportunities that help grow the sport. The International Federation of Pickleball also has a grant program that addresses similar goals on a global scale.

Reflect and Set New Goals

Pickleball doesn’t have to be “deep” in the sense that we’re all training to become pros and win national tournaments, but if you’re the type of person who likes to see clear improvement, it never hurts to have a training strategy. National Pickleball Day is a good opportunity to reset and consider what you want to focus on, and if recording progress is your thing, we have a Pickleball Journal that can help with just that. Once you’ve identified areas you want to strengthen, browse some training videos and get ready to up your game.

Purchase a limited edition National Pickleball Day T-Shirt

National Pickleball Day T-Shirt from Pickleball Central

The National Pickleball Day Shirt was created as a homage to both pickleball and the era it was created—the 1960’s! This beautiful vintage-style tee uses smooth and vibrant colors to enhance the swirled font with a few pieces of pickleball gear accenting the design. It’s a great choice for casual daily wear or for occasions you really want to play up the pickleball spirit.

Shop Women’s

Shop Men’s

Limited quantities available.


On this special day we want to thank everyone for joining us on this crazy ride of promoting, supporting and enjoying pickleball. We’re sure there will be many more years of growth to look forward to, and we hope all our readers get a chance to kick back and have a little fun.

Meet the Pro: Daniel De La Rosa

Meet Pro Pickleball Player: Daniel De La Rosa

Thank you, dad! Pickleball player De La Rosa”s father introduced him to racquetball at the age of four and he quickly rose through the racquetball ranks to the top. Currently #1 in the world for both singles and doubles as a professional racquetball player, De La Rosa manages to play pickleball at a high level as well. A native of San Luis Potosi, Mexico, he currently resides in Gilbert, Arizona with his wife Michelle and their two children. Michelle is also a competitive racquetball player, having played on the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour and on Team USA. We sat down with Daniel on the heels of launching his signature paddle with Paddle Candy to find out what brought him to pickleball, what his goals are and more.

How did you get started with pickleball? 

I start playing pickleball four or five years ago. When my wife was pregnant with our first baby, she wanted to keep playing sports but racquetball was a little too hard on her body so we started playing pickleball. A really good friend of ours helped us learn the rules and we quickly got hooked.

What paddle do you use and why?

I use the Vulcan V560 Control Paddle Candy Edition. It suits my playing style well because I’m more of a control player. I like the feel of the paddle; it’s easy for me to  control the resets and dinks. I also love the long handle, which gives me a bit more flex on my overhead shots.

Vulcan has combined the performance characteristics of one of their most popular paddles, the V560 Control, with the bold Sugar Skull design honoring De La Rosa’s Mexican heritage.

Do you have any goals for pickleball?

I want to be one of the best pickleball players on tour, and win some of the big events for sure.

Is it difficult to switch back and forth between the two sports? 

I’m still playing racquetball full time. It was a bit hard in the beginning moving from racquetball to pickleball because of the speed of my sport, but now I have found a way to combine both of the sports and make it a little easier. There are a few skills that translate from racquetball to pickleball such as footwork, moving up and back (for example to chase down lobs) and quick reactions. Racquetball is a very fast game just like pickleball when you are at the kitchen line.

What’s the pickleball scene like in Mexico? 

In Mexico I just play pickleball for fun with my family, but I am excited to play some big events in the future as the sport develops more there. Pickleball is growing a bit more in Mexico and some of my good friends are opening facilities with pickleball courts. I’m really happy for them.

You’re known for having some exciting trick shots and acrobatic moves. Do you practice those or does that just come naturally? 

I can’t share my secrets lol! I don’t practice those shots; maybe they come from my racquetball background or my mental attitude. Every time I hit a shot, in my mind I tell myself “don’t miss it”!

What are the top 3 things (besides your paddle) that must be in your pickleball bag?

My Jigsaw Electrolytes for sure, grips and extra pair of socks.

What is your most memorable moment in pickleball so far?

Playing on the MLP (Major League Pickleball) is an incredible memory for me, especially sharing the court with amazing teammates.

