By Jon Benton
Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in America and it has grown into a major force in the sporting world. With three professional Pickleball Leagues, which include the MLP or Major League Pickleball, there are plenty of opportunities for people to participate at the highest level. The leagues have created high-quality events throughout the country in order to showcase the players in front of large crowds of spectators.
What is Pickleball?
In case you have never heard of the sport of Pickleball we will take this opportunity to enlighten you. Pickleball is a sport based on the backyard game that was first created by three men back in 1965. The three guys from Bainbridge Island, just a short ferry ride from Seattle, Washington.
Pickleball is said to be a combination of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. The court resembles a doubles badminton court, but can also be played on any modified tennis court. The rules are unique to the sport and appear to be derived from tennis, but are not the same. The matches can be played either singles or doubles and usually consisted of mixed pairs (two men and two women).
The game or match is played with a paddle and ball similar to table tennis (ping-pong). However, the paddles are much larger and the ball resembles a whiffle ball. The ball is served and volleyed back and forth over the center net. Points are scored when the ball is hit out, hits twice on the same side, or hits the net on a serve.
While Pickleball may be a derivative of several games, it has it’s own unique rules. We decided to include a discussion of the rules:
Game Play – Played either singles or doubles
Play area – Court size is the same for both singles and doubles
- The ball must hit with an underhand motion
- The paddle can only strike the ball below waist level
- The head of the paddle cannot be raised above the level of the wrist
- A drop serve is allowed (in this case disregard the above rules)
- At least one foot must be on the ground during the service and not touching the court
- The ball must land diagonally from the server within the court
- Only one serve attempt is allowed
- Only the serving team scores points
- Match play is to 11 points, but you must win by 2 points
- Tournaments play is normally to 15 and you must still win by 2
- Players trade positions at every other point
- On the service, the ball must be allowed to hit the court in bounds so that then it can be returned and the server must allow it to hit their side once.
- After that, the ball can be volleyed without it touching the ground again
- The first 7 feet of area in front of the net is called the no-volley zone
- No player can volley the ball while touching the area
- It is a fault if a player hit the ball even just touching the line
- It is a fault if the player’s momentum carries them into the zone after hitting the ball
- Any other time the player can enter the no volley zone
- The no-volley zone may also be referred to as the kitchen
- A ball when served that contact any line except for the non-volley line is considered in
- A serve to hit the non-volley line is considered short and is a fault
A fault is the stoppage of play because of a rule that was broken
If the receiving time commits the fault the service team scores a point
If the fault is caused by the server side it results in a side out
What you should know about the Major League Pickleball
Major League Pickleball or MLP is one of the three current professional Pickleball leagues in the United States. The league consists of 12 four-person teams (mixed pairs of two men and two women). The league was founded by Brooks Willey and Mellie Price last year and they have three high-profile 3-day events scheduled for 2022.
The league put on three very successful events in Austin, TX, Columbus, OH, and Newport Beach, CA. The 12 teams’ current teams are split up into 3 four-team groups; Group A, Group, and Group C. The events feature unique formats that include women’s doubles, men’s doubles, and two mixed doubles.
Each of the events featured a winner take all purse of $100,000 and all of the action was live-streamed so fans could catch all of the action online. The Austin and Columbus events were played at indoor venues and the Newport Beach event was played outdoors at a Tennis and Pickleball Club.
It seems that Pickleball has started catching on all across the country. The MLP has even got the attention of players from other sports leagues. It would appear that the league is already looking at expanding for the 2023 season. It was announced that Kevin Durant, an NBA star player has bought a team along with Rich Kleiman. Their team 35V will begin competing next year.
What you should know about the MLP Teams
The Major League Pickleball league of 2022 consisted of 12 teams, each with 4 players. Each of the teams has an owner or owner group that established the team. The MLP is a unique league in that all the members are Pickleball players, this includes the co-founder and she is also a co-team owner as well.
As mentioned earlier the league is divided up into three different groups:
THE 5s – Team owner: Gary Vaynerchuk
JACKRABBITS – Team owner: David & Mimi Mercado
RANCHERS – Team owners: Bryan Sheffield and Tim Klitch
THE BUS – Team owners: David Kass & Doug Ulman
FLORIDA SMASH – Team owners: Molly Joseph, Travis Rettenmaier, Graham D’Amico
CLEAN CAUSE – Team owner: Wes Hurt, Tim Berry, Brad Beckworth, Nav Sooch
HARD EIGHTS – Team owners: Rick Chan and Kevin Huang
CHIMERAS – Team owners: Charles Attal, Charlie Walker, and Mellie Price
BLQK – Team owner: Ritchie Tuazon
MAD DROPS PICKLEBALL CLUB – Team owner: Zubin Mehta
ATX PICKLEBALLERS – Team owners: Brene Brown and Charles Kiley
LIONS – Team owners: Marc Lasry and James Blake
Stay tuned for more MLP News
Jon Is a 58-year-old US Navy veteran living in Oklahoma, OK for the past 30 years. He is married to his high school sweetheart and they have three adult children. He is heavily into politics, the Detroit Lions, and the Oklahoma Sooners (BOOMER SOONER BABY). Jon is an IT Support Specialist by day and a professional writer by night. He has been writing online for the better part of 30 years and much of it for other people. He is now geting credit for his writing!