What are you doing when you are not playing pickleball?

I try hard to be a good father and husband, and grow my construction company. Also golfing has quickly become one of my greatest passions and I play as often as I can.

Daniel with his two kids

Learn more about De La Rosa’s paddle of choice, the Paddle Candy Daniel De La Rosa Signature Paddle and if you have any questions about this paddle or any other pickleball gear, our Customer Support representatives are happy to help. You can reach our team at info@pickleballcentral.com or call 888-993-5548.

Pickleball Tournament Snack Ideas

By Brandi Givens, RD

Brandi Givens – Dietitian, Nutrition Writer and Pickleball Player

This week I celebrated summer solstice with a day of play at the Winney Family Ranch in Ravensdale, WA. It was a pickleball player’s dream, complete with the most beautiful venue, sunshine, friendship, food, and great play well into the evening.

Winney Ranch in Ravensdale, WA

While I was enjoying the atmosphere, I considered this blog post and took the opportunity to ask several friends about their favorite go-to pickleball snacks for long days of play. The answers I got were eclectic, ranging from fruit to electrolyte powders, and a surprising amount of candy.

With all the snack choices on the market, it’s hard to know what the best choices are. Keep in mind that it’s important to test any new snack or drink well before an important tournament day, to make sure it doesn’t cause digestive problems for you. Here are some ideas from a dietitian’s perspective.

Hydrating Snacks

Water is the most critical thing humans need to survive, second only to air. When we get even a little dehydrated, it can affect thinking and physical performance, which are both important for winning a pickleball match. Dehydration can cause muscle cramps, dizziness, headaches, and fatigue.

New Selkirk Premium Water Bottle 64 Ounce

When planning your snacks for a long day of play, you might consider packing a cooler with juicy fruits and vegetables that will contribute to hydration. Some ideas include:

  • Fruit like grapes, watermelon, cantaloupe, berries, oranges, mandarins, apples, pears, kiwi, peaches.
  • Vegetables like cucumbers, sweet peppers, and leafy greens like spinach and romaine lettuce.

Of course, you can’t come close to meeting your fluid needs with food alone, so be sure to drink plenty of water. Staying ahead of dehydration can help you feel and play your best.

Electrolytes

Electrolytes are always a popular topic at any sporting event since these important minerals can be lost when we sweat. Unbalanced electrolytes can contribute to cramping, a sign that your body is in danger. Sodium, chloride, magnesium, potassium, and calcium are needed for important basic body functions like:

  • blood pressure maintenance
  • muscle contractions (including the heartbeat)
  • water balance in the cells
  • brain function
  • feeding the cells
  • removing waste from cells

When we think of electrolytes, the first thing that comes to mind is often sports drinks. These drinks are a convenient way to hydrate, replenish minerals, and sometimes carbohydrates.

Shop all Jigsaw products at PickleballCentral HERE

When we snack smart, we can also stay on top of electrolyte losses with good food choices like:

  • Sodium and chloride: Salty foods like salted nuts and seeds
  • Potassium: bananas, avocados, bananas, cantaloupe, potatoes with skin, chia seeds
  • Magnesium: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, cashews, spinach, quinoa, chia seeds, peanuts
  • Calcium: Dairy foods, tofu, pumpkin seeds, spinach, almonds, chia seeds

A Little Pro, A Little Carb

Most athletes find that it’s best to stay away from full, heavy meals during tournament play. But when you’ve been out there for hours, it’s important to keep energy on board. Light snacks that offer both carbohydrates and protein can provide the energy your body and brain need for peak performance, and can help maintain muscle mass.

Consider combination foods like:

  • Nut and granola bars
  • Fruit slices with nut butter packets and peanut butter
  • Trail mixes with fruit and nuts
  • Small turkey, chicken, nut butter, or egg sandwiches
  • Cottage cheese and pineapple
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Hummus and carrots
  • Plain Greek yogurt and fruit
  • Roasted chickpeas

High Carb for Quick Energy

Sometimes athletes are so intensely focused on their game strategy that they forget to eat. This should be avoided, because the lack of energy will eventually impair performance, causing a feeling of weakness or even shakiness.

It’s a good idea to keep some fast energy sources handy in case this happens to you. Then, as soon as possible, eat a hardier snack with both protein and carbohydrates like the ones suggested in the section above.

Quick carbohydrate ideas:

  • Fruit juice like orange or apple juice
  • A piece of hard candy or other candy
  • Dried fruit like raisins or cherries

It’s important to discuss low blood sugar symptoms with your doctor in case you may be developing an underlying health problem.

Do you have some great snack ideas? Please let me and other readers know about them in the comments below!

Resources:

Oria, Maria, Meghan Harrison, and Virginia A. Stallings. 2019. Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs): Recommended Dietary Allowances and Adequate Intakes, Elements, Food and Nutrition Board, National Academies. National Academies Press (US).

Belval, Luke N., Yuri Hosokawa, Douglas J. Casa, William M. Adams, Lawrence E. Armstrong, Lindsay B. Baker, Louise Burke, et al. 2019. “Practical Hydration Solutions for Sports.” Nutrients 11 (7). https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11071550.

Clark, and Nancy. 2020. Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook. Champaign, Illinois: Human Kinetics.

Karpinski, Christine, Rosenbloom, Christine, and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2017. Sports Nutrition : A Handbook for Professionals.

When Should I Replace My Pickleball Shoes? 

If your shoes are still in one piece then they can be worn for pickleball just like any other option. If you’re looking to optimize the efficacy and stability of your footwork, however, there are a few specific areas you’ll want to examine.

Know When To Replace Your Pickleball Shoe To Prevent Injury

If you’re wearing running shoes to play pickleball, then it was likely time to replace them yesterday!

If you’re already wearing a pickleball or tennis-specific court shoe and wondering how much life you can squeeze out of them, then the best indicator is to look at how much tread is left on the top half of the outsole underneath your shoe.

Check Your Tread!

Movement during games will cause the toe box area of your shoe’s rubber to wear down the quickest. Some players notice heavier wear on the heel of their shoes, and this is a good way to determine if it’s time for replacement as well. What you want to look for is a flattened rubber outsole. Any part of the underside of your shoe that has no visible tread pattern remaining is an indication that your shoes won’t offer as much traction, stability and support as they once did. It’s important to replace them primarily due to the increased risk of injury from wearing worn shoes that will cause you to slide around on the court. They also simply won’t perform as well, since a worn tread leads to less traction, preventing your shoes from helping you pivot or get up to the kitchen line as quickly.

Some shoes have a layer of material below the outsole that is a different color. If you’re able to see this from wearing through the first layer, it’s an immediate indication your shoes are worn out. Running shoes offer a very soft midsole cushion that helps absorb hard impact and alleviate pounding on your feet and joints. Over time this cushioning loses its spring and offers less comfort and joint relief. With court shoes, the cushioning in the midsole and outsole is much harder than that used in running shoes, and while it won’t offer the same comfort, the hardness of the rubber is beneficial in maintaining the tread while being dragged across the rough surface of a pickleball court.

Court shoes are meant to withstand the test of time, but the length of life you get out of them can be a result of many different factors. How often do you play? Do you lift your feet or allow for toe drag when following through on shots? The weight of your shoe can be a good indicator of the longevity you can expect. A heavier shoe has harder, more dense rubber that is meant to maintain its tread for months of play. Some shoes even come with a 6 month outsole guarantee, which means the tread should stay intact for 6 months and if you wear through them in that timeframe, the brand will send you a new pair for free.

You’ll notice almost all of the shoes offering this warranty are quite heavy. Light shoes typically use a softer rubber that is less dense. If you don’t play very frequently and are mostly concerned with comfort, lightweight shoes are a great option. But you won’t see many tournament-level players using these shoes since the delicate materials are easy for aggressive players to wear down.

Remember to take a moment to examine your shoes every once in a while to ensure you’re staying safe and getting the most out of your footwear. If you’ve found a specific brand or style that works best for you, let us know in the comments.

Shop all Men’s Pickleball Shoes

Shop all Women’s Pickleball Shoes

Wear & Care: We recommend using pickleball shoes only during play, not for other sports or as everyday shoes. This will help ensure they last as long as possible. Pickleball Court shoes are designed for a combination of support and comfort, and most pros wear their shoes only for court play. Remember, court shoes are just as important as a paddle and will go far toward improving your game.

If you need help picking out the right pickleball shoe for you our customer service team can help! We love pickleball as much as you do.

Meet Mike Hess – Global Ambassador of Pickleball

Meet Mike Hess, the founder of the Spanish Pickleball Association and long-time global ambassador of the sport. Mike, a native of Southern California, has been living in Europe for the past 28 years. He founded the Spanish Pickleball Association in 2012 and served as President until 2018, laying the groundwork for the growth pickleball is experiencing in Spain today. He also served two years as president of the International Pickleball Federation (IFP) where he presented the sport in many countries such as China. We connected with Mike to hear how he got started with pickleball, learn how he took it to Spain and to find out how the sport is continuing to develop in “Espanya.”

How did you get started with pickleball?
In 2009 I was working as Director of Basketball for the National Senior Games Association (NSGA) and some of the athletes told me about pickleball. It wasn’t an official sport of the Senior Games yet, but I was intrigued and decided to check it out. I had to search to find courts back then, but after watching a few games and observing the players’ interactions, I was drawn to the sport and decided to get involved. I started collaborating with the USA Pickleball Association to improve understanding of how to increase participation and I’ve been working on growing the sport ever since.

Mike setting up pickleball courts in Madrid, Spain
Mike setting up pickleball courts in Madrid, Spain

What is your background in sport that led you to promoting and developing pickleball?
I’ve always been active in sports. I played many growing up and earned a Division I basketball scholarship to the University of California, Irvine. After playing four years I stayed on as an assistant coach for two years while earning an MBA and then received a contract to play professional basketball in Germany so I moved to Europe. When my hoop-playing days were over, Adidas hired me to work at their headquarters in Germany. I ran the European marketing division for basketball and later worked on global promotion strategies for Adidas-sponsored events like the Olympic Games.

Mike presenting pickleball at the World Sport Summit in China along with the other International Sport Governing Bodies
Mike presenting pickleball at the World Sport Summit in China along with the other International Sport Governing Bodies

How did you get involved with pickleball outside of the US?
I’ve been living in Europe for the past 28 years. I left Adidas to do a PhD in Business in Barcelona and have been living in Spain for the past 24 years teaching business courses at CUNEF University in Madrid. I spent my summers in the US working with NSGA and USAPA to promote sport participation and decided to initiate pickleball in Spain and Europe where I lived most of the year. In 2012 I founded the Spanish Pickleball Association (SPA) and was president until 2018. I helped several other European countries introduce pickleball and was eventually elected president of the International Pickleball Federation (IFP).

Mike along with team members of the Spanish Pickleball Association
Mike along with team members of the Spanish Pickleball Association

How has the sport evolved in Spain?
Pickleball’s growth in Spain has been terrific. I remain in close contact with my former SPA team who now run the Association, and they tell me that membership is consistently increasing. Spain has sunny, warm weather and an amazing history with tennis and padel (a sport similar to platform tennis). With tennis legend Rafa Nadal and new star Carlos Alcaraz, racquet sports are part of the Spanish lifestyle. An increasing number of permanent pickleball courts is enabling Spaniards as well as travelers visiting Spain to play throughout the country. Growth of pickleball in the US continues to propel the growth overseas, and we’ve had several pickleball ambassadors and pros visit us to share their expertise, among them Jennifer Lucore, Marcin Rozpedski, Irina Tereschenko, Daniel Moore, Dave Weinbach, Jeff Shank and Kyle Yates.

Pickleball Clinic in Spain led by Pro Marcin Rozpedski
Pickleball Clinic in Spain led by Pro Marcin Rozpedski

What type of pickleball events and organizations are there in Spain?
We started the Spanish Open Pickleball Championships in 2015 which is held every September and this year will be part of the APP tour. It’s an international event that draws players from around the world. The SPA has done a great job expanding the sport by establishing regional associations. Every year there is an increasing number of places to play, trained coaches, clubs, tournaments, school programs, ambassadors and media coverage. The SPA has also initiated a program with the European Union called “Pickle4all” to promote pickleball as an inclusive sport in multiple European countries. It’s exciting the see the sport expand in so many ways since we began in 2012.

Medal winners of the Spanish Open Pickleball Championships
Medal winners of the Spanish Open Pickleball Championships

Tell us about the pickleball tours you’ve organized in Spain.
For years pickleball players from the US and Canada asked me to organize pickleball vacations in Spain so they could come and enjoy the incredible sites, history and culture of Spain, as well as play plenty of pickleball on the trip. It was a unique opportunity to combine two of my greatest passions – Spain and pickleball. In 2014 I began organizing tours in Madrid and Barcelona for players of all levels. People from all over the US and Canada have joined the tours and had an amazing experience.

Mike with travelers enjoying the sites on one of the Pickleball Spain Tours
Mike with travelers enjoying the sites on one of the Pickleball Spain Tours

Are people traveling to Spain again?
Fortunately Spain has fully reopened for travel and tourism is booming right now, so I’m excited to finally offer tours again and have two scheduled for September of 2022. Our next pickleball tour is in Southern Spain, the region called Andalusia. It’s a unique part of the world with great weather and incredible sites to explore. All of the tour details are available at www.pickleballtourspain.com.

Now that you’re no longer president of the association, how are you involved?
I talk regularly with Roberto Perez, the current SPA President, about opportunities they’re involved with and considering. Because I travel frequently between the US and Europe, I offer a unique perspective on pickleball’s development. I’ve learned that outside of North America, a key factor impacting pickleball’s growth is the availability of referees. Spain and Europe simply don’t have trained referees and this severely limits their ability to host sanctioned tournaments. This year I obtained my referee credentials from USAPA so I can start training referees in Spain and Europe. My trainer was Teri Carter, the USAPA Certified Referee Coordinator for the West, and she was amazing. Now I’m working with the SPA to develop a pool of referees with training and on-court experience, and I look forward to expanding that base in other European countries as well. I also completed the PPR instructor course this year to improve my coaching skills. I learned a lot from both training programs. It can be challenging to teach in different languages, but I’ve learned that sport is a universal language, and pickleball is a great platform for bringing different cultures together.

Mike receiving his referee credentials from trainer Teri Carter, USAPA Certified Referee Coordinator for the West
Mike receiving his referee credentials from trainer Teri Carter, USAPA Certified Referee Coordinator for the West

Meet The Pro: Jessie Irvine

Pickleball Pro, Jessie Irvine

Jessie Irvine is an incredible player who overcame adversity to excel at a game she loves. Having spent much of her early life focusing on tennis, when Jessie was on the verge of going pro she encountered a setback: Serving overhand caused intense pain due to missing cartilage in her joints. While this resulted in a change of focus, tennis’ loss has become pickleball’s gain as she’s soared through the ranks. Jessie is currently a top 5 player in all three divisions of women’s pro pickleball and kindly took the time to discuss more about her plans, practice routines and strategies. Read on to find out more.

What is your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?

My pickleball story started at the end of 2018/beginning of 2019 and at the time I was teaching tennis mainly to kids and also playing POP Tennis. Around that time two separate people I knew, one from tennis and one from POP Tennis, told me I should try out pickleball. They said the sport was starting to become more professional with tournaments, money and players getting involved. The major aspect was that there were no overhanded serves, which is what cut my dream of playing professional tennis short. So I gave pickleball a shot and instantly fell in love with it. I was interested in competing at a high level and began playing seriously at the beginning of 2019. The rest is still being written!

What paddle do you use and why?

Right now I use the Engage Pickleball Pursuit MX. It is the grittier spin-off of the original Maverick which is what I first started using after only a couple months of playing pickleball. For me at the time the appeal was that it was one of the only few paddles on the market that had an extended grip handle. I felt that was an important feature to take advantage of my long arms and two-handed backhand, which is my favorite shot. 

Engage Pursuit MX Pickleball Paddle by Engage Pickleball

Shop Engage Pickleball

We love your style and signature space buns! Is this part of your pre-match routine?

Jessie Irvine with her Engage Pickleball Pursuit MX Paddle

Haha, I wouldn’t say my style and space buns are part of my pre-match routine. But I will say that I do like to have fun with my looks, and I enjoy being colorful and creative. My pre-match routine consists of getting up super early on match day (I’m a slow mover) so that I can stretch, get organized, have a little breakfast and get to the courts so I have at least 45 minutes to an hour to warm up before my match. I am definitely one of those players that likes putting in the reps and hitting a lot before my match. 

Where do you see this sport in 5 years? Any short-term and long-term goals?

I hope that in 5 years pickleball is in the Olympics. Realistically it may take longer than that, but it would be amazing if that were to happen sooner than later, because one of my goals would be to play pickleball in the Olympics. That would be a major dream come true. As for other goals, I just want to play the best I can for as long as I can. I want to have fun and enjoy it. I’m grateful to have been given a second chance to be competitive again, and as seriously as I am taking this opportunity, at the same time I don’t want to forget to have fun and enjoy the journey. 

What is your most memorable moment so far in pickleball?

I think my most memorable pickleball moment so far is winning pro doubles gold (gold in women’s doubles and mixed doubles) at the 2021 PPA Vegas Championships. It’s one of the biggest tournaments of the year and being able to compete on Championship Sunday then win gold in both events was a huge moment for me and one of my favorite pickleball memories. 

What can you tell us about playing mixed doubles and strategy? Hand signals? Stacking?

I love pickleball strategy as a whole. I think it’s my favorite part of the game and I always compare high-level pickleball to chess. The best part of pickleball is that the game/strategy is always changing and evolving, which keeps it exciting. I think the strategy does change between gender doubles and mixed doubles. In my opinion, I find the mixed doubles strategy to be a little more simplified in the sense that I feel like my job is to keep the ball away from the other guy since he is also looking to be aggressive; and then find the best way to utilize and set up my male partner so that he can use his strengths to take advantage of the points. Essentially, I try to hit unattackable shots until my male partner can attack. In gender doubles, the game plan isn’t always clear cut so the strategies can be more complex and change from one team to the next. I enjoy the strategies both kinds of doubles provide. 

Jessie Irvine and Mixed Doubles Partner Kyle Yates at a PPA Tournament 2022

What are you doing when you’re not playing pickleball?

When I’m not playing pickleball… I’m playing pickleball! I really do love and enjoy it. When I’m hanging out with friends we end up playing pickleball for a few hours, eat and hang out, then play for a couple more hours. When I’m not traveling for tournaments I’ll do that twice a week. On the other days, I’m either working, doing off-court training which includes recovery work as well. At the end of all of that, if I have any time or energy left, then I will relax and catch up on some Netflix shows. 


Be sure to check out the Engage Pickleball Pursuit MX if you feel like you could benefit from a stronger two-handed backhand, and keep a watch out Jessie’s impressive talent in future tournaments!

Meet the Pro: Dayne Gingrich

Meet family man, coach and pickleball pro Dayne Gingrich. A sponsored player by Electrum Pickleball, Dayne has gained major success in the senior pro circuit. He is a strategist and positive thinking wizard who manages to make every shot look effortless. We recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Dayne to find out more about him, and we can confidently say that this guy has something special. Here’s what he had to say. Enjoy!

Dayne Gingrich sponsored by Electrum Pickleball

Notable Wins:

2021 PPA Mesa – Gold Men’s Senior Pro 

2021 Red Rock PPA – Gold Men’s and Mixed Senior Pro

2021 PPA Newport Shootout – Gold Men’s Senior Pro 

2021 APP SoCal Classic – Gold Men’s and Mixed Senior Pro 

2021 PPA OC Cup – Gold Men’s and Mixed Senior Pro 

Dayne Gingrich plays with the Electrum Pro Graphite Pickleball Paddle

What is your pickleball story? How were you introduced to pickleball?

My stepdad brought me to a 4.5 open play weekend four years ago. I played the entire day without any breaks. I loved it but couldn’t walk for two weeks. Life got in the way and didn’t allow me to touch a paddle again for another year and half after my initial introduction. When I returned to the game, because of my tennis background, I was lucky to be playing 5.0 immediately, and the rest is history. 

What paddle do you use and why?

I currently use the Electrum Pro. It feels as close to a tennis racquet as there is on the market. It has a tremendous amount of spin and power while still allowing me the necessary control needed. The first day I demoed it, I instantly knew it was going to be a complete game changer. 

The Electrum Pro Graphite Pickleball Paddle from Electrum is a premium paddle made with cutting-edge materials to ensure excellent durability and balanced construction. The face of the paddle is made with Toray T-700 carbon fiber, which is resistant to deformation and provides a strong surface for returning shots. This carbon fiber also provides a textured feel, which imparts spin onto pickleballs and makes it easier to control your shots.

We see you sharing strategy tips on your page, can you share with us some of your top tips?

The biggest “Pro Tip” I’ve been sharing lately with my students is the mandatory need for more controlled aggression in their game. With the evolution in paddle technology the game is speeding up, but there’s still a need to find control due to the added spin. If players don’t look for more opportunities to attack, they’ll GET attacked, and sooner than they may expect. The initiator in today’s game has the advantage, unlike in past years, again, due to the power of the latest paddles. As aggressors we can obtain information (who we’re attacking, when, where, and our opponents’ response), which gives us a mathematical edge in the long term. The defenders will always be reacting and guessing. Of course, there are a couple players currently on tour who have faster counterattacking hand speed than the initiator’s attacks, but they are a tiny minority. Learn to attack from below the net, out of the air, off the bounce, and on both your FH and BH. 

Another tip I focus on is transition play. This area, unless given a high and slow meatball, is for resetting. As aggressive as the game is becoming, the court is still small, which means there isn’t enough room to power through players from the transition area (during doubles play). Make a habit of slowing down, keeping your feet still, low and wide while executing resets. The paddle also needs to be quiet, with a light grip pressure, absorbing the ball into the body, while maintaining a mental vision of a “baby arc” that softly brushes a penny off the top of the net. 

What are your favorite drills?

My favorite drills are anything straight ahead with an opponent. I also like adding a ball machine feeding crosscourt dinks so I can work on the 1-2 attack/finish part of my game. All the fast action happens straight against the player in front of us and through the middle of that player, so learning how to improve this part of our game is a necessity for long-term growth. I rarely practice crosscourt dinks anymore, as I’ve found straight ahead dinks have improved my crosscourt dinks 100x. 

What does your Mental Performance Coaching help pickleball players with?

Mental Performance is every player’s secret sauce. Unfortunately, only a small percentage understand or want to commit to this part of their game. Those that do, however, create a massive amount of improvement, which leads to a disproportionate level of confidence against their competition. The first thing we establish together (as coach and student) is their long-term vision. Micro day-to-day goals are irrelevant without first establishing a detailed, emotionally connected vision they’ll eventually begin working towards. Once this vision has been declared, written down and visualized, we start our work. Everyone comes with unique gifts, motivations and triggers, so there isn’t a stock program, but the majority of athletes I work with have to create a new, heightened state of belief. I want them to design an inner confidence that doesn’t give in to difficulty, pain, frustration or self doubt. While everyone’s path is different, patience and self belief will always play a fundamental role in their blueprint. 

What do you think is the most important shot in pickleball?

There are so many important shots in pickleball and I think the level of each player will determine which one is the most important for them. For the beginner, I believe that learning soft hands, feel and touch should be a staple in their process. Once we shift into intermediate and advanced, where most players can make the majority of their 3rds, it’s a tie between the transition reset and the aggressive kitchen attack. The reason I call it a tie is because it doesn’t matter how good your resets are if you don’t have an offensive game once you make it to the line. But it also doesn’t matter how good your kitchen attacks are if you can’t get to the kitchen to show them off. Once we move into a regular advanced level of play, the ability to seamlessly shift from a fast kitchen fire fight right into a reset that neutralizes that fight may be the single most difficult shot in all of pickleball. 

What are some of your short term and long term pickleball goals?

My goal as a player is to never get out-worked by another player, pro or senior pro. The results after I control my daily work ethic and commitment to continuously improve aren’t in my control. I have huge long-term goals I’ve set for myself, but they will only come to life if I focus on my preparation and recovery, mentally, physically and emotionally. As a coach, I’m currently working on a ginormous project that can’t yet be announced, but when it becomes a reality, it will change the landscape of how pickleball is taught and learned. I’m also FINALLY starting to write my book. This has been in the works for too long, but I believe will be worth the wait. In the meantime, while these projects are being put together, I will continue giving away a ridiculous amount of free content online with the singular focus of adding value to as many players as possible. 

What are you doing when you are not playing pickleball?

When I’m not playing pickleball, I’m constantly falling head-over-heels in love with my wife every day. She’s my angel and the miracle that makes it all possible for us, as a family. Without her push to always be better and think bigger, while simultaneously, keeping me humble and grounded, our family’s long term vision wouldn’t be what it is. I’m also a girl-dad, through and through. My poor daughter is probably so sick of me telling her much she’s loved, appreciated, and how proud her mom and dad are of her. Being a great player is important, evolving as a coach is important, but nothing is bigger or has more meaning than my family. 


If you’d like to read more from Dayne and stay tuned for his future projects, be sure to check out his website. To check out his paddle of choice take a look at the Electrum Pro and see if it might be a fit for you.

TechTalk with Oneshot Pickleball: Introducing the Flipshot

Introducing the Flipshot by Oneshot Pickleball

Why choose between touch and power when you can have it all? After years of players having to select either a fiberglass or carbon fiber paddle, Oneshot is now offering both materials in a single design. Taking inspiration from table tennis paddles which often have dual surfaces, the Flipshot provides incredible versatility and different levels of responsiveness depending on which side of the face you use. This innovative style is fully approved by USA Pickleball and ready to offer new tricks with a flip of the wrist.

Read more to hear what Oneshot has to say about this paddle’s greatest benefits.

Can you tell us what is innovative and different about the Flipshot Paddle?

In this model we incorporated two completely different materials (fiberglass & carbon fiber) on each surface of the paddle in order to create a unique feel on each side. The blue side will feel much softer, consequently providing more control, while the red side will feel solid to provide more power. 

When did the idea strike for this paddle and why?

The idea started about a year ago when we were talking about how much we like our forehand or backhand more than the other. That’s where we had that lightbulb moment and considered incorporating two different surfaces within the same paddle to compensate for a weak backhand or forehand.

There have been few attempts by others at this type of technology in the past. Why do you think pickleball is ready for it now?

Now more than ever the sport has been attracting athletes from other paddle and racquet sports. These players have different styles and consequently need products that adapt to their needs, which makes perfect sense for us. 

What type of player will enjoy this paddle?

Any player that wants to mix it up and try something unique.

Which side would you advise players to use on their forehand or backhand?

That’s the fun part about this paddle: There is no right or wrong. Just use each side to compensate for a weakness or double up on a strength!

What’s next for Oneshot in terms of technology or innovations?

We will keep that a secret for now, but we can share that we have multiple initiatives going on that will take the industry by surprise. We have models launching as early as this year and as late as 2024.


Read more about the Flipshot’s specs to see if it might be the right match for you, and let us know if there are any other unusual paddle styles you might like to see in the future.